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In 2006, after divorcing her third husband—who would turn “white as a ghost” every time she mentioned having a baby—Rhadiante Van de Voorde continued to suffer for years with inner turmoil over whether she should have a child.
Yet, the 43-year-old Registered Landscape Architect is no slouch when it comes to being decisive elsewhere—she’s managed her own business, Elemental Design Group (http://www NULL.elementaldesign NULL.com/) in Boulder Creek, CA, for the past 12 years.
The root cause of her dilemma, however, lay in a personal trauma experienced in the pre-marriage dating era with her third husband.
He Didn’t Want Children; We Divorced Over It
“I miscarried in 2002—he asked me to marry him afterwards and said we would have another child someday”, says Rhadiante.
In the end, she discovered it was an empty promise: “He just didn’t want to have children and we divorced over it.”
Afterwards, she experienced what she describes as “analysis paralysis” where she would ask herself “do I or don’t I want to have a child?” The process would “die down and pick up again” over the years since the divorce.
Finally, between 2007 and 2008, Destiny—or so it seemed—intervened ‘creatively’ to change the course of her life irrevocably.
Unlikely To Get Pregnant Without Fertility Treatments
Within four months, Rhadiante met the man she now calls her “life partner”, choosing not to marry again.
“It was so easy and so fun and we had so much in common” she remembers, “after a few months, he felt we were amazing together and said that he would love to have a family.
But her hopes were dashed when her doctor, after giving her a follicle stimulating hormone test, told her that it was “unlikely I could get pregnant without fertility treatments.”
“I was crushed at the time as I felt I might have missed the opportunity” she says.
Choosing not to pursue the course of IVF, she and her partner Neil—a chiropractor—began trying to get pregnant in March 2009, “figuring it would take a while”.
Doctor’s Fears Were Unfounded
Rhadiante quickly realized the doctor’s fears were unfounded.
“Well, I could tell I was pregnant right away” she says.
And, unlike her previous pregnancy, fraught with morning sickness and exhaustion, this time she felt like she “was in high school again”.
But it was after she was pregnant that the medical care high jinks began.
Recalling her previous miscarriage, she says: “I waited to call any doctor until I was 3 months pregnant because I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t miscarry.
“I was turned down by two difference doctor’s offices—one for being ‘high risk’ due to my age, and by the other for choosing a home birth.”
Secret Plans For A Home Birth
Eventually, Van de Voorde kept her plans for a home birth a secret, in order to secure a doctor’s care.
Despite the best of intentions, however, she went into labor 20 days before her due date and had an emergency C-seciton. Her son, Lucas, was born in November 2009.
“I labored for 7 hours” she says, “and I feel very complete about my experience.”
Regarding her expectations of being an over-40 mom and the main family ‘bread earner’, Rhadiante’s overview smacks of some wry humor.
“I thought I was going to be Superwoman and, quite honestly, I didn’t really think it all through”, she says.
“Now I get done what gets done and Lucas is my number one priority.”
The Experience To Make Good Decisions
Like many over-40 women, however, she finds that later life motherhood has some hidden bonuses.
“I am more loving, selfless, grounded, and confident in who I am—better able to see the big picture and not take things as personally as I would have done years ago” says Van de Voorde.
Compared to younger mothers, she feels she has “lots of life experience, wisdom, intuition, patience and the ability to make good decisions”.
Her concerns, also, take on a familiar shadow:
“Being an older mom, I realize I will be in my 80s when my son is in his 40s—if he waits for children like I did, I may not know my grandchildren.”
She’s also observed the shrinkage of the modern family and voices her sadness that “Lucas will only have two cousins from his immediate family after we all pass on”.
One of the key differences between modern childrearing practices and those during her growing up years in the ’70s is: “In those days it was ‘children are to be seen and not heard’. Now, it’s ‘use your words’.”
A Large And Growing Segment Of The Population
Ultimately, 43-year-old Rhadiante Van de Voorde feels that our culture needs to change its attitude to later life mothers.
“I would love to see older mothers deeply respected by their communities for the sacrifice of giving themselves to bring their wisdom to the raising of their children who will be the future.”
Her volunteer support for the Celebrate Motherhood Over 40 Tribute stems from this desire for social change:
“We are a minority and yet we are a large and growing sector of the population—FPM offers a great platform to stay connected with the issues we will be facing as older mothers”, says Rhadiante.
And her pearls of wisdom to other women considering motherhood after 40?
“Really choose it and choose it for the right reasons. Babies don’t’ save marriages and they certainly don’t make life less complicated.”
“But there is nothing on earth that has brought me so much joy as being a family.”
Notes for this blog:
SHARE YOUR FREE MOTHER’S DAY TRIBUTE E-CARD
Mother’s Day 2013 is on Sunday, May 12th. AChildAfter40.com has launched a FREE Mother’s Day Tribute Album in an E-Card and social media friendly format. It features candid mother & child portraits and “pearls of wisdom” from real over-40 moms: the true faces and authentic voices of later motherhood.
Join us and help to dispel negative, stereotypes regarding mothers over 40. Please share this e-card via email and your social media and encourage friends to pass it on. Get the message out there: You can do it by emailing, tweeting or Facebooking the card and/or the blog from the share bar.
“CELEBRATE MOTHERHOOD OVER 40” HANDMADE WINE CHARMS
We are launching these elegant, handmade glass wine charms, made especially for AChildAfter40.com for this occasion. They come in an organza sachet as singles or “His & Hers”, and “Celebrate Motherhood Over 40” gift tag for Mother’s Day at only $3.95 each. Order now! They are ideal for accessorizing gift wrap, to adorn wine glass stems, or to wear as a personal charm. Proceeds will help to fund our online forums.
Photography donated by: Scott Lewis (http://www NULL.lewisimages NULL.com/)
Graphic designs for “Celebrating Motherhood After 40” Mom & Tot T-Shirts donated by graphic designer: Joan Lintz-Thompson (joanlintz_thompson null@null yahoo NULL.com).
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