This is not how I pictured motherhood going.
I was the little girl who took her dolls, stroller and fully-loaded diaper bag (with newborn diapers I bought with my allowance) to church, the mall and anywhere else I was allowed. I fed them, changed them and bathed them like they were real. I was always a “little mama” and yearned to become a mom even when I wasn’t sure about the marriage thing.
I pictured myself with three little munchkins in tow by age 30.
How did it really go? I met a guy I knew I could spend the rest of my life with and got married in 2002. We got pregnant pretty easily and our first was born in 2005. Motherhood was, to put it simply, harder than I thought it would be. Our son was relatively “easy,” I just didn’t feel ready to start trying for a second baby until he was about two-and-a-half. We got pregnant right away but then experienced an early miscarriage so our timeline was pushed back even further. We gave it a few months then started trying again and got pregnant on the first try again, spacing our two boys three-and-a-half years apart.
I struggled with anxiety postpartum then we moved twice in two years and eventually settled into a new part of town, delaying any efforts to try for a third. Life was pretty chaotic and we sometimes questioned if we even wanted more kids. For four years, we “tried” off and on (mostly on), thinking we were meant to have another child. In January 2017, we were shocked when it finally took. That’s when I found myself 39 and pregnant.
I will turn 40 in November with a two-month-old baby, a 12-year-old and an 8.5-year-old. I’m plucking gray hairs before I take my bumpdate pictures. My son will be the same age I was when I babysat newborns. They don’t make “big brother” shirts in my boys’ sizes. That’s definitely not how I envisioned it.
How is it different being 39 and pregnant this time?
Having two very independent school-age kids means I can spend my time taking care of myself and working when I have the energy.
We have many friends who’ve only known us for about the last six years so this pregnancy is like a first to them. It’s been so fun to experience their excitement.
Speaking of excitement, many of my friends and family are done having babies so they’re living vicariously through us.
The gender mattered this time. We truly had no preference with the first two. We’ve always wanted a girl so we snuck off to get an elective ultrasound before our official appointment because we couldn’t wait any longer. We’re getting our girl! Her name will be Kate and we already have a “TabandKate” Instagram account.
I’m more tired.
I weigh 30 pounds less and I’m much healthier which seems to balance out the fact that I’m eight years older than last time.
We’re not fooling ourselves when it comes to how we’ll handle the sleeping, feeding, scheduling, etc. of this one. Even better, there isn’t a toddler sibling to deal with.
I’ve had two vastly different birth experiences already so I know I can handle this one.
Unlike the last two times, I do a lot of volunteer work out in the community and I’m not sure how to handle that once she’s born. I typically leave my babies as little as possible for the first two years so I’m going to play that one by ear (note to self: learn how to use a baby carrier).
My parents live half a mile away this time. And my mom reeeaalllyy likes babies.
The biggest difference? I’m a much more calm, balanced, confident, stable, patient, peaceful woman at 39. This baby will be getting a very different mother than my boys got.
This isn’t the story I would have written for myself. I know it’s going to be a challenge mothering a girl in my 40s and 50s. Having a baby sister will change the boys’ lives immensely and means we’ll be almost 60 before we have an empty nest. I look in the mirror at the age spot on my cheek and the laugh line between my eyebrows and think, “How did this happen?”
But this is our story. We will become a family of five in September and I know it will be perfect.