The importance of friends

Over the last year the lack of proper connection with friends has been tough. I think some of us have forgotten the importance of friends. Zoom quizzes are one thing, but real life connection is quite another.

For me, I struggled during the pandemic for some reasons (kids, work, boredom, homeschooling) and in other ways I was feeling pretty good (time to focus, feeling more relaxed, time for my children) but I did have a feeling of underlying flatness and yet it was something I couldn’t put my finger on.

It wasn’t the endless cooking, cleaning and only seeing people who I had either married or given birth to (and the cat!) that was grinding me down a bit, instead it was the lack of laughter and being with friends that know me well. I had missed the small-talk, the inspiration that friends unknowingly waft over to me, the idle chit-chat, the talking about where we grew up and being with people that I really really like.

Myself and two secondary school friends (one of which I hadn’t seen for 30-years!) booked a hotel stay in Cambridge as soon as we knew the lockdown restrictions were lifting and we got together at the weekend in the full glory of the british wet weather.

Actually, the weather was irrelevant. The meeting place was irrelevant. It was all about the people and our connection. I cannot explain how good it was to see people that I had grown up with. We were only at school together for 3 years, after which I moved school and mainly only kept in touch with one of them, but those years were probably the happiest of my life. I’d met people who were on my wavelength. We were giggly, silly, naughty, daring and we laughed all the time, and even after 30-years that hadn’t changed one bit. Within 10-minutes of seeing each other, I thought I was going to combust whilst we were reminiscing about some of the people at our school.

We laughed all day long.

My school friends and I, drunk and happy.

I came away from the weekend feeling like me again. I hadn’t really realised that some little parts of me had faded over the years, but good friends can change this. Friends really do make things better.

Dictionary meaning: Friend; a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

Seeing friends after all this time was a sensory delight and I believe that is what so many of us have missed; the 5 senses – Sight, Sounds, Smell, Taste, Touch. Our senses need to be used in order for us to understand the world around us. I believe that during lockdown our senses were only being used on a base level, at least mine were. Not many of us were doing anything new, and even if we were, the likelihood was that we had a mask wrapped around our face which obstructed one obvious sense; the sense of smell. There was also the social distancing and no touch thing, which for a lot of people is almost unbearable. Seeing my friends this weekend made me recognise that as humans we need to do new things, we need to use our senses, we need to be stimulated in order to feel good, we need to explore and have experiences – we need to see, hear, smell, taste and touch (that’s if we are lucky enough to have all of them working).

My weekend of laughing, walking in the rain, eating garlicky italian foods, drinking prosecco and limoncello, grabbing my friends arm, eating a slightly stale hotel breakfast in bed, sleeping in clean hotel sheets, reading through a menu, drinking tea with rubbish milk, borrowing my friends toothpaste, smelling perfume on my friends and sitting in a fusty taxi totally cemented that – and I feel better because of it. For the first time in ages I properly used my senses.

So if you are feeling a bit flat as lockdown lifts here in the UK, book something with friends that truly make you feel good, something perhaps that ignites your senses. It doesn’t have to be a boozy hotel stay like mine was, but a day out with good friends (without kids if you are a parent) to kick-start your sensory system will really really help your mood and your general wellbeing.

Lucy – Geriatric Mum

Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and founder of this blog and the fab facebook group We Are Geriatric Mums which currently has 2300 Mums who happen to be older in it.

Instagram @geriatric_mum and she_coaches_confidence

A chat with Kathleen

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.

Name: Kathleen

Age: 48

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.

geriatric mum after weight loss
Kathleen – before and after her 190lb weight loss

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.

baby boy to a geriatric mum
Kathleen’s beautiful baby boy, Nickolas Jr.

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.

geriatric mum cradling her newborn baby
Proud mother, Kathleen – age 47

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.

geriatric woman, her baby and her partner
Kathleen, partner Nick and son Nickolas Jr.

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 > lucy@shecoachesconfidence.com

Join the Geriatric Mum facebook group here > JOIN GROUP

Follow Lucy on Instagram @geriatric_mum and twitter @geriatric_mum

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

A chat with Amy

I first met Amy through my group, We are Geriatric Mums and realised that she lived just 10-minutes from my home in Kent. Connecting with other like-minded mums is crucial and after meeting Amy ‘online’ we met at a couple of ‘Geriatric Mum’ events (with lots of other fab women) and we have had a few boozy nights out, too. Amy has three children and had her last baby, after a troublesome pregnancy, at 33-weeks. This is Amy’s story:

Name Amy Iddenden

Age 41

What age were you when you had your children, and how old are they now?

