Thursday 8 December 2011

Dear Beloved Friend

Dear Grandma,

Two years today you glided peacefully, unknowingly from this existence. I've been thinking about you a lot recently. I miss you dearly; your sharp observations, your quiet elegance, your down to earth Yorkshire pragmatism. I miss tucking into a fish and chips tea with you soaked in salt, vinegar and brown sauce whilst cozily slumped in front of the TV.

I wasn't able to say goodbye in the traditional sense. I was heavily pregnant at the the time. Treacherous, icy weather thwarted Younger Dad and I from making the 200 mile journey up to your snowy funeral and final resting place on the Winter Solstice. So I held my own memorial at home. I bought flowers, lit incense, wrote and read out a heartfelt letter, played music, sang, ate mince pies and drank Sherry in your memory. It was my dedication to you. My thank you to YOU for many years of your warmth, kindness and love.

I shed tears but not as many as I expected to. The emotional sieve curbed much of my grief only allowing it to lightly trickle through. It was actually hard to let go. My sadness restrained. This was in part to the fact I was still carrying my baby. I didn't want my sadness to affect my little girl.

I wasn't just sad though. I was also relieved and glad that you'd passed peacefully. I like to think you were carried away like a tiny delicate feather floating and dancing ever higher on the under current of a gentle breeze.  You were ready to leave. The last five years of your life weren't pleasant as your joints twisted, froze and groaned in pain. Your fingers permanently curled as if purposefully holding onto the last vestiges of life.  You didn't enjoy the languid approach of death's embracing arms in that pee smelling living graveyard of the old people's home. 90 years was enough. It was time to go.

I remember the last time we spoke. You had the last laugh. You reminded me with a mischievous glint in your eye that I'd always maintained I would never get married or have children. Oh how things changed. I also remember reminding you that you no longer needed to hold onto anything or anyone. It was okay for you to go when you felt safe and ready.

Like the transparent innocence of a newborn's gaze the brightness of your soul shone through your sky blue eyes during those final years and months. Your perceptive stare pierced through my defence into the core of my being rendering me tearfully moved each time I spent time with you at 'the home'. We leave this material existence with the incontinence and dependency of a baby but if we are lucky also with the hushed wisdom of a life lived and the forgiveness to let go. I like to think you were blessed with this when you departed.

You weren't just my Grandma. You were a dear friend and a mother too. My memories of you are endless. Right now when I reminisce my mind conjures up images of making cheese straws on a Sunday afternoon, clumsily toppling in your silver ballroom shoes, home made chocolate and toffee, your perfectly styled hair, the best Yorkshire pudding ever and a sublime seven months living with you after a particularly bad time in my life.

So today Grandma, I raise my glass of Sherry to you.

Thank you.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Guest Post - 'Confessions Of An Older Mum – or – Lessons In What Really Matters'

By Anne Whitehouse author of The Life Alchemy Blog.

Her fascinating blog based on her experience as a qualified therapeutic healer delves into all aspects of holistic and spiritual healing for mothers and offers practical guidance for making positive transformational changes in our lives.

Enjoy .....


It's a normal Saturday afternoon, and I am sitting in front of the television cuddling my four-year-old daughter.  An advert for a well- known moisturiser - the one that fights those seven signs of aging - comes on.

"Mummy, you must buy that," she pipes up, "so your skin can be beautiful." Oh dear, I think.  "Isn't Mummy's skin beautiful already?" I ask her.  My hopes aren't high...

"No Mummy, yours is all splotchy," she answers, innocence oozing from every pore of her perfect peaches-and-cream complexion. "If you buy that cream, you can be beautiful."

"Your skin is already beautiful, Mummy," counters my eight-year-old son hastily. (I've been training him for a lot longer!)

It's true, I'm an older mum!

So, what put me on this path to delayed parenting? Well, quite simply, I was the proverbial career woman. A baby would have ruined  my scientific career.  Although I knew I wanted a family at some point, it definitely wasn't going to be in my twenties.  However, when I turned 32, my biological alarm clock went off: I wanted a baby and I wanted one now!

Alas, nature isn't always on board with our plans, and it took me over two years to conceive. I then discovered that I suffer from childbirth phobia (tocophobia) which produced panic attacks, nightmares and palpitations. I suffered excruciating pain in my pelvis - my ligaments now had the consistency of over-cooked pasta - and I found myself struggling around on crutches.  They advised a C-section, but I had some deep-seated belief that if I didn't give birth 'properly' I would have failed. Understanding is power, I told myself, and I began researching every single empowering technique available to the aspiring Earth-Mother.

