Janey is a remarkable woman, I admire what I know about her so much. She is an author, commentator, coach, practitioner and speaker and she used to co-present the UK’s biggest radio show, BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon. Janey has written five books on Holistic living including the #1 Amazon best seller Imperfectly Natural Woman and currently writes columns for many magazines, runs training workshops and consultations on Media Breakthrough for holistic businesses and solopreneurs. She also runs The Sober Club. Wow!
Janey told me her story about being an older mum, which started 24-years ago when she had her first baby at 38. Please note that her third child is called Rocky and she was 43 (just like me) when she had him. Spooky or what?!
Right – over to Janey:
Name Janey Lee Grace
What age were you when you had your children, and how old are they now?
I was 38 when I had my first baby, Sonny. I then had Buddy at 40, Rocky at 43 and Lulu when I was 45.
How did people react when you told them you were pregnant at an older age?
I heard rumblings of “you’re no spring chicken!” – but I couldn’t have cared less. I always felt youthful, I had masses of energy and have never ‘bought’ the concept of having a child later being a problem. I was fully focused on my health and well-being and determined that it wouldn’t be an issue, and it never has been.
How did you find pregnancy?
The medics thought my first pregnancy was an ovarian cyst and so it was a shock to everyone when my pregnancy was confirmed. I experienced some bleeding, so the gynaecologist recommended that I go on bed-rest. I realised soon after, that wasn’t needed – I was fine. I ignored their scaremongering stories and carried on living my life in a way that felt right for me.
Were you offered any memorable or unhelpful words of wisdom when you spoke to others about your pregnancy?
My first pregnancy was a deep learning curve. I wanted the experience to be as natural as possible – I had read all the books, paid for private care and planned a water birth. However, my contractions were not progressing after 28-hours and the obstetrician advised that I needed an epidural. This meant I couldn’t have the water birth I had planned. I finally ‘let go’ and my contractions progressed and he was born – onto the floor! I have to say, he has always been the most ‘grounded!’. My other children were born in the birthing pool. I will always remember what the consultant said to me when I had Sonny, my first – “it’s the baby’s birth – not yours!”
Describe how it felt to be an older (geriatric) mum?
I loved it! Any fears I’d had around not getting work or not feeling energetic, were unfounded. With each baby I found a new level of energy and confidence. I think I stepped into my ‘authenticity’. The new confidence meant I wasn’t so much of a people-pleaser which in turn made me a better parent who was able to say no if necessary. I had lots of energy to work (albeit part time as a presenter) and to be fully involved in the kids lives. We home educated the first two boys until they were 9 and 10, which I loved.
My kids are almost all grown up now. My daughter is 17 and in sixth form college. She has remarked in the past that her friends’ grandparents are the same age as us (62) – ouch!
And finally, some words of wisdom from Janey:
As we age we have more wisdom and some of us want to focus on optimum health. I was always health conscious, but when the kids were young my drinking increased and I became part of the ‘mummy wine’ culture. On the evenings I had a babysitter booked, I took off to the wine bar to feel ‘grown up’. It soon became a habit and I was most definitely a ‘grey area drinker’ – not clinically dependent on alcohol, but drinking too much, too often. Thankfully those days are now gone and I am five years sober. I SO wish I’d stopped drinking alcohol sooner because I think I would’ve been more present with my children when they were young.
Do you want to know my top tip? It is simple:
DITCH THE BOOZE!
See Janey’s incredible TEDx talk here – Sobriety Rocks – Who Knew!
And her website here
Thank you, Janey. You prove that being an older mum can be wonderful and that work and life doesn’t have to fully stop during and after having children. If I look half as good as you do at 62 – I will be a very happy woman.