We've all seen or at least heard of television programs that showcase and glamorize teen pregnancy (Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant). The show introduces innocent young women who find themselves in the predicament of an unplanned pregnancy and follows them through the drama of telling the boyfriend and the parents. Then we are there with them through the birth and the trials of taking care of a newborn, having no job, and dropping out of school. We catch ourselves criticizing the ignorant moms for not using the birth-control choices that were certainly introduced to them in high-school health classes.
Well, ladies, guess what? Even smart older women with careers and children can find themselves in similar predicaments. Yes, I am 42 and pregnant. I'm divorced with three kids aged 10, 14, and 16. I have been seeing a gentleman for nearly a year, and we have been so careful to use "protection.” Then, there was the fateful night of December 27th. Said gentleman came over late at night. I was sleepy, and although I wanted to spend time with him, I just wanted to get the sex thing over for the evening. He didn't have a condom with him. I really didn't think much of it. After all, I'm 42. Not exactly in my prime as far as fertility goes. We spent our intimate time together and then fell asleep. I didn't give it another thought…until. My period was late. You see, this doesn't happen to me. I have had a very regular period since I was 11 years old — every 26 to 28 days.
My first thought was perimenopause. O.K. That would make sense. Then, as the days went by, I began feeling the all-too-familiar symptoms of the P word. Fatigue, sore breasts, and very frequent trips to the bathroom. Although in major denial, I decided to take a pregnancy test. A very, very, faint line showed up. O.K. Maybe it was a false positive. Hmmmm. After spending $60 on various brands of pregnancy tests, all of them showing faint positive lines, I decided to go to the doctor. I had an appointment late in the afternoon. One pregnancy test at the doctor showed positive, two showed negative. They sent me to the lab for two separate blood tests. The first one confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. The second blood test performed three days later showed that yes, the pregnancy is progressing. So much for denial.
The first person I told was my best friend Traci. She told me I was crazy, and if it were she who was pregnant, she would go directly to the clinic to eliminate the situation. Hmmm. That was a confidence builder. I was scared to death to tell the gentleman. He is also 42. We got together (once) in high school. Then reconnected on Facebook after my divorce. We began as friends with benefits but gradually got closer. He has three daughters ages 21, 17, and 14. He is a bit of a free bird, and I'm sure was never ever expecting to parent another child. He was in shock, but said he would do his best to take care of the baby and me. I'm a little bit leary about that.
I told my mom. Talk about feeling like a child. She fired off question after question. Yes, mom, we always use protection. Yes, mom, it was just one time. Yes mom, I'm as freaked out as you are. After a couple of days, she came around and is excited to be a grandma once again.
The kids were the toughest ones to have to tell. The youngest one still wants his dad and I to get back together so he took it really hard knowing that the baby belongs to someone other than his dad. My 14-year-old daughter cried for five minutes out of shock, I think. Then she became ecstatic at the idea of having a little sister (I didn't have the heart to tell her it may end up being a boy). My 16-year-old son was mad. I'm sure he was thinking I was as stupid as the teen girls who "get themselves knocked-up." For a moment, I was afraid that he was going to disown me. Thankfully, he has forgiven me, and we are good.
So here I am. Seven weeks pregnant. What the heck am I going to do? Frankly, I believe it happened for a reason. I mean, how likely is it for a 42-year-old woman to get pregnant from one single time of unprotected sex. So many women my age are struggling through fertility treatments trying to have a baby. I see this as a miracle and a special gift from God. It will certainly be a challenge. I worry about things that can go wrong with the pregnancy and the baby due to my "advanced age." I will pray every day that the baby and I stay healthy and strong. I hope that my gentleman friend sticks around, but I'm ready to handle this on my own if I need to. Stay tuned. Please wish me luck.