I just celebrated my fortieth birthday. I am not one of those people who dreaded the milestone birthday nor do I feel the need to hide my age. I am proud of being 40. I’ve lived four great decades that have been filled with far more joy than sorrow, so what’s not to celebrate? I don’t feel old, or middle-aged, or any other label. I’m just me.
And, I am pregnant - with just a few weeks left to go. Baby could show up any time, although I hope she waits until my maternity leave starts - I’d rather not have my water break in the midst of teaching.
I’m not worried about being an “older” mother or having a “mature” pregnancy. I keep myself pretty healthy. So far, I’ve passed all the important prenatal tests without concern. I plan to stay healthy and energetic (as much as that is in my control) and am an active, involved mom. I’m sure there are many advantages to being a younger mom, but I like the person I’ve grown into and I think, in my case, I’m a much better mom at this age than I could have been fifteen or twenty years ago.
Having said that, it’s not all parties and sunshine. There are lots of things going on for me. I’m teaching kindergarten - a busy, needy environment to spend my days. I come home to an active, excited toddler and my husband’s job keeps him at work each night, so the parenting duties fall to me. This winter is crazy cold (have you noticed?) and the snow has been hanging around for quite some time. Life is busy. You get it. You’re a parent.
So, whether it’s due to my age or my full life or living in this subarctic environment, here are a few glamorous confessions from heart to yours:
1- I AM TIRED!
With my first pregnancy I had the luxury of indulging in some serious napping. I leisurely stretched out on my comfortable bed and drifted into vibrant pregnancy dreams. These days, such luxury is not available to me. Which means by the time I get the two year-old in bed, I come down to my couch and try to do some planning for school, and more often than not I wake sometime later in a pool of my own drool and crawl up to bed. Throughout my day, I yawn often, blink more than the average human should and have been known to drift off while reading bedtime stories to my daughter.
2- I PEE!
I pee and I pee and I pee. I must go 15 times in the school day (thank goodness I have a teaching partner to keep the kids safe and supervised). I visit the bathroom immediately before and after my commute and I’m awoken multiple times a night by the pressing urgency of my bladder. A few times I’ve ignored the nagging need to pee in order to get an extra hour of sleep (see #1), but I quickly learned that makes for a perilous, not always successful dash in the morning. These days, sneezing, jumping and even laughing all come with some risk. Is this a preamble for my future as an elderly woman, or is it the giant baby doing the merengue? Either way, surely I need to have a renewed commitment to performing my Kegels.
3 - I’ve lost some patience.
I’ve often been praised for my endless patience. I’m generally a pretty easy going girl. I have always had a great ability to empathize with others. Well, turns out, my patience is not so endless. I’m a little bit snarkier these days. I’m a touch less understanding. For example, your average kindergarten class is comprised of a few nose pickers, finger suckers, and penis graspers. It is also filled with students who love to hug their teacher, hold her hand and even stroke her legs while she tries to read to the group. For awhile, I was able to put up with such joys of teaching without blinking an eye. Now a days, I am frequently shuffling my girth out of reach of these pawing little hands and am stopping mid-lesson to address all hygienic transgressions with a swift, “Seriously, stop picking your nose!”
4 - Pregnancy is not as glowing this time around.
Both my pregnancies have been relatively easy. I had few symptoms the first time, and I have just a few more this time. I’ve managed to avoid some of the seriously unpleasant ones and I grateful that my body seems to be well-suited making and building babies. However, the first time around, there was so much anticipation and excitement. Every pregnancy symptom was enveloped in the warm, fuzzy halo of the baby to come. This time around, heartburn, constipation and leg-cramps just seem unpleasant and inconvenient, rather than a messenger of the approaching miracle. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled to be expecting. I can hardly wait to meet our newest family member and to gaze into those gorgeous baby eyes - but some of the steps along the journey are just downright irksome!
Yep, most days I believe I am fit, forty, and fabulous. And I do see pregnancy as a magical time of life. And I truly love being a teacher and a mother. All these things are true - but from time to time, I’m just a big, round snoring pile of tired mama asleep on the couch, dreaming of reaching the toilet without a sneeze derailing my intentions.