Dear Diary,

Days before my birthday, I met a woman at a party who told me that 40 was a magic number–the age where one reaches enlightenment and truly feels grown-up. I smiled but doubted I would share the same experience. My worldview didn’t change at the stroke of midnight when I turned forty. But five months later, my world did. During a routine visit to my gynecologist, the nurse entered the room and announced, Ms. Brown, you’re pregnant. I wish I could say I was immediately overjoyed when I heard her words. But I didn’t do a cartwheel off the exam table. I sat in silence as 50 feelings suffocated me: fear, sadness, hope, anxiety and the tiniest bit of excitement. Part of me was petrified. I miscarried just two short years beforehand. The other part of me screamed, You’re 40 for Pete’s sake! You’re too old!   

I thought about all the over 40  first time moms: Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariah Carey. Then it hit me–I was neither a movie star nor a pop singer, and I couldn’t afford an army of helpers. My mind ricocheted back to the words You can’t do this! Somehow I did! Four years later, I am parenting a beautiful little girl named Camryn. Although there are times, I wish I had her at 31 instead of closer to 41, the timing taught me a number of life lessons. Here’s what I learned being 40 & pregnant.

Take Good Care of Yourself

Since having Cami, I learned to take better care of myself. I no longer eat like a teenager on spring break. I swapped fast food for organic options. I exercise regularly, so I can keep up with my daughter at the playground. I am now the proud owner of the Hip Hop Abs DVD. I’m also much more in tune with my  body.  If I notice something weird or different, I get it checked out immediately.

Be a Kid Again

Not only do I get to take the little one to the playground, but I get to play on the equipment too. I forgot how fun it was to swing on the tire swing or  climb on the  jungle gym. I even ride the teeter totter! When I get the inevitable strange looks from both kids and adults, I just say I’m  watching out for the safety of my child. I think in my 20s or even 30s I  might have felt too cool to ride the purple dinosaur rocker in the park. At 40, I have that confidence that comes with age-the confidence where you care a little less about what people think of you.

Be Comfortable in Your Skin

One time a woman at the local McDonald’s asked me if I was my daughter’s grandmother. When I got home, I stared in the mirror for more than a few minutes, wondering if I needed to break out a little more Oil of Olay. I became increasingly familiar with every one of my gray hairs and began to wonder if I should I buy a bottle of dye. It only took a little reassurance from my best friend that the McDonald’s woman was obviously crazy and that I still look good for me to get back to being comfortable with being a mature mom. Perhaps when I notice a few more grays and wrinkles, those feelings will resurface, but for now I am comfortable in the skin I’m in.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

I’ve always been a major worrier. Right after having my daughter, all kinds of anxieties kicked in. I worried about her well-being, my well-being, where we live, who we know and on and on. Yet, the more she grows, the more calm I become. Yeah, I still freak out now and again over serious things, but any parent of an independent and willful toddler learns there are some things in life you just can’t control. Which brings us to patience. Heaven knows I have more patience now than I had 10 years ago. And finding my darling daughter covered in all-purpose flour at one, Vaseline at two and a lipstick she discovered at CVS at three, has taught me the value of deep breaths and counting slowly to 10. Let’s hope this skill will remain intact during the teenage years!

Prepare for the Future

I do think about my daughter growing up. And being an older parent has definitely made me more mindful about preparing for her future in a way I hadn’t previously thought about, even when preparing for my own.

As with all things in life there are pros and cons. And being a mature mom is no different. I still find myself playing the When my kid is 8 years old, I’ll be… game, but for now I’m just taking the time to be grateful I’m her mom. Besides, she keeps me young!

Hey DFTM Fam–Did wait until later in life to conceive? What was the first thing that went through your head when you found out you were pregnant?

About The Author

Pamela Brown
Mature Mom

Pamela is a single mom raising a 5-year-old daughter in Chicogo, IL. She writes about the joys and occasional challenges of being a mom later in life. She loves being a mom, because it fills her life with love. When not writing for DFTM, Pamela works as a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor for the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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