The age of motherhood

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released new figures on the average age of mothers at time they gave birth in 2019, and it has increased to 30.7 years, and the average age for a father is 33.6 years.

This shows, that women having babies is at the highest age ever, and women have consistently been getting older over the years.

I was 34 years old when I had my first baby, 37 years old when I had baby number two, and I gave birth at 43-years-old with my last baby. I now have a 10-year old, an 8 year old and a nearly 2-year old, and I am 44-year old. I was way above the national average when I gave birth to Rocky in 2019, in fact 13-years above, and interestingly at 34-years old (my first baby) I was 4 years over the national average.

I do feel that the age that a woman has a baby now, is so varied, and that is so wonderful, because actually, what is age is right, what age is wrong? What age is too young, what age is too old? Everyone has a story as to why they had a baby at a certain age, and that is what fascinates me. I don’t judge others for when they have a baby, and it isn’t helpful when people do.

Today I was featured on the Daily Mail online talking about my experiences of being an older mum and I also talk about my group on Facebook, We are Geriatric Mums which now has nearly 2000 members – women 35+ who are pregnant or have had a baby.

See the Daily Mail feature here; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8953557/Mothers-England-Wales-older-EVER.html (scroll down the article for my 3-minute video).

And, much to my delight, I was featured on Sky News and interviewed LIVE by Jayne Secker about the same figures released by the ONS. We talked about opinions around older mums, why we think women have having babies later in life and what it is like being an older mum at school and at playgroups.

Lucy Baker (confidence coach and geriatric mum) on Sky News

I had a bit of a negative start to my pregnancy mainly because of how people reacted. I wrote about how I felt here; 42 and pregnant but once I settled into the fact that some people can’t help but say negative things, and I glossed over the many negative ‘risk’ articles I read online, I felt good. I had a lovely pregnancy and I enjoyed being pregnant at 42. I felt calm, connected and fearless about what was ahead and my husband was a brilliant support. I realised (at 5-months pregnant) that I wanted to help other women who might be feeling scared about the risks they read online or annoyed and hurt by comments from others and so I started this blog and the Facebook group (We are Geriatric Mums) to connect others, and to create a supportive community. And boy, it is thriving.

It turns out that the best support you can get as an older mum, is from other older mums!

What a day it’s been for the ‘mums who happen to be older’ community – online and on the live news – I am so pleased that I was able to share what it is really like to be an older mum and speak for the 1000s of older mums in my community. Magic.

This is for all MUMS WHO HAPPEN TO BE OLDER!

Lucy x

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and geriatric mum.

Contact Lucy for confidence; www.shecoachesconfidence.com

A chat with Amy

I first met Amy through my group, We are Geriatric Mums and realised that she lived just 10-minutes from my home in Kent. Connecting with other like-minded mums is crucial and after meeting Amy ‘online’ we met at a couple of ‘Geriatric Mum’ events (with lots of other fab women) and we have had a few boozy nights out, too. Amy has three children and had her last baby, after a troublesome pregnancy, at 33-weeks. This is Amy’s story:

Name Amy Iddenden

Age 41

What age were you when you had your children, and how old are they now?

I had Mia, my first baby at 22, she is now 19. At 37 I had my second girl, Matilda who is 3. I was nearly 41 when I had Sidney, who is now 1.

geriatric mum on her doorstep with family of husband and three children
Amy and her family – Husband Richard, Mia, Matilda and Sidney

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant at an older age?

Most people were okay, actually. Some said “you’re a bit old” or the typical “how old will you be when they go to school?” but generally the view was a positive one. Initially, my daughter (then 17) told me she thought I was too old to have a baby, but after some thought, she recognised that if we were happy, that was a good thing. She was heading off to University soon after we shared our news anyway, and she came to terms with it not really having a big change on her life, because she would be away.

How was your ‘geriatric’ pregnancy?

It was hard, due to major complications – I was in and out of hospital and it resulted in complications at birth and after, mainly due to negligence. My consultant, however, was amazing and didn’t make me feel that the issues were because of my age. She expressed feeling sorry that she had to see me in her clinic more as a result of my age. In fact, my midwife told me that I wasn’t old and it wasn’t unusual in her practice to see mums 40+ these days. So, in general, I had a really good experience in terms of my age with all medical staff that I met whilst I was pregnant.

Amy pregnant with Sidney

Were you offered any memorable (or unhelpful) words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy?

I did hear on a few occasions “you’ll be the oldest mum in the playground” 🙄, “you’ll be really tired because of your age” and “you’re so tired because you’re old”.

Describe how it feels to be an older (geriatric) mum?

Amazing! Having done it at, what I consider, a young age and at at much older age (40+) I feel much more confident and I would go as far as to say I prefer being an older mum (that sounds awful, but I don’t mean it like that). I think the preference comes from being more secure in every aspect of my life – financially and emotionally and that has come with age. These days, I enjoy my children so so much and appreciate every single second with them. Yes! I am tired, but so are my friends who are 10 years younger than me with young children, so in no way do I relate this to be ‘geriatric’ it is just a fact of motherhood. I have to say, I feel much more laid back these days and I think that helps me as a mum, too.

