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).

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/