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She’s Having a Baby … After 40!


Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD - published on 08/26/14

Nancy’s husband, Mark, was 46 when they conceived their 6th child. Nancy started to calculate his age when the baby graduated from high school. “Let’s not even do the math,” Mark said.

“Every time I went to the doctor it seemed like they were trying to scare me,” she said. Although Nancy appreciated her doctor’s care and concern, it just seemed like no one understood her delight and the obvious reasons why she was willing to accept all these medical risks. Other than some high blood pressure, her pregnancy and delivery were healthy. So is her baby.  

Nancy is now a mother of six children ages 19, 17, 12, 10, 3 and 1. What’s different now compared to when she was a 20-something-mom? “I’m tired more,” she said, but she has lots of help from her older children, who adore the baby.

People have started mistaking Nancy as the grandmother of her infant, especially when she goes out shopping with her 19-year-old daughter and the baby. When she clarified her status as mother, one cashier remarked, “That’s dangerous.” Nancy wonders if people would be so critical if this were her first, rather than sixth, child.

Lots of people feel entitled to criticize parenting choices.I’ve been criticized for having five children. But I’ve found that a spirit of generosity and openness toward having children brings loads of unexpected joys.

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD
is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and a mother of five young children. She is a regular contributor to Aleteia, ChildrensMD, CatholicPediatrics, and CatholicMom, as well as multiple TV and radio outlets. Connect with Dr. Berchelmann at

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