2019 is coming to a close, and the world is getting ready to welcome a fresh decade. I would typically try to summarise the world as I saw it over the past year, and this year, nothing is highest on my mind than being pregnant! It is a wonderful surprise, and a blessing in all accounts, but at the age of 40, verges on the edge of cliche and hysteria. This was not part of my carefully laid out life plans, and coming to terms with this pregnancy has not been an easy journey. Whatever your personal beliefs and values are, I hope you venture on the rest of this article with an open mind. This is purely the unfiltered ramblings of the whirlpool that has been happening over the past year… a little behind-the-scenes peek at the pretty images that you may have seen on Instagram.
When I was growing up, I always wanted to have 2 kids, a boy and a girl of course. It was as natural as breathing, as much a fact of life as gravity. And once I got married, I had my first child, a boy – I was so excited! I thought we’d plan for number 2 shortly after, preferably with a 3 year gap. But afterwards, the realities of life caught up.
Being a mother is perhaps my biggest achievement in life, and Ezra is the most precious thing to me in the whole world. Sometimes when I am at work I would suddenly be reminded of a gesture he made or something he said, and I would start chuckling to myself like an idiot. He is my greatest champion in the world, he stands up and speaks up for me. And he never fails to give me good morning hugs and kisses. If I can hold him forever in my arms, I would.
However, parenting is a full-time job that comes with sacrifices, and it takes a village with a single-minded vision. That’s where things crumble, because no matter how much you are willing to give, it doesn’t always get reciprocated. And if there is such a thing as an emotional or relationship balance of payments, the more 1 party puts in, the more skewed the balance gets. When the scale gets off balance, it eventually falls apart.
So a couple of years ago, I made the decision to concentrate on enjoying the present, and to give at least Ezra and I as good a future as I can possibly manage. If I would like to retire by 55, that means I have about 15 years’ economic life left, and in that time I need to save enough for Ezra’s college and for my retirement. No mean feat especially since in the present years, I would like to ski, travel, and share experiences with him.
In fact, I was on the verge of booking a ski vacation a few months back in anticipation for this winter season, and when I found out I was pregnant I was honestly devastated. It took a long time for me to accept the fact and to consider all the implications. The notion of being a geriatric mom was completely horrifying. At age 40, I’ve already been warned about the onset of long-sightedness and possibly arthritis. Can my body really take another pregnancy? Reading up online about the higher occurrences of chromosomal defects and labor complications attributed to geriatric pregnancies I wonder if this baby going to be healthy and viable? How will this change the life plans that I’ve already laid out? Call me selfish, but I really did not welcome the idea of having to get up for night feedings, soothe a crying baby, filling my already crowded apartment with baby things.
I believe that if we choose to bring life into this world, it is our responsibility to ensure this child is taken care of. I don’t subscribe to the Chinese adage of “天生天养” i.e. heaven will provide. My husband thinks that we just have to recalibrate our lifestyle, but why should we? Why should we provide less than what we otherwise could for Ezra in order to support another kid? If we can only send 1 child for overseas education, how would we choose? What if, God forbids, this baby turns out to be a special needs child? At 40, how many years can I possibly support this child? It will be so unfair to Ezra to impose the heavy burden of taking care of a younger sibling for the rest of his life!
The first gynea visit was terrifying to say the least, because since the last birth my body has decided to develop all kinds of growths in there. Then came the NIPT, which at least turned out to be “low probability” for Down’s Syndrome, etc. But then, my hopes for a baby girl were completely dashed when they revealed the gender. Why, at least let me have the chance to don pretty twinning outfits with a little princess!
I started to take offense when neighbors, even strangers, asked me about the gender of the baby. My German colleagues were flummoxed because I simply went about my job without actually announcing my pregnancy (and apparently it is a major faux pas for Germans to pointedly ask if you are pregnant or even refer to your pregnancy without being told). But as the weeks flew by, it became quite impossible to be sitting there with a whale of a belly and simply discuss work without introducing the life growing inside of me.
Now at 28 weeks (or so the last weekly email reminder says), I am filled with a sense of surrealism. In less than 3 months I will have a newborn in my hands! Can I honestly say that I have enjoyed this pregnancy journey as much as the last? I’m not altogether sure, but at least I’ve gotten some pretty pictures this time! And if I am to be completely thickskinned about it, I think I look much better at 40 than I was at 33. But life is so much more than pretty pictures, and more like a fight. I just need to remind myself that if Ezra has been such a blessing to me, this little nugger growing inside me can only double the joy. For everything else, I simply have to meet them as they come. After all, I’ve done it once before, surely I can only do better! 😉
This blog was conceived during my last pregnancy, so it will continue to evolve with me as I grow. Whilst I will never transform completely into a “mummy blogger”, I think some changes are needed because I don’t intend to continue taking on as many beauty reviews as before. I hope you stay on this journey with me, and keep me in your thoughts and prayers!