Congratulations you're expecting a baby! You've waited, prayed and are excited about your first baby. Whether you decide to tell the world or just secretly bask for a while in the wonder of future motherhood, here are a few pointers to prepare you in telling your big news.
First, decide whether you will have additional prenatal testing performed other than the routine. Routine prenatal tests are blood, urine and blood pressure checks. These test are preformed regularly on all pregnant women.
As an expectant mother over 35, your physician will give you the option of receiving prenatal tests to diagnose or screen for genetic or chromosomal birth defects such as Down syndrome. Amniocentsis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) are two of the most common tests.
While no prenatal test is 100 percent accurate, you may be an expectant mom who feels safe announcing her pregnancy after she receives a normal result from one of these tests. Or if the results are not as you hoped, you may be an expectant mom who wants to prepare family and friends for the arrival of a special needs baby. Or you may be an expectant mom who decides against any testing other than the routine. Regardless of where you stand on additional prenatal testing, you will have to make a decision.
Perhaps, prenatal testing is no big deal to you, but you want to wait until the end of the first trimester to announce your pregnancy to family and friends. Since medical experts say that the majority of miscarriages occur before 12 weeks, many expectant moms wait before telling others. Unfortunately, the common symptons of early pregnancy such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness and frequent urination may not allow you to keep a secret as long as you would like.
After sharing the good news with your partner, many women tell a close relative or friend. As an over 40 mom-to-be, the reactions you receive will range from joy to amazement to disappointment.
Prepare yourself for being told by at least one well-meaning relative or friend that you are too old to have a baby. Try to remain calm and respond with confidence that everything has a season and this is your season to give birth. Or use wit and humor by borrowing a line from Jan Andersen, an older mom, and ask “Aren't you too old to be so rude or tactless?"
Other family and friends may not say anything negative but respond with a disappoving or disappointing demeanor. Don't be too discouraged by their behavior. Your pregnancy may be interferring with their vision of you. They may have viewed you as the satisfied career woman who never wanted a baby or the best auntie who gave the best gifts because she didn't have children of her own.
When you are emotionally ready, ask the relative or friend the reason for his or her negative demeanor to your joyous announcement. Don't offer assurance by saying your relationship will remain unchanged. It won't.
A baby brings changes in life. You probably won't feel like taking your little niece to an early morning soccer practice after staying up all night with your crying newborn. Offer assurance by saying even though you will have to eliminate some activities during pregnancy and after the baby arrives, your love for that family member or friend will remain unchanged.
Most importantly, limit your contact with people who view your over 40 pregnancy negatively. Hormones during pregnancy create its own physical and emotional changes. Negativity only escalates these roller coaster emotions.
Take time to relax, pamper yourself and get plenty of rest. This is your season to celebrate the joy of being an expectant mom!
Cynthia Wilson James is a childbirth educator, author of Ease Your Fear of Giving Birth After 35, and midlife mom of two bubbly toddlers. She gave birth at age 42 to her first child and a second child at age 44. You can reach her at her website, http://www.inseasonmom.org which is designed to support first time moms over 35.