About fifteen years ago, I was a freshman in high school, my oldest brother a senior, and our two little brothers were 10 and 6. (I’m too lazy to figure out what grade that put them in.) I’d always hoped for a little sister but figured at that point I resigned myself to fact that I’d be the only girl with three brothers. After all, my mom and dad had already reached the hill and gone over it.
However, sometimes (actually a lot of times) God likes to have some fun and surprise everyone.
We were sitting at the dinner table one evening and my dad and mom said they had an announcement. A million thoughts ran through my mind, not one came close to what they really said.
“We’re having another baby!”
All us kids stared blankly at them.
What? A baby??
After the initial shock, I realized they were dead serious. Confusion turned into excitement, goose bumps popped up all over my skin and my heart almost leaped out of my chest as tears of joy bubbled out of me.
I screamed and ran over to my mom and hugged her and cried with her. “Another baby!!” Maybe, my hopes and prayers for a sister would come true after all!
That was my perspective as a naïve fifteen-year-old whose trivial experience as a babysitter and older sister of two brothers could not even touch the tip of the iceberg of what it meant to be a mother, let alone a not-as-young-anymore mother of four who thought she was long done having children 6 ½ years ago.
I asked my mom to share a little bit about what it was like being pregnant past forty and she graciously agreed to let me share some of her thoughts here as encouragement for others who might be or may one day be in the same situation. (Mom, save this and send it to me ten of fifteen years from now.)
Having celebrated my daughter’s 15th birthday recently, all kinds of thought came to my mind:
I am immensely thankful to God for allowing me to conceive one more time even though, in my mind, I was done having children, having had already 4 of them and the youngest being 6 ½ years old.
God’s presence in my life helped my husband and me and all the family to rejoice with the new life I was carrying. Once I got done with all the thinking and praying about this incredible surprise, I focused on the life that was inside of me and I planned to enjoy this pregnancy, knowing that this most likely would be the last one this time! My friends and family supported me greatly; they pampered and helped in many ways. My friends insisted on hosting baby showers for me since I had already given away all my baby items. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was grateful for the caring and love they all wanted to give me.
When my daughter was born I knew that it was not the same as the other pregnancies; my body was a little more tired so I was more aware that recovery was going to take me a little longer. I would suggest for those of you like me, to make sure the medical staff is aware and attentive to your concerns and allows your body to recover in its own time and always, ALWAYS, trust your instincts – don’t let anyone make you feel silly or make the excuse that you are just “apprehensive” or “overwhelmed with the other kids” if you have a true concern.
Having this baby later in life helped me to refocus on all the blessings that I have, and to recognize the important things of life. Keeping up with all the household chores and the family’s needs and many activities had to be re-prioritized to keep a healthy family life. There was no time to set apart special time so prayer became my constant companion, and still is. If I did find a moment’s rest, my body claimed that through sleep. And you know what? That was OK. My mom told me to take care of myself so I can take care of my family so that is what I did.
I loved to see how my children were developing and growing up, as they related to this new little sibling they never thought they’d have. They were all willing to hold the baby, help with diaper changes, sing and rock the baby to fall asleep, teach her to go down the stairs and to walk and most of all, to love each other. And now, fifteen years later, I see the love they have for each other even though all but my daughter have left home. Her dad and I enjoy her company until it will be her turn to leave as well. She keeps us busy and there is never a dull moment with a young and energetic teenage girl in the house! I am thankful that my husband and I were open to life even though we thought we were done. God was certainly not done!
No words can fully express how thankful I am for my little sister. She’s so much more than the sister I always hoped for. She’s the sister I needed to humble me and remind me what it’s like to be young, she keeps life exciting, her creativity and artistic talent inspire and motivate me, her passion for truth and virtue makes me proud. She’s not only my children’s (youngest) aunt, she’s their best friend and, by default, the all-time best babysitter. 😉 She prepared me to have my own daughter and be a mother. Even though she’s the “baby” of the family, she’s the “missing link” that holds us all together. I, too, am eternally grateful for my mom’s and dad’s generosity and openness to life – even after they thought they were “done”. We love you, sista!