I planned this. It wasn’t a mistake.
But if given a do-over, I might just choose my plans a little differently. Party real hard in my early 20’s, get married in my late 20’s, have kids in my early 30’s. Yeah.
See, I had my son at 36, a year past the 35 marker that puts you in the “high risk” category. My pregnancy was normal to the doctor’s standards and I bounced back fairly quickly.
It was the 2nd pregnancy that put a doozy on me.
Wives tales say that baby girls steal their Mother’s beauty. Wives tale or not, my 2nd child is a girl and while pregnant with her, I looked like an ogre.
As if the ogre look wasn’t bad enough, my hair was dry, my skin dull, my nails brittle, I sweat like a man and I was very gassy. And my stomach was so big that I could no longer see my hoo hoo so I ignored it and can only imagine what it looked like. Sexy. Yeah no.
This pregnancy at 40 journey was different. I felt like with each bite of food, I could feel myself getting bigger. And every time I visited my doc and the nurse weighed me, it was as if everything moved in slow motion as she announced my weight on what sounded like a loud speaker, “One……hundred……..and………ninety………seven……..pounds.”
My husband had the nerve to say, probably one night after watching me pant, moan and groan, “Babe, why did you wait until you were 40? I mean, I was fine with one child.”
See, having a 2nd child was my choice because I have siblings and wanted to give that gift to my son – to have someone who would always be there aside from his parents. And I was hoping for a girl so that my husband could experience the Father/Daughter relationship that I have with my Dad.
But, and this is a big but, the waiting until I was 40 was a product of ups and downs in our marriage and the fact that I didn’t think I could stay sane if I had a baby and a toddler. No, no. That to me is a nightmare.
So 40 just so happened to be the year when things were good enough to say, “Okay big daddy, we’re having another one. So let’s practice some naked wrestling.”
Little did I know 40 and pregnant meant I’d be achy constantly, turn into a dry-haired ogre, and then after delivery, be left with a body and gut that is taking forever to whip back in shape.
More women are having children later in life so this may be a choice you will make. Every woman is different but to all my 40 and over Mothers, I offer you this:
Get healthy before you get pregnant.
I was 20 pounds overweight before I got pregnant so I carried an extra 20 pounds with me the entire time. I could feel it every day and it hurt.
Stay active while you’re pregnant.
Yoga, swimming, walking, stretching. There are so many things you can do to keep your body strong. Simply put, pregnancy is harder when you’re older. Your body and baby will thank you for staying active.
Rest, rest, and then get some more rest.
I don’t ask for help well but got to a point where I just had to. And if you have other kids, resting is dang near impossible. It’s not impossible if you ask for help. Ask for help, and then rest.
Try to love yourself at every stage.
There were times when I did not want to look at myself in the mirror. When I did, I was so disgusted. I felt like me on the inside but the woman I saw in the mirror just was not me. The fact is, I was producing a beautiful baby while raising another and still going to my demanding job everyday so I should have given myself some slack. Our bodies are beautiful at any size. And women are rock stars.
Losing the baby weight? Take your time.
The world, and sometimes even our families, can be so judgmental. Even other Moms who didn’t gain much weight and have their perfectly flat abs to prove it like to judge. If you don’t have the body-type that bounces back quickly, so what! We are all different. If you’re too busy to work out every day, do something small like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And then be proud of each accomplishment. You’re a Mom after all. That’s pretty darn awesome.