I had Mia, my first baby at 22, she is now 19. At 37 I had my second girl, Matilda who is 3. I was nearly 41 when I had Sidney, who is now 1.

geriatric mum on her doorstep with family of husband and three children
Amy and her family – Husband Richard, Mia, Matilda and Sidney

How did people react when you told them you were pregnant at an older age?

Most people were okay, actually. Some said “you’re a bit old” or the typical “how old will you be when they go to school?” but generally the view was a positive one. Initially, my daughter (then 17) told me she thought I was too old to have a baby, but after some thought, she recognised that if we were happy, that was a good thing. She was heading off to University soon after we shared our news anyway, and she came to terms with it not really having a big change on her life, because she would be away.

How was your ‘geriatric’ pregnancy?

It was hard, due to major complications – I was in and out of hospital and it resulted in complications at birth and after, mainly due to negligence. My consultant, however, was amazing and didn’t make me feel that the issues were because of my age. She expressed feeling sorry that she had to see me in her clinic more as a result of my age. In fact, my midwife told me that I wasn’t old and it wasn’t unusual in her practice to see mums 40+ these days. So, in general, I had a really good experience in terms of my age with all medical staff that I met whilst I was pregnant.

Amy pregnant with Sidney

Were you offered any memorable (or unhelpful) words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy?

I did hear on a few occasions “you’ll be the oldest mum in the playground” 🙄, “you’ll be really tired because of your age” and “you’re so tired because you’re old”.

Describe how it feels to be an older (geriatric) mum?

Amazing! Having done it at, what I consider, a young age and at at much older age (40+) I feel much more confident and I would go as far as to say I prefer being an older mum (that sounds awful, but I don’t mean it like that). I think the preference comes from being more secure in every aspect of my life – financially and emotionally and that has come with age. These days, I enjoy my children so so much and appreciate every single second with them. Yes! I am tired, but so are my friends who are 10 years younger than me with young children, so in no way do I relate this to be ‘geriatric’ it is just a fact of motherhood. I have to say, I feel much more laid back these days and I think that helps me as a mum, too.

Sidney had a difficult start in life and I had a bad time pre, during and post birth. I was really poorly after having him and ended up having a hysterectomy to correct some of the issues I was having post-birth. Sidney was quite poorly afterwards too, he was in and out of hospital with bronchiolitis and it was a really stressful and unsettling time. Thankfully, we both are doing really well now, and despite having a rough few months running up to this birth and afterwards, my lovely baby boy makes all of the hard times we experienced, worth it.

geriatric mum holding her new baby who was premature
Amy holding 1 day old Sidney (first time she held him)
Geriatric mum Amy holding newborn premature baby Sidney
Amy holding 2 day old baby Sidney

Amy, do you have any top tips for readers?

My top tips are – firstly, don’t listen to negativity about your age – being an older mum is the BEST and I have done both young and old. Secondly, enjoy every minute of it, even the bad bits, because what happens is that the good outweighs the bad and the good will shine through, and thirdly, sleep when you can, and have lots of coffee and gin!

I love Amy’s attitude towards being an older mum, it matches mine. Despite having a tricky pregnancy and a worrying birth she now has a beautiful, healthy baby boy. We are Gerry Mums and proud!

Thank you, Amy.

Lucy aka GERIATRIC MUM.

Have you joined my free facebook group yet? It’s a great place for us GMs (Mums who are 35+) to share stories and experiences; CLICK HERE

Follow Lucy (Geriatric Mum) on Facebook @geriatricmum

Follow Lucy (Geriatric Mum) on Instagram @geriatric_mum

Lucy Baker is the founder of Geriatric Mum and she is a confidence coach helping women to be confident at work. If you want to discuss anything confidence related, you can find her email on her SCC website; www.shecoachesconfidence.com

One Year On

I am always asked what it is like to be a new mummy again, and in truth, it is hard work. I have 3 children now (9,7 and 1) and life is a big old juggle. My baby – who was born when I was 43 – is now 1, and I am 44. That’s right! I am 44 with a 1 year old.

