Motherhood is a wild and beautiful journey, but when you begin that journey later in life, it can feel daunting. If you are past your 20s and 30s, you might feel a mixture of fear, excitement, worry, doubt, anticipation and joy. 

More women are having babies in their 40s, and more specifically, in their mid-to-late 40s. Recently, online personality and reality TV star Eboni K. Williams announced her decision to begin a “solo mom” journey at the age of 40 after undergoing IVF. According to the CDC, since 2021, the number of births for women ages 40 to 44 increased by 6%, and for women ages 45 and older, the number of births increased by 12% – the first increase since 2015.

Motherhood at a later age is an opportunity to parent at a time when you know yourself better and raise your kids with wisdom. So if you are dreaming of having a baby and think it’s too late, don’t give up. 

Planning for an Unexpected Surprise

Johane Filemon, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Wonderfully Nutritious Solutions, LLC, found out she was pregnant around her 40th birthday. Although she was not trying to get pregnant, she knew it was a possibility. At the time, the world was in the midst of the pandemic, but she and her husband still wanted to celebrate their birthdays. So they decided to plan a lavish photoshoot for themselves and their kids. 

One month later, she found out she was pregnant. What started out as a 40th birthday shoot became a dual birthday and pregnancy photoshoot instead.

“We were shocked because we had just miscarried a few months prior to that!” she said. “We were not actively trying, so we didn’t think that pregnancy would come again so quickly, but we were also happy because all of our kids have been blessings for us.”

Pregnant at 40+ on Purpose

Victoria Lauture Duncker is a producer, creator and host of New Mommy at 40 Podcast. The platform serves as a community for women of an advanced maternal age to honor their journeys to motherhood and to share their experiences. She explains that she and her partner are both divorcees in their 40s. They were acutely aware of what they wanted in this chapter of their lives, and their decision to have a child together was intentional.

To ensure a stress-free pregnancy, Duncker shares that she did not follow any of the “normal” trying-to-get-pregnant routines. Instead, she continued her daily workouts, ate healthy, hydrated, stayed away from caffeine and thoroughly enjoyed intimacy.  

Although she felt some pressure to become a mother in her 20s, Duncker was focused on her career and did not feel prepared to embark on that journey at the time. By her 30s, she was divorced and entered into a seven-year relationship that was a dead end. Her 40s, she says, brought a truer sense of herself.

“My 40s were meant to be the era of my motherhood journey,” she said. “I feel thankful for having gone through all that I did in my 20s and 30s and that experience and wisdom made me the mother that I’ve always wanted to be.” 

How Pregnancy in Your 40s Is Different

Filemon says that because she was pregnant at 40, her doctors gave her the title of “geriatric pregnancy,” but she did not let that stress her out. 

“This was my least stressful pregnancy journey and postpartum journey!” she shared. 

The mom of five says that each of her pregnancies and postpartum journeys have been different. 

“The more babies I had, the more I had to manage my time between more little people and the more effort it took for my body to get back to what it was before pregnancies,” she explained. “I’ve loved my body every step of my different pregnancy journeys, but I always want to get back to myself.”

Duncker shares that her pregnancy was also fantastic, that she was never sick and she enjoyed all of her normal activities. However, in the midst of navigating pregnancy, her two pre-existing conditions (polycystic ovarian syndrome and fibroids) caused her to doubt her ability to have a child.  

“Having two previous myomectomies and navigating the hormonal ups and downs of PCOS, it was unclear when we would, if at all, succeed in creating our family,” she said.

Navigating Miscarriages

While she was unaware that she was pregnant at the time, Duncker did experience an early stage miscarriage roughly around her third week of pregnancy. 

“While I was extremely disappointed, my husband’s perspective was that it was a sign of hope and possibility,” she said. “One month later, we found out that we were expecting our rainbow baby – now a healthy and vibrant 4-year-old girl.”

Her miscarriage caused her to struggle with pregnancy anxiety and postpartum anxiety.  

“I had a hard time just enjoying the pregnancy,” she shared. “Every time I had any bit of growing pains or used the restroom, I’d get nervous that I’d see signs of a miscarriage or if I didn’t feel her move, I had to reassure myself that everything was fine.”

Advice for Moms-to-Be in Their 40s

Duncker wants to validate any expectant moms who are feeling nervous during this pivotal moment of their lives. She also encourages expecting moms to root themselves in gratitude. 

“At 40, I have survived so many challenges, and I’m deeply grateful to always somehow land on my feet,” she said. “Take the wisdom you’ve earned through the years and remind yourself that you’ve got this, mama!”

Filemon encourages pregnant women who are in their 40s that although the medical field might categorize them as “geriatric pregnancies,” there is nothing geriatric about you in your 40s. 

“Your body can do this so trust it!” Filemon shared. “Release all the stressors and the negative thoughts.”

She added, “Enjoy your pregnancy and the changes your body is going through to grow and feed your baby now and postpartum!”