I had my third baby when I was 41. Many people told me I was bonkers and a few refused to congratulate me, but those who knew how it felt to long for a baby, whether that baby was number one or number six, were as delighted as I was.
I was unfit, I knew that once the baby came I would feel tired, and I knew that I would have no time to myself. We already had one son who felt secure with strong boundaries and a gazillion hugs a day, and another who felt truly secure only while he was attached to my body. I knew that I would have to take each day, each hour, perhaps each minute as it came.
This was my self-imposed Everest: to give completely of myself until all the boys chose to pull away from me or manage my small nudges out of the nest, in order that they properly develop their wings. I figured things would begin to get somewhat easier at around the 18 month to two year mark. A friend, who had also had a third baby in her 40s, said it would take four years. I didn’t believe her.
I hadn’t counted on a 24 hour labour followed by a massive bleed on the operating table during an emergency C-Section. I hadn’t planned on premenopausal bodily hiccups. I never imagined I’d feel like I was churning through porridge day after day, after day, after day. But that’s what I got.
Just before Christmas last year I could stand it no longer. I was barely functioning, and I truly felt like this level of energy was my lot. I had three energetic and wonderful boys who needed a Mum with some oomph and pizzazz. I did a breathing rate test off the internet, and my results were worse than a heavy smoker and the same as someone in heart-failure. I went to the doctor.
It was then that I discovered that my iron and haemoglobin levels were extremely low – I joke that I was three quarters dead. Thankfully, my vitamin B levels were fine, my thyroid was doing its happy dance, and I passed the depression test. I got my iron levels sorted and began to feel a bit better.
Still, I wasn’t feeling great and I did wonder, again, if this amount of energy was my lot.
I tweaked my diet. I began rising earlier and going to bed at the same time as the boys. Our baby turned three and a half, and then three and three quarters.
And now, finally, after close to four years, I am almost back to myself. I cannot possibly regret having a gorgeous and much loved child in my 40s. I cannot possibly regret any of the time or energy I have put into any of my beautiful boys. But I can tell you this in complete confidence:
I am damned pleased to be on this side of the mountain!
How did life events affect how you coped with parenting your babies and toddlers?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor in New Zealand, Karyn.
The image used in this post is credited to Lindsey Turner. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.