This week’s "Not Too Old To Be Mum" is with Liberty from Liberty on the Lighter Side.
How old were you when you had your baby/babies?
I had my first baby when I was 30, second when I was 32, third at 34 and fourth at 36.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your main reasons for having a child(ren) after the age of 35?
I had a notion when I was young that four was a good number of children to have. I have no idea where that came from as I am one of five. But after our third baby we seriously toyed with the idea of whether we should have any more children. Our last had been a very challenging baby, in her first year she hardly ever slept for longer than 40 minute stretches and the exhaustion put a strain on our marriage. There were so many other factors to consider too. We’d no longer be able to use a standard sized car and there would be further financial burdens to factor in later on. Pregnancy had taken its toll on my body and I was worried that it was going to exacerbate problems I already had. I was getting older (I was 35) and I was scared about another delivery too. I finally had peace about our decision to not have any more children and then six weeks later I discovered I was pregnant! We were in shock for a few weeks (shed some tears) until we came to terms with it. She was born 3 weeks after I turned 36. Of course, now we have absolutely no regrets about having another baby, she is such a funny, sensitive and creative soul, it’s a delight having another little person in our family to love.
Did you have any problems with falling pregnant? If you did, would you say age was a contributing factor?
Not at all. In Fact I did struggle for two years to conceive our first baby from the age of 28 until 30. Eventually, after a check-up it was discovered I had a large cyst on one of my ovaries as well as endometriosis. I had an operation and after that I never needed to think about falling pregnant again, it happened within a couple of months after stopping breastfeeding my previous baby.
Did you have any complications with your pregnancy or labour that you feel were caused by being older?
I had some complications but it’s hard to know whether those were due to age or from having multiple pregnancies or very heavy babies (over 10lbs). With each pregnancy I had increasingly uncomfortable varicose veins in my right leg and groin. After the first couple they disappeared but after the final two pregnancies they remained and now I am waiting for an operation to get them removed. They are painful if I stand too long or on the first day of my period. My baby that was born when I was 36 was my heaviest and the labour the second worst (after my first). It was long and extremely painful and she needed to be resuscitated after delivery as she wasn’t breathing. Perhaps if I had been younger (or fitter!) I may have had more energy to cope better with the delivery.
Were you treated differently by medical professionals because of your age? If you were, how did that make you feel?
I don’t think so.
If you had children before and after you were 35, were there any differences with the pregnancy, labour and you as a parent? Would you put these down to age differences?
My pregnancies were all similar, although as I mentioned above each put extra strain on my
varicose veins, and my belly got bigger each time – I was ginormous with my last one. I don’t know whether being a little bit older made the difference. I definitely felt more relaxed and confident with handling my last baby, but that could be related to experience to having had three already. I have to say that at 36 I didn’t feel old at all!
What do you feel are the pros and cons for having a baby after 35?
I guess one of the modern pros is that as a woman you have had the opportunity to work
outside the home before starting a family. This could be a con too if you then decide to give that up to be a stay at home mum and then realise how much you miss your independence! I definitely felt more confidence at 35 than I did at 25, I was probably more patient too.
Do you plan on having any more children? If not, what are your main reasons? And if you would like more, what worries you the most about the prospect of having more?
If you could do your time over, would you choose to have your children younger?
Yes, I’d have liked to start a family around the age of 26 or 27 – I was getting broody and we
seemed to be surrounded by friends with babies - but my husband was studying full time so I was working to support us and then once he’d graduated it took me two years to fall pregnant.
What advice do you have for any women thinking of having a child past the age of 35?
I think if you have any concerns you should talk to your doctor. It would be a good idea to try and keep fit, build up your stamina, factor in a good 8 hours sleep every night, cut down on drinking or smoking (preferably stop), take a reputable vitamin supplement and eat a healthy diet. Also take up a relaxing hobby so you don’t stress about falling or being pregnant! I took up pottery and amateur dramatics (not both at the same time), they were brilliant fun, I met new people and it helped to take my mind off obsessing about my baby or my body too much. As far as you can make those choices, I would, as there are many other factors (like fertility and birth) you have little choice over.
Thanks for taking part Liberty and sharing your story. If you’d like to hear more from Liberty, you can visit her at her blog or over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.