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For the first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I spent a little too much time obsessing about my “advanced maternal age“. You know how the Internet can be. It’s a wealth of information, but sometimes it’s full of so many warnings and horror stories that it can start messing with your mind.
I remember reading one of the more reassuring articles that I had found online, which explained that many women are now starting families at the age of 40. A woman’s 40s are the new 20s, the story said.
But then I got to the last line of that article. It said something like this: “Having a baby in your 40s is safer than once thought; but it’s not recommended.”
Not recommended? It’s not like I’m trying to decide whether to bounce on a trampoline with my shoes on our ride a bike without a helmet. The deal is sealed, whether it’s recommended or not.
Those first few weeks, my mind was constantly trying to think of examples of people I knew in real life who had given birth in their 40s.
Wasn’t So-And-So’s sister-in-law 45 when she had her first child? And then there’s Kathy. I’m pretty sure she was 40. My friend from high school is pregnant and she’s almost 40. Oh, and then there’s that guy my husband knows. They are trying to get pregnant for the first time, and they are probably getting close to 40.
In the evenings, I would shout out to my husband between bowls of ice cream and plates of scrambled eggs: “Honey! Remember your Aunt So-And-So?!? How old do you think she was when she had cousin Sally?!”
He would get out his family history book and we would use birth dates to determine the maternal age of all of the nice, respectable, attractive family members who had been born to a mother in her 40s.
Then he would remind me: “You were 39 when you got pregnant. So, you were in your 30s!”
Several times, I went back and read this post by Antique Mommy. I had remembered reading it a few months earlier. It seemed really sweet at the time. But it was like a comfy blanket to me now. I could wrap those words around my mind and warm myself in their assuring tone.
About a month later, I finally told the women in my Bible study that I was pregnant. This was only the second time I had said the words out loud (other than telling my husband). I was so full of emotion, that a floodgate burst open, and I started crying hysterically.
Those poor sweet women. It’s one thing to see someone with tears in her eyes. But when someone breaks down into a full-blown blubbering cry, it’s a little unsettling, I’m sure.
After my wailing grew quiet enough that anyone could hear herself speak, two of the women reassured me that they were 40 when they had their youngest. One of the women has five beautiful children, and the other woman’s daughter was also in our study. Her incredible daughter is 40 now herself.
Another friend told me her mother had her eighth child when she was 40. I was on Facebook later that week and saw a picture of my friend’s sister, the one her mother had when she was 40.
“She’s soooo beautiful,” I thought, as yet again, I cried. “What if she had not been born?”
Thank you, God, for your kindness to me. Thank you for surrounding me that day with these women who knew what I was going through. And for sending reassurance that it would be OK.
After that, I stopped reading articles on the Internet about advanced maternal age. But if you know of any great stories of people born to a 40-year-old mom, they always make me smile!
A few weeks ago, I had this realization that I have been writing on this blog for a long time. I’m talking about before I discovered Facebook kind of long. Instagram wasn’t invented kind of long. One of my children wasn’t born kind of long.
I looked at my archives and found out I had overlooked my own 10-year blogging anniversary. Apparently, time flies when you are having fun!
During the last decade of sharing my life here on this blog, so many things have happened. People sometimes ask me why I even want to write about my life in this way. While I’ve had my moments of asking myself that same question, I also love to look back and see how much life has changed. I’m so thankful that I took the time to record our stories, my thoughts and my ideas in this way.
I love that some of my readers have been with me since the beginning and still read my blog!
I read all the time about what I should be doing to have a successful blog. I should develop a niche. I need to write about one particular topic and stay hyper focused to attract an audience. I have learned through the years that just isn’t for me. I love writing about the real stuff that happens in our life, and it’s crazy how those topics have changed dramatically the last 10 years.
For example, some of the topics covered here have included:
Our decision to home school and then our decision to stop home schooling
The story of how my husband and I started dating
The surprise announcement that I was pregnant at the age of 40 and my struggles with “advanced maternal age”
Lots of interesting anecdotes about different types of shoes
My obsession with the TV show, LOST
My quest to become an organized person and my many organization projects
And my recent health journey and effort to eat real food
I thought about writing about the top five things I’ve learned after 10 years of blogging. But I realized that it all really boils down to just one thing.
You can’t worry about what other people think.
