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A Chat with Jennie

I had a chat with fellow geriatric mum, Jennie. Below she describes her experiences of being an older mum which covers miscarriage, heartache, depression, joy and feeling fit, oh and her dislike of the term ‘geriatric mum’ – Welcome to Jennie!

What is your full name? Jennie Galgey

How old are you? 47

At what age did you have your first baby? 32

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? I had been through a terrible two years and over all people were happy for me. I did get the odd few saying you’re mad, it’s just starting to get so easy for you!

Were you offered any memorable words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy? Yes, my husband was on quite dangerous medicine at the time, so the docs were a little worried, but I was lucky that they looked after me well. 

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Jennie and her husband, Rich

Describe how if felt to be an older (geriatric) mum? I was actually quite worried about reactions like “is he your grandson?” or “are you his Nanna?” but in reality it was all fine. And even though there is a 9-year gap between the children, I bounced back much quicker with Ben than my first child Jess.

Is your child in school yet? and if so, how do the other mums and teachers react? Yes, he has just finished in reception. I must admit I purposely chose a school with mixed-aged parents and a year in, we are both fine. I am probably fitter than some of the younger mums I know from the school gates. I have just completed the 26-mile moonwalk and Ben keeps me young. I have no regrets.

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Jennie and Ben

Please tell us anything you think fellow geriatric mums would love to read about; advice, coping mechanisms, exercise beauty, body, pelvic floor or anything humorous or helpful. I would say that if you are an older mum, you are not alone. The only difference I can see between myself and other older mums is that they perhaps have a second partner or had re-married.  I have been so much more relaxed and organised with Ben as a result of being an older Mum and I proudly wear my slightly wobbly (alright very wobbly) tummy with pride – after all, it has comfortably housed 2 babies. I must admit, I can’t bring myself to say that I’m a ‘geriatric mum’ – to me this word conjures up thoughts of an old granny!

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Newborn Ben

Thanks Jennie for your frank and open interview. It goes to show that women who are over 40 can do it, too.  I love Jennie’s comment about the term ‘geriatric mum’ – I feel the same, which is why I want to dispel the term and beliefs around this still used term.

I addition to my questions, Jennie wanted to share more about her story which I am delighted to give you here:

“I remember thinking, I can’t believe that I’m going to be 40 years old. I’m going to celebrate in style at a James Bond style party, I want a girly fun trip to Spain, a big dinner party – I wanted it all.

I came back from a trip to Spain to find out that I was pregnant. I was over the moon – for me this was the icing on the cake.  Then I started to get pains and bleeding and was rushed to hospital. I will spare you the other details, but after being in hospital for 2 days, I walked out without my notes and just with a slightly podgy tummy to remind me of my loss. I was devastated!

It was my daughter’s 8th Birthday and I struggled to keep up appearances -inside I was falling apart. Then came the news that my husband would have to start some really strong medication to help him cope with severe arthritis! He was advised this means no trying for a baby. For me this was a bit of a blow and my world darkened. My depression came out in strange ways, first there were tears and this very quickly got worse – I was doing crazy weird things. One particular day, I managed to go through red traffic lights, in my head they were green – looking back on it now I wasn’t thinking straight at all. Another time, I left my passport on the plane in Spain and had to go back through with armed guard to retrieve them. I ended up having to seek help and it took me a while to get back on my feet, back to Jennie. In all honesty the situation was worse for me than losing my Dad. After about a year, I managed to start socialising again, with friends, in groups and with my husband.

At this point my husband was still on the medication and doctor wouldn’t give us any kind of time frame regarding how long he might have to take the meds. We were both still feeling like someone was missing on our life.  We had gone down the route of freezing his sperm, we made this decision and went ahead with this before he went on the medication. I had to fight for it but it felt right. We started to face facts that having a baby wasn’t looking promising, so we decided to adopt. The first agency we went to said that we had been through too much, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I found another agency in our area, booked an appointment and it went brilliantly. We were going to adopt a boy and we got through the first round after which they offered us a date.

The date they gave us didn’t fit my work load because I was fully booked with wedding work and as a result, we were put to the back of the list.

After a few drunken weekends with Rich, I felt kinda different. Could it be that I was pregnant? I did a test and it was positive, but I didn’t tell him. We went away on holiday when I was 9 weeks pregnant, and shortly after we got there I started a bleed. My husband took me to hospital and I was in a terrible state. The hospital told us it wasn’t the baby and instructed me to rest -I had to relax with my feet up and no going to the pool. I actually kept the hospital plastic bracelet on until he was 24 weeks, it felt like my lucky charm.

We returned from holiday and I had a further complication with my urine that needed to be treated, but after 16 weeks I returned to normal. Over the next weeks, I had to have continual tests because of the medication and I was being monitored pretty closely.  

Our beautiful baby boy Ben was born at 38 weeks after a stretch and sweep. I had in him a water pool. It was the best feeling and our baby boy was a perfectly healthy 6lbs 4oz.

I was back to working at my first wedding after 6 weeks. I’m fitter and healthier as a result of having a younger child. I feel totally blessed and all the things that people say, like you will be tired or too old to cope is rubbish. I truly feel that age is in the mind, and I am 25!

I was a bit worried that other mums wouldn’t accept me, but I’ve since come to realise that lots of women are having their children later on in life. The odd few are a little shocked that I have a 5-year old, but I don’t experience is that often.  Personally, I don’t care what people think of me anymore, I am elated that my wish to have another child came true. Even my doctors said congratulations on being so determined to get pregnant!”

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A happy healthy Ben

Jennie runs her own Bridal Hairstyling business; go and check it out on facebook www.Facebook.com/bridalhairbyjennie/

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