The following is a powerful story about one woman’s journey to having a child later in life, and a great reminder that you never know how much a person has struggled in their journey.
It is a beautifully written piece that I can proudly say was written by my sister-in-law. In addition to being a nurse, photographer, and artist, Barbara can now say she is a writer as well!
If you are interested in writing a piece about being a woman or part of your journey through motherhood to share on The Mama Nurse, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not need to be a writer as I will help you with the editing.
Thank you for reading!
You Never Know How Much You Want Something Until It’s Gone
I never thought I would become a mother later in life. In fact I wasn’t sure if I would be a mother at all.
I had my first child when I was 40. When I hear people talk, they are very judgemental of people having children into their 40’s and 50’s. I feel very lucky to be a mother. At one point I never thought I could have children, so at least I am able to experience the joy and rewards of being a mother regardless of my age.
I feel that as an older mother I am able to provide better for my child than I ever could in my 20’s. I am more mentally ready than I was in my 20’s. I went back to school in my late 20’s and became a Registered Nurse later in life.
Perhaps I was a late bloomer.
Life played hard-ball with me in my 20’s with a failed abusive marriage which ultimately ended in divorce. In retrospect I am very thankful that I never had children with that person.
Life works out for reasons we are unaware.
It was during my 20’s that I had found out I had severe endometriosis. I had a period non-stop for about a year, and finally got in to see my gynaecologist where she very bluntly asked me if I ever wanted children. I knew I had never wanted children with my former husband at the time, but always thought at some point I would…Maybe.
After the D&C the surgeon had told me that my endometriosis was extensive and all around my organs. She had tried to cauterize what she could. I was told that I would have less than a 30% chance to ever conceive a child or could even be completely infertile.
I left there thinking when you tell someone they can’t have something they want it even more.
When I had first met my ex-husband, we had decided not to have children because we just weren’t there yet. I never thought that it had meant forever. After I had the procedure and had told him the news of my possible infertility, I mentioned that I would like to try and have children some day. He thought I was crazy and said “you can’t change your mind now, we agreed”.
I started talking about going back to school shortly after that. My spouse would not have it. He told me he would not support me in my decision. He struggled with mental illness and depression, which started manifesting during our relationship through verbal abuse and his out-of-control spending. The relationship took a turn for the worse one night and I left, for the better.
At the time it felt like the end of the world.
A Second Chance
Shortly after the divorce, my life took a very different turn. I went back to school for nursing for four long years, and the thought of having children was still in the back of my mind.
After life settled down and I began a relationship with someone who was eight years older than me, I realized that I was 38 and if I wanted to have children that I should at least try.
The first thing was getting my current spouse on board with having a child. Would I be able to get pregnant? What if I can’t? What then?
I worried about birth defects.
Some of our older friends who had teenagers thought we were crazy for wanting to start a family so late in life. But when it came down to it, it was our life, our decision and it felt right to at least try.
I may never be able to have a child so let’s see what happens.
Right When Things Were Looking Up
After months of trying naturally I found out that I was pregnant. I was shocked and overjoyed for something that I never thought was possible. However, while my partner and I were vacationing in the US late one night I felt very strong and painful back cramps like I had never felt in my life.
As soon as I realized I was bleeding, I knew it wasn’t good. I had passed my child in a hotel room in the United States. I had him/her in my hand, the little tiny feet and hands I will never forget. I went to the ER and had a confirmation ultrasound. It put a sour turn on our vacation. I wondered if it was something that I had done that had caused the miscarriage.
I blamed myself.
I lost my child at 12 weeks and I was completely devastated. I had just told everyone about the pregnancy. Then I had to tell them that I had lost the child. As I told people about my loss, it opened me up to the fact that so many other women have suffered pregnancy loss and that I was not alone.
Some people said hurtful things like “well you are too old and should adopt anyway”. “You are too old to have a baby”. “It happened for a reason”. Those things don’t help when someone is in pain, but I realized those people didn’t know what to say and likely never went through the loss.
I think I went into a bit of a depression.
For months I tried to be happy for those around me getting pregnant and having babies. It was hard as I was always reminded of what I had lost. However, on the bright side, my miscarriage had meant that I was able to conceive, against all odds.
Our Miracle Child
After several more months of trying, we had good news of pregnancy. I was so afraid that I would lose this one too. I did enjoy my pregnancy but I was also very cautious. I did not want to lose this one! I was considered high-risk having a previous pregnancy loss and being in my late 30’s.
Regardless of my frequent worrying, I was blessed with my miracle child Alexis in 2013. I never knew motherhood could be so rewarding. I couldn’t imagine my life without her now.
The joy that she brings me daily and the gratefulness I feel having her is amazing. She makes me smile and laugh everyday. I wouldn’t change a thing about how my life has played out because the journey was worth having her.
Since having our daughter, we have tried on and off to have another child. I was hoping to be blessed with another child, but that has not yet happened despite our efforts.
I worry that being older parents she will be left alone, and I always wanted her to have a sibling so at least she has them. I have been diligent in her getting to know her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins so she has that surrounding her.
So far we haven’t had success but I am happy to have Alexis.
I wish that it was easier for me to conceive. I know that I am even older now so the chances are even harder for me. I am just lucky that I was able to have natural pregnancies as I know so many that need help or cannot have any children at all.
You Are Only As Old As You Feel
Yes I am an older parent. I am lucky that we are both healthy and look after ourselves. It is tiring some days to keep up with Lexi but I love every moment. I do not feel old. I feel young at heart and have lots of energy.
I hear those around me say things like,
“why would you wait so long?” and, “I would never have a child in my 40’s. Are you crazy?”, as well as “you are selfish”.
Just remember that you never know what people have dealt with. Sometimes those comments can be hurtful.
If only people knew how difficult my journey has been.
A difficult journey, but a journey so worth it.
– Barbara Hamilton