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 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. The choice of what to do next.

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.

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.

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 ..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 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? Would abortion ever cross your mind?

Could your unexpected pregnancy be a blessing?

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Comments (48)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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..

Tracy@TheComfortZone

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.

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.

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.

Amen! 🙂 God bless you all!

Amen! 🙂 God bless you all…

Things I have considered in my scenario..your long term financial outlook you have consider this..

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: http://www.theunexpectedpregnancy.com or front he beginning: http://theunexpectedpregnancy.com/2010/12/01/day-81/

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

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

Oops and Candace too. I would love any words of wisdom!!! Thanks! Janine

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

Stephanie Brunner

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.

[…] 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 […]

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!

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 :(.

Val,
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.

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?

Thoughts?
Thanks!

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 🙂

Thank you for your comment because I am 44 and have just found out I am expecting with our third and I am very scared and not sure I can handle it physically. Mainly I am worried about the sleepless nights. I also am embarking on going to nursing school and think his may hinder me from doing so. I am worried that people will think I am too old and not sure we can financially handle it. I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts who have gone throughl this after 40. Thanks!

[…] Rented a Doppler, sang to my fetus, played music to it, talked to it, swayed it to sleep. It was an unexpected bliss like nothing […]

[…] are continuously scrutinized for your choices; from conception(whether its planned or a completely unexpected pregnancy), to delivery, what you wear, what your child wears, how you speak to your child, what classes you […]

I am 40 and have two boys 12 and 9. I am a 10 days late and am having the same aches and pains i had when i was expecting the 1st two times. Iam really scared my husband does not want a third and i was not planing this. I am woried about my boys and how this will change our world. I feel like people will look at me like i am crazy and irresponsable. I feel do dumb for letting this happen.

Cynthia, I read your post and wanted to connect with you. I noticed you wrote this a month ago, and as I just learned this morning, I am in the same boat! I am 39 with twin 10 year old girls and my husband and I just found out this morning we are pregnant with our third. We were NOT planning it and thought we were done with having children. I don’t know what to do and Im embarrassed to go to friends and family right now. I am curious to know how you are doing now and hoping you have more resolved feelings either way?

I am 39 years old with 10 year old twin girls. My husband and I were not planning on having any more children. We have done the “rhythm method” for years and have not had any surprises….until now! I just found out this morning that I am pregnant with our third. I am scared and frankly feel very dumb. Why did we think we could practice such a risky method and not get pregnant? Im almost 40, my husband is 45 and the twins will be a decade older than their younger sibling. I feel terrible that I am not happy or exited about this right now. I know there are so many people out there that have tried desperately to get pregnant and can’t and here I am selfishly worrying about how we’re going to handle it mentally and physically, how it will change our lives, and our family dynamic. I’m embarrased to talk to my friends or family about it as I know they’ll probably think we are crazy and irresponsible!

Hi,
Came across your message while looking for some answers! I am 39, married and blessed with one of each kids age 13 and 8. I wanted to have a third baby and last year got pregnant but sadly miscarried at week 7. Since then I took this as a sign and got on with my life. But here I am a week late with all the signs and very confused. Have not taken the test yet but kind of know already! We were not planning at all and this will be a great shock but more to our families! How are you doing and how did you cope the first few weeks? xx

Hi. I am 39 years old, divorced for 5 years with four children and I recently only in August began a relationship, which was going well until I became pregnant, I explained the news to him and he told me that he wanted to discontinue the pregnancy. This, I found out nearly two weeks ago and he has blocked me from all communication. I am trying to weigh up EVERYTHING!! My children’s feelings, my life, my university course, my quality of life and the fact that I suddenly feel completely alone despite having told my family and a close friend. I just want him to turn up and tell me that he’s reconsidered and wants to be a part of this, so that i’m not going through this by myself. I am 8 weeks pregnant on Tuesday and cannot bear the thought of a surgical abortion but the clock is ticking and I don’t know what to do for the best of myself or my children.

Hey Sara,
Was wondering how you’re doing. I’m a 40 year old single mom. I have a 14 year old son, and 1 year old daughter. I recently found out that I’m pregnant (6 weeks) again by my daughter’s dad. He won’t talk to me. He wants me to have an abortion, says I’m being selfish. Part of me feels so stupid for being in this position. I’ve thought about abortion ( I can’t do it, I know me) I’ve thought about having an open adoption. Not convinced. He wasn’t around for daughter’s pregnancy/ first few months. I didn’t know how I was going to do it with my daughter, but things have worked out. The only reason I considered either an abortion or adoption is because of finances. I have a job. But I need more money. I’m believing things will work out. Trying to figure out how to break the news to my son is bothering me. Have a support system. Will lean on them for emotional support.