Sidney had a difficult start in life and I had a bad time pre, during and post birth. I was really poorly after having him and ended up having a hysterectomy to correct some of the issues I was having post-birth. Sidney was quite poorly afterwards too, he was in and out of hospital with bronchiolitis and it was a really stressful and unsettling time. Thankfully, we both are doing really well now, and despite having a rough few months running up to this birth and afterwards, my lovely baby boy makes all of the hard times we experienced, worth it.

geriatric mum holding her new baby who was premature
Amy holding 1 day old Sidney (first time she held him)
Geriatric mum Amy holding newborn premature baby Sidney
Amy holding 2 day old baby Sidney

Amy, do you have any top tips for readers?

My top tips are – firstly, don’t listen to negativity about your age – being an older mum is the BEST and I have done both young and old. Secondly, enjoy every minute of it, even the bad bits, because what happens is that the good outweighs the bad and the good will shine through, and thirdly, sleep when you can, and have lots of coffee and gin!

I love Amy’s attitude towards being an older mum, it matches mine. Despite having a tricky pregnancy and a worrying birth she now has a beautiful, healthy baby boy. We are Gerry Mums and proud!

Thank you, Amy.

Lucy aka GERIATRIC MUM.

Have you joined my free facebook group yet? It’s a great place for us GMs (Mums who are 35+) to share stories and experiences; CLICK HERE

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Lucy Baker is the founder of Geriatric Mum and she is a confidence coach helping women to be confident at work. If you want to discuss anything confidence related, you can find her email on her SCC website; www.shecoachesconfidence.com

How to fix the hard skin on your feet

Not a glamorous thing to admit, but I have always struggled with hard skin on my feet and it looks and feels horrid – think crusty heels and socks that crackle and catch as they go on and you have got the idea. I am told it is from being a flip flop lover, which I quite understand, the flipping of the sole has a hardening effect on the skin.

Flip flops aside, until recently I had tried everything under the sun to combat my unsightly heels, including:

Exfoliating Foot Socks – wow! These things are, at first glance amazing, but actually quite brutal. The first time I used this type of bootie after 8 days the skin on my feet shed like an old snake and I felt like this was a total blessing, but I do now feel they add to the problem of hard skin, because for me, it came back twice as badly. Helen, my Reflexologist (I say that like I use her a lot, she’s actually only done my feet once and it was wonderful) told me that we do need a layer of hard skin on our feet for protection and for balance.

Pumice Stone – there was always a pumice stone in the bathroom when I was a kid and I actually never liked the look of them – I always thought they looked grey and somehow a bit unhygienic. I bought one a few months ago and I tired it on damp feet whilst standing in the bath. I kept dropping it and it felt way to small, and actually a bit crumbly, and it didn’t really seems to smooth my feet very much. It is now in the bin.

Supermarket plastic foot file – I bought a plastic-handled foot file that was about £3 from a supermarket. Back in the summer, I was happily filing my feet in the garden (dust flying everywhere) whilst watching my son play, and the bloody thing snapped. I might’ve been a bit gung-ho with my filing technique or it was a cheap n nasty bit of kit. “Buy cheap buy twice” my husband always says, and in this instance he was right.

Foot file that looks like a cheese grater – In the foot care aisle of a big pharmacy store, I saw a handled foot file that looked like a mini cheese grater and for some reason I bought it! I got to work on my hard heels with it and actually it made them sore! So that too, went in the bin.

Helen, who I mentioned earlier, is a Reflexologist and Foot Health Practitioner, she says;

Developing hard skin (callus) on the soles and sides of our feet is a natural response to friction, pressure and drying out. It mainly occurs around the heel, big toe, little toe, and ball of the foot as these are the areas that take the most weight and / or, are most often subject to the results of poor fitting shoes. 

Callus is protective: Our skin is a vital organ for protecting our delicate insides from the outside world, and it literally holds us together. When it is subject to continuous rubbing, trauma or loss of moisture, the deeper layers of skin get busy producing extra skin cells to push up to the surface as a barrier to whatever is going on. This is why many people with hard skin find it gets worse during summer – flip flops offer no support; they continually bounce on and off the heel while the foot loses all its moisture which usually helps maintain its elasticity. Poor feet!  Because hard skin forms as protection, an important tip when filing down hard skin is to do it gently and in smooth long strokes in one direction, do not take it all off in one go, and moisturise well afterwards. I know this might sound counter-intuitive, however, if you go at it with a sawing motion or with the force of a cheese grater, the skin knows that it is under attack, and then it will try to protect itself.

Such wise words Helen, thank you.

So what does work?

For me, the only things that have made my feet baby-soft are a stainless steel handled foot file and Flexitol Hard Skin & Callus Balm (see photo below)

Be gone hard skin with these bad boys!

The foot file is bloody ace! It has a rough side and a fine side (much like its supermarket friends) to help remove stubborn dead skin and then smooth it, but the big difference is that it comes with new ‘grits’, 5 of each. When the old one is a bit worn out, it can be taken off and replaced – hurrah. Also, unlike the cheaper versions, it is sturdy and can withstand even the most vigorous of filing sessions – great for when I first got it, because my feet were pretty awful.