My little baby is 1

As you may know, when I found out I was pregnant at 42, I struggled to find anywhere to hang out as an ‘older mum’ so I created that place in a facebook group called We are Geriatric Mums, and it is thriving. It is a wholesome, non-judgemental place for mums who happen to be older.

Having a new baby is one thing – ok they are up all night, but they do not move, and having a busy, walking, grabbing toddler is another. One of the things that people said to me when they found out I was pregnant at 42 was “how are you going to cope now that you are older” and do you know what? It’s ok. The bit that I’d forgotten, because I haven’t had a little one for 7 years, was the sheer energy that these toddlers have! WOW. The grab, smash, pull, grab, fling, chuck mentality that these little ones have, or my little one has, is amazing. Actually, I am not a fan of the word amazing per se, I find it is wildly over-used in this day and age – all you need to do is watch The X Factor – but amazing this little boy is.

His energy, his vitality, his thirst for learning is just so wonderful, and before you think this is a mum-style brag, it isn’t. I’m just fascinated with how these little humans, at just 12 months old, are.

Rocky is 1 (with his fave birthday present)

I think I am noticing it more with child number 3 and appreciating it greatly because, I am so much more in tune with myself as a person and mother, and I make time to enjoy it. With baby 1, I had no idea what I was doing. I look back on it now and feel like it was such an odd time in my life. The birth was hard, we were living in London, I had no family or friends around me and sleep deprivation was a killer. When baby 2 arrived, I was so pre-occupied with my 2 year old potty-training toddler, trying to work, feeling tired and in all honesty, not being in any kind of groove – I don’t even remember noticing much of what went on – apart from the typical milestones like walking. When I am asked what my second daughter’s first word was, the answer is, I don’t know!

One of the real bonuses, for me, of having a baby at 43 (with a bit of a gap from the others) is that I am so much more present. I really really love it. It doesn’t mean to say I am any better a mum this time around, or was worse back then, it just means that I am aware, a bit calmer and I am enjoying it more – even the thousands of tiny food bits I have to clear up off the floor each day, but I have been doing that for 9 years, so that’s just part of motherhood right?

I think the feeling of being more present, comes from age a little bit, but mainly from that fact that I am now a confident woman – I wasn’t once! Confidence brings clarity and calm to all parts of life, especially motherhood, for example, I haven’t read one baby book or fallen for the latest gadget this time around, which is very different to how I behaved back in my 30’s as a mother. I trust myself, I know myself and I like myself and this filters into how I am at home, as a mum. I love being an older Mummy, it really is one of the best things I ever did.

Do you feel confident as a mother? Do you notice and enjoy the little things? I understand that motherhood is very complex and it isn’t easy, there are so many factors too that can make it such hard (work, partners, PND, PTSD, finances, family and more) and if you are struggling seek the appropriate help.

If you are an older mum, follow me on INSTAGRAM , facebook or join my thriving fb group WE ARE GERIATRIC MUMS

If you would like help with your confidence, message me via my work fb page; She Coaches Confidence

Five feel good tips

As a make-up artist and confidence coach I am always asked for my top feel good tips and my top tips for make-up and skincare. Whilst I am not a dermatologist, I do know a fair bit about having good skin and I have a few tricks up my sleeve for making your skin look gorgeous without too much hassle. I am ALL about the non-hassle quick fixes (I’m a busy mum of 3) and below I am sharing 5 things that I do and that I recommend to women that I work with. (products mentioned are my personal recommendations)

