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This topic is for sharing experiences of pregnancy choices; to debate the ethics of termination, visit our Politics or Chat forums.

Pregnancy choices

40, single, unplanned- undecided

11 replies

Umm4ever · 04/01/2023 12:57

Hi there,

I’m 8 weeks pregnant, age 40 (nearly 41) and pregnant for the first time in my life after dating a guy for a few weeks. He’d prefer I didn’t go ahead with the pregnancy, but isn’t pressuring me. In any case, the relationship (pregnancy or not) will not last so continuing with the pregnancy would mean being a single mum- something I was always clear I didn’t want to do. However, I’m also conscious of my age, and this being likely my only shot at motherhood.

I have the medical abortion pills(for a few weeks actually) , but, given my advanced age (and the fact I was told years ago I had a very low egg reserve!) I’d been hoping/waiting over the last couple weeks for a miscarriage. Looking less likely that will happen and now I need to decide.

I’m conflicted. I do love children and am excellent with them (Actually my background is in child rights!), but I also know that parenting is massively challenging and doing it alone with no support (I’m English but live in New York, so have no family support- moving home is not an option especially if the father does decide he wants some involvement), seems not only next to impossible but also unfair on a child, and, selfishly, me. I picture myself being very alone and isolated in a NY apartment with just me and a child. I’m also disproportionately worried about the chances of autism (the father is 52, which increases the risk) and raising a child with severe autism on my own.

While I always thought I’d have children, in more recent years (I guess because of the realities of age) I’d become more ambivalent, but really not sure. In any case, doing it alone was something I ruled out, and pregnancy itself never appealed to me (from about age 14 I always said I’d adopt- but that’s become incredibly difficult to do).

Looking for anyone else who has been in a similar situation (ie, single, childless, older… possible only chance at motherhood ) and wondering how they felt after having the termination or deciding to parent alone. I’m worried I’ll regret and resent being a single mother, but also worried I’ll regret an abortion. Hence, the desire for a miscarriage (which I know would be emotional but seems like the least devastating outcome).

thanks!

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Aroloruns · 04/01/2023 19:34

Sorry you are in such a difficult situation. I would say it is better to regret an abortion than a child being born who you didn't really want. Yes, your fertility is declining but you did get pregnant without trying very quickly. You could meet the love of your life in the next year and have a child with them, as opposed to going at it alone. But you may not and may never have a child so depends how that makes you feel. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best x

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Threebutterflies · 04/01/2023 21:55

I think at 40 I would be more inclined to keep the baby. Raising a only child as a single mum isn’t to bad. More than one is a completely different story !
Ive had two abortions and the regret and guilt is killing me . I’m the same age as OP now and would do anything to have that chance back of having the baby.

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RecycledKettle · 05/01/2023 12:32

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Message deleted by MNHQ. Previously banned poster.

Umm4ever · 05/01/2023 20:06

Thank you all for your replies! It’s great to read the various perspectives

@Threebutterflies if you don’t mind me asking, how old were you when you had your terminations, and did the regret sink in straight away, or closer to when you approached 40 and the prospect of having children seemed more out of reach? I’m sorry to hear the regret and guilt still gnaws at you, and hope in time it eases.

@RecycledKettle such a lovely, articulate account, and you seem to have easily identified that I’m absolutely petrified at the prospect of life changing so much in such an unplanned way!
Do you mind me asking, were you also single when you had your daughter, and if so, how old were you? Did you have much family support? And, if you were single, did you ever date/meet a partner while raising your child?

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RecycledKettle · 06/01/2023 12:23

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Tcr1987 · 07/01/2023 22:39

@RecycledKettle you’re commenting on multiple pregnancy choices threads with no experience of terminating a pregnancy, talking a lot about potential regret and linking suspiciously pro-life resources. You seem super invested in pregnancies continuing.