After filing my trotters, I apply a small amount of the Flexitol Balm to the heel area only, and massage it in well. The website says that the product is designed to remove hard skin without the filing, but I ignored that and went for both, and will continue to do so.

I can honestly say that after years of hating my hard heels and actually sometimes picking the hard skin off , and making the area bleed (I know! I know!) I have finally found what works ; two things used three times a week to give me feet that I am proud of. Having nice feet makes me feel good, even if winter is in the way. Smooth heels stops crackly socks and that alone is worth the £12.50 I spent to get them.

Hope that was helpful. Let know if you try it.

Lucy

Follow Lucy on instagram; @geriatric_mum

Find Helen (Foot Expert) on Facebook here; HappyFeetByHelen

Lucy Baker is a mother of 3 and she had her last child at 43-years-old. She hosts an online support community for ‘mums who happen to be older’ on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums which is currently at 1.9K members. Lucy is a confidence coach and her website is www.shecoachesconfidence.com

This feature is not sponsored. Flexitol has been recommended because it is good.

The obstacle course with no finish line

Today I’ve been singing the line “I just don’t know what to do with myself…” from the song by The White Stripes – it has been going round and round in my head, I love the song and the words feel right today.

It is a normal Monday in July, actually, start again – it is normal Monday in July, yet instead of embracing the first week of the summer holidays with a sense of freedom and relief that the school run is done, everyone in the house is fed up with each other, even the cat is feeling fed up. It isn’t a ratty, over-tired sort of fed up that we all go through in life, it is more I’m sick of the sight of you fed up – and it feels like it is at the highest level today. As I write this, I am imagining that strongman game at the arcades, and the bell ringing out as the puck hits the top during one of our family ding-dongs, to indicate that we are at top level fed up.

The kids keep arguing, they always have a bit, but right now it is off.the.scale, Rox is being a typical 18-month old, you know, chucking food, putting fingers in sockets, jumping off sofas and hitting us with everything – in fact, he hit me with a toy dustpan today and I burst into tears. it hurt, and as I said, I’m feeling a bit White Stripes lyrics today and a bit fragile. But back to Rocky, he is just being a fab funny little boy, but because none of us have had a proper break, there is always a kid around, if not three, it makes the food throwing and dustpan hitting feel way more annoying than it should. My husband and I swing from kissing in the kitchen in front of the kids to totally ignoring each other and handing over the toddler to make a work call without making any eye contact. Honestly, one minute we are dancing around and flirting and the next we can’t bear the sight of each other and are literally tearing our hair out. Even the cat runs a mile as soon as Rocky Bamm-Bamm walks up to her – her routine is out and she is fed up too. If I think about it too much, I find it all quite sad, but we are okay, and he said to me today when we broke away from a grump to talk about sweetcorn – “Lu, 5 months everyday together is pretty tough – I love you”.

So on this Monday, despite life opening up a bit more, none of it is normal really is it, how can it be?

The girls haven’t stepped foot in their school for four and a half months, The Bakers have spent nearly every hour with each other since 20th March 2020, and it is starting to feel like we are in some pantomime. Ok, that is a bit OTT (Oh no it isn’t!), but it just doesn’t balanced and regular. I used to hate regular, but perhaps part of me actually needs that. I know we can see friends, go for dinner if we want and shop, but it is the no school and the boredom that the children have experienced that concerns me. I am a confidence coach and in normal life, I know exactly how to keep myself feeling good, but the last few months have been a test like no other – much like trying to complete an osbstacle course with no finish line… and now we are all running out of fuel.

The kids are playing up at meal times, we are fighting with them daily over screens (with no clear idea what it actually best), we are experiencing a level of mum and dad guilt like never before and the older kids are developing a bit of an attitude that goes against everything we want for our kids. But it is not a normal time. One of my girls has ADHD, so life has been doubly tough in many ways, and yet so many don’t understand what we go through as a family, and what we have been through to date – but that is another blog post entirely, and I will write about it. All I want to say right now, is those who have supported us through her diagnosis and more, have a place in my heart forever.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times where we’ve done what we would’ve done during a tough race – pick the other person up and climb the hill together. That said, there have also been times where we’ve all needed space to go alone – but haven’t had the chance to, in other words there has been nowhere to escape to. I can’t just up and leave in the middle of the day, each outing needs to be finely tuned and planned. Just today, we needed to buy a cat flap for little Gracie, so I had Rox and Dan took the two girls to the hardware store – another lap of the obstacle course complete. Go Dan!

I think that the main issue hasn’t been covid-19 or us spending time together, we actually all like each other a lot, it has been the fact that we both have to work with three kids in the house. I mean, if that isn’t crazy, what is? The more I think about this fact, the more cross I get. I run my own business, which luckily I can do from home. My husband works for a company in London, and luckily he can do his job from home, too. I say luckily because we are both working and we can share the kid-load and that makes things a bit better… or does it?

I don’t know if it does or it doesn’t, I flip between that all day long. In some ways it is better, but the intensity of five people in the house (three children under ten) and two parents with a shit load of work on, doesn’t make it better.

