Pursuing a fulfilling and meaningful life is hard enough without the added complications of advanced age. However, it is not impossible. You can have a fulfilling and meaningful life even with the added complications of advanced age. The journey to my pregnancy contained many twists and turns, including the discovery of my husband's affair and the death of my beloved dog, Buddy which put extra stress on me.
I married at the age of 34 and when I was 37, my husband and I decided to try for a baby. We both wanted to become parents and we also thought that having a child would bring us closer together. Little did we know that my advanced age and the stress I was going through can be a hurdle for me getting pregnant.
We tried for six months, but it was a complete failure for us and then we thought of consulting a gynecologist. It was a wise decision as I came across the fact that if you are older than 35, your eggs may have a hard time getting fertilized as compared to a younger woman.
The first discussion, the doctor had with me was about the significance of age in getting pregnant. In our mid to late 30s, our eggs have deteriorated in both quality and quantity and this makes it hard to even get pregnant and also increases the chance of complications during pregnancy and abnormality in the baby. The gynecologist recommended some supplements, medications, and lifestyle modifications which I followed and it helped. I avoided unhealthy foods completely and quit smoking and alcohol.
Also despite the difficulties and the stress I was having, I still managed to remain positive in my outlook on life as it was required to increase the chance of conceiving, and ultimately I conceived at an age when many people are settling down or living with their regrets. At an advanced age, some women even can have fibroids or endometriosis which can further complicate the scenario but luckily I was saved from them. Still, my story is one of resilience, determination, and sheer will to live a full life no matter what may come my way.
So we found out I was pregnant at six weeks and the doctor told us that it would be best if I stay home as much as possible. Six weeks in, I was feeling pretty good with only a few extreme mood swings.
At sixteen weeks, every day became a series of throw-ups, fatigue, food aversions, and depression. My husband thought that I was being lazy and just needed to work harder. He had no idea what it felt like to be pregnant at an advanced age and I couldn't even tell him as he was least interested and never bothered to ask.
One good thing that happened to me was that I found a well-specialized obstetrician who guided me rightly at every step and made me recognize that my advanced age makes my pregnancy different from the other normal ones and ensured the best possible care. I was told to be extra careful to avoid the miscarriage risk as it increases in advanced age.
My journey was not a smooth one at all as I encountered a few problems such as having gestational diabetes and hypertension. The thoughts about advanced age complications of stillbirth and premature birth made me go panic. The tools that helped me go through this process were regular exercise, healthy eating, relaxing activities, and regular check-ups that minimized my complications to the best possible level. They kept my energy levels high, enhanced overall health, improved strength and stamina during childbirth, and also eased the discomfort. I even learned some specific workouts for pregnancy and practiced them.
Another issue that kept me disturbed was the increased risk of abnormalities in my coming baby because of my advanced age. I went for prenatal screening that ensured that everything was going normal but it was not enough for me as a slight possibility of a birth defect remained.
The fear was only abated when I had my healthy baby in my hands after a C-section. As there were these complications of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and some others during my pregnancy, I had to go for C-section delivery to ensure as much safety as possible. However, it took me more time for healing, and I had severe post-partum depression too.
But again the healthy lifestyle tips assisted me here too and I managed well. I will not be doing justice if I don’t mention the most important point that every time I see my little one smiling, it makes me forget all my worries and I now consider all my struggles justifiable to hold this little one and also share a special bond with my husband through our cutie pie.
In recent days, several factors such as the desire for higher education, career focus, and the trend of not having children in the '20s like not feeling ready in '20s for children have made women have children at an advanced age. The latest data also reported that for the first time, thirty-plus women are going for birthing more babies than their twenty-plus counterparts.
The topic of advanced age is important to many women as they enter their later years. My story demonstrates that it doesn't matter how old you are; you can still make the most of your later years.
Although consulting a healthcare provider during pregnancy is crucial, it becomes more important to talk to your gynecologist/obstetrician or primary care physician before and during pregnancy if you are trying and having a baby at an advanced age such as 35 years or older. This will ensure more conceiving chances and better health for both you and your baby making it possible that your baby gets the best possible start and you also enjoy the journey of parenthood from its very beginning.
Prioritize your self-care before, during, and after pregnancy, take all the necessary precautions, and follow the healthy tips because it is needed for both your and your baby’s good health and will let you have the best possible and happiest version of your life. A lot of women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies irrespective of advanced maternal age. Your fears and concerns are appreciated but there is nothing to worry about much, just some extra care is needed and you will do good.