Why Joanna Gaines Doesn’t Regret the Timing of Baby No. 5 (No Matter What Fans Say)

Not everyone was happy to hear that Chip and Joanna Gaines were expecting a new baby. In fact, fans began turning on the Fixer Upper stars when they heard the news. Some complained that the Gaineses were contributing to overpopulation. And others felt that the Gaineses simply had enough children already. But in a recent interview, Joanna Gaines opened up about her fifth pregnancy. And she doesn’t seem to regret the timing of baby number 5 at all.

Joanna Gaines says a baby at 40 was unexpected

Me + Crew + Cookie = ❤️

A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

CBN News reports that in the latest issue of Magnolia Journal, Joanna Gaines wrote that having a baby at age 40 was “a gift.” In fact, she thinks that the pregnancy — and baby Crew — came at the perfect time. “Chip and I made a choice to take some time off this past year because it seemed best for us in that season — even though we knew it would stretch us to stay still,” Joanna wrote. “Only a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant.”

According to People, Joanna also wrote that the pregnancy was unexpected. “I truly believed I was done,” she said. “And yet, after eight years, here I am with a newborn in my arms.” The last time Gaines was pregnant was eight years ago, when she brought daughter Emmie into the world.

And being pregnant at age 40 did throw Joanna for a loop. “I am 40, and pregnancy this time was different,” she wrote. “I have always really enjoyed being pregnant — I tend to feel my best during those nine months. This time I felt a little more worn out than usual.”

But she thinks the timing was perfect

Despite the challenges of being pregnant at 40, Joanna Gaines wouldn’t change a thing. “It’s sweet how, even in the most unpredictable ways, we’re given exactly what we need for that exact moment in time. It wasn’t something I could have anticipated. But being pregnant and ‘forced’ to slow down has been a gift,” the Fixer Upper star wrote in Magnolia Journal.

Of course, you should keep a few caveats to keep in mind if you want to follow in Joanna Gaines’s path and have a baby at 40. As USA Today notes, getting pregnant after age 35 gets more difficult because of less frequent ovulation. Women between 35 and 45 have a 20 to 35% chance of miscarriage. (Compare that with the 15 to 20% chances for women under 35.) Plus, moms over 35 have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy. They’re also more likely to deliver by C-section. And older moms face greater risks after a child is born, including postpartum hemorrhage.

She believes that she was ‘made for this’

Cuddle bug

A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

Writing for Magnolia Journal, Joanna Gaines acknowledged that her community — and her family — all make it possible for her to raise baby Crew. “Since Crew’s birth, I have a new understanding of the reality of the phrase ‘It takes a village,'” she conceded. Most moms probably know exactly what the Fixer Upper star means. But Joanna also seems to think that women should give themselves credit for their own ability to make things work.

In fact, Gaines wrote that she felt confident in her preparation for the job. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a little older, but this time around I am more comfortable in my own skin, sure that I can do this,” she wrote. She also feels “Confident that I was made for this very thing in this very season.”

She added, “I believe that each of us, in every circumstance, has what it takes — that built within the construction of who we are is whatever that moment in time requires.” Joanna also wrote, “We all will have trials, we all will have miracles, and because of grace, I believe we have it in us to handle both — no matter what that looks like.”

Joanna Gaines isn’t the only woman having a baby at 40

The age of the average first-time mother in the United States is 26. But The New York Times reports that the age that women first become mothers varies widely by geography and education. In bigger cities and on the coasts, first-time mothers are older: 31 and 32 in New York and San Francisco. Elsewhere in the country, it can skew as much as half a generation earlier: 20 or 21.

In McLennan County, Texas — home to Waco — the average age of women having their first child is 23.9 years. That age jumps to 26.8 years old among married women. And it’s 28.8 years among women with a college degree or higher. In fact, college “is a stronger factor than geography or home prices,” the Times reports.

Of course, Joanna Gaines isn’t a first-time mom. (Even though she says that she feels like “a first-time mom all over again.”) And not that many women have their first child at age 40 or older. But more women are having children later in life. In many parts of the country, fertility treatments have reduced the stigma (and fear of complications) associated with having babies after 35. Vogue reports that “the 40-to-44 and 45-to-49 age brackets are the ones in which U.S. birth rates — despite record lows overall — are rising fastest.”

It looks like Joanna Gaines is in good company — no matter how much some Fixer Upper fans object.

Read more: The 1 Thing a Fan Said That Made Chip Gaines Call It Quits on ‘Fixer Upper’

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