What I do know is that both of us don’t have any downtime. I am often up early to do bits of work and I then hit the laptop again at around 9pm – that can’t be good for mental health, can it? But what other option do we have? You know, I look back longingly and reminisce about those dreamy morning school runs, with just one child in a pram and the chance for me to have a natter in the street or to grab a coffee and a pastry on the way back to the house. Ok, they weren’t dreamy at the time, but they feel it now. My husband keeps dreaming about his deathly silent train journeys where the aircon was a touch too cold and the passenger next to him was eating something stinky, but he didn’t care, of course he didn’t, he was freeeee and on his own! (read that as freeeee with no kids!) Oh my days, what bliss.

Pregnant The Screwed have just published a survey of 20,000 working mothers and it is a fascinating read. It perfectly hits on some of the frustrations that I have and am feeling around childcare at the moment. Our toddler is just about to start nursery and we are doing it for two reasons – so he can have interaction with people other than his parents, and so that we can work. Oh by the way, the cost of 2 days a week is just over £400 a month, so I feel we have to spend money so that we can work. This isn’t about shoving him out to nursery, it is about having time to work.

So anyway, back to the point of me writing this. I am writing this today because I have felt all over the place and I know that feeling comes from me trying to work, the fact that no-one feels excited about summer, and the sadness I feel from us bickering and annoying each other. For us, this family of five, this isn’t how we are.

I am not a blamey person (it is a waste of energy in my book), but if I were to blame how I am feeling on anything or anyone, I actually don’t think I could. It is what it is, as they say, but I do wish it was different.

My only advice, and I don’t have much as a parent, is to talk and share, oh… and never judge.

Lucy x

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79 days as a lockdown mum

It has been 79 days since school closed. I don’t need to tell you that that is a long time to have three children under the age of ten at home 24/7, without any break from them, or them from us. No friends here for tea after school, no trip to the local park to let the kids play on the climbing frame, no pretty instagram picture trips to the zoo, no trips to see cousins and family – no let up. But hey, it is what it is. As lockdown eases a touch in the UK, we are getting a little taste of real life – I don’t know about you, but I almost feel in my groove as a lockdown mum, almost-ish.

Don’t get me wrong, I crave seeing friends in the pub, going on the train, even soft play!, seeing the school mums on the walk into school for an idle, unforced, un-Zoomed chat. I like those chats best of all. The organic natter, which for me, makes life feel real, and okay. The pre-arranged video chats and quizzes always switch my mind into work mode – because I have been Zooming for years at work.

Zoom aside, I also miss everything impromptu. To some degree, as a family, we are organised – ok I’m fibbing a bit here, I’d say a BIT organised. We are way more impromptu than organised. Wanna meet us at the beach in an hour? Yes! The Bakers are there. I think for us as a family, that has been hard. But we are kinda used to it now, although I am not sure I want us to be used to it.

The big thing for me is that I don’t feel used to the sedentary side of life. In normal times, I loathe it, it doesn’t suit me, or the kids. But, we have had to try and get used to it, or at least I have – just like everyone else has. You see, I find it hard because it goes against everything I believe in as a parent. Sure, there is garden time (mainly the one year old) and jaunts out to the local gap – we live right by the sea – but the girls (7 and 10) have become much much slower, and more argumentative – Oh my, the arguments!

I think every parent in the land (world!) has had to re-adjust. We started off with great intentions to home-school (I’m sorry but that term HAS to go), but then we soon realised that the kids eating their lunch without having a major meltdown, was a good day. Eating lunch without a mega strop is still a good day here – I think that’s our marker. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we have had about 3 good days in the 79, I kid you not. One of us has lost our shit every other day, and often it is multiple children and adults, losing it together. It has been, and will continue to be, hard.

Our children are 10, 7 and 1 and trying to balance and manage their needs 24/7 (and ours needs as parents) is impossible. It is absolutely impossible and no-one wants it to be like this. I don’t know about you, but I switch from yep this is OHHHHKAY to WTF IS GOING ON, around twenty times a day. Again, I think we all do. But, like all parents, we get on with it – because we have to.

I have been named, by a few friends, the 70’s mum. My dream is for the kids to play outside ALL day, exploring and getting messy, whilst I cook a delicious pie. Lie! – whilst I work. My dream is far from reality. The girls are obsessed with Adopt Me (Roblox) and although it is a cute game and time on a screen is handy for two working parents – it drives me mad. Seriously. We all know that computer games are like a drug, you start, and it is likely you will get hooked. It is true. Flyable rideable unicorns are not what they seem! I have to admit, screens have been useful during lockdown, but have you ever tried to get a kid off a screen when it is dinner time, despite 84 warnings? It is hell on earth. But, it is life, as we know it. I don’t like it, but it is life.

We are safe, we are healthy, we are all quite bored and we are on day 79 of lockdown life. And I am a lockdown mum. We have moments that I will cherish forever, but we have had hormonal rages (not just me!), boredom rages (all of us), frustration rages (all of us), toddler tantrums (you can guess that one), I hate school and never want to go back rages (both girls), I miss my friends (both girls and me!) and many more rages. I guess these rages are raw and real, and I do like seeing people for who they are, I always have – the real deal, no airs or graces. Lockdown life is raw and real.

