Monday, 2 July 2018

Not Too Old To Be Mum - Jenny

This week’s "Not Too Old To Be Mum" is with Jenny from The Brick Castle.

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

My baby is a bit big now. I was 22 when I had my oldest son, and 38 when I had my youngest. I had another 3 children in between. 
Tell me a bit about yourself and your main reasons for having a child(ren) after the age of 35?
In common with a lot of people nowadays, I've had two long-term relationships. I was with my ex for 15 years, then single, then with my current partner, who himself had 2 children. We really wanted another child to bring the family together and the kids were keen too. We had a big house and all the toys we'd ever need. Once we had him, we realised he would end up alone once all the big kids went away, so if we wanted company for him we'd have to be quick. My personal comfortable limit was age 38. 

Did you have any problems with falling pregnant? If you did, would you say age was a contributing factor?
No. In fact it was ridiculously easy. I fell pregnant first month at age 35, and with my youngest 18 months later, I discovered I was pregnant 6 days after we made the decision to have a baby.
Did you have any complications with your pregnancy or labour that you feel were caused by being older?

No I didn't. I was very lucky in that none of my pregnancies were in any way exciting, although I was tested repeatedly for diabetes - they were obsessed with the idea I might have it. My youngest was born on the living room floor with no pain relief, while 3 of my other children sat in the kitchen eating sandwiches. 

Were you treated differently by medical professionals because of your age? If you were, how did that make you feel?

Yes I was. When I was 22 they treated me quite like a child and I didn't have things explained to me. I felt they thought of me more as a bystander. At 38 medical professionals treat you more as an expert and have more respect for you, plus you are able to stand your ground more. I was allowed a home birth, but warned it could be very dangerous because of my age and they'd rather not, despite sailing through pregnancy and all of my labours. 
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?
I didn't find I was more tired or less able to cope at either age (although growing up we fostered babies, so I was well used to them). Physically I only suffered because I developed a hernia - but the route cause of that happened when I had my first child at 22, so even that wasn't age related. I refused all tests for Downs Syndrome, it was a risk I entered into knowingly and I was happy to stand by. There are far worse things that can happen to your child. 

When you are older, you have the life skills and confidence to stand up for what you want. You are in a position to question the experts and ask why they feel something is necessary. I did find that when I was 22 I followed every rule, but by the time I had my youngest loads of advice had changed, so I was able to look into it and follow the advice I felt was best or scientifically proven. I was told that my 3rd child was too big when she was merely a month old, because she was 103rd centile. By 9 months she was 3rd centile and I was told I had to refer her to the hospital because she wasn't growing. She was, just she was never meant to be big. She was already cruising and crawling and perfectly healthy and active, but didn't fit into a chart. Midwives and other professionals are obsessed with charts and tick boxes nowadays. You can stare at all the charts and read all the books you want, but there's no replacement for hands-on experience, common sense and gut instinct.

What do you feel are the pros and cons for having a baby after 35?
Pros: You are more confident and possibly calmer after 35. You may have had opportunity to develop relevant life skills. You may be in a safer position financially or with your career. If you have waited until 'the time is right' and ticked off your bucket list first, then you might feel more 'complete' as a person.

Cons: As an older parent you are more likely to be 'out of touch' and technology moves more quickly than you will. If you haven't already had children then you will have developed a lifestyle where you are most important and everything you do revolves around your own needs. It's a big change to suddenly become no.2. Your health does fade over time, so you may be bombproof at 20, but you'll likely be a bit stiff and more sluggish at 40! 
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'm not planning any more, I'm done! 38 was my comfortable limit, and 7 children between us was plenty.

If you could do your time over, would you choose to have your children younger?
I'm lucky in that I've tried it both ways and found both to be equally fun. I think I might regret it if I hadn't had children young too, purely because I'm enjoying them being grown ups now, and I'll be a lot older when my youngest two reach Uni. 
What advice do you have for any women thinking of having a child past the age of 35?
Do it. If you want a child then stop thinking about it and do it. You'll never have enough savings, it'll never be the perfect time and you'll always worry, but do it. Don't waste time because one day it will be too late. 

Thanks for taking part Jenny and sharing your story. If you’d like to hear more from Jenny, 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.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks So much Leah - I was worried reading it back in case I sounded an idiot :D


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