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:

Instagram

facebook Page

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

Returning to work after baby number three

Tomorrow marks the day that I return to work. I’m self-employed and have been for a number of years, it is the only way I can make being a working mum, work. I had baby number three in January 2019 and always knew I would take some time off, but I had no set plan as to how much. In the last few weeks I have been itching to use my brain properly and my decision to return just feels right. I feel ready, my baby is in a pretty good routine and it is all systems go.

I’ve occupied my mind over the last few months with building up a community for Geriatric Mums. Creating this blog, the facebook group and other social media bits has meant my brain hasn’t completely shriveled up, but I have to say that my memory and my capacity to think quickly, has noticeably changed. I’ve been craving problem solving, connecting with other business owners and I’ve been missing my work life.

I’m a confidence coach and I help women to become confident inside and out. I love my work and I’m committed to helping others with their confidence.

My own confidence used to be really unstable and I have first hand experience of how damaging it can be in both your work and personal life. On a scale of 1-10, I’d fluctuate between a 2 and a 9 (and everything in between) and it was utterly exhausting. Only when I decided to work on my own confidence 4 years ago, did things change for me. The result was me being in control of my own life and designing a work life for myself that suited me and my situation. The other benefit was that I was no longer hiding. I was no longer unhappy. I was no longer blaming others for my misfortune. I was in control and happy.

I am in control and happy.

Top Tip: wear BRIGHT lippy

I want to share with you my top tips for feeling confident about going back to work:

  1. Make sure you feel ready to go back.
  2. Agree on the hours that suit you and be in control of this.
  3. Plan childcare well and have a back up plan.
  4. If your pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit you, go and buy a few key items that make you FEEL great before you step back into work. If you wear a uniform, buy a gorgeous bag or some accessories or go for a fab haircut instead.
  5. Practice a simple skin-glow make-up look, for when you don’t feel like you glow (yep, we’ve all been there).
  6. Master bright lipstick – this can make you feel great even on the dullest of days.
  7. Work on your inner confidence – once you become truly confident you will handle anything your day throws at you, especially when things don’t go to plan.
  8. Journal every day – using a journal will help you keep on top of your feelings and to process or prepare for your day.
  9. If you are not happy in your situation, decide now to change things, before it makes you miserable. If you can’t make that change on your own, get support.

Good Luck if you are returning to work soon, dig deep and work on that confidence so that you enjoy being at work – you’ll be so glad you did.

Lucy

A long two hours

At my last scan at 32-weeks, my consultant, whom I really respect and trust, suggested that I go for a gestational diabetes (GD) test, mainly due to the fact that the baby has a larger abdominal circumference measurement in relation to the other measures they did at the growth scan. The babe was measuring on the 95th for the tummy, whereas the rest of the measures were on the 50th, or so. As a result, my consultant suggested I tested for GD, and I agreed. The test is an oral glucose tolerance test and it is done at the hospital.

My consultant gave me a sheet, you know the kind of sheets they give you from the NHS and the advice was very clear that I needed to fast from 10pm the night before the test and not to have a cuppa or any breakfast the morning of the test. NO CUP OF TEA! NOT A SINGLE DROP OF EARL GREY TEA – which is my favourite pregnancy crush at the moment – sob. I coped. Of course I coped, I have two lively children and I am pregnant with my third – one morning without a cuppa was a walk in the park in comparison.

After my crazy tea-less morning of herding the girls out of the door so that a friend could take them to school, I headed for the daycare unit at my local NHS hospital.

I arrived at 9:01am – for me that feels late and I hate being late! Actually, does that say anything about the baby and his due date? – no of course not. I have always hated being late and both girls popped out 10-days and 7-days over their due dates, so my hatred of tardiness obviously has no bearing on child birth.

After 40-mins of waiting at the day care unit, I had a finger prick test and a tube of blood taken. I don’t know about you but I am really squeamish and cannot look when I am having bloods. It sends me spinning. Whilst I was chatting to the nurse about the glucose procedure, I saw someone else’s tube of blood and it sent me a bit giddy – in fact, even typing this right now has sent me off again. If I could put my head down between my knees like they suggest if you are about to chuck a whitey, then I would! But I can’t. I am too pregnant for any kind of bending forward. After the slightly wobbly blood moment, I was given a very sweet drink in a plastic cup. The colour was a cross between bile and urine, but I drank the lot in 3 gulps and headed back to the waiting room to hang around for a long two hours whilst the drink and my body got to work. Just before I left the nurse, she explained that the baby will now have a party due to the high sugar I had just consumed – and she was not wrong! Kick, stab, bladder punch, jab, kick kick kick for the next long two hours.

