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/

42 and pregnant

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42 and Pregnant! Back in May 2018, I noticed that metal-y mouth taste on-and-off for a few days and thought to myself, nooo, I can’t be! (metal mouth was one of the first symptoms with my other pregnancies). Anyway, I checked my calendar, no record of my last period (so me!) so I waited for a Saturday morning when Dan and the kids were out and rummaged around in my wardrobe for a pregnancy test that I knew was lurking in there from about a year ago. I did the test, and with shaking hands I placed the stick upside-down on top of the loo and went to wash my hands – for ages and aaaages. I am sure you can guess the next bit, yes the ‘stick’ was positive! After multiple deep breaths and a massive ‘Oh f**k’ I dithered around for about an hour until Dan came home. I kept looking at the stick in that time, to see if the prominent line was fading away, but it wasn’t. It was as clear as day. When my husband got back, I told him the news in our bedroom. He fell back on to the bed and exclaimed a long line of expressive terms, a few ‘really really?’ comments and one ‘I knew it’ remark, and that was that.

That evening, we were due to a friend’s new place for a BBQ. Whilst sitting having a natter in the garden, my friend was kindly filling my glass up with gin, and when her back was turned I was tipping it away! It didn’t feel right. A mum of three herself, with kids from 13 down to 5, I felt she was just the person I could talk to and I needed to get it out! So, when the men popped to the shop to grab more beers, I had to say something. I just blurted it out. The point of sharing this part, is because talking to other mums is such a good thing to do, especially when they have similar circumstances. So apart from my husband Dan, Kath was the first person to know.

For the next few weeks, my head was buzzing with thoughts and worries surrounding the news. My most prominent thoughts were; But I’m too old – I finished changing nappies 5 years ago – I run my own business – I love working too much – Both the kids are now at school – I am going to be 47 when the baby starts school – We have got rid of all the baby stuff – I love my sleep – Three kids?! – Mum of three – and so.many.more, ON REPEAT!

The one thing I kept coming back to was my age. I knew I could cope with a baby. I knew I would have support. I knew our older children would try to help. I knew I could survive on little sleep. I knew I could cope with pregnancy. I knew I didn’t fear giving birth. I knew I was cool with 3 kids. But was I cool with my age? 42 and pregnant. And possibly 43 when the baby arrives. Forty Two!?

After researching online and googling the google out of google, I didn’t feel like there was anything of any value when it came to finding out about ‘older mums’. I read a lot about the risks, the consultant-led care, the term geriatric mum (which was first brought to my attention by my mum, who at 32 was called geriatric in 1976), but I didn’t see much that offered support and advice for us over-40 mums. Us mums who are 42 and pregnant.

I did read that the proportion of over-40s mothers has trebled in 3 decades, which shows that some women are having babies past the average/accepted maternal age.

42 and pregnant is a curious thing, and I say that because of the reactions I have received from others since we shared our news. I know that people mean well, but the comments I have had really are judgemental, unfair and a little hurtful. Yet, I guess they are to be expected.  I think they are pretty normal reactions when thinking about us 40+ mums, due to the stigma attached to being pregnant later in life.

But are they Ok?

I am only 13-weeks pregnant and I have been on the receiving end of; are you mad? – You’ll be 47 when the baby starts school! – Have you thought about your age? – I thought you were happy you have got your life back – Was it planned? – You are crackers now Nancy and Ivy are in school! – Do you think the baby will be ok as you are an older mum? – Your maternal age potentially puts you at risk – Do you think you’ll be able to cope with the tiredness now you are older? And the one that makes me smile only because my 8-year daughter said it – “mum, I was thinking that you are too old to have a baby” – ace!

I am one woman, and I have experienced a lot of these types of comments, already. I wonder how many other women have heard similar things?

On the flip side, I have had some wonderful reactions to my pregnancy news, too. So many ‘congratulations’ and ‘what wonderful news’ comments, but somehow they get a bit drowned out by the ‘I thought you were happy that you had got your life back’ and ‘are you mad?’ style comments.

As a confidence coach I know how to work on my mindset. That said, nothing really prepares you for the comments that are opinionated and a little bit thoughtless. My view now, is that I have honestly thought of all of those things and more than a thousand times over and I did struggle for over a month to come to terms with our new baby news. I had big wobbles and major ‘what the f*ck’ moments, yet I kept my head above water by working through my feelings and talking to those who care. I have never been so honest in all my life, and talking to a few friends and my husband kept me sane even when I was feeling like, at times, I was making a bit of a mistake.

So this blog, geriatric mum, is to connect us older mums up and to change the common opinion of 40+ expectant mums. Whether it is your first baby or your fifth, it doesn’t matter. This blog will be covering health, beauty, exercise, real-life interviews, clothing, product testing and I aim to entertain you, too.

Here’s to us geriatric mums supporting and helping each other to be honest fun mums, whatever our age.

Lucy x (42 and pregnant)

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