@Umm4ever I’m really sorry you’re in such a difficult situation. I wouldn’t want to influence your decision as I ended up terminating an unexpected third pregnancy and feeling resentful of those who weighed in. (Although I definitely wanted advice from others and with hindsight it was mostly helpful). My situation was also a lot different to yours. I’m still in the thick of processing my termination (4 months ago) and am still not completely sure it was the right decision, but am getting more and more clarity as time goes by. Posts like the one above absolutely did not help, they play on fear. I’m 35 so a bit younger but I have to say that I personally know a handful of women who’ve had children over 40 with no problems and anecdotally have heard of many more. Thinking of you and good luck whatever you decide!

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ED81 · 22/01/2023 15:48

Hi,
wow. This is a very difficult decision. I’ll tell you my experience. I had an abortion & 39. I was in a relationship but I absolutely flipped out & felt I couldn’t continue. The anxiety was overwhelming & I terminated. My goodness, it ended up being the darkest time of my life. I regretted it but still able to rationalise that I just couldn’t continue. It’s taken a lot of counselling, a lot of tears & a very low time to get back to a base where I’m ok (for the most) again. I’m now 41 & pregnant & happy. What I did will never sit well with me - even though I’m pro choice, I think a bit of me is pro life too. It’s an odd place to be. I’d not here to put you off either way. Definitely feel like you can get support from Mumsnet but don’t take the advice.
Think carefully about next steps. Could you speak to a trusted friend or a professional?xx

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Wonderland84 · 15/01/2024 13:38

Hello @Umm4ever ,
I find myself in a similar situation. However I do already have an almost 12 year old. I have wanted another child & was trying with my ex fiance until he decided he no longer wanted children (my first was from a previous relationship). I met someone & we hit it off, but moved too quickly too soon & I now find myself 7 weeks pregnant. He’s a good guy but I realize not “my person”. I’m conflicted do I go along with this pregnancy as I’ll be 40 in August this year & want my daughter to have a sibling? On the other hand I dreamed my next child would be brought into the world within a happy, healthy relationship (I did not experience this with my first), not single motherhood again. I realize it’s been quite some time since your original post. Wondering how you made out?? Much love & peaceful energy being sent your way...

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Buttonups · 16/01/2024 03:05

I was in your situation last year - unplanned pregnancy at 40, with a guy I had a fling with. He didn't want it, but said he would do the right thing and support me, but couldn't say what the support was, and he was getting back with his ex.

My mental health crashed, I wished for a miscarriage, so I didn't have to make the choice, but I did. I had an abortion, after hours of conversations with friends and midwives, I got in my own head and overthought everything.

I had an abortion, a few hours of relief from the physical systems of pregnancy disappearing, then I crashed and what began was a very dark period of my life. I agreed to be medicated to help me - diazapam and anti depressants, they did help. But I had to heal and recover, this has taken months and months. I switch between it being the right and wrong thing, but I have to get on with my life and try to be happy.

Pregnancy can be tough and so can motherhood. But people say the the work is worth it. Yoy get love and to enter a new phase in your life of cute and funny moments, and experience the joy of seeing a mini you develop.

We are all unique, and you need to dig deep to find out what is best for you.
Take care. X

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Umm4ever · 16/01/2024 21:56

Hi @Buttonups and @Wonderland84. sorry to hear you are/were both in similar situations. In my case I had the termination at 13 weeks (which i also feel horror about). Honestly, I don’t think I ever really made a decision, I nearly backed out as I was about to go into surgery, to the point the surgeon got annoyed with me. The whole thing was incredibly traumatic, and the guy who got me pregnant was really awful throughout.

I had amazing family support, but I plummeted straight after and there’s still not a day I go by without thinking of the baby in one way or another. The first few weeks and months were very dark and I threw myself into DIY projects to keep busy. But things slowly got better, the tears and pain lessened and now, nearly a year later I think of it with sadness but only occasionally with that awful pang I felt in the early days.

