Family Planning: What Does That Mean?

Advanced Maternal Age

As an advanced maternal aged mother, Family Planning was an ongoing statement that I used so often during my pregnancy. Ironically, the term “advanced maternal age“ was new to me and I was curious as to why the immediate label for mothers? As my husband and I were preparing and planning for our son, initially, we were hesitant about sharing our pregnancy. Not because we did not think that everyone would be over-joyed, but we were more concerned with making sure that everything was okay with our son. It is something that I did not think would ever be something to consider when planning for a baby. Prior to deciding on conceiving, we made sure that we talked about what would our new life look like with a new bundle of joy. We knew that it would be a challenge and exciting at the same time, but what we did not know is the anxiety behind planning.

Preparation

We were sure to begin to work out more often, adjust our eating habits, and focus on being in a great headspace. Fortunately, we conceived rather quickly, as we planned to try for a year. I understand now as an advanced maternal aged mother how there are several nuances that I would not have considered prior. I am unsure if I was not paying attention, or if this is an entirely different mothering category within itself. However, I’ve come to learn and research more about mothering over 35 years old. During my first OB/GYN appointment, I was referred to an advanced maternal age specialist, which I was thankful for because the referred physician took additional tests and had additional recommendations for me.

Sharing the News

Since my family and friends did not know we were already pregnant, they believed that the next step for us was to begin family planning. When people would ask, instead of saying, “we are pregnant,” we would say, “we are family planning.” This was a phrase that I became all too familiar with. I thought of it as an outlet or something to hold on to because I did not want to explain all of the additional appointments, updates, and progress while we were learning new things.

photo credit: Joe Eyed by Joe

Your Choice

Our goal was to focus on connecting with our unborn child and to set a foundation before sharing our ideas and thoughts. This is something now that I emphasize to expectant mothers when I talk with them about their pregnancy journey, whether they’re in the planning stage or pregnancy stage. I say this because every appointment there may be a wonder or a thought, “Is my baby okay?” Or in between appointments thinking, “is my baby moving enough?” It is all preference, of course, whether you want to share the news immediately or wait until you have a better understanding of your journey. I found that the phrase “family planning” as a tool in my pregnancy toolbox that made the journey much easier. If you are unsure as to how soon you want to share your news, “family planning” may be an option that will encourage your family and friends to support you without feeling the pressure that you have to share constant updates.

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Nia Avery is a New Orleans based Fine Art Consultant for Heather James Fine Art. Prior to joining Heather James Fine Art in 2017, Nia was an art consultant in Beijing, China, where she oversaw the inaugural C!Talk initiative, a series of cross-cultural events sponsored by the World Culture Open organization. She also previously served as an art consultant in Houston where she co-led the Emancipation Economic Development Council workgroup for the art non-profit Project Row House. Nia received her Bachelor of Science from Clark Atlanta University. Before relocating to New Orleans, she served on the board of Loma Linda Hospital’s “Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild” in Indio, California, and was a member of Desert AIDS Project’s “Partners for Life” committee in Palm Springs, California. “New Orleans is my hometown, so I am thrilled to be back. As a gastronome and fine art consultant, I have found that this city is the perfect fit – and because New Orleans is a city focused on tourism, there are always opportunities to meet people from all over the world. Living here presents an exciting opportunity to contribute to the cultural landscape. My favorite place in the city has yet to be discovered. From 1000 Figs, to Original Thought, to the McKenna Museum, there is always something to discover and experience. I am excited to discover many new favorites for years to come.”

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