  1. Skincare routine – as we age our skin needs much more attention. Top tips are to use a facial SPF50 daily, to keep age-spots, unwanted pigmentation and fine lines to a minimum. Apply to the backs of your hands and the neck and chest area, too. Ditch the make-up wipes (most are too scratchy and harsh) and use a gentle micellar water to remove make-up and a creamy cleanser to cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin. Do a home face-steam once a week to cleanse out the pores and hydrate the skin. Look for products that are hydrating – dry skin can look extra ageing so make an extra effort to add hydration back in, and that doesn’t just mean an extra blob of moisturiser!
  2. Sunglasses – you might not have time to do any kid of make-up first thing, especially if you are organising the school run – so my top tip is to buy a fab pair of sunnies and wear them as much as you can. Sunglasses, even in winter, hide tired eyes and can really zhoosh up an outfit (jeans, trainers, long cardi standard here) and make you feel a little bit more pulled together. Team the glasses with a bright lipstick and you will look as though you have had all the time in the world to get ready – when actually it has been a chaotic 3-mins tops.
  3. Yoga and Strrrrretch – at the end of a day my back and hips are often a bit stiff, my muscles are achey and I realise I feel tense – that’s 3 kids and working for myself for ya! My top tip for you is to stretch every single night and do some yoga. 30-mins stretching is all you need to do to ease muscles, lengthen the spine and wave goodbye to any tension from the day. You will need 1 x yoga mat – which gives a bit of grip, your smart phone – to play some relaxation music*, a dark room – so you can start to get sleepy and 30-mins of your time. I pretty much make up a ‘routine’ as I go along – I do some simple yoga poses and stretches (downward facing dog, child, cat – have I confused you? If so, google them) and then I just stretch out the areas that feel a bit tight and sore, usually my hips, neck and shoulders – understandable after having 3 babies and carrying kids around, right? Oh, remember to get fully ready for bed before you do this mini-chill session, so that when you are finished you can climb straight into bed whilst crossing your fingers and toes and praying that non of your kids wake up! *Choose any 30-min relaxation music and play softly next to the mat.
  4. Hand Cream – do your hands look like sand-paper? As I typed that I just looked at my rough hands and ran for my hand cream. Top tip – apply lots of hand cream throughout the day and even more at night. As a new mum (again) I remember what a state my hands got into with the girls and here I am again. It is the constant washing after nappy changes, baths, bottle prep etc and they do get dry, like reeeeally dry. My fave hand products are 1) pharmacy olive oil for an overnight treatment (rub into nails too) 2) Aveda Hand Relief which smells incredible and is not greasy 3) For extra dry hands, I recommend Udder Cream – yes! you read that correctly, and it really works – the brand I use is Battles and I buy it online 4) a pair of cotton gloves – you might look like the queen, but wearing these at night will help your dry hands if you apply a thick layer of moisturiser before on popping them on
  5. I have to get a make-up one in here so my last top tip is a liquid highlighter. Before you panic, I am not talking about instagram style tin-man frosting all over your face, ohhhh no. I am talking about a subtley highlighted face that gives you a youthful glow. I love 1) Benefit High Beam 2) Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, but do shop around and look for one that is sheer yet sheeny, almost dewy. Apply to the high points of the face – cheek bones, bridge of nose, upper lip and chin – and also on any frown lines to help the area look hydrated and to bounce the light away. You must blend it in very well.

I have a load more tips to share, but there is absolutely NO point writing down 20+ tips in one blog post. The reason being that you are less likely to attempt even one of them and I want to inspire you to feel good and try these things out, so I’ve just shared 5.

The reason I added yoga and stretching to my list and not ‘exercise’ in general, is because we all know we should be exercising, but we don’t all like it and one-size definitely doesn’t fit all. I wanted to suggest something that I have found to make a big difference to my sleep, my mood and my body and something that anyone of any size, ability and strength can really benefit from.

So, here’s to getting older and not feeling quite as creaky and dry-skinned as maybe we once did.

Lucy (aka Geriatric Mum)

If you want to join my facebook group We Are Geriatric Mums (for mums, want-to-be mums, pregnant women over the age of 35) click here

Follow me on Insta @Geriatric_Mum

My work accounts are; Insta @lucybaker_coach facebook Lucy Baker She Coaches Confidence

Being an older mum

I’m sitting in the Athletic’s club bar whilst my 9-year-old daughter is at training outside in the (nearly) dark. The other kids are at home. I have been wanting to write a bit about what it is really like to be an older mum, but I usually don’t have the time to write. It’s busy. Three kids is busy. Earlier I posted on instagram about the kind of things I have filled my day with, check my insta out to see more about that, I won’t bore you here with it.

I am a mum of three. They are 9, 6 and 8-months. I had my babies at 34, 37 and 43. I am classed, by some, as a ‘geriatric’ mum, an ‘older’ mum, a ‘too old’ mum, an ‘are you crazy’ mum! These labels mean nothing to me, because I know how I feel about being a ‘new’ mummy again in my forties.

