Introducing Geriatric Mum, Kathleen, who had her first baby at 47-years old after a long battle of trying. Kathleen is a member of my facebook group, and despite her being across the world in Canada, she feels close. Her story is positive and wonderful and I am honoured to have her on the blog.
How did people react when you told them you were pregnant at an older age?
Everyone was super supportive, I think due to the fact that a lot of people had known about our fertility struggles and losses for over a decade. Honestly, people were so amazing. If anything, I was the one making jokes and self-deprecating comments, perhaps so others wouldn’t. I think the worst thing anyone said to me was after a loss we had 6 years ago, when I was 41, when my friend’s husband actually said I needed to get over the loss and it was my fault.
How did you find pregnancy?
Over the years, we tried everything to get pregnant, and the final decision was to use an egg donor. We live in Ontario, Canada and after a lot of deliberation we went to a well-known clinic in the US. I was very overweight and had a thyroid auto-immune disease and PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). I lost 190lbs in two years after researching proper medication and putting in lots of hard work.
The very first donor egg embryo transfer, worked. I never, ever gave up hope and manifested, had vision boards and everything imaginable to help me to stay positive. I was 46-years old when I fell pregnant and 47-years old when I had him – I am now48 with a 15-month old.
I was excited to be pregnant, I loved my body and wanted a huge baby bump. I was never worried about gaining weight, I just wanted to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. The pregnancy was good, although I started getting sick at about 6 weeks, it was nothing serious, just vomiting and constant nausea – and this was a constant throughout the whole pregnancy. My baby was thriving despite the sickness and I lost 30 lbs however I wasn’t worried because it all felt like a blessing – even the sickness.
At that time, I would hear co-workers and friends complain about pregnancy symptoms and I felt jealous. also I felt quite anxious throughout my pregnancy due to my history of losses and even right up to my induction date, I was scared my child would be a stillborn – I think that I felt the fear to a greater extend because I had a friend this happened to. It took A LOT of positive self-talk and trying to live in the moment for me to get through, and looking back, I was really happy at this time in my life.
We attended a fertility clinic up until I was 10-weeks pregnant and then sent to a high-risk clinic at the big local hospital, which was about 40 minutes from our home. I was seen monthly until the end of my seventh month, then twice a month and finally, every week. I was induced at 37.5-weeks due to my age, which is standard here in Canada.
My labour was 20-hours and the delivery was awesome. My little boy was born with jaundice and a small lip-tie, both of which were easily fixed soon after his birth. Due to the maternity system in Canada I was able to take 12-months off with him and I had a further 5-weeks of holiday time that I had accrued – it was a special year and I breastfed him for that time.
Were you offered any memorable or unhelpful words of wisdom when you spoke to others about your pregnancy?
Honestly, it was a mixed bag. People shared awful stories, good stories – the good the bad and the ugly. I think that my age and my journey made me not stress about any of those things, I just felt so focussed about having my baby in my arms, and so was able to brush a lot of it off.
Describe how it feels to be an older (geriatric) mum?
The sleep deprivation at the beginning was tough. I was used to having a solid 8-hrs a night, and would never have classed myself as a morning person. Anyone reading this who is a mother will know that changes the moment the baby is born. The older and bigger he gets, the slightly more achey I am getting, for example when I am carrying him up a flight of stairs, but it is manageable and worth it.
For me, my biggest fear (and my fear of having another child) will be my age when my child/ren get older. I want to be around forever, with him, but I know that is not possoble. My husband is 42 and it different for him, he just doesn’t have the same worry. When I think ahead, I think about when I am due to retire and realise that my son will be the right age to go to University, and this feels hard. I often think about my own parents being such a huge part of my life and feel heartbroken that I won’t be there for him when he is my age.
How do the other ‘school’ parents react with you being older?
My son is now in day-care and I’m always the first person to bring up my age and story and the response from people is always positive. Thinking ahead to school – I am sure the mums will be so surprised when I roll up!
And finally, Kathleen, what advice would you like to share with other mums who happen to be older?
My advice would be to find your circle of friends – don’t be afraid to reach out. Finding We are Geriatric Mums was such a huge help and support to me, I found the Facebook group after I had him, but I know the support would have been equally as amazing prior to his birth.
I was advised not to buy a million things because they really need very little and it is true – I want all new parents to know this. The last year was absolutely not what I expected (the pandemic) and we all missed out on travel, visiting, playgroups and seeing the family. He hasn’t even met his cousins who live in Canada but far from us. In truth, I don’t have anything to whine about, I spent 13-months with the most delicious, loved, scrumptious baby that I had waited for forever.
For my own mental health (from the week we were home) I got properly dressed every day, and wore lip-gloss, blush and put my hair up – it helped me immensely and I would advise all new mums to do the same, where possible.
I’d say to enjoy the times when they are sleeping a lot, that will change! Also, don’t Google things – instead talk to friends or other Geriatric Mums for answers. Googling just leads you down a rabbit hole of worry which isn’t healthy for you, your partner or your baby. Please know that your body will come back – it just might not be the same, even if it changes a lot, know that you did the most incredible thing a body is capable of doing.
What a incredible woman, and it gives us so much hope – doesn’t it? If you have a story you would like to share, just get in touch > firstname.lastname@example.org
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Lucy Baker is the founder of Geriatric Mum and she is a confidence coach helping women to feel confident. If you want to discuss anything confidence related, check out her website: www.shecoachesconfidence.com