Joanna Gaines Says Surprise Pregnancy at 40 Was 'a Gift': 'I Truly Thought I Was Done'
When Joanna Gaines, 40, first heard the term "geriatric pregnancy" she laughed — "until I realized that's actually what it's called at my age," she says.
"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," she says of the couple's decision to announce the end of their mega-popular HGTV series after it's fifth season in September 2017. But fate had other plans: "Only a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant."
She admits they "joked about the possibility of having another child." They even spoke about it publicly a few times, hinting about whether or not the Gaines crew might grow past their brood of four — Drake, 13, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, Emmie, 8. "I truly believed I was done, she says. "And yet, after eight years, here I am with a newborn in my arms."
The family welcomed Crew Gaines on June 21. "And then there were 5. The Gaines crew is now 1 stronger! 10 beautiful toes and 10 beautiful fingers all accounted for, and big momma is doing great! #blessedBeyondBelief," Chip wrote in a tweet announcing the birth.
Joanna also gets candid about the difficulties she faced this time around. "I am 40, and pregnancy this time was different," she writes in a personal essay titled, "Made for This," admitting, "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."
Chip and Jo have said they wanted to end Fixer Upper to focus on their family and continuing to grow their myriad businesses. But her surprise pregnancy made the admitted Type A personality take a breather for a totally unexpected reason and lean on the people closest to her for support. She notes, "Since Crew's birth, I have a new understanding of the reality of the phrase ‘it takes a village.'"
"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," she explains.
Though Joanna says she feels like "a first-time mom all over again" after her extended break from babies, she's more self-assured in her mothering experience.
"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. Confident that I was made for this very thing in this very season," she says, tying her own journey to the eighth issue of Magnolia Journal's overarching theme: "Made Ready."
"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," she says. "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."
Pick up the Fall issue of Magnolia Journal to read Joanna's full essay and much more.