Lucy Baker Older Mum Geriatric Mum
I am 43. He is 8-months. I am an OLDER MUM

I am loving it. I am loving baby number three. And I will tell you why. I am waaaay more relaxed as an older mum. I am calmer, more in tune with myself, happier and I guess I have more experience with 2 kids under my belt. I have let routines pretty much fall into place and I don’t get stressed when my babe won’t sleep, or eat. I guess that comes from experience. I certainly wasn’t like that when I was 34 with our first born. I read too many books, panicked a bit and didn’t feel like I could trust the process.

I now trust the process and this, for me, comes with age, experience and not worrying about what others think of me, of my parenting.

Being an older mum is SUCH a privilege. I really do feel lucky that I have been able to add to our family. I fell pregnant pretty quickly (one hit wonder!) and I gave birth to our little boy at 40+6. The girls were 41-weeks and 41+3-weeks. I’m lucky.

I’m not going to go into the birth story. I haven’t published it and I am not sure I will. It wasn’t an easy birth, and the truth is I am still trying to piece it together. For me though, I focus on the now and I am so utterly chuffed that the baby boy I had back in January 2019, is in our lives.

Not all women have success stories. I run a group on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums and there have been some really sad situations. Mums, pregnant women, want-to-be mums go through so so much and not all of it ends happily.

We are constantly being told of the ‘risks’ of having a baby over the age of 35; gestational diabetes (GD), miscarriage, high blood pressure, birth defects… and others. I was tested for GD, it was negative. I didn’t have high blood pressure. I didn’t have a miscarriage. Was I lucky? I don’t know. My geriatric pregnancy can’t be compared to anyone else’s, can it? It was my pregnancy and my baby. It can’t be compared to a pregnancy at a different time of my life either, can it? All pregnancies are different. But ‘they’ do say that, statistically, the risks are higher when you are an older mum.

Luckily I wasn’t a stat.

Being an older mum is, shock horror, just like being a younger mum, or a 32 year old mum. It is the same. I feel the same. I don’t feel THAT creaky or exhausted or like I am past it. I feel good as an older mum. I think the biggest difference for me this time around is, that I am calmer. I am kinder to myself, too, and as a result I think I am making a better job of being a mummy to a new baby. I kinda know this time around what works for teething (anbesol), I feel like I know what toys my baby likes (anything shiny, wooden spoons and an ugly plastic walker), and I don’t panic if we run out of nappies or if I go out without a pile of baby paraphenalia – I know now that the world won’t end.

I also don’t own a changing bag, I repeat, I don’t own a changing bag! I know, I know. Instead, I have a cool backpack, with zippy pockets and a separate little cool-bag that is designed for bottles. And that is it. As an older mum I recognise that you don’t need all the shit. Don’t get me wrong, I do buy baby stuff, stuff that I find useful. What I don’t do is look like a walking version of a baby store like I did with baby number one and two. I had so much stuff I didn’t use or need, I mean, I had a snot sucker for my first born and never used it.

I’m much more relaxed and as a result I am loving being an older mum. When I first told people I was pregnant at 42, I had a mixed reaction and some of it did hurt. But now, if anyone says “wow you are going to be 47 when he starts school” I think, what a privilege. What an honour. Who cares if the greys will be sprouting and that I could be 20-years older than some of the other mums, perhaps even 25-years older – who cares.

If you are reading this and are thinking of having a baby, or are about to have a baby, or have lost a baby and you are older, my only advice to you is to ignore what other people say. Follow your instinct and believe in yourself. Older mums are NOT too old. I am 43. I had my third baby at 43. And that is ok. I am ok with that. People ask me if I am ‘coping this time around’ – and the answer is yes. People ask me if I am ‘exhausted’ -and the answer is yes, to a degree, but it is NO different to when I had the girls at 34 and 37. Having a new baby is tiring. But that is okay. Motherhood is tiring, but it is wonderful, too.

If you want to connect and ask me anything about being an OLDER MUM, find me on instagram here, I’d love to connect.

Lucy x

A Chat with Linzi

This post is about Linzi, a mum of twins. Despite living with illness, Linzi had healthy twins at 42 and in this interview she tells you what she faced and some of her experiences when she was pregnant and as an older mum. Over to you Linzi…

What is your full name? Linzi Meaden

What is your current age? 44

At what age did you have your first baby? 42

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? Well my parents were floored! They never thought they would be grandparents and so it was the best news ever for them, and others were hugely excited and happy for us. Only a couple of people suggested it would be harder work and that they are glad they now have teenagers, not babies!

