When the convener of the momat4ty initiative reached out to me to share my story, I had my reservations at first, I thought to myself, is being a mum over forty a “thing” or what is the hullabaloo about becoming a mum at an older age. Then I sat down for a minute to think about how it was from the moment I found out I was pregnant, just a couple of months to my 40th birthday, I laughed at the thought and it hit me that indeed, there are issues around being an older mum and yes it’s okay to talk about them.
Back in my mother’s days, women were done having all their six and more children by their early 30s. In fact, I remember when my mum got pregnant for my youngest sister at 35, it was almost treated as a thing of shame. These days however, many are even becoming first time mums at well over thirty into their fifties; thanks to medical interventions available to us. I doubt most people deliberately chose to have children much later in life, rather I believe they are mostly affected by economic and health factors that have plagued us in these times.
In my case, I experienced secondary infertility. After my first son, it took four years to have my second son. I often joke that when you start off with a hyperactive son, you need time to recover. Lol! I wasn’t deliberately waiting however, I actually wanted to be over and done with childbearing before 35. Alas! After my second son, I had no luck getting pregnant until 7 years after. I just wanted a mini-me to play with, but when this didn’t happen I focused on being thankful for my two boys and started making plans for my 40th birthday – I wanted a trip to the mountains! Kilimanjaro to be precise. I contacted a tour operator in December 2017 and started the arrangements, not knowing I was pregnant.
I don’t know how I didn’t find out I was pregnant early enough, forget the menstrual cycle calendar, I suck at keeping up with that, but all the other signs like morning sickness and cravings were probably there but I didn’t quite notice. I noticed the weight gain though, I joined a dance aerobics class thinking age was catching up with me and I needed to do more exercise. There was this night I had this sudden urge for Suya! It was really bad! I buzzed my sister to ask if we could go buy Suya and she was like, sis are you pregnant? The way I laughed this off ehn! I wasn’t even about to give it a second thought. I just wanted Suya. What was so strange about that?
I was more than a month gone when I finally found out, the first reaction from my family and friends was, oh you have to slow down Sade, you’re not young anymore. I am naturally a very active person, so telling me to slow down was like killing me actually, lol. All the talk about your age, your age, started to get to me until I watched a video online where Serena granted an interview about how she still played a tournament while she was four months gone. She said she had to take everything she had heard people say about pregnancy, zip it up in a bag (metaphorically) and throw it in the bin. In that same video, they interviewed Gal Gadot who filmed Wonder woman at five months gone. These stories inspired me and I picked myself up and refused to get worried or scared.
I not only enjoyed this pregnancy, without any major incidents or challenges but I also had an incident free delivery. It was my third C-section, mainly because my babies are usually big for my size, I was a bit scared about this but it went smoothly.
I am grateful for the experience and while I do agree that carrying a pregnancy at over 35 poses a higher risk for women, I think that the mindset of the woman too, goes a long way in affecting the outcome in the end. Of course, take your vitamins, eat healthily and well, do light exercise – take walks and above all, listen to your body.
Mofolusade is one of our ‘Voices’.
She is a social media influencer and the founder of mumpreneur.ng
A kickass mum