So, armed with another hypnosis tape, homeopathy, aromatherapy, music, flower remedies and a crate of Lucozade, I confronted my fears and embarked on a 'natural' water birth.

What a disaster! I won't dwell on the birth. Suffice it to say that a large-headed baby wedged in an OP position in my pelvis, a quick first stage labour and no anaesthetist on the ward resulted in an agonizing ventouse birth.  The good news: both I and my son survived.  The bad news: permanent damage to my pelvis, and PTSD for me.

Still determined to be a good mother, I attempted breastfeeding. Would he latch on?  Would he hell!  So, I began an intensive regime of expressing. But six weeks later, I was struggling to produce even 50mls of milk a day.  Instead of feeding being a close and loving time between us, it had turned into one huge nightmare.  I felt depressed, stressed and inadequate, and I was completely preoccupied with my utter failure as a mother.

Thankfully, one day I woke up to what I was doing. Looking at my son's little face and big blue eyes, I saw that I had got my priorities completely wrong. Did it really matter that he had been wrenched out of me with a glorified vacuum cleaner?  Did it really matter that I couldn't even produce enough milk for an hors d'oeuvre? Was I really going to allow these trivial details to ruin the experience of having my long-awaited baby?

....That day I ditched the expressing, and remembered that I had been given the most wonderful gift in the universe.

Pregnancy number 2 aged 36: this sadly ended in an early miscarriage.

Pregnancy number 3:  I was now 37, but I conceived easily.  After my first traumatic birth experience, I was offered an elective C-section which, this time, I accepted. My daughter was born at 37 weeks: another huge-headed baby in the wrong position!  I tried to breastfeed, but she had no more intention of latching on than her brother had done.   I gave up after a couple of days, put her onto bottles, and we were both happy.

This time there was an important difference - I had learnt that having a healthy baby is all that really matters.  It isn't an exam: there's nothing to prove. The result: instead of beating myself up and ruining those precious days, I simply enjoyed the wonderful gift of my little girl.  I recovered far quicker, I was happy, relaxed and confident. I even had more energy, despite having to look after my boisterous son at the same time.  I had learnt that if I needed medical support and powdered milk, then that was ok, and I was grateful for them. This time I honoured the needs and limitations of my body and was able to embrace motherhood with a joy that had escaped me the first time.

Were the self-help therapies I had used in my first labour useless?  Absolutely not!  They empowered me to face my fear.  Had it not been for the position of my son's head, those techniques may well have given me the natural birth I had wanted. It just wasn't meant to be that particular time. I realise now that my experiences were necessary, as they have led me to help other women recover and reclaim their happiness after miscarriage and traumatic births.

Today, at nearly 43, I have my precious son and daughter, aka Lego Ninjago Boy and Fairy Princess.  I don’t have the time to feel old!  The joy our children have brought into our lives is indescribable. As for the was simply perfect;  I had already had my 'high-powered' career, my husband and I had already had ten years together.  When we finally had our family, we were ready to do the parent thing whole-heartedly, without
reservations, resentments or regrets. Being an older mum was definitely the right choice for me.

Looking back on it all, I realise there was another lesson too.  While it would have been nice if I had done it all the natural way, it doesn't matter that I didn't.  I learnt that there is only one thing that defines what kind of mother you are:  how much you love your children.  I love mine to bits and am thankful for them every day.

The Life Alchemy Blog On Twitter
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Tuesday 29 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Old, Overweight and Pregnant'

By ExFashionista.

Her blog spills the beans about her previous life as a buyer in the fashion industry and new life as a mother. Its a really well written and interesting read.

Enjoy .....


I had a relatively un-eventful pregnancy much to the disgust of my Consultant/Registrar.  You see not only was I old (35) and pregnant, I was also overweight.  The conception of my daughter was surprisingly easy and I fell pregnant the first month we decided to start trying.  Like many older women I had been convinced by the mass media that I would have great difficulty falling pregnant, so had been doing my best to mentally prepare myself for months of negative pregnancy tests.  I was
concerned about the possibility of declining fertility and had also read that women who are overweight can find conception difficult.  After further research on the issue of my weight I found that this assumption is largely based on the premise that overweight women can suffer from erratic cycles in exactly the same way that women who are considered underweight can. My cycles were extremely regular so I was less concerned about this as a potential barrier, than my age.  I was however prepared to lose weight if it proved necessary and had also been taking folic acid for a number of months.

