We hit the halfway point this week! I haven’t compared to the 20-week bump photo I took when pregnant with my son, but I’m pretty sure I’m showing more at this point the second time around.

Mary's 20-week bump: Halfway...to Having a Baby at 41

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

The New York Times ran an article recently about women who became mothers in their 40s. Because of my loss and subsequent infertility, I find myself about to join this cohort. Having a baby at 41 was certainly not “the plan.”

When I first became pregnant in early 2019, I thought, “Great! I’ll have this baby just after I turn 37. I can give my body a year or so to recover, have a second baby at 38 or 39, and be ‘done’ with pregnancies well before 40.” Still a bit “late to the party” of parenting, certainly, but not egregiously so.

But my plan did not go to plan.

Becoming this little girl’s mom just after turning 41 (assuming she arrives reasonably “on time”) means I’ll be pushing 60 when she graduates high school. If she goes on to college, I’ll be contemplating retirement by the time she’s finishing that.

What if she’s a late bloomer like me and doesn’t get married until she’s in her 30s? (If she wants to get married at all). If she gets married at 34 like me, I’ll be 75 years old at her wedding. If she has children, how many years will I get to be their grandmother? Will I be healthy enough to drive a few hours away to see them if they don’t live close by, as my son’s grandparents are able to do now?

Being halfway through this pregnancy raises an unsettling question: am I also halfway through my life?

I certainly hope not, though technically the answer is yes, according to current life expectancies for US women. As a loss parent, I’ve always lived with the fear of losing my children. Yet it’s only just now that the flip side occurs to me: someday my children will lose me. And whenever that happens, it will be sooner than I’d like.

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