The hard thing about blogging for someone who is a perfectionist (like me) is that it’s so easy to overanalyze things. You can check your stats to see how many people read a blog post. You can fixate on your Facebook or Instagram likes and you can worry about how many people follow you by e-mail or through Bloglovin’. You can write what you perceive as an amazing blog post and then the reality hits that it is getting zero traffic.
If I followed all of the blogging rules, I would write more posts with five tips to do this or five tips to do that. But the thing is, I really blog for me. I love chronicling our lives here so I can look back at these memories later. I love the good feeling I get when someone tells me she was inspired, motivated or helped by something I wrote. I love connecting with people, and I get overly excited when I write something that others can relate to.
One of the biggest changes to my blog during the past 10 years is that I really don’t write that much about being a mom anymore. Once your kids get to a certain age, you really can’t infringe upon their privacy by exposing the details of what happens within a family. It’s kind of crazy that just when parenting reaches its most difficult stage, you also have to stop talking about what’s going on.
Because of this, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my blog. But everydayMOM has become a part of who I am, so I’m not sure if I can bring myself to do it!
Whether you have been reading for the past 10 years or whether you are brand new here, I just wanted to say, “Thank you” for reading! I really do appreciate having you along on this journey.
In honor of my 10 years of blogging, I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and let me know how long you have been reading my blog and how you found out about it. Thanks in advance!
Our baby turned 6 yesterday. Six!
There’s just something about that number that makes me feel like she’s crossing the line into the world of being a big kid. It also caused me to spend some time reminiscing about all of those blog posts I wrote when we were expecting her.
Reading all of those old blog posts made me so thankful that I used to write here so frequently. And it also made me want to write something new. So in honor of Jayda’s sixth birthday, I decided to write about the joys and struggles of being a fourth born.
Jayda and I both share many, many common characteristics. She is my Mini Me in so many ways. One of our unique common characteristics is that we are both the fourth born. It’s also the reason I felt for so many years that we were depriving someone of life by not having a fourth child.
Our three older kids were each born with less than a two year gap in between. There is also a five-year spread between our third and fourth kids. So, that leaves Jayda in this space of being both a youngest child and sometimes feeling like an only child. Having grown up in a similar spot in the family, I fight for her rights with a ferocious spirit. I am an overprotective mama bear if I sense that she is being left out. I jump to her defense if her little voice is not being heard. I beg her older siblings to stop and listen when she’s trying to express herself. I want them to take her thoughts seriously and pay attention to her dreams and interests.
Being the fourth born is a blessing in so many ways. There are lots of benefits to being the youngest child. But life is also very different than it was for the older three. Here are a few examples:
YOUR PARENTS KNOW STUFF
I’m not saying your parents know everything. But unlike your big brother who both suffered and benefited from having parents who didn’t have a clue, you have parents who actually know a few things. They know they don’t need to drill you on your letter sounds or make you practice writing your numbers for hours on end. You will learn things when you are ready, and then you’ll drive THEM crazy wanting to practice all the time!
They know it won’t kill you to stay up past your bedtime or miss your nap. They know you can survive in the grocery cart without a special cushioned seat. They know they don’t need to hover over you every time you try something new at the playground.
They also know not to give you everything you want at the exact second you want it. They know you need to eat the dinner that was cooked for you and not something special that you ordered. They know they won’t be able to afford to give you every single thing every other child has, but that you will appreciate things more because of it.
YOU WILL MISS OUT ON STUFF
You’ve never been in a play group. You’ve rarely been to story time at the library. You’ve had minimal trips to the children’s museum or the zoo. You haven’t been to AWANA. You most likely will not be home schooled.
You’ve never really watched Veggie Tales or many other little kid shows. Life has been pretty busy getting all the big kids where they needed to be so there really wasn’t much time. Instead, you’ve watched stuff your older siblings didn’t watch until much later, like all of the Star Wars episodes and High School Musical.
You don’t have any cousins your age. This is the part that is probably the hardest for your mom.
Thankfully, when your family hangs out with other families, you have friends who also are the youngest sibling. Where ever you go, you have an amazing ability to fit in. You can hang out with 10 year olds or make new friends with younger kids who, like you, are stuck somewhere waiting for bigger kids to get done.