It is day eighty tomorrow. With no change here – ding ding. Life continues with three children wanting food, piles of washing mounting up, not quite managing the tidy home that everyone else seems to have, no school runs, no looking forward to Friday night out in a pub with friends, no school work being achieved, no playgroups for my little man, – BUT we are spending time in our lovely garden, eating nice tasty meals together (most of the time), we are all going through this lockdown craziness as a little family – together, I somehow have time to work on my business, the house is messy and chaotic house and I am a lockdown mum – trying to keep things ticking over, trying to keep people happy, trying to look after everyone and me whilst staying positive and casting my mind ahead to things we all can do, when ‘this’ is over. It is surreal, intense, boring, beautiful, a nuisance, sad, too much, too little, magical and horrible. It is is far from ideal, but we are making it work – just!

Lucy (Geriatric Mum)

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One Year On

I am always asked what it is like to be a new mummy again, and in truth, it is hard work. I have 3 children now (9,7 and 1) and life is a big old juggle. My baby – who was born when I was 43 – is now 1, and I am 44. That’s right! I am 44 with a 1 year old.

My little baby is 1

As you may know, when I found out I was pregnant at 42, I struggled to find anywhere to hang out as an ‘older mum’ so I created that place in a facebook group called We are Geriatric Mums, and it is thriving. It is a wholesome, non-judgemental place for mums who happen to be older.

Having a new baby is one thing – ok they are up all night, but they do not move, and having a busy, walking, grabbing toddler is another. One of the things that people said to me when they found out I was pregnant at 42 was “how are you going to cope now that you are older” and do you know what? It’s ok. The bit that I’d forgotten, because I haven’t had a little one for 7 years, was the sheer energy that these toddlers have! WOW. The grab, smash, pull, grab, fling, chuck mentality that these little ones have, or my little one has, is amazing. Actually, I am not a fan of the word amazing per se, I find it is wildly over-used in this day and age – all you need to do is watch The X Factor – but amazing this little boy is.

His energy, his vitality, his thirst for learning is just so wonderful, and before you think this is a mum-style brag, it isn’t. I’m just fascinated with how these little humans, at just 12 months old, are.

Rocky is 1 (with his fave birthday present)

I think I am noticing it more with child number 3 and appreciating it greatly because, I am so much more in tune with myself as a person and mother, and I make time to enjoy it. With baby 1, I had no idea what I was doing. I look back on it now and feel like it was such an odd time in my life. The birth was hard, we were living in London, I had no family or friends around me and sleep deprivation was a killer. When baby 2 arrived, I was so pre-occupied with my 2 year old potty-training toddler, trying to work, feeling tired and in all honesty, not being in any kind of groove – I don’t even remember noticing much of what went on – apart from the typical milestones like walking. When I am asked what my second daughter’s first word was, the answer is, I don’t know!

One of the real bonuses, for me, of having a baby at 43 (with a bit of a gap from the others) is that I am so much more present. I really really love it. It doesn’t mean to say I am any better a mum this time around, or was worse back then, it just means that I am aware, a bit calmer and I am enjoying it more – even the thousands of tiny food bits I have to clear up off the floor each day, but I have been doing that for 9 years, so that’s just part of motherhood right?

I think the feeling of being more present, comes from age a little bit, but mainly from that fact that I am now a confident woman – I wasn’t once! Confidence brings clarity and calm to all parts of life, especially motherhood, for example, I haven’t read one baby book or fallen for the latest gadget this time around, which is very different to how I behaved back in my 30’s as a mother. I trust myself, I know myself and I like myself and this filters into how I am at home, as a mum. I love being an older Mummy, it really is one of the best things I ever did.

Do you feel confident as a mother? Do you notice and enjoy the little things? I understand that motherhood is very complex and it isn’t easy, there are so many factors too that can make it such hard (work, partners, PND, PTSD, finances, family and more) and if you are struggling seek the appropriate help.

If you are an older mum, follow me on INSTAGRAM , facebook or join my thriving fb group WE ARE GERIATRIC MUMS

If you would like help with your confidence, message me via my work fb page; She Coaches Confidence

A chat with Rachael

Rachael is an inspiration. After being diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, she went on to have her baby boy, Elliot at 42. Read all about Rachael and her story below, and her fab realisation at the end of the piece.

What is your current age?

44

At what age did you have your first baby?

42

At what age did you have your last baby?

42 – and sadly, I cannot have any more.

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant with your over 40 baby?

People were pleased. He was my first and he was my miracle post-cancer baby. I was child-free when I was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 36, and it is one of those things that women of that age don’t think will happen to them – but it does. My  first thought when I was diagnosed with breast cancer was “Can I still have children?”.  My breast care nurse was fantastic and, encouragingly, she told me to leave it with her. Three days after our conversation, I had an appointment at a fertility clinic. Many people don’t realise that chemotherapy can make you infertile – so freezing eggs / embryos is potentially an option for women who want to try and have a baby. I ended up freezing 7 embryos.