I waited. I am a bit of a nosey parker (Geriatric Mum language if ever there was any!) so in addition to tapping out this blog post, I was having a good old look around. Out of the nine other people in the waiting room, two of which were men, seven of them were on their phone. One lady was playing a LOUD video, another was scrolling scrolling scrolling at a furious pace and stopping at cat videos on facebook. One lady was talking loudly to her mother in law (I worked it out) and slagging off her other half for being stubborn. It was like an episode of Eastenders in there and I have to say, I was enjoying it! Oh and another lady kept putting her phone into her bag, hearing it ping, grabbing it out, putting it back in the bag, hearing it ping, grabbing it out – on repeat. Crumbs I am nosey.

I had to wait two hours until the follow up blood test. It really is a long two hours. I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital or go shopping – it said so on the leaflet. In fact, that really made me chuckle – is that what people do? Go shopping in between a hospital procedure?

If you are going in for a GD test, you might want to consider the following 8 points. They are things that I didn’t think about and a couple of them are tips that the ladies in my fab facebook group We are Geriatric Mums suggested for me.

  1. Take a good book – the opportunity to read is v slim these days, I wish I had done this
  2. Pop a handheld fan into your handbag – hosps are usually boiling!
  3. Arrive with a large bottle of cold water
  4. Ask questions to hospital staff if you feel like you need to know more
  5. If you are squeamish look away when they take your bloods – I speak from experience
  6. Take headphones – you might (will) need to block out other people’s noise!
  7. If you work for yourself, use the time to do some work – there is nothing else to do (you can’t even go shopping!)
  8. And finally, plan a delicious lunch for after the test – with a hot cup of tea

Two days after the test, I called the daycare unit to get my results. I was told that my results were Normal – which was a huge relief. That doesn’t mean I can go and live off sugar like there is no tomorrow, but it does mean that my body can handle sugar whilst pregnant, just as it does when I am not pregnant. Good news. It still doesn’t answer the questions of why my babies tummy is on the large side – I guess we will find out more at future scans and when he POPS out! 

@geriatric_mum

Do join over 600 women in the facebook group I mentioned above, it is fab; We are Geriatric Mums

The Third Trimester

Today, I hit 32-weeks and am well into my third trimester. I have to say that with each week that passes part of me breathes an obvious sigh of relief. This relief signifies the obvious progress in my pregnancy, but also for being on the home straight and for being closer to meeting our boy.  That said, the other part of me is a bit sad to realise that the relatively straightforward bouncy second trimester, is well and truly over.

For me, the second trimester is the beginning of the obvious bump, the you are packing on the pounds comments, the stronger nails, the thicker hair (I have proper haaaair !) the 20-week scan and the beginning of making excuses not to do something – “Daaaan, can you lift the guinea pig cage outside my back really hurts”… “Daaaaan can you bath the kids whilst I put my swollen ankles up”… “Daaaaaan I’ve been shopping and the boot is loaded up and I can’t be arsed to empty it” – you know the score.

The second trimester is my fave and with a hunger that matched my kids’ hunger at 4pm after school, I ate with gusto.  Huge breakfasts, 11am snacks, a loaded lunch, cake o clock at 4pm with the kids and a man-sized dinner at 6pm. Not forgetting the other late evening snacks  of cheese, biscuits, cereal, toast, fruit, yoghurt and honey, and whatever was in the fridge. I really enjoy the second trimester hunger. Real proper tummy-rumbling hunger.

The third trimester is a whole different kettle of fish, or should that be kettle of babies – actually no, that sounds wrong.

As a *cough* geriatric mum I was really keen to get to 28-weeks to find out if it would be harder and more knackering than before. When I say before, I mean 6-years ago with our second child. I remember feeling exhausted at the latter stages of my pregnancy and sleeping / not sleeping on the sofa just so that I wasn’t huffing and puffing all night next to my peacefully sleeping husband. I have to say at just 4-weeks into my third trimester, my sleeping has gone from dead-weight-nothing-will-wake-me-up status to nodding off at 9pm and waking up hourly and shuffling around into position whilst trying not to disturb the cat. Why do I even care if the cat jumps off our bed at 2am? I’m not sure, but it is always in my head and goes a bit like; Lucy, whatever you do, don’t disturb the cat.

