A few days ago Debbie, a friend whom I’ve known since early childhood, and with whom I’ve shared our good news, sent me a meme that showed my name as one of the top 20 to get pregnant in 2017, and upon research there was a scientific and statistical study behind the choices.
This yearly U.K. study was based on the fact that statistically the age when a woman is most likely to bear a child is 29.8. From there the most common names of women in the U.K. of that age were determined and voila a meme correctly showed the year of my first pregnancy.
The study, of course, has limits which include the fact that it’s based on a maternal age that’s 12 years younger than me and the most popular names of women for a certain age may or may not match up with those of the United States or any other county for that matter.
What’s more, while I could not find the same adorable baby based meme for 2016, a search for that year’s list equivalent showed my name on it as well.
While I was not pregnant in 2016 my hairdresser, who has the same first name as me, was, and she’s due to give birth in a few weeks. For her privacy I will not state her actual age, though I will confirm she is closer to the study’s anticipated age of mothers than I am.
As an older mom to be I can find studies that should scare the pants off me as well as those that should reassure me. My doctor, a cautious and practical practioner who specializes in high risk pregnancy, has told me, for example, that while there is a statistically greater risk of having a child with a genetic abnormality, the odds are still heavily in my favor of having a healthy baby.
I’ve found studies that show my overall risk for miscarriage are higher and yet, when I get to a certain point in pregnancy my risk becomes much lower and in fact identical to that of a younger mother. I’ve even found studies that say mothers in my age range tend to be more often married and well educated and I’ll be celebrating a year of marriage in a little over a month and a half and I have two Bachelor’s Degrees, one in Marketing and one in Photojournalism. Furthermore, in one of the same studies, the kids born to older moms tended to be more well adjusted than other kids and the moms more relaxed in their roles as mothers. Most of these statistics are quite comforting to me.
Yesterday a family member asked if I was planning on stopping with this baby or if I planned another. This person not only offered unasked the opinion that I would be too old then but when asked stated that I was even too old to have this one as I wouldn’t have the energy to “chase after my child(ren) in a few years”.
I didn’t have the best response to that one, most likely due to shock that anyone would say that, but I do now.
In 2009 it was my honor and privilege to meet Jeff Galloway the creator of the run/walk/run program that helped thousands of runners including me run races injury free and often setting personal records in doing so. In 2010, I met him again at the 2500th Anniversary of the Marathon in Greece where he lead his group in cycles of 30 seconds running to 30 seconds walking to the finish line perhaps more than an hour and a half faster than me.
By my calculations, he was approximately 64 at the time, and he’s running strong today at 71. I do not claim to be either a former Olympian nor a fitness expert, both of which he is. However, if by his age with hard work, diet and other lifestyle choices he can be in such amazing shape, I’m confident I can run after my child. Additionally, after this pregnancy I’m planning this return to running, it’s been far too long since I’ve crossed a marathon or half marathon line.