Having 4 Babies after 40: Tamar Stone’s Story

Having 4 Babies after 40: Tamar Stone’s Story

Last week, in response to my article “Again?: Reflections on turning 40” in which I contemplated the possibility that I would be unable to have more children, I received a comment that made my eyebrows jump Heavenward…A JewishMOM named Tamar wrote the following:
“I feel a little out of my league here.
I just turned 49 and gave birth to my 10th child 4 weeks ago (KA”H).
I have to laugh at the memory of how I too shared many such thoughts when I turned 39, and how Hashem in His Wisdom decided to entertain me with a life I had never imagined…
In the meantime, 4 more kids have showed up. I gave away all my baby clothes TWICE, figuring I was “too old” to need them again…
To quote that famous baseball announcer, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
Enjoy life, ladies, and let Hashem take care of the Cheshbonos!”

Now that was a story that I just had to hear! So I Emailed Tamar, and she agreed to tell her inspirational story about her own depressing almost 40th birthday, and the many surprises Hashem has sent her since then…

Tamar last year with her husband and children

Turning 39 Twice by Tamar Brooks Stone

I will tell the story of how I turned 39, twice.

One fine day in 2000, as I was blithely changing diapers, wiping noses, and chasing children into bed, I realized that my 39th birthday was approaching. I had never given much thought to my age, having been raised by an age-liberated mother who always taught me that “age doesn’t matter”.

Therefore, I was baffled by my emotional response to the approach of 39. How could it be that turning 39 was such an upsetting experience? After much thought and many tantrums, I realized that it was not the 39 part that offended me; it was the knowledge that 40 came right after it. So, I wondered, to an age-liberated woman like me, what could be so terrible about turning 40?

And I realized that what bothered me about arriving at the big Four Zero was the stark realization that I had lived 40 years and had not accomplished ANYTHING on my TO DO List of Life. For instance, I had been raised in a home where a person was supposed to be educated and accomplished. And even though I had achieved a Bachelor’s and a Master’s early on, I did not have a Career to show for it. My work history had been interrupted by my first pregnancy, and was on hold until my children were old enough to let me go back to work.

Consciously or unconsciously, I had assumed that by the age of 40, my husband and I would own a house, have sufficient income to take regular vacations, and afford minor amenities like summer camp for the kids and occasional meals out at restaurants. The reality of my life as I approached 39 was that my husband had just lost his job, and we could not qualify for a mortgage. Let’s not even discuss that in our neighborhood, housing prices were skyrocketing, and houses were virtually impossible to find, let alone afford.

I had assumed that I would always have smooth relationships with my relatives and that as the years passed, we would share in each others’ simchos, gliding effortlessly around the icebergs of our variant lifestyles and religious interpretations. Need I say that my fantasy was as reliable as the Titanic?

I had assumed that as I turned 40, my body would surely slow down and give me a break from the endless cycle of pregnancy and nursing which caused mental fog, physical exhaustion, and emotional hurricanes.

I had assumed that as I turned 40, I would achieve some positive influence on my community, as I had previously been a community organizer, social worker, and psychologist. I had hoped that others would benefit from my experience and depend on me to help out or inspire, as needed. Instead, with my brain perennially on vacation in Babyville and my body a lackluster lump, I found myself being particularly uninspired—let alone capable of inspiring others.

I spent that year angry and depressed, trying not to think about my upcoming birthday. And then a funny thing happened as April 30, 2000 approached, I did the math. I was about to turn 38, not 39!! I had miscalculated, and I learned something from my mistake.

Hashem had given me another chance to turn 39 again. And this time, since I had already gotten the anger and disappointment and frustration out of my system, I intended to enjoy every minute of being 39, and 40, and 41, and…. To be thankful for everything and to see that it really IS all a blessing.

It’s funny how time has a way of sliding past you when you’re not paying attention. As long as I didn’t notice the day/month/year, just focused on the details of daily life, my age just didn’t bother me. My past work as a geriatric therapist gave me the opportunity to listen to the life stories of previous generations.

One of the lessons I learned from my elderly clients was that life is what you make of it.

After I had the opportunity to re-do my 39th year, I made an effort to refocus my view of my life and my expectations. Once I realized that it was Hashem’s job to make my To Do list, it was so much easier to live through my days and years with joy.