So, while I still feel sadness, guilt and sorrow around the whole thing, I also think it was the right decision. I know raising a child on my own in NY, with no family around would be next to impossible, and that’s in the case of a healthy child.

i’m now about to turn 42, have no romantic partner in sight (slim pickings at this age!) so that was likely my only chance (at least naturally) and that does bring me sadness. But, I am delighted not to be tied to the guy for the rest of my life, and I’ve made an effort to get out and enjoy life more, so that this hasn’t been completely for nothing- I’m trying to choose better people to date, to travel more (to the point where I kind of thinking ‘I’m seeing these places for you little baby’). And to get fit and healthy.

But it took me time (maybe 4 months) for that mind shift to begin to happen. Those early weeks and months I couldn’t look at my body, thinking a baby should be there, the due date was also difficult. I travelled to Eastern Europe for work 3 months after, and at a beautiful reception event on the Danube I went out in the dark, stood by the water and sobbed for my little baby. Then I pulled it together and hit the dance floor…
Those days of despair became moments of despair and gradually made way for a soft sadness I carry.

I still find being around very tiny babies tough, and hearing about friend’s pregnancies (I deleted FB which helped) gives me pangs of sadness/jealousy, but broadly speaking I’m ‘glad’ I was able to make a choice that i never thought I would make and that so many women aren’t able to make. I’ve saved a baby from an asshole father, and honestly from a mother who might not have been able to cope, and with no other family to lean on nearby.

Like I said though, I’m not sure I ‘made’ a decision. I just shut down on the surgery table and said go ahead when my time had run out, with a surgeon already annoyed with me. I guess a decision, but not an empowered one. One because time had run out. I could just have easily gone the other way and nearly did…

I don’t know. I could be blissfully happy now, I often think ‘he’d be 4 months now… lifting his head’… etc, but I could also be miserable, and overwhelmed. I’ll never know. The path not taken.

But, while I carry that sadness and ‘what if’, I also know I’m happy, I came out the other side, I can enjoy life, which I didn’t think I would again in those early weeks, and I don’t take for granted the most basic things I can do that I wouldn’t have been able to if I’d been a single mum in a city with no family, like run out for milk!

@Wonderland84 i understand what you mean about wanting to do it in a healthy, loving relationship. That was always what I thought prior to all this, and ultimately the idea of doing it alone and with a father who would make my life potentially very difficult was what ultimately drove the ‘decision’. In that sense, I’ve no regrets. But, you also know first hand the ins and outs of single motherhood, and with a child age 12 I guess you must be getting some semblance of ‘freedom’ back. I would say, think of what life you want, don’t just have a baby so your child has a sibling, the bond you two have together I’m sure is already very special, so don't feel you need to make up for a lack.

@Buttonups I’m sorry you also had such a rough time, I completely understand, it’s an empty pity of pain and meaninglessness that sits right in your chest. Those early days I would have the closest thing I’ve ever had to a panic attack (shallow breathing, feeling ‘what have I done’ panic). All this made worse because lots of people (men especially) just view abortion as another form of contraception, and don’t understand or think of the pain and grief that can go with it (not by every woman, but certainly more than is spoken about). Be kind and gentle with yourself, take the time you need, and let yourself cry when you want. I certainly do!

Very long post, but sending hugs to you both.

xx

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Lookingforward1981 · 17/01/2024 09:45

@Umm4ever I just wanted to say thank you for your beautiful reply. It almost exactly mirrors my journey, pregnant at 42, but in my case married and with a child already. I am now five months post abortion. Like you the first few weeks and months were awful, thinking I had destroyed my future, all because my husband didn't want another child. But week by week it gets easier, I have "forgiven" my husband, started therapy and anti-depressants, and gradually started thinking that actually we are better off as a three-person family. There are still moments of sadness though, but slowly they are becoming not so extreme and I can think back to that time as sad, but it doesn't need to inform the rest of my life (if that makes sense). If I can give advice to anyone, it would be to allow yourself to FEEL, don't make judgements on how quickly this is to get over. Better days are ahead. I would be happy to connect with anyone wanting to talk this through.

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