Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Not Too Old To Be Mum - Natalie

This week’s "Not Too Old To Be Mum" is with Natalie from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy.

First of all congratulations on your baby. How old were you when you had your baby/babies?

Thank you! I was 31 when I had my first, 34 when I had my second and 36 when I had my third.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your main reasons for having a child(ren) after the age of 35?
I am one of three children myself and always imagined having three - I guess it's what I've always known. My husband is one of four too so neither of us grew up in a two sibling family. We now have Bluebell, six, Maximilian, three, and Marigold, one. Having had two babies in my early 30s it just felt natural to have a third even though I happened to be over 35 - I really didn't think about my age, it was a natural progression of our family.

Did you have any problems with falling pregnant? If you did, would you say age was a contributing factor?
I lost two babies between baby number one and baby number two which is why there is more than three years in age between them. I had two consecutive miscarriages but I wouldn't say age was a contributing factor - having exclusively breastfed my first who didn't sleep through the night until she was two I think I was simply exhausted and it was my body's way of saying 'stop, you can't sustain a pregnancy!' I went to see a nutritional therapist who set me up with a diet plan of vitamin and mineral rich food and I also had regular reflexology - within six months I was pregnant and this time the pregnancy was successful. Then just over 18 months after baby number two was born I was pregnant again with baby number three. We didn't even 'try' with her which was so nice after desperately trying for number two. I enjoyed my third pregnancy at the age of 36 way more than the last one!

Did you have any complications with your pregnancy or labour that you feel were caused by being older?

No - in fact I would say my first pregnancy and labour at the age of 31 was the hardest of all three. I was induced at 42 weeks as there was no sign of her coming and it ended in an epidural which made me feel like I had failed. I went into labour naturally with number two and number three and had the water births I wanted with number one. In both cases I was my baby's first human touch - I caught them myself - and I didn't have any drugs or pain relief at all. It was all in the breathing!
Were you treated differently by medical professionals because of your age? If you were, how did that make you feel?

I wasn't treated differently but I was shocked to see the words 'geriatric mother' and 'of advanced maternal age' on my notes. I was 36! I don't think they'd have dared say anything to my face!
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 first pregnancy was definitely easier than my third but they were six years apart and I already had two little ones to look after, so there was no resting on the sofa or naps when I got home from work. I don't think age is a factor in that - if you already have little ones subsequent pregnancies are going to be harder whether you're 25, 35 or 45. In terms of parenting I have definitely been more relaxed with number three. The first time around I consulted books and the internet for everything, and then with number two - having lost two babies before - I was anxious about everything. But with number three I don't think I've looked at the books once - I feel I can enjoy it all more without worrying so much.

What do you feel are the pros and cons for having a baby after 35?
I certainly think older means wiser - I feel more relaxed with number three because I've been there, done it and got the t-shirt.
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?
I would love one more! Part of me feels like I should be grateful for what I have and not be 'greedy' but you know when you're 'done' doing something, and I don't feel done yet!

If you could do your time over, would you choose to have your children younger?
No - I'm glad I had my 20s childfree with my boyfriend (now husband) building my career. I've set aside my 30s for children and hopefully my 40s can be about me again. 
What advice do you have for any women thinking of having a child past the age of 35?
I think age is just a number and labels like 'geriatric mother' and 'advanced maternal age' are unhelpful. Surely a woman in her late 30s who doesn't drink and smoke and leads an active lifestyle has a healthier body than a woman in her late 20s who hasn't looked after herself so well? After I was labelled a geriatric mother I wrote a post questioning how old is too old to become a mum and had a lengthy response from a lady who was pregnant for the first time in her 40s after years of trying and she was absolutely terrified. The poor woman had been told all sorts by medical professionals and 'well meaning' friends but I really don't think she had cause to worry so much.

Thanks for taking part Natalie and sharing your story. If you’d like to hear more from Natalie, you can visit her at heblog or over on InstagramTwitterFacebook, Pinterest and YouTube.

To read other women's stories click here.

To discuss taking part in the Not Too Old To Be Mum series, please send me an email.

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