After active, hospital-based treatment, I was put on hormone therapy for two years – this is prescribed to reduce the risk of recurrence as much as possible. After the two years had passed, my Oncologist gave us the okay to try for a family.  We wanted to try to get pregnant naturally first, but after three months of trying, with no success, we decided to go ahead and use our frozen embryos. I had two rounds of IVF, both with the embryos that we had had frozen. Sadly, the first round didn’t produce a successful outcome – I did fall pregnant, but at my seven-week viability scan, they could see a heartbeat, but it was measuring small. A week later, I went for a follow up scan, and there was no heartbeat – I’d had a missed miscarriage. For round two, I had three frozen embryos left but only two survived being thawed. We decided to transfer both and hope that at least one was viable. Amazingly, one survived and was implanted, resulting in my little boy, Elliot. He is a two-year-old bundle of energy, and although things can be exhausting at times, I would not change them for the world. Without that final attempt at IVF, we wouldn’t have had children.

Were you offered any memorable words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy?

Not really no. I think they knew I just wanted him here safe and sound. They knew how much this meant to me and everyone was there for me to give me support. I was on blood thinners during the pregnancy and was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so my medical team kept a close eye on me. I didn’t mind at all, I found it reassuring rather than intrusive that I was being closely monitored and cared for. My midwife was brilliant – I felt comforted that she fully understood my situation. As a result of breast cancer, I only have one boob, and during my pregnancy I found myself stressing about breastfeeding – but my midwife reassured me it was possible. Sadly, after Elliot was born, I did not produce any breast milk, so we bottle fed him – but we tried.

Describe how it felt to be an older (geriatric) mum?

I felt isolated. During my pregnancy I went to NCT classes, and whilst I met some lovely people, in all honesty I was scared witless. I had no birth plan (I didn’t want one) and I just wanted my baby here safely. In addition, I was so used to being independent, and the thought of such a huge change in lifestyle was quite daunting.

Before I was diagnosed with cancer I was a bit of a workaholic. Ironically I was working in research and development – on oncology clinical trials for a pharmaceutical company and was working on a breast cancer drug at the time. I was busy and focused, and being a mum wasn’t something that I had in my life plan. When I met my current partner, I knew that I wanted a family. When I was diagnosed and during my treatment, my breast cancer gave me a huge reality check. I’d faced my own mortality. I’d understood, pretty much overnight, that I wasn’t invincible and my illness had helped me to recognise what was important to me. When I was diagnosed, one of my first thoughts was, “What if I die and I’ve never been a mum? What if I die having never experienced childbirth or parenthood?” Those questions are the harsh reality of a cancer diagnosis as a woman.

I won’t have any more children, Elliot is our one and only. I am taking Tamoxifen (my hormone medication) and will be for the foreseeable future. I’m disappointed that Elliott won’t have a sibling, but feel so lucky that he is in our lives. He is loved beyond words, he is our little miracle.  

Newborn Elliot

Is your child in school yet? and if so, how do the other mums and teachers react?

No – he is at a fab nursery which he loves and has lots of little friends there. And no-one has referred to me as grandma! (yet). 

Please write here about anything you think fellow geriatric mums would love to read about; advice, coping mechanisms, exercise beauty, body, pelvic floor or anything humorous or helpful.

Oh – I am happy to talk about my IVF/ breast cancer experience – ask away! Plus, I now know that being an older mum doesn’t mean your life goes on hold – it just changes. My biggest learning was not comparing my child to others – he did everything in his own time. Initially, I invested too much energy and worry in why he wasn’t doing things as fast as other children, rather than enjoying being in the moment. I’ve learned now that he is perfect as he is, and will do things at his own pace.

Rachael and Elliot
Elliot enjoying an ice cream

What an inspiring lady – Rachael you totally rock!

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A chat with Stacey

Meet Stacey, a 41-year-old mum of three children; Jade, 19, Nathan, 14 and Phoenix, 10-months.

Stacey

She lives in Derbyshire with her partner Rich, and they have been together for four and a half years. Stacey works as a supervisor and is currently on maternity leave, which she is totally loving.

She is a keen walker and enjoys running, which she’s hoping to get back into when she gets a bit more sleep.

She loves being a Mum again, especially because she wasn’t sure it would happen. Rich and Stacey tried for 6+ months to conceive and then sadly had a miscarriage. They were left wondering if that was their only chance and Stacey felt like she could almost hear her ‘clock’ ticking. Fortunately, just a month later, Stacey was pregnant again.

Below Stacey told me more about her experience of being a ‘geriatric mum’ so grab a cuppa and read on…

At what age did you have your first baby? 21

At what age did you have your last baby? 40

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant with your ‘over 40’ baby? I had lots of congratulations and people were generally pleased for me. I had a few people (that I barely know) ask if it was planned! I was shocked by the cheek of that question and found it very rude. I answered with a confident “Yes, very much so” but in my head I was like “it is non of your f#####g business!!

Stacey Pregnant with Phoenix, aged 40

Describe how it felt/feels to be an older (geriatric) mum? I love it! I feel wiser, I am more sure of myself and I am much more chilled than before. I truly relish every little thing my baby does because I understand how quickly time flies.

