What it's like to become a mom for the first time at almost 40

Being a mom for the first time at almost 40

Getty Images Author: Andrea Karr


What it's like to become a mom for the first time at almost 40

Sara Lanthier was 38 and single. But skipping love and marriage didn't mean forgoing the baby carriage, too.

At eight years old, Will is Sara Lanthier's everything. "He's hilarious and smart. He's super artsy and could build Lego for three hours at a time and not bat an eye," his mother asserts.

Nine years ago, Sara had written off being a mom. At 38, after a handful of short-lived relationships and one failed engagement, she thought, It's not going to happen; I'm already in my late 30s and I haven't met anybody. Plus, she didn't think she could manage the expense of raising a child on her own, so she made peace with her status as the resident fun aunt in the family.

Then, one night, her dad and her stepmom sat her down and suggested she try to have a child on her own. "It hit me out of left field," she says, but they praised her strength and her independence and promised to help out financially. Though motherhood had never seemed like an option, Sara realized the only thing that had been stopping her was the question of money. She decided to do it.

She picked a donor through Xytex Corp, an American sperm bank that divulges extensive donor information, including a personal essay and photos of the donor as a child and an adult. She went through more than 60 profiles to narrow down to her top five options, then she had her friends over for a cocktail party to help make the final decision. "I joke that I went with their No. 1 pick because my taste in men is what landed me in this situation," she says.

Alas, when she went to order him, he was sold out. Instead, she went with her friends' second choice—and her first—a German-Portuguese glassblower and artist.

After Sara underwent several rounds of tests with LifeQuest Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Toronto, the time for insemination finally arrived. Because of Sara's age, the chance of success was only 33 percent, but she found out six days later that she had conceived, and the pregnancy stuck.

She knows she's fortunate to have a supportive family, and because she lives in a time when it's possible to become a single mother by choice. "I have friends at my neighbourhood coffee shop who are in their 70s and never had kids. They wish this had been an option when they were younger," she says.

But her luckiest break has been Will. The day he was brought to her hospital room from intensive care (he was born 10 days early), she says, "it was like a first date." They wheeled him in and she sat there, staring at his tiny face. In the span of a few hours, she'd gone from a single woman to having a partner in crime for life. "We're a team," she says. "It's just me and him." 

Read more:
What it's really like to be artificially inseminated



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What it's like to become a mom for the first time at almost 40