I have been thinking today about how different my life is with my surprise baby than how I was afraid it would be when I was pregnant. Really, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was horrified and spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that I hadn't just destroyed my whole family's lives by my actions, taken while I was pretty much in a state of "temporary insanity" following my ex-husband's decision to get a new wife.
God is so incredibly good! I also was remembering how frustrated I was with God during that time....wondering WHY he didn't intervene and turn my husband's (I thought of him as my husband even though we had been divorced 5 or 6 years at the time) heart back to me instead of to another woman's. I KNOW God intervenes at times in our lives, otherwise I wouldn't bother praying to him. And I prayed SOOOOO much during that time, and I read my Bible SOOOO much and I felt like I was really hanging on by my fingernails to my sanity and my faith. My mantra was "God is in control," and Romans 8:28 "All things work together for good for those who love God..." helped me to get through this difficult time, as all other difficult times I have had.
I have to stop here and say that I feel like MY problems pale in comparison to what many people I know have endured. I know I'm not the first woman who has endured a divorce and seen her children end up with stepfamily. And there so many even more stressful situations I have been spared. For instance, I have 2 precious little girls in 2 different young families on my prayer list, whose parents I know from church. www.shoutoutforscout.com is the McCauley's newsboard and www.kenziesbrokenheart.com is the Crawford's. These children have serious health issues and I can't even begin to imagine how I would be able to deal with the stress if one of my children was to undergo a major surgery, much less SEVERAL surgeries. But still, my problems are my problems and they hurt even if I see that someone is hurting worse than me.
So, I found myself single, with a 9 year old and a 10 year old at home with me, and here I turn up PREGNANT at age 41 with a man who was my very best friend at the time, was a tremendous source of comfort for me in my loneliness, BUT whom I had only known for 3 months and who had no plans to have a "long-term relationship" with me and most definitely did not want to have a child with me!
It was a really scary and stressful time, but now our daughter is 2 1/2 years old and is an absolute joy to all of us. My situation is not ideal and I am not sure what the future holds, but I have hope that we'll get through it.
Second Corinthians 3 and 4 reads: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." WOW! Pretty amazing promise. I know that we sometimes bring our problems upon ourselves (although I was in a very vulnerable emotional state which clouded my judgement, I made the sinful DECISION to engage in extra-marital sexual activity which God used to bring a child into this world and which I have seen as a natural consequence ) but everyone, no matter how wise and godly will have plenty of troubles in this world.
I know that I will likely be in a position at some point to provide understanding and, hopefully, strength and encouragement to another woman who has felt rejected by her husband after trying with all her strength to be a good wife mother. Someone who is tempted into a sinful relationship to soothe her loneliness. Someone who is faced with an unexpected pregnancy and who feels abortion is the only option. We really can't TRULY understand what a person is going through unless we have been through the same thing. It is so easy to judge others harshly when we don't understand what they feel and why they act the way they do.
I am so thankful for my surprise baby and having a baby at 42 wasn't as terrible as I had expected. Of course, it would be better if I were not struggling as a single mother, but my children do have fathers who love them and that is something not all single moms can say.
When a woman is pregnant in her 40's, there are lots of things to worry about if you're looking for them. My only real complication was having to have a c-section. I think my daughter really wanted to be born Oct. 13, but my aged uterus couldn't cooperate, and since my due date wasn't till Oct. 16, the doctor didn't oblige with a c-section when I first went to the hospital thinking the baby was ready to come out. We ended up with meconium stained amniotic fluid, several tiring and stressful hours waiting for my cervix to dilate and efface and for the child to descend before, finally, deciding upon a c-section. Thankfully, there was no aspiration of the meconium and my child seems like she couldn't be any more perfect. I did get pretty much every test made available. Anmiocentesis and ultrasound brought comforting news, and we did watch my blood pressure when it seemed a little high, and I failed my first gestational diabetes test, but the second was okay.
Ultimately, I believe everything is in God's hands. Whether or not a child is conceived, whether a pregnancy progresses to delivery, the health of the mother, the health of the child....We do of course need to do what we should--all that is in OUR power-- to bring about a good outcome, but there are so many women doing everything "right" who can't conceive, or who have health problems themselves, or who have children with health problems. Ultimately, all we can do is all we can do and when things are out of our hands, we trust that GOD is in control and "if he leads us to it, he'll lead us through it."
My mother was very worried about me during my pregnancy. My father even made it sound like she was afraid I wouldn't live through it! But there is as much good news as bad when it comes to the subject of advanced maternal age. I tend to read all I can and cling to what sounds good and take what sounds bad to me with a grain of salt. There is so much information out there and it's easy to find on the internet.
One thing I was glad to see when I was pregnant was The New England Centenarian Study conducted by Boston University Medical Center found that women who give birth after 40 were four times more likely to live to 100 or longer than were women who gave birth at younger ages http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v389/n6647/abs/389133a0.html
I also had heard about a study that showed that children born to older mothers scored higher on IQ tests. http://www.livescience.com/3375-children-older-men-suffer-iq.html
It is interesting to me that most of the women I know who have had pregnancy complications or children with congenital health problems are not the ones who had children after age 35. I even know a woman who, after 2 miscarriages, had her first child at 45, and her second at 47, and the children are , beautiful, bright and healthy.
I have always been "anti-abortion" and I believe that every child conceived is specifically given life by God and that nobody but God has the right to bring that life to an end. No matter what screening tests show, I feel that it is wrong to abort a child because it isn't "perfect". I know that women have been encouraged to abort children based on test results that showed problems, yet the child was actually not afflicted. And other times, a child is born with severe problems that were not foreseen. And often, mothers know they are having a child with severe issues, yet they accept it and choose to not only choose life for their child, but determine to learn, grow, and inspire others as they face the challenges as they come, and get through them.
To me, a child is a child at the moment of implantation if not at the moment the egg is fertilized. The moment the egg is implanted, it is totally dependent upon the mother to sustain it. I know that people who think abortion is okay don't feel that an embryo is a very immature child, but rather they think of it as just a "mass of cells". That is a profound difference in viewpoints. And I know that if I had been raised up in a different environment, I might have the opposite viewpoint of what I hold now, so I don't judge others. The FACT is, that at the moment the egg and sperm fuse and start multiplying, a new human being is created. When my youngest daughter was even not recognizeable as a human being, everything was determined. Her eye color, hair color,shoe size and height as an adult and even her crooked little toe--just like her father's-- were all developing even at those earliest days, All that was needed to continue the process was time and nutrition (provided by the mother). The early prenatal stage is just as much a stage of a human being's life as infancy, adolescence, and old age. To me, a 6 week old "embryo" is as much of a human being and as deserving of love and care as a 6 week old infant or a 6 year old child. I could not bring myself to deprive this child, who God has entrusted into my care, of LIFE. But I have plenty of friends who have had abortions and who obviously don't see things the way I do, and some who even thought they were doing the child a favor by ending it's life prematurely. And I do think it is interesting that someone at one point might be willing to abort an unwanted pregnancy, but later on, if she has a deeply desired pregnancy end in an early miscarriage , she will acknowledge that she "lost the baby" not "lost a mass of cells".