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!

 

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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!!

 

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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

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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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