Were you offered any memorable words of wisdom when you spoke to others (friends, family, midwife, doc) about your pregnancy? Not really. Because I was expecting twins my family and friends couldn’t relate, so understandably no advice was offered. My midwife, doctors and consultant all said that it would be tough at my age!

Describe how it felt to be an older (geriatric) mum? For me, it felt the right age. I wasn’t ready in my twenties and was too ill with Crohn’s disease in my thirties. Being 40-something meant I no longer cared what others thought, too. I can remember saying, when I was 30-something, that I never wanted to be an older mum! Oops! I’ll admit that I’m exhausted with having twins and chronic illness too, but I can’t actually put into words just how blessed and lucky I feel to finally be a mum… a mother! It is love at a completely new level and I highly recommend it.

Is your child in school yet? and if so, how do the other mums and teachers react?No, they are only little. 

And below, Linzi has written some more about her experience of pregnancy, birth, babies and more. It is a lovely story and amazing what the human body can do even when faced with the struggles of illness.

From the age of 27 I was in and out of hospital having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, associated arthritis and osteoporosis – an illness normally reserved for post-menopausal women. As a result, dating was off the cards whilst I focused on my health and holding down a career in HR.

Fast forward to 2007, I was 32 and I decided to go speed-dating with a friend on the eve of St Valentines Day. That night I met my now husband, who also happens to be an amazing hypnotist – am I still under his hypnotic spell I wonder?!! Ha ha!  On our first official date he told me he had 2 boys from a previous relationship (not married).  They were 6 and 4-years old and looked super cute in the photograph, we didn’t have Smart phones back then!

A few years later, he proposed on my birthday in 2011, which was also the eve of the Royal Wedding (Kate & William), and we planned to marry in 2012.  However, in November 2011 I decided to start looking at venues and found a beautiful country house with a last-minute date available – it was just 4 and a half weeks away and we we went for it.  Several family members asked if I was pregnant, I wasn’t, and we got married on 20 December 2011. It was a fabulous Christmas wedding.

My husband and I set up our own business together and had plans to relocate to LA, with a therapy clinic in Beverly Hills.  We were rushed off our feet with business, travelling and making plans and the years just flew by without us realising how much older we were getting.

In February 2016 I visited my Chiropractor and realising I was ‘late’ I popped to the chemist to get the magic stick.  When I got home, I tested straight away and yep, I was pregnant – it took seconds to show the positive reading.  We were both absolutely over the moon, yet a little bit apprehensive about being ‘older parents’ – my husband was almost 49 and I was 42.

After speaking to midwife, I was referred to the hospital for a 9-week scan.  Thinking it would be a general check, I said to my husband he didn’t have to come along as the 12-week scan wasn’t far away.  To my total amazement, the sonographer turned the screen towards me and voiced “here’s one healthy heartbeat and look, here’s another… you’re expecting two babies”. Well, that floored me!  I could not believe it and I burst into tears. Part of me wished that I hadn’t said to my husband he didn’t need to be there, I would love to have seen his face.  Anyway, that evening, I left a bottle of brandy with the scan pictures in the kitchen for him to see when he got home.  When looking at the scan image, he thought that there was just one baby and only when I told him to look carefully it clicked that there was two. The brandy was most definitely needed!

geriatric-mum-of-twins
The much needed brandy!

I suffered with bad morning sickness, so had to stop seeing clients.  We managed a last holiday away to Spain before our new arrivals, so that I could top up my Vitamin D levels and I even got a last round of golf in back home in the UK when I was about 6 months pregnant – that was fun!

We joined an NCT group and had our first local group meet up in September 2016.  There was another mummy expecting twins who I’d met at the local TAMBA meet up in May of that year, so it was good to be able to share the experience of expecting twins.  We were super lucky in that our group of 8 couples (expecting 2 sets of twins and 6 singletons) everyone was friendly and fun.  The youngest parent (mum) was 27 and the eldest, well yes, that was us!  The majority being 30 somethings.  We set up a whatsapp group and we’ve messaged every single day since.  We all regularly meet up, with and without the children, and I can’t imagine life without them – each and every one of them is amazing and I’m proud to be able to call them our friends for life.