I calmed down and learned to celebrate each year and its abundant blessings. In spite of the voices in my head that told me I was too old to have yet another baby, or that I was wasting my time “just being a Mommy,” I continually tried to remind myself that those voices were not my Truth…

Hashem was the only Truth, and He surely knew what was good and right for me.

I eventually did celebrate my 40th birthday; I even had a grand farbrengen and gave a speech that made everyone laugh. And in spite of the wagging heads of my contemporaries, I continued as before, having babies, wiping noses, chasing kids into bed, and letting Hashem dictate the To Do List of my Life.

About a month ago, I celebrated my 49th birthday and two weeks later gave birth to my 10th child.

We named her Shaina Brocha, because I have learned that every stage of life is truly a beautiful blessing.

Tamar with her newborn baby, Shaina Brocha


I have learned that by letting Hashem carry out His plan, I will be blessed.

May we all have the wisdom to receive His blessings with joy.


Tamar Brooks Stone lives with her husband and 10 children in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, still dreaming of making Aliyah and making a difference…

Related posts:

The Runaway Mom
The Photo that Broke My Heart
One Daughter's Dream to Return Gift of Life She Received from Ill Mother

29 comments

  1. Wow, what an inspiration!

    • What a fantastic story. Tamar…you look much younger so it obviously suits you.
      I had my first girl at 21 and my second at 42 with one son at 24 and lots of years of seeming infertility in between.
      What a blessing!

  2. thank you tamar and of course Chana Jenny for sharing this experiences: surely, thanks to both of you many babies will be born!!!!

  3. Now Tamar, you definitely have achieved a great influence upon the jewish mom community!!!
    thank you for the inspiration….

  4. Thanks Tamar for your honesty! I feel the same way many times. I am pregnant now and feel that all my systems are out-of-whack! good to know I am not alone.

  5. Tamar, I am proud to say “I knew you when…”
    I knew you when you only had about five children ka”h. You were articulate and wise then and you have only grown wiser with the years.
    Letting Hashem write the to-do list – what a concept. I will try to live with that in mind – at least today.
    Gratefully,
    Rishe

  6. Chanel Lipskier

    Tamar you are incredible!

  7. OMG Im only 22 and I feel what ur feeling I feel so guilty all the time about thinking that and dont know wat to do. I have a fifteen month old baby kh and I am a full time undergrad student. Imh ill be graduating next spring and that will be my fourth year! I was supposed to graduate two years ago but getting engaged and having a baby slowed me down a bit. I get so frustrated and nervous about when Hashem will give me another baby bec i know this sounds stupid but i know girls in graduate school or applying that dont get accepted or the professors try to find everything wrong with them and even saying you could have planned your pregnancy! I really cant imagine my schooling being pushed off more than it is now and I really want to go to grad school and become an occupational therapist. I just hope that what im hearing wont happen to me. Im so stressed all the time about this and I just dont know what to do.Not to mention that I didnt enjoy being pregnant so much bec I threw up all the time till the end and I had pubic symphisis dysfunction which decreased my mobility and was extremely painful from the seventh month. I would love some words of encouragement that anyone can give to me. Thanks

    • Don’t forget to daven to Hashem to ask Him to give you children when you’re ready for it. He knows exactly when that’ll be, so if you’re confident that you davened for it, then be confident that He’ll make you pregnant at the best time for you.

    • yael,
      please take a deep breath and calm down! Hashem will send you the brochos you’re supposed to get when you get them.
      as for your education, just focus on getting that piece of paper and ignore the rumors about discrimination from professors and employers. they are just rumors, and you will experience your own hashgacha protis. remember, Hashem is in charge and you will have to just trust Him that He knows what He’s doing…
      breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe…

  8. wow! your baby is gorgeous Ka”H, may you have much nachas from her in good health. you dont need a to do list, look at your awesome family photo and you can see what you have ALREADY DONE – thanks for the inspiration

  9. Trust you to take a concept and “knock it out of the park”!
    That’s what I love (and miss from 3000 miles away) about you: so sharp, so clear, so FUNNY!

