Beshert: Becoming first-time Mom at 43

I never planned to become a mother for the first time at age 43. I dated with the hope of marrying in my 20s, then in my 30s as I juggled a newspaper career and moved from one city to another for better jobs. At first, the religion of my beaus mattered little. In my 20s, I was barely connected to Judaism. In my 30s, I became more connected to my faith and pickier about the religion of the men I dated. I decided I wanted to marry someone Jewish. Then, at age 40, still single and hoping for love and motherhood, I began studying for an adult bat mitzvah.

Pavlik and I hold Simon before his bris in Feb. 2008

Beshert. It had to beshert, says the rabbi I studied with for the bat mitzvah ceremony. In the middle of my bat mitzvah studies, I fell in love. I met Pavlik through the online dating service, We paddled together on his canoe or side by side in my kayaks. We hiked, played tennis, talked and talked. He joined me at the bimah during my bat mitzvah ceremony and we led others in Mah Tovu. How good it was that we were together in a place of worship before family and friends.

Pavlik and I related to each other on many levels, including a desire to make Judaism a constant in our lives. Both of us experienced tragedy in our early 20s. His mother died of cancer. My middle brother was killed after falling asleep in a car accident. Pavlik and I wanted love in our lives and a family of our own. In November 2006, we were married underneath a chuppah made of the prayer shawl I wore at my bat mitzvah ceremony and the tallit I gave Pavlik as an engagement present. I was 42, and my husband, 45. More than anything else, we wanted to have a baby together.

Joy as a mother comes at any age: Simon and me

For three months, we tried on our own, then doctors advised me to use fertility drugs. Nothing took. Then, on an off cycle, I got pregnant. After 20-odd hours of labor, I gave birth to our son Simon in late January of 2008. Beshert. It had to be beshert. I am, as one of the writers said in an essay in Forward a so-called “later” mother. Such titles mean nothing to me. I don’t feel like an “older” or a “later” mother. I, like mothers of any age, count myself as incredibly blessed every time I look at my son. People look at me and try to guess my age. They usually estimate around 30 to 35. I have no problem giving my real age. It is irrelevant. I am Simon’s mother, and he is undoubtedly my son, my family’s precious jewel.

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One Response to Beshert: Becoming first-time Mom at 43

  1. sara levin says:

    Hi Linda,
    As you know, I can relate to the whole “late bloomer” marriage and motherhood thing. I always forget that most of the moms in my local moms group around a decade younger than me (not all of them, though!) I proudly tell them my age and feel that I really appreciate motherhood because it happened in the nick of time–but at the right time definitely!

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