The news broke this morning about Meghan Markle’s pregnancy at the ripe old age of 37. Harry is 34. When I say ripe I am obviously saying that in jest, because in my opinion, it is a wonderful age to have a baby. I had my first at 34, second at 37 and our third is due at the grand old age of 43! – now that’s ripe!
If I cast my mind back to my twenties or my early thirties, I was still very immature if I am honest. I lived in London, was surviving hangovers, massive nights out, I loved shopping for just me, I had weekly arguments with my boyfriend and I was not in a place where parenting was even a thing – ur no thanks! I remember one of my ‘party friends’ telling me that she was expecting and I have to say I felt a sense of loss. Selfish as it sounds, I felt sad that I was losing nights out and cool parties with my partner in crime for her and for me – so in a sense, that feeling demonstrates how immature I was in my early thirties. I met my now husband at 30-years old and one of the first things we did together was dash off around the world for 10-months. You can’t do that when you have kids, not in the way we did anyway – booze, partying, crazy bus rides and living life to the max. We returned, got jobs again and whilst living in a vibrant part of East London, I found out I was pregnant. We lived in a top floor flat, had a party life-style, I loved my freedom and I was 33. When I told my Mum I felt like a little girl again. “Hi Mum, urrrrm, I’m pregnant” was kinda how it went, but my point here is that I was 34 and still felt very young and, in a way, not ready.
If we think about Meghan, she is a woman of the world, she only recently married her Prince and today, her pregnancy was announced. This makes me feel and ponder a few things:
- How bloody brilliant that she is expecting her first child at, what seems to be, the right time in her life.
- Women learning of her news today will think a few things; a) wow that was quick! b) it is ok for the Royals they have it easy and will probably have a nanny once the baby is born (I had this very conversation at the school gates this morning) c) she is quite old for her first baby d) Amazing news e) she seems to have conceived easily
- I wonder if her obstetrician classifies her as ‘advanced maternal age’ or yep you guess it, as a ‘geriatric mum’
You know, the thing about being an older mum, in my experience and from talking to 460 women in my facebook group (We are Geriatric Mums), is that often women who are more mature (I use that term loosely) are more in tune with what they believe in and with their bodies, too. Of course this isn’t always the case, but I speak to ladies all the time who say that they feel more settled, more capable and more understanding of pregnancy and birth, as an older mum. Meghan may well be seen as a geriatric mum at 37 because some medical professionals in the UK class an expectant mum from 35+ as advanced maternal age. I understand this is because of the known risk to the baby and the mother at an advanced age, so I don’t take offence to this categorisation at all. I just want people to be aware that older mums can do it too.
At 42, I feel bloody amazing. I also feel really in tune with this pregnancy in a away that I didn’t or couldn’t before. I have two girls in full time school, I work for myself as a Confidence Coach which means that I can pick and choose my hours and I have time off if I need to. I am under the care of an NHS consultant which, for me, feels wonderful. I have more scans than ‘normal’ and because I am older and dare I say wiser, I feel like I understand what I need and want more than ever. I listen to my instincts when I can and I don’t compare myself to other pregnant women like I did in my first two pregnancies. Why on earth should expectant mums compare bumps and weight gain? I’m pleased to say that I don’t do this anymore and Meghan, neither should you. What I am more aware of these days is the comments from others that I do not let stick in my brain like I did during pregnancy number 1 and 2. Like “ooh your bump looks really big” or “you don’t look nearly as big this week” yehhh cheers for that – how to worry a pregnant woman! I had these two comments in the last week and I do let them wash over me and respond with a “oh do I?”
As a 42 year old women, I know my body and I am good at flagging concern, asking questions and trying to do what is best.
So Megs, if you get a chance, fling me a copy of your pregnancy notes, I would love to see if you have anything on there referring to your age. Are you a geriatric? Or, did you swerve any kind of age reference because you are a royal? (not my words, the words of another mum at the school gates).
Lucy, Geriatric Mum (27-weeks pregnant and 42 years old – gasp!)