Donna Ladd of Motherburg reflects on her path to motherhood and her struggles to get pregnant the second time around.
If someone had told my young self that I would become a mother in my 40s, I would have thought that person was crazy. Perhaps it's my Latin culture, but I always assumed I would be a young mother. Of course life isn’t always in this neat package. While a group of my childhood friends had their babies by age 24, I was on a different path -- mostly a career one -- that consisted of long hours. I was basically a cliché, my fertile years passing me by. But one day I found myself on a six-seater plane flying to an exotic location with breathtaking views, and I knew it: I was done. I didn’t care about traveling to these far-off private islands with designer clothes. I wanted a baby!
By my early 30s, I made some pretty big choices. I ended a long-term relationship that didn’t hold any near future of children, quit the intense job, and moved back to California (my home town) where I listened to birds chirp and took long hikes. I loved being back. My best friend had a one-year-old daughter, and getting to know my goddaughter was life-changing. The love I felt for this little being was like no other. I realized that I had made the right decisions, although hard ones. Had I waited longer, I could have found myself in big trouble with issues like infertility. I hate that this is a factor, but it is. By my mid 30s, I was back in Brooklyn and married (to a new guy.) I had my son Charlie when I turned 39.
There are two kinds of moms who have their kids at or after 40: the ones with crazy energy and the tired ones. I fall more into the tired category. How tired am I? Very. I may not have had my son at 40, per se, but it was pretty darn close. If you think you’re tired in your 30s, imagine what you’ll feel like a little later down the pike. This is the downfall. The positives? I find myself more secure of who I am as a person and know where my priorities are. Not that a younger mom isn’t able to find this balance, but for me, it was quite tough for to manage balance in my 20s and 30s.
The thing about being a mom at 40 is that I can be picky about friendships -- you either get me or you don’t. I am not going to sit and take time to figure our friendship out. We either click or we don’t. I am back working a corporate job while also managing a local blog and volunteering at my son’s school. At my corporate job, I have boundaries. This is hard because I want to be a great employee, but the days of working until the wee hours are a thing of the past. I work with what I can, and when I start to feel too overwhelmed, I speak up and my superiors adjust my workload. I streamlined my wardrobe so it's easier to get ready in the morning; I would like to be more creative in the style department, but that extra 10 minutes of sleep is golden. Learning to balance is a tool every mother needs, regardless of age.
When you’re 40-plus and exhausted, you realize you are aging and that this little person needs you to be around, to be present, to be a good parent. I have been struggling to have baby number two, and I realized how my choices shape not only my son but also myself. I do wish I had my son a bit earlier like most of my mom friends. But for me, personally, I know that with all I had to work out in life, I am a better mother having waited.
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