YOU GET TO DO STUFF
For all of the “little kid stuff” you’ve missed, there are just as many experiences you’ve had that only youngest siblings will have.
You’ve spent hours and hours hanging out with kids who are five to nine years older than you. You’ve watched high school basketball games and travel baseball. You’ve spent all day at gymnastics meets. You’ve hung out with other younger siblings waiting for youth group. You’ve had to develop physical abilities and hand-eye coordination beyond your years to keep up with big kids at the trampoline place or the mini golf course.
You usually get your way. We know it’s not fair. But you’re small. You’re cute. Everyone loves you. And we feel bad that you’re so often getting dragged along. So, yes. We give in to you. A lot.
You are the first child in the family to go to public school for kindergarten. You absolutely love it. You are learning tons and making so many friends. You have friends on the street and around the corner and all over the neighborhood. When we go places, you are often introducing us to some new family with a kid in your kindergarten class.
You’ve had way too much soda. You’ve had too much candy. You’ve had slushies and milk shakes and junk food that you shouldn’t have had, just because the Big Kids were.
YOU ARE CHERISHED
Each child has a unique place in the family and is loved completely. But with you, your parents realize how fast you will grow up. They’ve seen how quickly the other kids are growing up. They know to enjoy every moment with you.
The older three were all little at the SAME TIME. They had the benefit of growing up with constant play mates. With you, your parents have had a little more space to focus on just you. You’ve slept more nights in their bed than the other three combined and multiplied by 100. They know the snuggles won’t last forever.
I was called “The Baby” by my parents until I was in high school. You have always been called “Tiny Person” or “Small Person.” You’ve learned to communicate in a way that is too advanced for your years. You can accomplish tasks that many young children haven’t ever tried. You seem like a much older person wrapped up in a small person’s body.
You essentially have grown up with five parents. You have five older people in your family who love you and dote on you. You don’t get caught up as much in sibling rivalry because of the age gap. You are loved and you have a special way of making everyone else feel loved.
We’ve said it so many times, but we will say it again. We are so thankful you joined our family. Until you came, we weren’t complete. We couldn’t have known what was missing. But now that you’re here, it’s so obvious how much we needed you.
Happy birthday, Six Year Old! We love living life with you!
On this, the last day of 2009, I would love to write something meaningful to celebrate such an eventful year in our lives. Our family celebrated milestones, said good-bye to loved ones, welcomed a new life, faced challenges and made it through big changes.
But I’m a little too sleep-deprived to come up with the words to properly pay tribute to such an amazing year. So, instead, I’m joining other bloggers in wrapping up the year bloggy-style.
Here, I give you, the first line of every post of every month from 2009. I was surprised at how well this really did re-cap the whole year.
True confession. I’m waking up this morning on Jan. 1 with no New Year’s Resolution. This is actually often the case with me.
I would learn later that there was a reason I didn’t set any goals for 2009. I would find out in a few months that all things “Emily” would be set aside, and I would be called upon to take on some roles I would not have considered on my own.
Oh my, oh my… We are having the most incredible vacation in the history of our family. I wanted to give a quick update and share some photos.
The highlight of February was our vacation to Acapulco for the Discovery Toys incentive trip. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was a trip we won’t soon forget. It also was significant for me because this would be the first time in the last five years I made the choice not to set a goal to earn the incentive trip, making our past trip that much more special.
While we were in Mexico, we also lost my Grandma Dot, who had been a very special influence in my life.
You might be wondering why I’ve been writing posts lately about opossums. Then again, maybe it didn’t even seem odd to you, which is a really scary thought.
March marked one of my hilarious encounters with wildlife when THE opossum moved into our garage. Oh, what fun I had blogging about that guy. It even brought out the poet in me.
I also kicked off my own 40 Days of 40 countdown to my milestone birthday and unleashed my inner rock star.
OK. I think I’m starting to understand. Seriously. It’s all starting to make sense.
How could I recap the year without mentioning all of my posts about my favorite TV show, Lost? This was one in which I had reached the height of confusion about what was actually happening last season.
About five weeks ago, my friend, Julie, invited our family over for a cook-out. Julie is a busy woman, so I really didn’t think anything of the fact that we had to make our dinner plans so far in advance.
