Name: Jill Jonas
Age when you gave birth: 36
Child’s name : Dean
Current or former profession(s): I have worked abroad quite a bit (Egypt, Dubai, Mexico) and international business is my career passion. Since living in New York, I work for a medical device company.
How long were you trying to get pregnant?
We were very fortunate and got pregnant right away in the first month we tried. We decided to try for a late spring/summer birth month and voilá! I thought it would take a couple of months at least.
However, it wasn’t completely smooth sailing at the beginning. We had two doctors tell us we weren’t pregnant and that we’d had a chemical pregnancy! Although I knew something was happening, we were in limbo for about two weeks. Finally, the HGC blood test (it test your levels 48 hours apart) results came back. My levels were rising nicely. Okay, I thought to myself, so we ARE pregnant and then glorious 9 months followed.
What did you do or not do to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 35?
We did not take my age into consideration when we were trying to conceive. It was pretty simple – I knew my cycle and we had a time frame to try. What we did not do is stress.
On another note: When I thought that we had a chemical pregnancy, it opened my eyes to how much time and effort getting pregnant could really take, as well as the emotions involved. I am very grateful to have had this realization. It makes me appreciate Dean even more.
How supportive were your doctors during your pregnancy?
My doctor is the one who joked with me about the AMA(advanced maternal age) he had to put after my name on my charts. He said, “for NYC you’re a baby”. So, that’s very supportive, I guess!
Did you change doctors or would like to have changed doctors? Why or why not?
I changed doctors before we conceived. I was not happy with other OBGYN’s I had gone to previously in the city. My GP (general practitioner) recommended Dr. Andrew Scheinfeld and he only takes patients who are pregnant or trying. He is an expert at pregnancy and delivering babies – which is what I wanted and what I got!
Family and Friends
What was the reaction of friends and family when you told me about your pregnancy?
My in-laws were elated and surprised. We put t-shirts on our niece and nephew with the words “number one cousins” on the front with our due date on the back. It took them a while and a little encouragement to realize what those shirts meant. Once they realized what it meant, they were ecstatic. Nothing was ever said about my age.
When we surprised my mother, I learned something that day. She came to New York (I’m from St Louis and that’s where most of my family lives) to visit and to celebrate her birthday with Josh (my husband) and me. When we decided to tell her the news, I made her a birthday cake and wrote “#1 Grandma” on it. We walked out and presented her with the cake. She was so surprised, but then noticed what was written on top.
She thought we were making fun of her age and just calling her a grandma! It turns out she wasn’t expecting me to have children. She thought I was just focused on career and other things. Once she realized that I was pregnant, she teared up and was so happy. Even though she wanted grandchildren very much, she did not burden me with that pressure. and I am very thankful for that. I am even more thankful that she is now a Grandmother, Grammy T!
On another note, anyone who has children later in life risks losing someone close to them before it can happen. I lost my father 3 years ago to cancer. Every day I think about how he would be as a grandfather, but it wasn’t meant to be. He never put any pressure on me to have children, either. I’m sure that if he had seen “Grandpa” on his cake, I would have learned something that day, too.
Labor and Delivery
What do you remember most about the birth experience?
Luckily I remember everything. I’m not THAT old! Since we did not know the gender, the best part was hearing, “it’s a boy” and then seeing this amazing little boy held before us, behind the clear curtain. I had a gentle C- section. Dean was breech for almost the entire pregnancy. My husband and I felt like we already knew the little guy the moment we laid eyes on him!
I AM MOM
What concerns you most about being a mom over 35 and how do you address these concerns?
Having a second child. I don’t think I will have time to mentally prepare for that, before it is a little too late. Another concern is one that any parent has, being around for them as long as possible. This motivates me to stay fit and healthy.
What do you enjoy most about being an older mom?
I’m just enjoying being a mom! You cannot truly describe the feelings it brings or the experience with words. It’s the best thing I have ever had the privilege to do.
How has becoming a mom changed you?
Everything has a bit more meaning. Also, I’m much better utilizing the time that I have everyday. It’s hard to procrastinate these days!
What advice do you have for women considering motherhood after 35?
Don’t read (focus) too much into what you read about– articles like if it is the best time for you to try for a family or to add to your family. Do it your way and don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or what you should fear.