The comments on here are just what I was looking for.
I have been separated/divorced for almost 4 years. Have an almost 6 yr old and 7 yr old.
Pregnant through a 2 year relationship that was on and off. totally unexpected. I am 40, he is “much” older.
He DOES NOT want the pregnancy to end with a baby— also says I am being selfish to him, to my current kids.

I am having a really hard time thinking about not having the baby. Think I will regret it the rest of my life.

I am curious for those of you who are single and older–if you went through with having the third (or 4th) unexpected baby–and how it has turned out. I KNOW that of course you see your new child as a blessing, but what are the hard parts? Have the other kids suffered , especially given the nature of being single now with a new baby?

Thanks
Jen

Jen,

I will never know. Just when my husband and I wrapped our brain around it and made the decision to get past the initial surprise and embrace baby #3, I miscarried. I will regret the decision being taken out of my hands forever. It’s been four years and it still feels like today. In fact, today is the 4th anniversary of my loss.

All I can say is follow your heart and do what is best for you because in the end, you are the one who will have to deal with the day to day in and outs. You will also have to live with your choice, whatever it is. You are not alone. We are all here to listen.

The resulting miscarriage was never in your control, so please don’t regret it, by the sounds of it, you only used your brains to think about your options, and didn’t decide to terminate. You are not to blame for the miscarriage. It’s very sad, I offer my condolences, I have had a missed miscarriage at 13 weeks, and that too was an ordeal but I am always positive about it…my thinking is that nature has to reign, we are never fully in control! Nature would have had a good reason for the pregnancy not being viable so we have to trust that no matter how awful it could be.

I am 44 and found out today I am pregnant. I have 16 yr old twins, and 7 and 4 yr olds. My husband is against abortion but I am the one that will take the brunt of,the work and feel the impact at my job. I wish I could say that the twins will be awesome help but they will be embarrassed and resent the time and money. My parents are not going to be thrilled much less supportive. When my doctor asked if I had a friend to talk to I broke down crying because I really don’t.

Torn on what to do. Choices are much harder when you don’t have emotional support and know judgements will be harsh.

Shannon

It’s hard. I have been there. I was 39 and scared crazy about being pregnant, especially since it wasn’t planned. Unfortunately, matters were taken out of my hands when I miscarried. I can tell you, that was the worst thing I have ever survived.

You have to make the choice that is best for you. I know it is overwhelming. I felt like I was in a fog for those few weeks. I hated even having to consider whether to keep the baby or not. It was torture on every level. You do have someone to talk to. I will listen. I’m sorry that you feel alone but you are not.

Hi Shannon. I can totally relate. I found out that I was pregnant at 44. Our daughters are 12 and almost 9. I was shocked, devastated, and angry at myself. I did not feel happy or excited at all. I knew I would shoulder the majority of the work, as my husband works late hours. I work full-time and do all the things a stay at home Mom does. I’m exhausted most of the time. My husband was concerned about my health as I’ve had seizures and he was concerned about losing me during the pregnancy.

I did not tell anyone that I was pregnant. I knew nobody would understand or would support me. I was terrified. After much discussion with my husband, we decided to terminate. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I don’t regret it. I did what I had to do. I’m having a hard time now because I have nobody to talk to and my husband just wants to forget about it and move on. I’m hoping things will get better in time.

Hi, I am 40 this year and just found out that I’m pregnant with the third. It was an unplanned pregnancy. I have 2 girls aged 14 and 11. Am so confused right now. I thought I am done with nappy changing, potty training, night feeds and have so much freedom now. I need to make a choice now but am worried I will regret and feel guilty if I were to choose not to carry on the pregnancy. Really at a loss now…

I am 40, almost 41. My daughter is 19 and in college. She was my miracle baby. I was told I would never be able to have children. Here I am, in tears, with all the pregnancy signs. I’m terrified to take the test, but I will be sad if it says negative. My boyfriend of 3 years (he wants to get married, I don’t) doesn’t have any children. I’m scared. My pregnancy with my daughter almost killed me and I was 21. Wish me luck, I’ll be taking my test soon.

Praying it all works out for you. It’s a confusing, hard place to be when you are not expecting it.

