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When I found out I was pregnant at 37, it came as a bit of a shock. I thought that time of my life was over, and I had started giving everything away.
After I got over my shock, I slowly started to embrace pregnancy in my late 30s. I mean, if I’ve done it before, how hard can it be right?
I think I underestimate how much our bodies change as we age–even when we are in decent shape.
I felt so blessed to be carrying another baby (check out my last post here if you missed the gender reveal), but it took a toll on my body FO REAL.
I started showing ASAP.
Okay, to be fair, this has nothing to do with age, but more to do with the fact that I’ve been pregnant 4 times before and birthed 3 babies (3 due to a miscarriage).
I actually didn’t know I was pregnant until I was almost in my 2nd trimester. I found out in June, and in Georgia June is HOT.
I wasn’t ready to share my bump with the world, but it was almost impossible to hide because I didn’t want to burn up hiding under layers.
Life was busy, and after I removed my IUD for health reasons, my husband and I were tossing around the idea of a permanent fix and other methods of birth control.
But obviously, God had other plans. I started popping out fairly quickly and I wasn’t quite ready to share with the world.
In fact, I had planned on getting my sexy back in the summer and getting into gear with getting my body into the best shape ever. I was feeling discouraged when no matter what I tried, I was still gaining weight.
Needless to say, my little bump was on display from day one and it got really tough to disguise.
It’s harder to bounce back after working all day.
I’m pretty type A. I make to-do lists. My kids and I stay on the go. We like to stay busy and on the move. But after work, I am pooped. Most nights I fall asleep on the couch or putting the kids to bed.
In my 20s, I went shopping at the outlets with friends and even was a bridesmaid in a wedding at 7 months pregnant.
This year we went to Disney World while I was 6 months pregnant. I felt pretty good through most of this pregnancy, but that trip reminded me that I was pregnant in my late 30s. IT ALMOST KILLED ME.
When I sneeze, sometimes I pee a little.
Listen, I know pregnant women say this all the time. But I had 3 c-sections, so I thought that didn’t apply to me. I thought that I was safe because I got cut instead of pushing a baby out.
But I’ve been caught off guard a few times–thankfully that happened at home.
Doctors give more pushback.
If I could do things over again, I would’ve had homebirths and a midwife. And a doula.
I would’ve never had c-sections.
I decided that I wanted a VBAC this time. Because of my age, race, and having 3 prior c-sections, doctors didn’t want me to have a VBAC. Even though baby and I are healthy, based on statistics and recommendations from the ACOG, doctors only see pregnancy in my late 30s.
For about a month, doctors were concerned because baby girl was in the 9th percentile. Even though I still had about 6 weeks left in my pregnancy and I knew that she would gain weight. At my last appointment, she went from the 9th percentile to the 21st percentile. I took great pleasure in telling the ultrasound tech and nurse practitioner I told you so!
I know that some women experience health issues the older they get, but I’m noticing that pregnancy in my late 30s is a challenge just based on age. Instead of looking at individual cases, they focus on your age and race based on case studies rather than the individual patient.
Pregnancy in your late 30s doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
The world is changing. People are choosing to have babies later in life due to a variety of reasons. And some come by complete surprise (like mine)!
Here are a few things I’ve done to make it a little easier:
Exercise. For the first time, I’ve experienced sciatic pain and lots of lower back pain early on. I found some pregnancy yoga videos on YouTube and that was super helpful!
Pregnancy Belt. As an elementary school counselor, I spend a lot of time on my feet. I walk all around the school, stand on duty, and teach lessons. I ordered a pregnancy belt off Amazon and can tell such a difference when I wear it all day!
Increase my water intake. I don’t know about you, but my first instinct is not usually to grab water when I’m thirsty. I’m guilty of letting my cravings take over and often reach for everything else. But I’ve noticed that I feel better when I drink more water.
Give yourself some grace. Being pregnant is hard, regardless of your age. Carrying a life affects you mentally & emotionally. Your hormones are up and down and it can be difficult to accept that you have limitations. It’s perfectly normal to mourn your old body and old life as your life is rapidly changing to accommodate the new addition to your family. It’s okay to have mixed emotions and it’s healthy to express your fears to those that you love and trust–even a counselor if you so choose.
To see some of my favorite pregnancy & postpartum items, check out my Amazon storefront!