I recently went to a clinic for something un-pregnancy related. I was chatting with the nurse, and she was asking me about my pregnancy, and of course the inevitable happened...she found out that this baby will make us a family of seven. I saw the shocked look on her face and tried to make ready for the questions that so often follow that look. But this time it was my turn to be surprised. She said, "Well, I've been thinking about having another baby. But...isn't it harder now that you are older?"
Hmmm. Well, that was a new one, at least to be asked so directly. I mean, it's no big secret. I know I'm considered old to be pregnant. This is written on my prenatal chart in fact...except they call it by the arguably more sensitive term, "advanced maternal age". It's a risk factor for this pregnancy, and any that follow...old eggs and all. I earned it by turning 35 this past October. I felt the pressure to defend my situation, to speak some pro-life, pro-family significance that would make a gentle but strong statement about being open to more children. I had nothin'. It was too unexpected, it caught me off-guard, so I was just honest. Yes, it is harder now that I'm older. It's a lot harder to be pregnant at 35 than it was at 21. I'm having a really hard time these last few weeks. Not just because my back hurts and my hips hurt and all of that, but even more so because I'm *profoundly exhausted* by 3 o'clock in the afternoon, even with plenty of iron supplements and an afternoon nap. And, also unlike being pregnant at 21, I have other children to care for, so giving in to my exhaustion and just ordering take-out and crashing on the couch until an early bedtime is not really an option. And I'm a little afraid that after this baby is born I'm going to need a little wagon to pull my uterus around behind me for the rest of my life.
I guess the more relevant question would be, is it worth it? Would I do it all over again? *Am* I planning to do it again? And the answer to that would be, yes, God willing, I am planning to do it again, and yes, it's worth it. I mean, come on, in a few weeks I'm going to have a *baby*! Babies are beautiful! They are soft and warm and squishy and snoogly and completely worth a few weeks of fatigue and a few drooping body parts. Not to mention co-creating an eternal soul to serve God for all eternity. Oh, that's a lofty thought! One that's easy to forget in the face of the very earthy concerns of sciatic nerve pain and swollen ankles. But that's another benefit of age...perspective. I know that this will pass, quickly pass, that in a few weeks, even weeks like these that feel like an eternity, this baby will be here among us, and we will all marvel at him, "so fresh from God", and we will look at his sweet face and breathe his yummy baby smell and we will know. We will know he was worth this, and much more.