I won’t lie. When we announced our news, we got looks…the oh-my-goodness-you-can’t-be-serious looks. And, yeah, ok, I admit that there are times that I look at my life and I wonder, “What were we thinking?” But actually, there are some blessings to having a baby in your 40s. Seriously, you should consider it.
- Financial stability When we had our first child twenty years ago, we were not as financially stable as we are now. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: “If you wait until you can afford kids, you’ll never have one.” But honestly, we were in a tough spot. With my husband in dental school and me working as a science teacher at a private school, money was tight. When we added Baby #2 at the end of dental school/beginning of residency, things got even tighter. Going to McDonald’s wasn’t an option because the cost of a Happy Meal could buy a gallon of milk. In our 40s, his career is blossoming (and I am still a teacher at a private school). We have more than enough. Do you have to have all this to have a baby? Heavens no, but it sure makes it a little easier.
- Helping hands I had three kids ages five and under and a husband who worked 100+ hours a week as a surgery resident. When I mowed the lawn, I would carry one kid in the backpack (talk about workout!) while keeping the other two in sight while they played. When more than one had a meltdown, my lap was never big enough, even though I tried. When I went on vacations as a solo parent (aka drive the minivan across five states to get to Nana’s), I learned how to carry one Little One, hold hands with another, and feel the other one grasp my pants pocket every time we went anywhere (what a sight I must have been). Today, Little One’s siblings are helpers, often serving as babysitters when my husband and I go on our date nights. “You watch your brother and I’ll make dinner”’ is incentive enough for a teenager to have sibling play time. In my 40s, my helpers are not only Little One’s older siblings, but my adult friends as well. Most haven’t been in the baby stage for quite some time, so cuddling with Little One is a treat for them. Often, at school functions, I find myself enjoying a break from Little One as someone enjoys snuggle time with him.
- Older & wiser…or at least I believe I am. In all honesty, parenting is an on-the-job-learn-to-do-your-best sort of gig. I would like to believe that in my 40s, I am more patient, less worried about being judged by others, more comfortable in my own skin, and more confident in what I do – including raising a baby. “Little One is my fourth” is often my response when people question my judgement. Enough said, right?
So seriously, doesn’t that make you think, “Well, having a baby in your 40s isn’t so bad. Maybe we should have another one?” I’m just warning you: after you have that one, you’ll want another … because Little One needs a playmate. Uh, yeah. You just have me that look, didn’t you?