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 we were “not using birth control but thought we were careful” surprise 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” unplanned pregnancy of the “oh shit” variety. The life-changing, game changer unexpected pregnancy.
The choice of what to do next.
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.
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She and I have talked about this a lot. The Big Guy and I have gone 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 elusive 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.
Initially, when she told me I was shocked, quite frankly, because it was such an unexpected pregnancy but I was excited because ..it’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? How could you choose? And worse, what if the choice were taken out of your hands by your body failing you and terminating the pregnancy?
My friend has decided to go forward with her surprise 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 a surprise pregnancy? What did you or would you do if you found yourself with an unexpected pregnancy at 13 or 40? Would abortion ever cross your mind?