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I am 51 and I just found out that my new 38 year old wife is pregnant. I already have 2 grandchildren from my previous children. How will I do it all again? This is supposed to be my relaxing years, my years to be my self again.

Written by our mental health expert, Emily Koert, Registered Clinical Counsellor and Ph.D. Candidate.

It’s understandable that you’re feeling anxious about the thought of becoming a new parent again at 51, especially when you’re already a grandparent and believed that your parenting years were behind you. You certainly are not alone. Many men who had a family when they were younger and later marry a younger woman, don’t expect to be starting over with diapers and middle of the night feedings. Typically, their younger partners initially said they weren’t interested in becoming mothers. But over time as their biological clocks tick louder, they change their minds and decide they want to have a child. It sounds like perhaps that was the case for you and your new wife. Or maybe this pregnancy was an accident and she is opposed to a termination.

Whatever your particular situation, you are now faced with the reality that the years ahead are not going to be quite the way you pictured. It is understandable that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the task of older parenthood and are wondering, “How will I do it all again?” What we do know is that an increasing number of men are becoming parents again at older ages, and adjusting to this new role in positive and satisfying ways. You may be interested in reading one of our Personal Stories written by a man who became a father again at age 50 here. 

It’s easy to think about all of the disadvantages of becoming a parent again at age 51. But now that this pregnancy is a reality, it may be helpful to focus on the benefits of having a child at this stage in your life. Perhaps you’ll have a chance to be more involved in your child’s life now that you are not in the early stages of building your career. Maybe you’re more financially stable now, or are able to have a flexible work schedule so you can be more involved in parenting your new son or daughter. Having already had children, you have experience that will be invaluable in raising this child. And this will be an opportunity to get to know your wife in a new role – something that could solidify and deepen your love and respect for her.

You may not feel ready to take on the parenthood role again at this stage in your life. But once you make your way through the initial adjustment, you likely find that you can’t imagine your life without this little person.

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