Aside from slightly crappy sleep, I have made an effort to keep moving and I will until the due date in January. When I say moving, I mean lots of lovely long walks and doing my kegel exercises. Years ago, I clearly remember reading that a great way of doing kegel exercises is to pretend that the clenching of your pelvic floor muscles is like going up in a lift (elevator), do bear with me on this. You start with a mini clench as floor 1, then tighter for floor 2, then tighter as you go up in the lift. Go as far as you can and then totally relax. I liked this idea and do it when I remember, like RIGHT NOW! I got to floor 15 just now. Apparently, it helps to stop the wee leaking out and from wind passing unnecessarily after childbirth – which is obviously not nice and highly embarrassing – a friend said!

I recently spoke to Clare, a personal trainer here in Kent, who she has written her top tips for pregnancy fitness:

Pregnancy is not the time to take your foot off the pedal in terms of fitness, in fact the opposite is true.  You’re asking so much of your body that keeping it in good condition, staying strong and active is the best way of coping with the inevitable aches and pains and ensuring that you’re in the best possible place, physically and mentally, to take on the stresses and strains of carrying, birthing and looking after a baby. 

By the time you’ve reached your third trimester (T3) your body is under an increasing amount of pressure and the fatigue that you may have experienced in T1 is likely to be back. Additional weight gain, stress on your pelvic floor and increased blood volume, as well as the presence of relaxin (a hormone secreted by the placenta) mean that from this point any exercise you take should be really low impact and low intensity.  It’s time to focus on managing the niggles that T3 can bring, as well as prepping your body for the birth and strengthening the areas that will set you out on a speedier post-natal recovery.

  1. Glutes

Your glutes are an important part of your core and help stabilise your hips and lower back – the stronger they are the more support you have here … and lets face it, this is where you’re going to need the most strength and stability over the coming weeks and months as you go from ‘Baby On Board’ status to Mama and carrier of baby/buggy/sibilings/shopping.

Examples of really simple and effective glute exercises that anyone can do at home include:

– Squats (use the back of a chair for stability if you need it) – stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lower down, with your knees tracking over your feet, bum out behind you, head & chest up. Take 10-12 reps

– Side Laying Hip Abductions – laying on your side, using your forearm & hand to support you, take a slight bend in the leg that connects with the mat, and with control, raise and lower the leg that is stacked. Take 10-12 reps on each leg

– Donkey Kicks – come on to all fours, knees hip distance apart, wrists tracking directly underneath your shoulders, kick the leg back, taking the heel up towards to the ceiling, retaining the right angle of the leg. Take 10-12 reps on each leg 

  1. Chest & Back Exercises

Now you’re in your third trimester your centre of gravity starts to shift even further forwards, which can cause your shoulders and upper back to round and in turn, your chest to collapse.  With that in mind, it’s important to focus on opening out the chest and strengthening the upper back to counter these issues.  

These are best performed with a Resistance Band (RB) which you can pick up from Amazon for just a few pounds. These are worth the investment as they lend themselves to so many workouts you can perform at home.

(https://www.amazon.co.uk/Resistance-Physiotherapy-Stretching-Strengths-Available/dp/B06ZYH78KQ/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540800950&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=meglio+resistance+band

– Chest opener: Take the RB out to chest height, and take your grip on the band so your hands are shoulder width apart.  Keeping your hands at chest height, start taking your hands away from each other stretching out across the shoulders and opening out across the chest.

– Back exercises: 

  1. Take the RB around a Table leg or bannister spindle, wrap the band securely around your hands and start take your fists shoulder distance apart then up & pull them back towards the shoulders in a rowing action, feeling the shoulders blade pick together at the back of the move. Release with control and repeat (12 reps)
  2. Take your foot in to the centre of the band, put a bend in that knee and straighten out the back leg for stability.  Secure the ends of the band around your fists (tight enough to create a challenging enough resistance) and start to row the fists up towards the armpits. Lower back down with control and repeat (12 reps) 
  1. Pelvic Tilts 

Performing Pelvic Tilts at this stage of pregnancy can help reduce pressure on your hips, and lower back (they can particularly help reduce and pelvic pain associated with SPD) as well as strengthen your abdominals (which is tricky to do during pregnancy as many abdominal exercises involve flexion (the action of bending) which should be avoided pre and postnatally in order to safeguard against abdominal separation (diastatis recti) 

Pelvic Tilts can be taken in varying forms so take the option that feels most comfortable to you: 

  1. Stand Straight with your back against the wall and relax your spine
  2. Deep breath in as you press your lower back to the wall (here you’ll feel your glutes activate as you ‘tuck your pelvis under’)
  3. Exhale and release/relax
  4. Repeat for a minute or two (or for any many as five if you’ve got the time and standing for that long isn’t too uncomfortable) 

If standing to do the Tilts feels uncomfortable take it down on to your knees, neutralise/straighten your spine and just rock the pelvis backwards and forwards.

