By Amy Boucher Pye
It’s a scary medical term – geriatric pregnancy – and I had two of them. The “geriatric” label conjures up images of nursing homes, not cribs and diapers. But, I was over 35 when I first became a mother.
Why did I wait to have kids?
I was engaged to be married in my early 20s, and thankfully that first relationship didn’t happen for many reasons, one of them being that I needed time and space to find out who I was in God and in myself.
In my very late 20s, I met and married my husband when he was training to become a vicar in the Church of England, and my first few years of life in England were focused on acclimatizing to this different land and people (which I write about in my first book, Finding Myself in Britain). When Nicholas finished up his theological college, we moved to his first curacy. Things went south, however, when his boss was signed off with a stress-related illness. Nicholas couldn’t finish his training there, so we had to move again.
So many changes in such a little time – adding a baby didn’t seem wise. But I knew my biological clock was ticking, and we didn’t know if we’d have trouble conceiving. We rejoiced when we found out there was no problem, and I was pregnant. Just a month after moving into our vicarage in North London, after Nicholas finished his curacies and became a vicar, I gave birth to our firstborn.
We waited to have kids for all those reasons, but to be honest, I was a little scared. Scared about what being parents would demand of us; scared of the changes and the loss of freedom. Oh, how wrong I was! Well, not about the demands, but about the joys that come with being a parent. The love that flows and builds for this wee little baby who turns into their very own person. Forget city breaks in European cities; I soon realized the joy of having a baby-bundle snuggled on my shoulder.
Fast forward to today. Our kids are 13 and 10, and we love them to bits. We’re also, on average, about a decade older than the parents in our kids’ classes. Our kids often joke about us being old parents, and we are. Compared to most of my close friends from high school whose kids are not only at university but have launched into 20s’ life, I still have a daughter in primary school. If she waits until 40 to be a mother – if that’s even an option, of course – I’ll be a grandma at 80. Thus the posts here on empty nesters are alien to me.
I’m aware this may seem like a lament. And there are poignant aspects of being an older mother but, of course, joys too. Would I have been ready for kids earlier in life? I don’t know.
I think we muddle through, and God redeems our journeys, but my kid-less 20s and early 30s gave me the opportunity to gain confidence in my faith and in myself. This confidence is one of the things that as older parents I hope we are passing along to our kids. I hope too that we are imparting our life experience to our offspring too. Having had more experiences means we might be a wee bit more objective as parents. (But ask me if that’s true as we hit the teenage years full-on.)
As I reflect on having geriatric pregnancies, I realize afresh that everyone experiences a different life journey. We may or may not have kids; if we do, we may have them later in life. Whatever our stage along the path we walk, God can take all of those expressions and make them fresh, wonderful, and joyful.
Did you have a geriatric pregnancy? If so, what are some of the delights and some of the challenges of being an older parent? If not, do you know someone like me?
Amy Boucher Pye loves her husband and her kids. She’s an award-winning author of Finding Myself in Britain and The Living Cross. She runs the Woman Alive book club and writes devotional articles for publications on both sides of the pond, including Our Daily Bread. Find her at amyboucherpye.com and @AmyBoucherPye.
Photo credit: Kevin Ahronson Photography