I’ve written on our Facebook page about this, but here is the thing. Being pregnant isn’t easy, no matter how old you are. Here are some things that I know from experience……The first thing that I will tell you is, find a provider that listens. Not only do they listen, but they are engaged, and have experience with “older” moms. Don’t be afraid to take your time, and look. Ask for referrals. This makes a huge difference in the quality of care that you will receive, because here is the thing. Your age alone will automatically put you in the risk category, and honestly….it shouldn’t.
Having experienced pregnancy at the “advanced maternal age” (nice by the way) it was by far my easiest of my pregnancies. Now, it did come with some annoying little things, like I have never thrown up so much in my life, he was breech from start to finish, but other than that….it was pretty uneventful. Now, let me walk you through my first visit with who the clinic assigned me to. Due to a complicated delivery with my second, I did have some unique concerns, however, what I was met with from the provider herself, was what I think was appalling! After an ultrasound I was told that I HAD to go into the counseling office for additional information. This is where it takes a turn. They brought out a three ring binder which was full of pages of information on what would be wrong with my baby, and the risks I was also “putting on myself.” I am not kidding you when I tell you, they tried to scare me into taking all sorts of additional tests, and really seemed focused on tragedy. I was not having it. I ended the meeting quickly, and changed providers immediately!
Your provider has the ability to make this a much more pleasant experience. Guess what? With my new provider, I felt heard. I knew some of the choices that I had, and she was very reassuring. This made a tremendous difference. I did not have to go into this experience full of fear, and more importantly…tolerating scare tactics that were nothing more than just that. Let’s face it, with two boys already aged 11 and 12, they did a great job of providing all the scare tactics in the world, and I wanted to make sure that I was able to reassure them that everything was going to be just fine, I did not need to dread going into see my provider. My mother told me when I was pregnant with my first, you will love the person who delivers your baby, and you will never forget them. She was right! Be picky, and know that it is never to late to change your provider! I was 24 weeks when I found a new one, and as a doula, I have had clients change at 32 weeks. Do what feels right to you. One thing you will learn as you navigate this new life, rely on your gut. Honestly, it is usually right.
Here is another thing that I encourage people to do, aside from having a doula. Educate yourself. Find a childbirth ed class that focuses on having a baby when you are older. I have served many women, and what every one has said is that they felt like their childbirth ed class really did not focus on some of the things that frankly only we know and understand. We just have a different list of concerns and issues. Honestly, I have not found one yet, but if you have a doula, they most likely can give you the information that you need, and if they can’t they know who can.
All in all, ask questions. You don’t have to go into this experience with a fear mentality. Sure, some fear is bound to rear its ugly head, but if you ask the questions, you will have the information that you need to make the best choices for your family, and that is the best possible feeling. It all comes down to support. Find your people. Let them rally around you. Support you. Love you. Don’t let fear and mis-information guide this process for you. As always, I am here for you.