Another good variation on the Pelvic Tilts are to come into a table top position (on hands & knees) and to work through what are almost like Cat Cows, but instead of arching the back as you push away and then dropping the belly & raising your sit bones, you just move with your pelvis, tilting it backwards and forwards.

Wow! I know what I am doing for the next few weeks – thanks so much Clare.

@clare__yates

www.move-me.fit

Most recently, I have been experiencing the good old acid reflux. It’s an acid-y kick-back that creeps up on me when I bend down to pick up a smelly sock off the floor. I am remedying it with Gaviscon at the moment, and am making an effort not to eat after 7pm – like they say in the books. I try, I really do, but that post dinner pang tends to get me every time. I am also sleeping on 2 plump pillows and a V pillow which is really helping with the acid burn in my throat.

The other thing the third trimester brings forth in one’s mind is… drum roll… the birth. THE BIRTH! Now, as a geriatric mum of 2 kids I do feel I’m more in tune with this one. I have more support, I have the experience of two very different births and I definitely possess more patience. I also don’t google as much.

Top Tip; Don’t google!

A few months ago, I met a gorgeous lady called Sophie, who is a mother of 4 and an experienced Birth & Baby Coach. She really is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to everything to do with pregnancy and birth so I asked her for her 3 tips for the third trimester and my goodness, this lady talks a lot of sense:

1: Invest in your birth. Prepare by educating yourself about birth and how you can have the best birth for you and your baby. Knowledge is power. It doesn’t solve any medical issues along the way but it can empower you to ask questions should you need to. Preparations for your mind and body now will help you to be less fearful or anxious or birth and your abilities beyond birth. Get into the habit of using breathing and mindfulness techniques to help you cope.

2: Make it Birth-Ball-Tastic! These reinforced rubber balls are so much more than you realise. Firstly, you can’t sit wrong on one. They help you balance, realign and if pumped up properly for your height, will gently tip your pelvis to allow that little bit of extra room for baby as it descends into your pelvis. Swaying, rolling, bouncing and general leaning are all encouraged! Many women grow so attached to their balls (!?!) that it’s the ultimate companion during birth too, both familiar and useful when it comes to being more active and positioned during labour and birth. No more sofa slouching ladies. Get on yer balls!

3: Take time for you: Self Care Time is essential now. Use therapies such as reflexology/massage and gentle movement like to Yoga, Aqua Natal and Walking. Take luxurious baths and listen to MP3’s designed to help you relax and feel confident in your body and it’s abilities. Hydrate and nourish yourself. Love the blossoming you and trust in your body. Use affirmations daily to reaffirm the positives and reframe the doubts.

I believe that any birth can be a positive birth if you invest in the experience and it suits you. Be aware that your beliefs may change as you learn about birth and most importantly that your fear of change and transformation should become more balanced and realistic. Give yourself time to be real. The material things can wait. It’s about your pregnancy and birth, then you and baby (and partner/family), and lastly the material things.

Thank you Sophie!

@mammaburch

www.mindfulmamma4thtrimester.com

I now have 8-weeks left to bounce on my ball, take care of myself and to get my pelvic floor as strong as can be. In fact, is it possible to do all of that in just a few weeks? my answer is YES! As Sophie and Clare quite rightly pointed out, now is the time to get body and mind strong so that the next bit is, dare I say it, easier.

Lucy

@geriatric_mum

www.facebook.com/geriatricmum

 

 

A Chat with Linzi

This post is about Linzi, a mum of twins. Despite living with illness, Linzi had healthy twins at 42 and in this interview she tells you what she faced and some of her experiences when she was pregnant and as an older mum. Over to you Linzi…

What is your full name? Linzi Meaden

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

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant with your over 40 baby? Well my parents were floored! They never thought they would be grandparents and so it was the best news ever for them, and others were hugely excited and happy for us. Only a couple of people suggested it would be harder work and that they are glad they now have teenagers, not babies!

Were you offered any memorable words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy? Not really. Because I was expecting twins my family and friends couldn’t relate, so understandably no advice was offered. My midwife, doctors and consultant all said that it would be tough at my age!

Describe how it felt to be an older (geriatric) mum? For me, it felt the right age. I wasn’t ready in my twenties and was too ill with Crohn’s disease in my thirties. Being 40-something meant I no longer cared what others thought, too. I can remember saying, when I was 30-something, that I never wanted to be an older mum! Oops! I’ll admit that I’m exhausted with having twins and chronic illness too, but I can’t actually put into words just how blessed and lucky I feel to finally be a mum… a mother! It is love at a completely new level and I highly recommend it.