    Those weekly learning/coffee clatches were inspiring- you got the touch girl
    to make the ‘tachlis’ in life shine!

    As the years keep going…may the Nachas keep growing!
    L

  10. Love it ! Very powerful and inspirational!

  11. Wow… I am blown away! Not that I envy you at all, but I am happy to hear your great story! Is this where I say “Keep up the good work”?

    • Rachael Leah

      Why don’t you envy her? Her life is full of Brachos, Baruch Hashem! There is SO much to envy about her! I ask of Hashem that He blesses me with such abundant blessings!

  12. Wonderful! This is so beautiful. Tamar you are truly an inspiration.

  13. I laughed so hard when you wrote that you miscalculated how old you were! I remember those days – when you’re SO BUSY that you don’t even know how old you are. Or you don’t even know what month we’re in (is it before Rosh Hashana now or after?)

  14. What a beautiful story! I had my first child when I was 28, and I am sometimes saddened by the thought that I may not be able to have a gigantic family. However, Tamar reminded me that I am not in control of that cheshbon! Hashem will give me however many children I am meant to have. Thank you for the wonderful reminder!

    • Rivki,

      I was thinking the saaaammme thing when I read this. But Hashem is in charge. So we’re all good. Baruch Hashem.

      I still think it means we are allowed and expected to ask for what we want. Just not to be dissapointed if we don’t get. So I’ll remain the eternal optimist. And accept all the brachot as they come!

      Wishing you and all the Jewish moms MAAAAAANNNNY brachot this year. See you all at the Beit HaMikdash next month. 😉

      ~Maral

  15. Tamar, your inspirational story was wonderful; it touched me on many levels – as a middle-aged mother of four grown children with the memory of turning forty (seventeen years ago!). Your words ring true – we need to celebrate each year’s abundant blessings, and know that every stage of life is beautiful. Thank you.

  16. I really loved your story. I am a little nervous, since I am 39 with 5 kids and it is not a mathematical improbability that I could be like you with another five in another 10 years….. but your confidence in Hashem’s plan is infectious, and that is where I stand right now. As Rabbi Lazer Brody advised me: You can get a heter from a Rabbi, sure, or you can let Hashem do your family planning.

    I placed my bets on Hashem and sure enough, He’s showing me miracles.

  17. As I read Tmar’s description of how her time is and isn’t spent, I thought of the concept of “kedushat hazman” – time that becomes holy. Tamar has had the zchut to be given more years in the holy work of bringing children into this world.

  18. Love this. What a wonderful reminder that life is precious and age has nothing to do with it. As long as we are in this world, anything is possible. Yasher Koach on a beautiful essay and even more beautiful family!

  19. Wow! I was so touchd and inspired to read this article- and you know, besides for the message in your words I kept thinking “wow, she expresses herself so so well! She should really start writing articles – perhaps for the Nshei r others…” I was also ‘glad’ to hear I’m not alone in my emotional life, as I heard you, who are so normal (knowing you in real life) say: Mental fog, physical exghaustion and EMOTIONAL HURRICANE. What an accurate way to describe what I’m going throu with my two babies and pregnancy B”H! And I thought I was nuts for dealing with all this! If you went throu this and made it with ten kids KA”H, maybe I can too…Hashem should bentch us all to have true happiness and meaning in our life, see the good and truly trust in Him.

  20. Ive been wondering about having children after 40 for some time and your story gives me hope that it may still be possible. Congrats to you and your family. I am 39 and had a son when I was 19. I was unable to be involved in his upbringing although I tried for many years. I have just left my cougar 15 years senior after 11 years together in the hope of meeting someone younger as i would love the chance of having children again. Your story has given me hope 🙂

  21. Mama Sophie

    Tamar is indeed very inspiring woman. Much more than any other “career accomplished” one. Because she creates lives with Hashem’s help and is in charge of 10 precious yiddishe babies.
    Mazal tov!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  22. That was so validating and inspiring, thank you!

  23. Mina Gordon

    Thank you for posting Tamar’s beautiful story! The message that I hear in it is to realize that Hashem Yisborach created us and created our circumstances. Wherever He puts us, whatever He gives us, whatever He demands from us, He provides us with the instruction manual and tools to deal with it.

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