I’m a single parent, turning 40 in a few months and found out yesterday that I’m pregnant. I already have 2 girls, ages 20 and 10. The father of this child and I are not in a relationship. He has 2 boys, ages 12 and 5. He would like to make this work and for us to be together and I’d rather not. We just met a couple months ago and we work together. I’m not concerned about the financial or physical impacts of seeing it through. My girls would be thrilled and supportive. I am concerned about my career and what my family would say. I’m torn because I’m not sure if I’ll have an opportunity to do this later if I don’t do it now. Its quite early still so I have some time to think this through before I commit. If I do decide to do this, I’m prepared to leave the company before anyone there found out.

Wow! You have a lot to think about, complicated by a lot of extenuating circumstances. I know that when I was 39 and found out that I was pregnant, I was freaked out because it wasn’t planned. Of course that was without any of your circumstances on top so all I an say is do what’s best for you and what works best in your life. It’s a big decision, but it is only yours to make. Good luck.

My wife and I are 44 yrs old and have a 10 and an 8 yr old. We’ve been together for 24 yrs, married for 12. My wife is 8 days late, but her cycle has been erratic the past while (late by 4 or 5 days or early by 10 or 12) She’s never been this late though. I’m a little scared about complications or birth defects because of her age. We weren’t planning for another little one. I may have got a little overconfident with the rythym method or pulling out because we didn’t have any accidents before we wanted kids and haven’t had any since. Nothing is known yet, but I’m feeling anxious about the whole thing. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks. : )

i’m 41 and just recently found out i ‘m about seven weeks pregnant. i have a 25 year old daughter that has a boy and girl of her own and a 21 year old son that just found out his girlfriend is also pregnant. i’am still in shock over the news . i still can’t believe that it’s really happening. all i can think is everything happens for a reason. my whole life is about to change for me but as i look at it maybe it needed to change. to all you ladies i hope and wish you all the best and try not to worry to much,i’m trying not too it will all work out some way .

I’ll be 41 in less than 5 months and found out a week ago that I’m pregnant. My oldest is 19 and a freshman in college, my other two are almost 7 and 3. We live in a small 3 bedroom townhouse that we will not be able to move from, as my oldest’s student loans are in my husband’s name. I just recently got rid of the baby items (carrier, bathtub, swing, baby bullet, bottles, etc.) and will have to buy all of that stuff again. We’re far from financially stable since I haven’t worked since my son was born, and we live under the fear that our oldest won’t go back to school full time next year and will be burdened with her student loan payments. To say that this pregnancy is a shock is quite an understatement. My husband was supposed to get snipped three years ago and didn’t because he said he was scared. My last pregnancy was… Rough. I was in labor with regular contractions for over two weeks before they decided to induce me. He was 9 pounds, I started hemorrhaging after I delivered, my legs were half numb for a week… Just so much with my body was off. I’m terrified. Today is Sunday. I go for an ultrasound tomorrow to find out how far along I am, and depending on that, have until Tuesday to make a decision.

And to the ladies who are being called selfish for wanting to keep a baby that a man helped create, I hope you told those guys to go F@$& themselves. They are just as much to blame for the situation. Dudes like that need a baseball bat to the groin.

At 42 I too have just found out that I am 5 weeks pregnant. I have 2 older children from my first marriage aged 15 and 16. I also have a 5 year old from a previous relationship. Initially my current partner wanted this now he has stated that he wants me to terminate and if I don’t he cant see us living together and it will be a shared care situation.

I am considering terminating but I feel so conflicted and numb. I really don’t know what to do.

I am 42 and 35 weeks pregnant with a surprise. My husband had a vasectomy 9 years ago and when I didn’t get my period in October, I thought I was perimenopausal. I never, for a moment, thought that I was pregnant. Turns out I was 7 1/2 weeks along. This has been a crazy whirlwind. My husband didn’t handle it well at all. I chose not to do genetic testing because I believed that whoever this little soul is, is meant to be here. I was sooooo done having kids. Our other children are 10 and 12. I am a teacher but I also have my own business and I loved where I was finally at in my 40’s. I hope that things will fall into place more once she arrives. It honestly seems surreal even though I am only a few weeks away from giving birth. What is interesting is that I had to have 2 c/sections prior because both children were breech. This little one is head down and a vbac…my dream is a go. This pregnancy has reminded me how little we have control over even when we think we have done everything we “should” do. I am going to go with this and remind myself, if ever I have doubt, that I have been blessed with a miracle.

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