Mention late parenting and the names of these Hollywood celebrities come to my mind: Nicole Kidman, who first became pregnant at the age of 41; Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives who had twins at the age of 44; and more recently, Janet Jackson who got pregnant at the age of 50. Even local celebrity, Fann Wong announced she was pregnant at the age of 43.
With this emerging trend of late motherhood, could it be that 40 is the new 30 when it comes to women’s ovaries?
According to the Singapore Population Report, the median age of first-time mothers is 30. Increasing number of women are waiting until their 30s and 40s to start having children while fewer women are having their first child in their teens and 20s.
For some, it could be a choice they have made. Perhaps they prefer to stabilize their career and ensure they are financially and emotionally ready before plunging into motherhood. The decision to hold off having children is a personal choice for them.
As for my late motherhood journey, it was definitely not a route I would have taken if given a choice. I would have very much liked to have children before I turned 30, but my “Prince Charming” was nowhere to be found. I also wanted to serve the Lord in my youth. Years passed and I, too, passed the average marriageable age. Unwavering, I held on to this verse in Psalm 37:4, that “He will grant me the desires of my heart as I delight myself in Him.” God is good.
I met Johann when I was 38 and a year later, we were happily married! Baby making plans immediately got underway and after some years of trying, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Kairos, on August 15, 2015.
Throughout my pregnancy, I was aware that I was not young anymore and hence not as energetic as most younger mothers-to-be. While I could not control the physiological factos, I could control what was within my means. I was determined to eat right and engage in healthy activities as I truly believe that we are the result of what we eat, and so is my baby.
So what did I do when I discovered I was pregnant? The first thing to go was caffeine even though I have been an avid coffee-drinker for as long as I can remember. I did not dye my hair throughout my pregnancy even though the grey streaks were growing out. I used only organic products and ate as healthily as I could. I also studied the book On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, in preparation for parenting. This book emphasizes parental control over an infant’s sleep, play and feeding schedule. Johann and I subscribed to this approach for our new born and by the fourth month, Kairos was able to sleep through the night!
I also believe in breastfeeding and as the slogan goes, “Breastmilk is best.” I was determined to give my baby the best, no matter how inconvenient or draining it might be. It lasted for a good 10 months.
I want to say that the stage of life we are in does give us an edge over how we cope with the new addition. Johann and I are both in a stage where we are emotionally stable and able to work out our differences and resolve issues maturely. We both know what we want in life and how we want to raise our family. This enabled us to focus on the right priorities as individuals as well as a family unit. In addition to that, we are more stable financially and our careers are established, giving us freedom to make future plans for our son without having to constantly worry about making ends meet.
Do I have my fears and concerns? Yes! Thoughts of not being to live long enough to fully experience Kairos’ growing up years, being there for him when he gets married and even seeing my grandchildren, do cross my mind.
What’s more, because I had Kairos at such a late stage of my life, he is very precious to us. I have this temptation to revolve my life around him. When that happens, I am always reminded of Abraham and Sarah and how Abraham offered his only son, Isaac to the Lord. I must never let my son become an idol. He is a gift from the Lord and I must always put God first in our lives and trust God for his future.
I was very ministered once when I was speaking to Canon James Wong and sister Esther. I asked them for their advice on how to juggle between ministry and raising a child. I have seen how they have successfully raised their two sons up—one is a pastor and the other is a successful and godly businessman. Today, they are grandparents to six grandchildren and are still actively serving God. Sister Esther told me what her mother told her: God will look after your two sons as you serve Him. And He did!
͟So I believe there is no timeline to parenting. Whether early or late, we still need to learn and better ourselves in the Lord. It is only by the grace of God that our children will grow up in the right path and develop right values and godly character.
As Johann and I delight ourselves in serving God, we know that Kairos is truly a gift from Him and God will watch over him. I am truly privileged and blessed to be in this journey of parenthood.