An Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What Would You Do?

unexpected pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy at 40, pregnancy, advanced maternal age, getting pregnant at 40

What would you do if you found yourself with an unexpected pregnancy at 40? I’m not talking about the run of the mill “planning to plan” unexpected pregnancy or the we were “not using birth control but thought we were careful” unexpected pregnancy. I am talking about the  “I was 13-years-old having my first sexual encounter” unexpected pregnancy or the “I’m 40 and thought we were done having babies” unexpected pregnancy of the “oh shit” variety. The life changing, game changer unexpected pregnancy.

Unexpected Pregnancy at 40 can bring with it a little shock and awe

My friend just found out that she is unexpectedly pregnant. This will be her third child. Her other two children are tweens. This baby was not planned. They thought they were completely passed the diaper changing, middle of the night feeding stage.Yet, here they are smack dab in the middle of an unexpected pregnancy; shocked, confused and scared.

Her and I have talked about this a lot. The Big Guy and I have went back and forth over the years pondering 2.5 children. We have been blessed with two amazing, healthy wonderful daughters but even though the prospect of a third ( trying for the illusive boy baby) sounded good, it was nothing either of us would actually pull the trigger on, so to speak. Now, our girls are 4 and 7 and it feels like the time has passed and the window of opportunity is closed. I’m 39, just like my girlfriend. At this point, a baby would be starting all over.

An unexpected pregnancy still results in a baby

Initially, when she told me I was shocked, quite frankly, because it was such an unexpected pregnancy but I was excited because’s a baby! Then the more I thought about it and the more we talked, I was scared for her. Getting pregnant in your 20′s or 30′s is not the same as getting pregnant at 40 unexpectedly. There are things to consider like genetic disorders for the baby, higher health risks for the mother and how old the parents will be when the child is growing up. The looks and questions that will come with having a child after 40? Strangers asking if you are his/her Grandma? Things I had never considered in my scenario. You have to consider your long term financial outlook and you have to consider that perhaps, you or your husband, are not willing or wanting to be a parent to a third child; not willing to go backward in your parenting journey. You are suddenly faced with a decision of whether or not you should move forward with the pregnancy.

You are not the same person you were in your 20′s and 30′s and your body is not what it was in your 20′s and 30′s. Is it selfish to logically weigh all of your options? When you are in your 20′s and 30′s the threat of a genetic disorder is a far off, probably not going to happen, when you are 40 the stats are something like 1/100 that your baby will have Downs Syndrome. I know people will reference Kelle Hampton and Nella. Or what a gift Nella is and what an amazing mother Kelle is but not everyone can emotionally or financially afford a baby with a genetic disorder. What would you do?

My friend has decided to go forward with her unexpected pregnancy and embrace it as her final baby. But it’s raised a lot of questions in my mind, what would I do if I were faced with an unexpected pregnancy? Have you ever been faced with an unexpected pregnancy? What did you or would you do if you found yourself with an unexpected pregnancy at 13 or 40?

Could your unexpected pregnancy be a blessing?

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  1. Jessica  /  2012/04/11, 1:44 pm Reply

    I had a family member go through the same. She ended up having an unexpected pregnancy then decided to have a planned one after that. She now has kids in their late teens/early twenties and two in diapers.
    And then I was on the other side, I had my oldest at 17 and honestly, I didn’t even think of another option, I knew I would have her and keep her. To this day I think it may have been because I was so young I had no idea what I was in for but would never change a thing.
    Jessica recently posted..Imperfectly Complete

