Michelle Conrad: Pregnancy at 41 Then a New Life and New Career

September 2012

This months featured mommmy is Michelle Conrad of Ohio.

Until I was 40, I was living a great single life.  I had worked at the same IT company since I was 1989, climbed the corporate ladder and was in middle management.

I had an eight year relationship with a man, that ended when I was 39.  At that point I focused on my career and losing some weight – the weight and the man seemed very interwoven.  Hmm.

When I was 40, I wasn’t seeing what I was looking for in the men I was meeting so turned to online dating.  Surprisingly, I met my husband.

He lived 3 hours away, so we carried on a long distance relationship for almost 2 years, then he moved in with me.  He had also never been married, no children, so it seemed perfect.  Well, until I went to visit my brother and his wife who had just welcomed their first child into the word.  Oh, I fell hard for that baby!

When I came home, I opened up the topic of having children.  I was very pleasantly surprised that my husband to be was all for it.  So off I went to the ob-gyn who basically warned me of all of the difficulties I may face getting pregnant at 41, the heightened chances of birth defects, but basically said since I was healthy to just go for it.  Two months later I was pregnant!

My pregnancy was pretty uneventful.  No big problems, just the usual elephant ankles, weight gain, tiredness.  The stress of work was really getting to me though.  I really wanted a natural birth so I went down that path.  When it came time, I tried to go without any epidural or pain meds but I had a preexisting disc issue in my back that really became painful and debilitating during labor.  I ended getting an epidural only.  I had a vaginal birth and my son was healthy and large – just under 10 lbs.

With my vacation and maternity leave, I was able to be home for 6 months.  When I returned to work I stepped out of my management position and worked only 24 hours per week.

I breast-fed my son for 13 months, packing my pump supplies and pumping twice a day when I was in the office.  Fortunately, they had private pumping rooms at my company.

I found that working part-time is really a great gig if you can work it out.  For about two years it was great, then it began to morph because of a different reporting structure. I was assigned way to much work, always under the gun, and started to really have difficulties dealing with the stress.

This went on until 2010, when my position was eliminated.  I was never so relieved in my life.  It was just what I needed to end the misery and move on.

So, as my son moved from my breast to solid food I started reading everything I could get my hands on to figure out what to feed him.  I knew what I thought about eating healthy from a lot of weight watchers sessions, but began to realize that it really wasn’t so.

I started moving towards eating more natural foods, less processed. More organic, less conventional.

At first I was doing this for my son but then decided it was just important for my husband and I.

I started feeling so much better.  Gone were sleep issues, occasional digestive issues, blood pressure down, pulse rate down.  I have become so passionate about this that I am now attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach so that I can help others feel as great as I do.  I’m working with my son’s school to educate parents and teachers to help build a better future for the kids.

For anyone who is going to try to become pregnant at any age I would strongly recommend a couple of things:

  1. Get your health in order.  Exercise and lose weight if you are overweight.  Pregnancy is very taxing on your body.  You need to prepare.
  2. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, meat from healthy and humanely raised animals, full fat dairy.  Get off the processed stuff.  Especially refined carbs and sugar.
  3. Avoid GMO corn and soy.  Which means get off the processed stuff.  The total impact of GMO is not known, but is suspected to be linked with autism, food allergies, digestive problems like IBS, hormone disruption, and even some cancers.
  4. Do not use pregnancy as an excuse to gain a lot of weight.  It adds to the risk of complications like high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes.

In closing, I really believe that choosing to be a mother has completely changed the path of  my life.

From corporate IT to a healing profession is quite a switch, but I feel so at peace and energized it is truly amazing.