Whilst I’m not a record breaking older mother, I’ve had two children since I’ve been forty. Yes, I’m Varifocal Mum.
In many ways, having children at older ages is not different to having them when younger but I found there are a few subtle differences between have children in my twenties and thirties and having babies at 40 plus.
Gratitude: we waited a fair time to have these children of my old age and in many ways, the overwhelming feeling was of profound gratitude. There are several older mothers in the Bible; Sarah the wife of Abraham, the Shunammite woman who is mentioned in 2 Kings 4, Samson’s mother and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. The birth of their children was joyous and these children were special in God’s sight.
Scanning: we had antenatal scans but knew that, whilst we were finding out how many babies there were, when the baby was due and the position of the placenta, the scan was also looking for “anomalies”. Indeed, the second major scan was primarily to look for “anomalies”.
We made the decision that we would have non-invasive testing for Down syndrome so that we could prepare ourselves and our other children if the risks were high and also so that, if necessary, the baby could be delivered at a cardio-thoracic unit. We knew that not wanting invasive testing, which could potentially harm the baby, we would only have an estimate of risk and not an answer. We weren’t challenged on this, as the risk for both children came out as very low but as an older mother, it is worth thinking through testing, before going for the scan, particularly realising that non-invasive testing will not give a yes/no answer.
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