By Amy Speace, as told to Jennifer Clopton
I didn’t set out to be an older mom. That’s just how it worked out. I didn’t meet the love of my life until I was 46. We got married when I was 48 and had our son Huck one month after I turned 50.
I think a lot of people who consider having a child at my age worry about the health risks or are fearful about a lot of what-ifs. But honestly, for me it didn’t end up feeling like that momentous of a decision in the end. As a professional singer/songwriter, I’m surrounded by creative, free-thinking people, and I didn’t face any criticism for my decision to have a child later in life.
We were also blessed by the fact that my husband’s job has exceptional benefits that paid for all our fertility treatments. We couldn’t have afforded to do it without that help, and being able to use an egg donor from a 23-year-old woman removed a lot of the risks associated with what the medical world calls a “geriatric pregnancy.”
I can tell you I certainly don’t feel geriatric. When I first talked with my ob-gyn about having a baby she assured me I was physically healthy. In fact, she said I was in such good shape I was probably healthier than a lot of younger patients. I eat right, practice yoga, run and have great stamina because of all the performing I do.
My doctor did inform me of the risks of having a baby later in life, but she didn’t dwell on that, so neither did we. She made me believe I could do this, and so we began to try.
It didn’t work the first time, and on our second try, I didn’t think things were looking good. It was a stormy day in Nashville, and the power actually went out twice at the fertility clinic during our appointment. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic. But 10 days later my doctor called and said those two magical words – ‘You’re pregnant!’ I barely remember my response, but I do remember hearing all the nurses at the office cheering loudly on the other end of the phone – celebrating because they knew how important this was to my husband and me.
My pregnancy was pretty problem-free. Knowing that miscarrying is a risk in older moms, I scaled back my exercise in my 2nd trimester to only walking. And in my 3rd, I canceled all my touring and shows and taught songwriting over Skype so I could stay at home.
I carried full term, but there is some risk at my age during childbirth too. So when I wasn’t fully dilated after 20 hours in labor and our son’s fetal heart rate started to waver, my doctor decided to do a C-section. That went fine and our little son, Huck, came into the world March 16, 2018. He was 7.2 pounds, 21 inches and a perfectly healthy baby. When they first laid him on my chest, I remember saying, “Hi Huck. I’m your Mama.’
Then I think I cried for three months straight out of sheer joy.
I’ve discovered that being an older mom has several benefits. I know who I am. I’ve already walked through a lot of fires, and I’m so grateful for this experience. That means I take everything in stride. Everyone warned me about the newborn stage, but I really enjoyed it and had no trouble with sleepless nights. I thought it was a fun adventure. I just delight in my son, and I don’t sweat the small stuff.
I’ll admit that there is a small voice inside of me that sometimes has felt slightly shameful about doing this because it is so atypical. But I choose not to listen to that voice. While being a 50-year-old mother of a newborn may be unconventional, after years as a folk singer constantly on the road, I’ve gotten used to living outside what’s normal. Still, I do wish I had a community of other women my age with babies. I started a blog hoping to find other mothers over the age of 45, but didn’t really find any.
So I’ve focused on creating community in other ways. I started a Facebook group for mothers in the music industry so we can talk about how to tour with young children. I’m also blessed to have a lot of strong female friends who delight in my son and shower him with love and affection.
I do worry about the future sometimes and being there long-term for my son. But I also realize are no guarantees in this life for anyone, so I’ve just learned to push past my doubts and concerns. Courage means being afraid of something and doing it anyway – because life is short and you think it’s important.
My story might be unconventional, but I do feel our life has unfolded exactly as it’s supposed to – in its own time.
Our son is surrounded by love. Our family is happy and active and our boy will grow up knowing his parents moved mountains to bring him into this world. I think I’m lucky as an artist because it’s always required a lot of bravery, and I think my son is lucky because through this journey, my husband and I are passing that along to my him.
Amy Speace is a professional singer/songwriter living in Nashville, TN. Since her discovery in 2006 by folk-pop icon Judy Collins, she has been heralded as one of the leading voices of the new generation of American folk singers. She has released 5 critically acclaimed records, two on Collins label, and her new album titled “Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne” that she wrote while pregnant, is set to be released in August 2019. She is also a blogger and shares her thoughts on motherhood at menopausalmommy.blog.