I celebrated my 40th birthday in April with more celebrations than any one person should be allowed to have for herself. And then my girlfriends topped it all off by surprising me with this one the first weekend in May. I am blessed!
I also got serious in May, blogging about the topics of autism and allergies.
Have you ever had a time in your life during which everything seemed to be falling apart?
And then there was June, the month in which I revealed what had really been on my mind the past few months. I was pregnant. We were going to home school. And I started blogging about my advanced maternal age.
A few days ago, I mentioned that my husband and I were planning to get away for a few days without our kids.
July was the month of vacations. CapableDad and I visited the Smokies without kids. We camped. And we joined four generations of family for a get-away that I wrote about in August.
Oh, and we also found out we were having a GIRL!
We are home from our little get-away with family.
Our high-flying family really got into the swing of things on that trip.
Monday was our first day of school at home! The day went better than I expected…
And then we got down to business in September. We started our journey of doing school at home.
Despite the fact I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning, I still found myself running around like a crazy woman at 9:15, shouting, “Has ANYONE seen my Hannah Montana wig?!?”
By October, the third trimester of pregnancy was taking a toll on my body… and my brain. In this post, I wrote about how I was starting to go a little crazy trying to keep everything straight.
Judging from all of the cards and letters I have been receiving, you all have been dying to know what ever happened to my UNBELIEVABLE Seven Day Meal Plan That Never Changes.
We celebrated a Golden Birthday in November, and our anniversary. But the first post of the month happened to be one about my never-ending quest to answer that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”
Introducing… The one… the only… the cutie pie, the perfectly sweet baby…
7 lbs, 2 ounces
Born TUESDAY, Dec. 1 at 8:40 p.m.
Awww… And of course, the highlight of our year happened on Dec. 1 when we welcomed this sweet gift to our family.
I’m a little exhausted just reading about all of the events of 2009. I’m ready for a fresh start and optimistic about all that 2010 will bring.
Happy New Year, everyone!
** Head over to Musings of a Housewife to find out what 2009 was like for other bloggers. **
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An interesting thing has happened since the worlds of my 40-year-old pregnancy and my blog collided.
You would not believe how many women have secretly confided in me that either:
a. They have a child-shaped longing in their heart that won’t go away, but their husband isn’t on board with the plan.
b. Even though they are of advanced maternal age, they would like to have another baby.
c. They would secretly love to unexpectedly get pregnant.
d. They really want to wear cowboy boots but don’t have enough nerve.
So, I would like to dispel a few myths about advanced maternal age, as well as propose a new idea that I believe will sweep the nation.
I realize I’m only 20 weeks into this process, but this honestly has been the easiest pregnancy I have had.
With my first pregnancy, I was commuting into the city everyday, walking several miles to and from the train station, working long hours, stressed out and had no hope of taking a nap.
With the second pregnancy, I had a 1-year-old boy running around who was not the slightest bit happy with the idea of his world being invaded by another baby who might want some of his mother’s attention.
And with the third, I had two little boys, 3 and 1, who still wore diapers, needed help getting in car seats, had to have scheduled naps and had very strong negative opinions about using the potty.
Now, I have three children who can actually help empty the dishwasher, fold the laundry and clean the toilet. They can’t wait to start reading books to the baby, learn how to change diapers and help push the stroller. And the best part? They love nothing more than for their mom to take a nap because this idea holds the hope that they might get to watch TV!
So, with that reassurance, I think it’s time for all of the 40-year-olds out there who secretly want another child to come out of the closet. I know that some of you are close to sending someone off to college. You might even be enjoying long weekends away with your husband because your children are old enough to babysit for themselves. Maybe you are entering a new phase where all of your children are off at school all day and you can finally focus on your own interests.
But come on! Isn’t all of that a little over-rated?!?
Just think of a cute, cuddly little baby with soft skin who smells like baby powder. Think of the tiny clothes, the first words, first crawls, first steps.
Besides, if more people would just join me in this, we could start a whole PRODUCT LINE! We could make a special line of wrinkle remover for pregos. We could start our own exclusive playgroups for moms over 40! What about a healthy line of food for old pregnant people who are watching their cholesterol?
This could be a GROUND FLOOR opportunity! Don’t you want to get on board NOW before this idea takes off??
Come on, Ladies! Who’s with me?
Anyone? … Bueller? … Hello?
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