I was pregnant exactly 10 years ago with Ava. Being pregnant at 30 vs. being pregnant at 40 are two entirely different experiences. Naturally, I thought things would be just as easy this time as it was before, but boy was I wrong. Here are my top 5 differences of being pregnant at 30 vs. being pregnant at 40:
1. I’m freaking tired
Sure, it’s cliché for pregnant women over 40 to complain about being tired, worn out faster and all of that, but the truth is, the struggle is real. And when you are over 40, being placed on “rest” isn’t uncommon. For me, it doesn’t help at all because now I can’t exercise. Since I also can’t drink wine (for obvious reasons), exercise was all I had to keep me going. Now, all that’s keeping me sane is Candy Crush and trash TV.
Ten years ago, I was pretty tired during that first trimester, but that is pretty common. I also hiked canyons in Hawaii when I was six months pregnant. I vacationed in Vegas for the Final Four and easily stayed up all night – it didn’t even phase me. I worked up until my delivery date at a job that required me to climb through confining space station equipment and teach classes all day long on my feet. None of that shit is happening this time.
2. I’m much snarkier (i.e. less tolerant of inconsiderate assholes)
When I was 30, I was hesitant to call people out for their insensitive comments about my pregnancy. I just don’t understand how a person’s uterus and her choices, status and all that goes along with it becomes a target for strangers to strike up conversations. At 30, I would meet comments like “Wow! How many do you have in there?” with a giggle and some self-deprecating response. Now? People are lucky if they don’t get throat punched. This time, if someone asks me, “When are you due?” I say, “with what?” and relish in their confusion. I’ve also toyed with saying, “Oh, the tumor? I’m hoping to have it removed before it becomes malignant.” And when some well-meaning person would reach out and touch my stomach ten years ago, they were met with a shy, “aw shucks” kind of response. At 40, I grasp their wrist tightly and screech through clenched teeth, “NO TOUCHING!” as though they were a three-year-old trying to grab a barrel cactus with both hands.
3. I’m overly nervous about all of the statistics
All snark aside, what really gets to me this time are the statistics of my being of “ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE.” Some doctors even call it “elderly primigravida.” Elderly? WTF? Who the hell are you calling elderly? Yeah, whomever coined that phrase is another prime candidate for throat punching.
Because I’m old and decrepit, the odds of me getting pregnant in the first place were statistically slim to none (but these reports never take into account genetics, individual fertility, etc.). Then there are the statistics that the baby will have heart problems. Or a genetic disorder. Or a third eye. Just because I’m old. All of the possibilities made me a nervous wreck the first few months of this ordeal. None of this was even mentioned to me when I was pregnant at 30.
4. There are far too many tests
When you are an old pregnant hag (apparently) there comes an inordinate amount of testing that I didn’t have to do the first time around. I gladly plopped down almost $900 toward genetic testing to help ease my fears (see #3 above). Genetic testing was mentioned to me as an option 10 years ago, but nobody pushed it, really. I also had to have a fetal echocardiogram. Just because I’m over 40. This was after my baby already had a full anatomy scan that showed no heart abnormalities. It all makes me wonder how many of these tests during pregnancy are just CYA efforts for doctors? Or a nice “cha-ching” for their bank accounts …
5. Pregnancy rage
When I was pregnant at 30, I was so enamored with the entire ordeal. The beauty of growing a tiny human and how much I loved her before I had even met her trumped any of my discomfort or mood swings. This time? I don’t have time for any shenanigans. I don’t care who you are or what you want from me. If I’m not having it, it’s not happening. And I won’t hesitate to tell you.
But all of this aside, I’m happy to be welcoming a new addition to our little family. I just hope I can make it through the final few weeks without losing my shit and getting arrested.