Stacey’s sound and supportive advice for other older mums is this:

Don’t worry about what others think of you being an older mum. I must admit I found pregnancy really tiring in the early days, but I kept reminding myself that nothing lasts forever. Pregnancy yoga throughout your pregnancy is great, because it can really help with the breathing part of labour and it helps to keep you calm.

Get as much support as you can from anyone, and do antenatal classes and get out there to meet other mums. I attended NCT classes and we have a whatsapp group that we chat on almost daily, we often meet up for coffee and there is even the odd night out – a must! My advice would be to read lots of baby books but only use the advice that feels right for you, enjoy your maternity leave and time with your baby and only go back to work when feel 100% ready.

Stacey and her beautiful Phoenix (3-months here)

Thanks to Stacey for sharing her story on geriatric mum, I am so glad that she had her happy ending after miscarriage. Do make sure you are following geriatric mum on social media:

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and the fab facebook group

Lucy x

Five feel good tips

As a make-up artist and confidence coach I am always asked for my top feel good tips and my top tips for make-up and skincare. Whilst I am not a dermatologist, I do know a fair bit about having good skin and I have a few tricks up my sleeve for making your skin look gorgeous without too much hassle. I am ALL about the non-hassle quick fixes (I’m a busy mum of 3) and below I am sharing 5 things that I do and that I recommend to women that I work with. (products mentioned are my personal recommendations)

  1. Skincare routine – as we age our skin needs much more attention. Top tips are to use a facial SPF50 daily, to keep age-spots, unwanted pigmentation and fine lines to a minimum. Apply to the backs of your hands and the neck and chest area, too. Ditch the make-up wipes (most are too scratchy and harsh) and use a gentle micellar water to remove make-up and a creamy cleanser to cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin. Do a home face-steam once a week to cleanse out the pores and hydrate the skin. Look for products that are hydrating – dry skin can look extra ageing so make an extra effort to add hydration back in, and that doesn’t just mean an extra blob of moisturiser!
  2. Sunglasses – you might not have time to do any kid of make-up first thing, especially if you are organising the school run – so my top tip is to buy a fab pair of sunnies and wear them as much as you can. Sunglasses, even in winter, hide tired eyes and can really zhoosh up an outfit (jeans, trainers, long cardi standard here) and make you feel a little bit more pulled together. Team the glasses with a bright lipstick and you will look as though you have had all the time in the world to get ready – when actually it has been a chaotic 3-mins tops.
  3. Yoga and Strrrrretch – at the end of a day my back and hips are often a bit stiff, my muscles are achey and I realise I feel tense – that’s 3 kids and working for myself for ya! My top tip for you is to stretch every single night and do some yoga. 30-mins stretching is all you need to do to ease muscles, lengthen the spine and wave goodbye to any tension from the day. You will need 1 x yoga mat – which gives a bit of grip, your smart phone – to play some relaxation music*, a dark room – so you can start to get sleepy and 30-mins of your time. I pretty much make up a ‘routine’ as I go along – I do some simple yoga poses and stretches (downward facing dog, child, cat – have I confused you? If so, google them) and then I just stretch out the areas that feel a bit tight and sore, usually my hips, neck and shoulders – understandable after having 3 babies and carrying kids around, right? Oh, remember to get fully ready for bed before you do this mini-chill session, so that when you are finished you can climb straight into bed whilst crossing your fingers and toes and praying that non of your kids wake up! *Choose any 30-min relaxation music and play softly next to the mat.
  4. Hand Cream – do your hands look like sand-paper? As I typed that I just looked at my rough hands and ran for my hand cream. Top tip – apply lots of hand cream throughout the day and even more at night. As a new mum (again) I remember what a state my hands got into with the girls and here I am again. It is the constant washing after nappy changes, baths, bottle prep etc and they do get dry, like reeeeally dry. My fave hand products are 1) pharmacy olive oil for an overnight treatment (rub into nails too) 2) Aveda Hand Relief which smells incredible and is not greasy 3) For extra dry hands, I recommend Udder Cream – yes! you read that correctly, and it really works – the brand I use is Battles and I buy it online 4) a pair of cotton gloves – you might look like the queen, but wearing these at night will help your dry hands if you apply a thick layer of moisturiser before on popping them on
  5. I have to get a make-up one in here so my last top tip is a liquid highlighter. Before you panic, I am not talking about instagram style tin-man frosting all over your face, ohhhh no. I am talking about a subtley highlighted face that gives you a youthful glow. I love 1) Benefit High Beam 2) Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, but do shop around and look for one that is sheer yet sheeny, almost dewy. Apply to the high points of the face – cheek bones, bridge of nose, upper lip and chin – and also on any frown lines to help the area look hydrated and to bounce the light away. You must blend it in very well.

I have a load more tips to share, but there is absolutely NO point writing down 20+ tips in one blog post. The reason being that you are less likely to attempt even one of them and I want to inspire you to feel good and try these things out, so I’ve just shared 5.

The reason I added yoga and stretching to my list and not ‘exercise’ in general, is because we all know we should be exercising, but we don’t all like it and one-size definitely doesn’t fit all. I wanted to suggest something that I have found to make a big difference to my sleep, my mood and my body and something that anyone of any size, ability and strength can really benefit from.