  2. Venus  /  2012/04/11, 1:53 pm Reply

    Personally, I believe in active family planning (in whatever way works for you, so long as you can count on it 99.9%) until a woman is through menopause. That means that unless I seriously F up somehow, I won’t have any “surprises”. But that’s just how me and my husband roll. I was 35 when I gave birth to our son. And we’re just now starting to actively try for number 2. There’s every likelihood that if we manage to get pregnant a) it’ll take us a while to do so; b) I could be 40 by the time we get there. It is very true that the older I get, the more complications arise. But for my husband and I, we’re ok with that right now. Maybe in a couple of years if we haven’t managed yet, we’ll change our mind and be “one and done”s. Having said all of that, I really try not to judge other people’s decisions in these matters. I am not in their shoes. And I do firmly believe that people have to make the decisions that are right for them, in that moment.
    Venus recently posted..100 Word Songs: Runaway

  3. Cindi  /  2012/04/12, 8:57 am Reply

    With women waiting so much longer to start their families now (35-40), it seems like age isn’t an issue anymore. It’s the new norm.
    Cindi recently posted..The Golden Rule

  4. KalleyC  /  2012/04/12, 9:46 am Reply

    I think at 40 it would trip me out, let alone 13! Regardless I would still love that child but it will take some adjustments.

    Agree with Cindi, a lot of women have been holding off motherhood until their late 30′s, so it doesn’t really seem that far off.
    KalleyC recently posted..Skokiaan!

  5. tinafreysd  /  2012/04/13, 2:52 am Reply

    An unplanned pregnancy can cause a number of feelings such as anxiety and stress. The impending pregnancy can be overwhelming, but there are some ways to help you cope..
    tinafreysd recently posted..Antibiotics for Acne

  6. Tracy@TheComfortZone  /  2012/04/16, 7:28 pm Reply

    My mother-in-law’s children are 28, 23, 13, and 2. With a stillborn that would be almost 4. It is very hard to think of what you might do in that situation. The 4 yo was “sort of” planned, but still a surprise. When she died I think they really needed to try again. Each woman has her own life, her own circumstances.
    Tracy@TheComfortZone recently posted..Many Ways to Relieve Stress

  7. Sheila Brown  /  2012/04/25, 4:52 am Reply

    Family planning tips now come in handy for those who are 40 and do not want babies. For those who are thirteen, you must abstain.

  8. Kathy  /  2012/05/02, 10:54 am Reply

    I was in this boat three years ago. Very unexpectedly pregnant at age 41 with baby #3. (I’m also a diabetic, so, yeah, the docs loved me.) My two other kids from my previous marriage were 8 and 12, and my new husband, the father of this unexpeted blessing, was – get this! – 51 years old. For us it was never anything but a blessing. Be smart about it, take excellent care of yourself, and don’t believe everything you read about the statistics.

  9. Laura  /  2012/05/10, 11:32 am Reply

    Things I have considered in my scenario..your long term financial outlook you have consider this..
    Laura recently posted..What is a cosmetic dentist?

  10. @UnexpectedPrego  /  2012/07/16, 2:17 pm Reply

    Yes! I actually got pregnant unexpectedly in 2010 – our son is now 1. I’m in my 20s and we aren’t married and our relationship was super new when I found out we were expecting so our story is a little different, but I remember going through the same shock and wave of emotions that your friend experienced. Getting pregnant basically ended my law career (ok by me!) and it’s been an amazing journey. I actually think it’s made the bond I have with my son even stronger – because i was prepared for this, I really had to redirect my thoughts into wanting this thing that I didn’t plan for and now I cannot even imagine a single day without him.

    My story: or front he beginning:

  11. summer  /  2012/10/26, 6:10 am Reply

    Just found out I’m pregnant, my boys are 24 and 18. Shock, scared , and freaked out about cover it.

    • candace  /  2013/02/27, 1:04 pm Reply

      To Summer, how did things turn out? I’m in a similar situation and feel those very same symptoms you had! Help!