Is your child in school yet? and if so, how do the other mums and teachers react?No, they are only little. 

And below, Linzi has written some more about her experience of pregnancy, birth, babies and more. It is a lovely story and amazing what the human body can do even when faced with the struggles of illness.

From the age of 27 I was in and out of hospital having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, associated arthritis and osteoporosis – an illness normally reserved for post-menopausal women. As a result, dating was off the cards whilst I focused on my health and holding down a career in HR.

Fast forward to 2007, I was 32 and I decided to go speed-dating with a friend on the eve of St Valentines Day. That night I met my now husband, who also happens to be an amazing hypnotist – am I still under his hypnotic spell I wonder?!! Ha ha!  On our first official date he told me he had 2 boys from a previous relationship (not married).  They were 6 and 4-years old and looked super cute in the photograph, we didn’t have Smart phones back then!

A few years later, he proposed on my birthday in 2011, which was also the eve of the Royal Wedding (Kate & William), and we planned to marry in 2012.  However, in November 2011 I decided to start looking at venues and found a beautiful country house with a last-minute date available – it was just 4 and a half weeks away and we we went for it.  Several family members asked if I was pregnant, I wasn’t, and we got married on 20 December 2011. It was a fabulous Christmas wedding.

My husband and I set up our own business together and had plans to relocate to LA, with a therapy clinic in Beverly Hills.  We were rushed off our feet with business, travelling and making plans and the years just flew by without us realising how much older we were getting.

In February 2016 I visited my Chiropractor and realising I was ‘late’ I popped to the chemist to get the magic stick.  When I got home, I tested straight away and yep, I was pregnant – it took seconds to show the positive reading.  We were both absolutely over the moon, yet a little bit apprehensive about being ‘older parents’ – my husband was almost 49 and I was 42.

After speaking to midwife, I was referred to the hospital for a 9-week scan.  Thinking it would be a general check, I said to my husband he didn’t have to come along as the 12-week scan wasn’t far away.  To my total amazement, the sonographer turned the screen towards me and voiced “here’s one healthy heartbeat and look, here’s another… you’re expecting two babies”. Well, that floored me!  I could not believe it and I burst into tears. Part of me wished that I hadn’t said to my husband he didn’t need to be there, I would love to have seen his face.  Anyway, that evening, I left a bottle of brandy with the scan pictures in the kitchen for him to see when he got home.  When looking at the scan image, he thought that there was just one baby and only when I told him to look carefully it clicked that there was two. The brandy was most definitely needed!

geriatric-mum-of-twins
The much needed brandy!

I suffered with bad morning sickness, so had to stop seeing clients.  We managed a last holiday away to Spain before our new arrivals, so that I could top up my Vitamin D levels and I even got a last round of golf in back home in the UK when I was about 6 months pregnant – that was fun!

We joined an NCT group and had our first local group meet up in September 2016.  There was another mummy expecting twins who I’d met at the local TAMBA meet up in May of that year, so it was good to be able to share the experience of expecting twins.  We were super lucky in that our group of 8 couples (expecting 2 sets of twins and 6 singletons) everyone was friendly and fun.  The youngest parent (mum) was 27 and the eldest, well yes, that was us!  The majority being 30 somethings.  We set up a whatsapp group and we’ve messaged every single day since.  We all regularly meet up, with and without the children, and I can’t imagine life without them – each and every one of them is amazing and I’m proud to be able to call them our friends for life.

Fast forward to the birth itself. We opted for caesarean section based on medical advice.  I had no idea what to expect. We were advised that the twins were to be born no later than 38 weeks and we chose 31 October (Halloween) to give birth to our little witch and wizard, which was 37 weeks and 3 days.  The pregnancy itself went really well, apart from the morning sickness. I was lucky because growing 2 or more babies, being geriatric (!) and having a chronic illness on medication could have gone against me, but it didn’t. Even the C-section was a breeze with the relaxing sound of Il Divo playing in the theatre.  Shortly after the birth, I started to feel pretty damn awful, despite being dosed up on morphine, but I couldn’t feel awful because two hungry little mouths and squinty little eyes were looking up at me wanting food and comfort.

geriatric-mum-of-twins
The new twins!

From that moment, my life changed, and it’s been the best most amazing time ever.  I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I am over 40 and I gave birth to 2 babies at the same time.  Yes! I’m exhausted, but that just says to be me that I’m doing something right.

geriatric-mum-of-twins

Thanks to Linzi for sharing her story on geriatric mum. Do make sure you are following geriatric mum on social media, links below:

Instagram 

facebook Page

And the fab facebook group

Lucy x