Fast forward to the birth itself. We opted for caesarean section based on medical advice.  I had no idea what to expect. We were advised that the twins were to be born no later than 38 weeks and we chose 31 October (Halloween) to give birth to our little witch and wizard, which was 37 weeks and 3 days.  The pregnancy itself went really well, apart from the morning sickness. I was lucky because growing 2 or more babies, being geriatric (!) and having a chronic illness on medication could have gone against me, but it didn’t. Even the C-section was a breeze with the relaxing sound of Il Divo playing in the theatre.  Shortly after the birth, I started to feel pretty damn awful, despite being dosed up on morphine, but I couldn’t feel awful because two hungry little mouths and squinty little eyes were looking up at me wanting food and comfort.

geriatric-mum-of-twins
The new twins!

From that moment, my life changed, and it’s been the best most amazing time ever.  I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that I am over 40 and I gave birth to 2 babies at the same time.  Yes! I’m exhausted, but that just says to be me that I’m doing something right.

geriatric-mum-of-twins

Thanks to Linzi for sharing her story on geriatric mum. Do make sure you are following geriatric mum on social media, links below:

Instagram 

facebook Page

And the fab facebook group

Lucy x

Consultant Care

As a 42-year old woman of advanced maternal age, I am under consultant care – which I have to say feels good. It feels good to be cared for and knowing that my unborn baby is cared for, too. In my situation, consultant care means I had my first consultant appointment at the hospital at 22-weeks and I have been told I will have further appointments with her at 28, 32 and 36 weeks. I understand that this is standard practice for older mums-to-be which I am told (by my consultant) is 40+, although Mr Google does produce 35+ as a measure. I am currently researching the definition of a geriatric mum further so when I find out the official age, I will post it for all to see – although I suspect this differs a bit depending on who you talk to and what county you live in.

lucy-baker-geriatric-mum

One of the joys of being pregnant is seeing the very first scan, the heartbeat, the fingers and toes and the backbone in all its glory and knowing that we have access to free ultrasound scans throughout our pregnancies in the United Kingdom, is pretty incredible. Over the duration of my first two pregnancies, I had the standard 12-week and 20-week scan and it was left at that. This time around I have already had five scans. Each time they were booked so that the sonographer could re-check some measurements and to look at polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid) which was pointed out as a concern at my 20-week one. This since has subsided a little, but it is still at high-normal.

I took my mum to one of the scans and she was quite amazed. I am the youngest of three children and 42-years ago there were no routine baby scans like we have today. She didn’t have a single scan in any of her three pregnancies so to see a baby wriggling around at 16-weeks was pretty incredible for her. I went in on my own first for fear of bad news I think, plus the girls were with us so it felt best to go in to be checked first. It was the school summer holidays and my parents were visiting from Lincolnshire and I did really want my mum to be with me for support and so that she could experience the kind of scan we get in modern maternity care. The kids and Mum were fascinated, my eldest kept saying “is that the head”… “what’s that bit” over and over and the sonographer didn’t seem to be overly keen that she was there asking 101 questions. I tried to do the SHHH eyes but it didn’t help a bit. She was too excited and it was lovely. I wonder if they will remember seeing their little brother in years to come?

lucy-baker-geriatric-mum

In a recent consultant letter that was sent to my GP and CC’d to me, it read “despite her age of 42”. Now this has to be taken in context and I don’t want to copy the letter out for the purposes of this post, but I have to say that I smiled when I saw it. I have no problem with my age or the fact that I am pregnant at 42 and I understand that the medical profession note it down because there are known increased risks of having a baby at a later stage in your life – 40+. The harder thing for me, as I said in my first ever post (https://geriatricmum.co.uk/42-and-pregnant/), was the reaction of the people around me, do read the post to see what some of them said.

I do always come back to the fact that we are so lucky to see and know what is happening to our babies during our pregnancies and like I said before, as an older mother, I do feel extra well cared for with phone calls from my consultant, letters from the consultant, numerous scans and more to come and nice conversations at my hospital meetings.

My advice, thus far as a GM, would be to question the questions, ask for the reason why, to understand what the medical professionals are telling or advising you and to take care of yourself throughout the process. We all know that pregnancy and birth can be exciting, worrying, troubling, fearful yet amazing – but we don’t always know how to ask for what we need or to understand fully what we are being told along the way. The medical profession looks after us women of advanced maternal age and we need to ensure that our friends and family do that, too.