So, here’s to getting older and not feeling quite as creaky and dry-skinned as maybe we once did.

Lucy (aka Geriatric Mum)

If you want to join my facebook group We Are Geriatric Mums (for mums, want-to-be mums, pregnant women over the age of 35) click here

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Being an older mum

I’m sitting in the Athletic’s club bar whilst my 9-year-old daughter is at training outside in the (nearly) dark. The other kids are at home. I have been wanting to write a bit about what it is really like to be an older mum, but I usually don’t have the time to write. It’s busy. Three kids is busy. Earlier I posted on instagram about the kind of things I have filled my day with, check my insta out to see more about that, I won’t bore you here with it.

I am a mum of three. They are 9, 6 and 8-months. I had my babies at 34, 37 and 43. I am classed, by some, as a ‘geriatric’ mum, an ‘older’ mum, a ‘too old’ mum, an ‘are you crazy’ mum! These labels mean nothing to me, because I know how I feel about being a ‘new’ mummy again in my forties.

Lucy Baker Older Mum Geriatric Mum
I am 43. He is 8-months. I am an OLDER MUM

I am loving it. I am loving baby number three. And I will tell you why. I am waaaay more relaxed as an older mum. I am calmer, more in tune with myself, happier and I guess I have more experience with 2 kids under my belt. I have let routines pretty much fall into place and I don’t get stressed when my babe won’t sleep, or eat. I guess that comes from experience. I certainly wasn’t like that when I was 34 with our first born. I read too many books, panicked a bit and didn’t feel like I could trust the process.

I now trust the process and this, for me, comes with age, experience and not worrying about what others think of me, of my parenting.

Being an older mum is SUCH a privilege. I really do feel lucky that I have been able to add to our family. I fell pregnant pretty quickly (one hit wonder!) and I gave birth to our little boy at 40+6. The girls were 41-weeks and 41+3-weeks. I’m lucky.

I’m not going to go into the birth story. I haven’t published it and I am not sure I will. It wasn’t an easy birth, and the truth is I am still trying to piece it together. For me though, I focus on the now and I am so utterly chuffed that the baby boy I had back in January 2019, is in our lives.

Not all women have success stories. I run a group on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums and there have been some really sad situations. Mums, pregnant women, want-to-be mums go through so so much and not all of it ends happily.

We are constantly being told of the ‘risks’ of having a baby over the age of 35; gestational diabetes (GD), miscarriage, high blood pressure, birth defects… and others. I was tested for GD, it was negative. I didn’t have high blood pressure. I didn’t have a miscarriage. Was I lucky? I don’t know. My geriatric pregnancy can’t be compared to anyone else’s, can it? It was my pregnancy and my baby. It can’t be compared to a pregnancy at a different time of my life either, can it? All pregnancies are different. But ‘they’ do say that, statistically, the risks are higher when you are an older mum.

Luckily I wasn’t a stat.

Being an older mum is, shock horror, just like being a younger mum, or a 32 year old mum. It is the same. I feel the same. I don’t feel THAT creaky or exhausted or like I am past it. I feel good as an older mum. I think the biggest difference for me this time around is, that I am calmer. I am kinder to myself, too, and as a result I think I am making a better job of being a mummy to a new baby. I kinda know this time around what works for teething (anbesol), I feel like I know what toys my baby likes (anything shiny, wooden spoons and an ugly plastic walker), and I don’t panic if we run out of nappies or if I go out without a pile of baby paraphenalia – I know now that the world won’t end.

I also don’t own a changing bag, I repeat, I don’t own a changing bag! I know, I know. Instead, I have a cool backpack, with zippy pockets and a separate little cool-bag that is designed for bottles. And that is it. As an older mum I recognise that you don’t need all the shit. Don’t get me wrong, I do buy baby stuff, stuff that I find useful. What I don’t do is look like a walking version of a baby store like I did with baby number one and two. I had so much stuff I didn’t use or need, I mean, I had a snot sucker for my first born and never used it.

I’m much more relaxed and as a result I am loving being an older mum. When I first told people I was pregnant at 42, I had a mixed reaction and some of it did hurt. But now, if anyone says “wow you are going to be 47 when he starts school” I think, what a privilege. What an honour. Who cares if the greys will be sprouting and that I could be 20-years older than some of the other mums, perhaps even 25-years older – who cares.

If you are reading this and are thinking of having a baby, or are about to have a baby, or have lost a baby and you are older, my only advice to you is to ignore what other people say. Follow your instinct and believe in yourself. Older mums are NOT too old. I am 43. I had my third baby at 43. And that is ok. I am ok with that. People ask me if I am ‘coping this time around’ – and the answer is yes. People ask me if I am ‘exhausted’ -and the answer is yes, to a degree, but it is NO different to when I had the girls at 34 and 37. Having a new baby is tiring. But that is okay. Motherhood is tiring, but it is wonderful, too.

If you want to connect and ask me anything about being an OLDER MUM, find me on instagram here, I’d love to connect.

Lucy x