    • Janine  /  2013/07/16, 12:53 am Reply

      To Summer and Stephanie Brunner. I would love to hear from you. Very close to my situation!!! Thanks! Janine

  12. Stephanie Brunner  /  2013/03/23, 8:42 pm Reply

    I am unexpectedly pregnant at 40. My husband had a vasectomy in November and we forgot to take in a sample. That being said, I had babies at 35, 36 and 39 that were planned and are all healthy, happy boys. I also have a daughter that I had when I was 20 and tried for for 6 months. Being an older mother is much harder physically than when I was 20, I have to work hard to keep up my energy and stamina to chase 3 young boys. But it also comes with better financial possibilities and more knowledge than you could have ever had. I am scared of being a mother again at this age, but in the end I will be rewarded with a blessing that I could never replace.

  13. [...] rid of any of my baby things because I wasn’t sure that we were done having babies. In fact, last year when I found out I was pregnant, I felt a little vindication in my obsessive hoarding of all things baby. Then we lost the baby and [...]

  14. Bettie  /  2013/06/28, 7:47 am Reply

    Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more
    on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!
    Bettie recently posted..Bettie

  15. Val  /  2014/02/18, 11:22 am Reply

    I am 41 and just found out I’m pregnant with my 5th. My youngest is 5, and will be in 1st grade in the fall. I am sooo upset at my husband! I have been praying for guidance and trolling the net looking for support in the sense that I want to WANT this baby. My older 2 are from a previous marriage, and my younger 2 are with my husband. Both girls. I have always been adamant about not having any more, 4 is good for me, and the last pregnancy really was tough. He has always (until a couple of years ago) to try for a boy, and had come to terms with the fact that I won’t. We used the rhythm method because I refuse to do BC pills and he refuses to get a vasectomy. Unbelievably stupid. Termination is not an option for me, although I briefly and fiercely wanted it. So many emotions right now and I’m most upset that I haven’t yet “come around” to accepting that this is happening :(.

    • Melissa  /  2014/03/16, 5:42 pm Reply

      I understand completely. I too am a mother of 4, youngest is 5. I am 40 and I am 7 days late. I have taken lots of home pregnancy tests because the only time I have ever been late I have also been pregnant. All tests have been negative. But I am in a sheer panic. I had a complete melt down on day 3 of being late. We recently moved to a new place and I don’t even have a doctor yet.

      Diapers and sleepless nights and starting over at 40 is not something that I want. But I have all the classic symptoms: tender breasts, bloated belly, fatigue, frequent urination. To be honest, I’m hoping it is early menopause. But I firmly believe that with time you will indeed want it. Once the shock subsides you will find the joy in it. Surround yourself with people who will make that transition with you. Praying for you.

  16. Michelle  /  2014/08/06, 12:59 pm Reply

    Wow, it’s over 2 years since the original post and as a 40 year old, single mom of a rising 8th grader, I find myself in unfamiliar territory. I am in the holy shxt, game changing, life changer category of unexpected pregnancies!
    My son was conceived in a loving marriage where we both wanted him. There was never any doubt. After having been a single mom for the majority of the last 11 of 14 years, I am facing the reality of an unplanned pregnancy resulting from a predominantly physical relationship (at best). The dad and I are no longer involved. He has clearly stated his desire for me to abort. Intellectually, it makes sense. I didn’t want this. I didn’t plan this. I had been taking steps to become more “nimble”, less tied down, and mentally getting ready for my son to go to High School and pick out Colleges.
    Do I really want (am I able to) to start all over again? Alone?


  17. Amy  /  2014/08/07, 8:49 pm Reply

    Michelle, you can do this. It won’t be easy but you won’t regret it. Your 8th grader will absolutely fall in love with this new sibling. I was 44 when I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant. I was devastated, to be truthful. My husband and I have much older children. The oldest turned 17 the day after our surprise blessing was born and the others were 14 and 12 (twins). They adore their little brother, all of them, and very willingly entertain and babysit him. They (and we) can’t imagine life without him. Yes, the first few months are tough. And, yes, I have to go through pottytraining and all that stuff all over again but it doesn’t matter anymore. He is such a joy that I feel privileged to get to do it all over again. And I am 46! Hope my story helps you :)

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