If you’re a first time expectant mother over 35 or over 40, sometimes— finding emotional support for your pregnancy can be as be as challenging as finding an American teenager who doesn’t own a cell phone!
The first words out of your doctor’s mouth upon confirming your pregnancy may not be congratulations but may be monologue filled with negative statistics about pregnancy after 35 which show an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cesarean birth and chromosomal defects. Or your doctor may suggest a series of tests available to older expectant moms or ask if your pregnancy was planned.
Unfortunately, this insensitiveness for pregnancy after 35 is not limited to some in the medical community. You may be hit with a variety of comments saying you’re too old to give birth or that you should consider your age when your baby goes to first- grade, becomes a teenager, gets married and so forth. These comments can come from well-meaning relatives to friends to strangers.
How do you handle so much negativity during a time when you are most vulnerable?
1-Realize Pregnancy Hormones Are At Work
The first tip is to remember your pregnant body is undergoing hormone changes which not only affect you physically, but emotionally as well.
Translation: Comments you wouldn’t have given a second thought during your pre-pregnancy state can make you sad or angry during pregnancy. This is true whether you are an expectant mom age 22 or age 42.
Choose your thoughts wisely. Like a gardener who pulls the weeds out of her flowerbed, pull the negative thoughts from your mind. Replace them through concentration on positive and uplifting thoughts.
2- Find Moms Who Have Been Through What You’re Going Through
Having a supportive friend, ideally one who is a first time mom over 35, you can talk to about your ups and downs will be invaluable during this time. There are also online groups of expectant moms over 35 and over 40. If the online groups don’t fit your style, establish your own or join our InSeason Mom group on Facebook. If you don’t like any of these choices, email me and I’ll give you encouragement!
3- Remember Medical Studies based on Group Not Individual Results
Medical studies citing the risk factors for pregnant women over 35 and 40 are based on the results of midlife pregnant women when studied as a group. The studies are not based on your individual health history. The truth is any pregnant woman of any age may experience high blood pressure, diabetes, cesarean birth and chromosomal defects.
According to Dr. Glade B. Curtis, author of Your Pregnancy After 35, today, many healthcare professionals gauge pregnancy risk by a pregnant woman health status not her age.
4- Follow Doctor’s Orders
Make every effort to follow the advice of your doctor which should include getting plenty of rest, eating healthy, refraining from smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking anything that is toxic to your body or your unborn child.
5- Embrace Mental and Spiritual Health
“People run their mouth” is one of my husband’s favorite sayings, which means everyone has an opinion. Opinions are not necessarily truth.
When well-meaning folks cite how old you will be when your baby enters first grade or goes to college, ask them how old you will be in the same length of time if you didn’t give birth. Hopefully, they’ll get the point. We grow older regardless if we pursue motherhood in our late 30s or 40s. Therefore, it’s important to make our lives count by pursuing our goals. Personally, I believe the adage, “Your life is a gift from God, what you do with it is your gift back to Him.”