I definitely never intended to be pregnant at 37 (well, until a few months ago, that is - this was a planned pregnancy), but I always intended to be pregnant. Sometimes life’s curveballs get in the way. Like pregnancy losses. Failed adoptions. And yes, even professional aspirations.
(While I never planned to put my “career first” and start a family “later in life,” careers don’t always allow time for dealing with pressing matters that you don’t realize are pressing - like infertility. Before you know it, you realize you need to make the time.)
I don’t want to dwell too much on my age, which has led to my pregnancy being labeled a “geriatric” one. I have other friends who have been pregnant at this age or older, or are currently pregnant with their first, second, third, or fourth child. I’m not too unique in this. Plus, much like the media that’s critical of the media that’s critical (not a typo there) of Meghan Markle’s age, I don’t think it’s helpful to shift focus from the joyous expectation of new life to the dreary implication of one fading.
But I do want to address a few things here, before focusing more on cystinosis and my pregnancy (notice the key word “my” there - not all cystinosis pregnancies are the same) in Part 4.
Let’s start with the ubiquitous “everything happens for a reason” adage. Myriad articles and blog posts address this very saying, increasingly with anger and frustration.
But I believe it. I can’t NOT believe it. It’s been fundamental to my existence, faith, and outlook. And yet, I wouldn’t phrase it in quite that way.
I’d phrase it more as it appears in the Old Testament of the Bible:
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Practically speaking, what does this mean? Does it mean that God wanted my earlier pregnancies to fail? Of course not. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. To learn more about my perspective on this, please do contact me. It’s one of a few things I love to discuss.
So where do I stand with the purpose that has prevailed? A few thoughts:
Being pregnant at age 37 means I have wisdom I didn’t have before.
Being pregnant at age 37 means I’ll be able to tell my son or daughter about Kilimanjaro, the John Muir Trail, Mt. Whitney, and my quest to become physically strong enough to carry a child into this world — including both successes and failures.
Being pregnant at age 37 means my child is more likely to feel the impact of my genetic disease, an impact that would have been negligible in my 20s. I don’t believe this is a negative. (More about this in Part 4.)
Being pregnant at age 37 means I have to lean more heavily on a faith that desperately needed to grow to get me here. A faith that will continue to grow through this story.
Being pregnant at age 37 means I can say I have something in common with the Duchess of Sussex.
Being pregnant at age 37 means I can tell my child about all the years that we prayed. All. the. years. God is faithful and hears our prayers.
Being pregnant at age 37 means a stronger marriage that perhaps had more downs than ups in its fledgling years.
Being pregnant at age 37 means I’m right where I’m supposed to be.