My first Midwife appointment took place at 9 weeks.  It was at that point I realised that my weight was going to be an issue.  I’m not a fan of BMI, primarily because I think it’s bias against those of us who are short of stature, but also because I don’t like being labelled.  I particularly don’t like being labelled as “obese” but unfortunately as I was, the whole world thought that they could make an awful lot of assumptions about me and my health.  I was told that I would have to be managed by a Consultant as I was considered a “high risk” pregnancy. The Midwife then took my blood sugar and complained that it was too low, followed by my blood pressure, also low. I saw the irony, but it was lost on her. My first appointment under Consultant care was with the Anaesthetist.  I walked into his room and sat down and his first words to me were “Why are you here, you aren't even big?”.  What a lovely man, I instantly felt better.  Incidentally, I am a dress size 16/18.

My next appointment was supposed to be with the Consultant. Unfortunately, the Consultant wasn't available that day so I was lumbered with her Registrar.  I took an instant dislike to her, she spoke to me as if I was a child and lectured me about obesity without asking me any questions. I’m convinced she thought I was surviving on a diet of fish & chips, chocolate and sweets.  In fact the opposite was true, I ate extremely healthily when I was pregnant and actually lost some weight in the first few months.

During my appointment she checked my blood pressure (normal) and blood sugar (normal) and gave me a lecture about pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.  During my second appointment with the same Registrar, the same checks were performed and this time she also reviewed my scan results.  Everything was absolutely fine. I decided to raise the subject of using the Birth Centre and she was horrified.  Clearly as I was overweight and old, she was of the opinion that they should intervene in the birthing process as much as possible.  I went home that night and cried. My third appointment was much the same although my husband was there for moral support. When I remarked on the normality of my pregnancy she replied “We’ll see what happens with your glucose test”. Thankfully that was normal too.

Eventually I spoke out about the treatment I had received from the Registrar and was encouraged to make an appointment with the Consultant Midwife to discuss both that and the use of the Birthing Centre.  The Consultant Midwife was sympathetic and ensured me that she would discuss my complaint with the Consultant and insist that my next appointment was with the Consultant, not her Registrar.  It was also agreed that I could use the Active Birth room for delivery. For the first time in my pregnancy, or so it seemed, someone had actually listened to what I had to say, rather than seeing me as two simple numbers on a piece of paper, my age and BMI.  I was subsequently discharged from Consultant care because it was determined that my pregnancy had progressed perfectly and it was no longer required. I also received an apology for the way that I had been made to feel by the Registrar.  I told the Consultant that I understood that there could be complications with pregnancy in older women and indeed women that are over-weight and from that perspective they were being cautious.  However, there are ways of managing pregnant women that don’t involve treating them like either cattle or naughty children.  I’d like to think that this had some resonance with her, but suspect that is pure vanity on my part.

In the event my daughter was delivered via cesarean section as it was discovered that she was breech at my 40 week appointment.  I was incredibly disappointed not to have a natural birth, but I did manage to have skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed while they stitched me up.  I love being an older mum. I feel experienced and confident in my own opinions and decision making processes.  I have had a career, travelled the world and partied with the best of them. Therefore, I don’t feel I am missing out on anything at all, as I’ve already done it. I am entirely content spending my days with my beautiful daughter, I don’t feel desperate for a “break” from her and rarely go out on the town.

Why would I want to go dancing and drinking when I can cuddle up with my little one and watch the “Bedtime Hour” on CBeebies?  A few years ago that sentence would have been unthinkable, but I guess that’s the point. Several years ago I was doing exactly what I wanted and it was all about me, now it is all about my little girl and her happiness comes first. I like it that way.

ExFashionista On Twitter

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Being An Older Single Mum'

By Older Single Mum.

Her blog is witty, sassy, compelling, sincere and narrates everything from her 'sh*tty ex husband' to romancing her lodger and her talents as a healer.

Enjoy .....


Being an older mum is a privilege that some young ones just don’t get.  And that’s why we tend to be overprotective and over grateful for our little ones, tending less to hand them over to anyone, even their Dads!

I spent my thirties believing that my chances to have children had passed me by, but in my dreams (real night time ones), there was a baby waiting for me.

I endured two miscarriages, then he came.  I was 41. And then, in the throes of an awful marriage, which I only clung on to because there were further (clairvoyant?) dreams, that there was still another child to come yet, I suffered a third miscarriage, by which time I thought I would die with the heartbreak and confusion.