Lucy Baker, 42, 26-weeks pregnant

Follow Geriatric Mum:-

Instagram; Geriatric_Mum

Facebook Page; Geriatric Mum

Facebook group; We are Geriatric Mums

A Chat with Philippa

I love chatting to other ‘geriatric mums’ about their experiences and I am so glad to bring you Philippa – read her story – it’s ace and her attitude to being an older mum is nothing but brilliant.

The stats:

Name: Philippa Newland

Age: 50

At what age did you have your first baby? 36

At what age did you have your last baby? 43

Read Philippa’s own words below:

I enjoyed my teenage years, in fact, they were pretty wild. In 1989, I left home with my first real boyfriend, and we got jobs in Israel, travelled through Egypt and worked the holiday season in Greece.  This was just the first year. 

The next year we enjoyed the un-spoilt beaches of Thailand, stayed a little bit too long, so took a gamble with our last $50 and discovered Tokyo.

This was the life, and with regular trips there in the early 90’s, funded many more years of travel.

Without trying to show off, I consider myself lucky.

I’ve flown on Concorde, (showing my age now..), been paragliding in South America, (in fact, I broke my pelvis!), jumped on and off a cruise ship travelling along the Panama Canal, hand raised a monkey, spent years renovating and running a backpackers lodge in Malawi and danced under the full moon in the ruins of Maharashtra Fort, to name but a few.

My body clock was ticking though, and I hadn’t met anyone interesting and I didn’t even know where I wanted to be.

On a brief trip back home, and in the middle of the Notting Hill Carnival madness, I met the man that had the same ideas as me. 

He was to settle me down and father the 3 children we had always wanted.

The only thing was, I was about to start an 18-month stint on a cruise ship, as a photographer, but he was patient and waited until I finally came home.

So we made our home in South East London and we had our first child pretty soon afterwards at 36, and the second at 38. I thought nothing of the fact that I was probably a bit older than most of the woman at the clinic. I was fit and healthy, didn’t look my age and thankfully there were no issues.

I had a boy and a girl, what more did I want? Yeah, but didn’t we always say that we would have 3? Our youngest had just started school, and I was feeling a little bit lost. Shall we? Shan’t we?

And so it happened, there I was, 42 and pregnant! It happened SO quickly, I just didn’t think it would happen straight away, but I was absolutely thrilled and with no reservations whatsoever!

 

lucy-baker-geriatric-mum

 

Unfortunately, after the first scan, my blood tests weren’t good. In fact I was high risk in every bad way. I was advised to have an amniocentesis* which wasn’t very pleasant, in fact it was absolutely awful! If I had actually looked at the tests, all 3 tests from each of my pregnancies were identical, it was just the fact that the odds go crazy once you hit 40 which led to the amnio test.

I absolutely LOVE being pregnant and this 3rd one was probably the best. Am I bothered that I may be the oldest mother in the playground? Absolutely not! I’m proud! I ABSOLUTELY HATE the term GERIATRIC MUM though!! My aim is to be a fit Grandmother! I have a great diet. I juice daily, don’t eat processed food, haven’t got a sweet tooth and I haven’t really eaten meat since I was 17.

I’m blessed with the ability to have children. They are my world.  I couldn’t give a monkey’s what people think of my age! In fact I was 50 last week! Yay!!

 

lucy-baker-geriatric-mum
Philippa’s World

 

And when asked what advice Philippa would give to other ‘geriatric mums’ she replied;

Sleep when the baby sleeps! Delegate! I had a lot of help the first month, and as I have 3 children, this was invaluable. Take gentle exercise, no high impact, save your knees! I walked, and still do, sometimes 2 hours a day.

Don’t you think Philippa is an inspiration? her attitude to life and kids is so wonderful to read and I know she might help other GMs to think in a different way about their circumstances.

Thank you Philippa!

Lucy x

Have you joined my free facebook group yet? It’s a great place for us GMs to share stories and experiences; Join We are Geriatric Mums group

Philippa is a photographer and you can find her here:

Pip Newland Photography

www.pipnewlandphotography.com

*Amniocentesis is a test you may be offered during pregnancy to check if your baby has a genetic or chromosomal condition, such as Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome. It involves removing and testing a small sample of cells from the amniotic fluid – the fluid that surrounds the unborn baby in the womb (uterus).

42 and pregnant

42-and-pregnant-lucy-baker-geriatric-mum

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)

Do share this post so that others can read it.

Make sure you go and follow my new instagram account www.instagram.com/geriatric_mum