On a one off night with my hateful husband, I fell pregnant and it is truly conceivable that Fate intervened because my second child came at, by now, age 45.

I had lost all three babies before the end of the first trimester and I thank Heaven for that, but I was still reluctant to deeply enjoy being pregnant, just in case, which is a shame.

I was healthy and well throughout both full term ones and didn't go for any of the tests being thrust at me to detect any myriad of problems or diseases, because the results would naturally come up ‘high risk,’ giving rise to an even more worrisome time, and also because I knew, given my history, I would never terminate, no matter what.

Having cemented the statistic in my mind that 98% pregnancies end in perfectly healthy babies, I also paid for Acupuncture (to help ‘hold’ them) and regular Osteopathy to keep baby and me in the best possible physical shape.  The latter helped my heartburn no end, kept me truly comfortable and no doubt was the main contributing factor in two perfectly natural text book births.

The trauma and shock have never left me though!  I don’t think it’s easy to give birth at any age, but my mind was certainly stronger for being older and going against the grain.  My first, Robson, was born safely at home, but I relented for the second, having contracted the potentially fatal Strep B infection, so eventually turned up at the hospital 20 minutes before baby Aiden finally came.

My regrets are few. I do wish I’d had my children when I was younger.  However I was brought up in the ‘career first’ generation, made it as a Money Broker in the City, earning a packet and travelling a great deal, but overall I felt hollow.

No one tells you that independence doesn't make you happy. And it can be very lonely.

It wasn't obvious to me – throughout my child bearing years what it was I was actually craving.  It wasn't until having children that I have become more fulfilled than anything
material can ever give you.  No career gives you back what they can!

I regret the years spent exercising myself almost to death, because, in hindsight, by the time my children came I was well and truly knackered and I believe that the energy we have when we are younger is, indeed, given to us for bringing them into the world and raising them.

And I regret not having my children with someone with whom I could be closer, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Their father and I are now divorced.

Being an older single mum has meant co-sleeping was no issue whatsoever until their fidgeting was unbearable (about one year), breastfeeding could be done on demand (again approx. one year) and neither of my children ever had a bottle of formula milk.   All of which took guts which have come about only later on in my life.

I consider myself very lucky to have my children at all and regularly read about women my age who have missed the opportunity.  IVF was something that I wouldn't consider,
nor was stealing sperm as featured in Liz Jones' column in the Daily Mail!

I think the call inside is so strong and it starts earlier than we might like to admit to ourselves nowadays, that we ignore it at our peril. To have children with someone you love, should be every girl’s dream.

Older Single Mum On Twitter

Thursday 17 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Why I Became a Mum at 37'

By Minibreak Mummy.

Her blog eloquently and succinctly chronicles life with her toddler son and she has an aesthetic eye for a unique second hand bargain to boot! 

Enjoy .....


My husband, H, started to get really broody about 4 years ago. We talked about this, and it was clear that H would be disappointed if he never got chance to be a dad. And I started to realise that I would be sad if someone so obviously suited to being a good father never got chance to do this. But I was worried about the potential impact on my career, which has always been important to me. So I asked H if he would be prepared to consider working part-time and/or taking a career break if that was what was required in order for us to become parents. He said he would.

So this is how we got to where we are now. Me in a senior job and H taking a career break in order to be a stay-at-home dad for our lovely 3 year old boy, born when I was 37. Full-time childcare at a nursery or childminders wasn't really an option for us as our son has had some health problems (asthma-type symptoms in response to allergens and viruses).

Some people may think I'm extremely weird/selfish/unfeminine to be leaving the bulk of the responsibility for childcare to my husband, but it works for us. It doesn't mean that I love my son or my husband any less. The best thing I can do for my family is to be the breadwinner during the working day and be the best mum I can be outside work. I actually got my current job after maternity leave. Somehow, after surviving an emergency c-section, a job interview seemed much less scary.

There have been some challenging times with broken nights and expressing milk at work, but if I had been at an earlier stage in my working life it would not have been possible for us to manage on one salary. There was no way that I could have had a child in my early 30s in any case, because life was going a bit pear-shaped back then. I had to get myself sorted out before I could even think about getting pregnant.

There were only a couple of downsides to being an older mum from my point of view. I was put under a lot of pressure by NHS staff to have tests I didn't want. I held my ground but it was tough. Also, my father-in-law died last year, so our son missed out on growing up with his grandpa. But he still has three remaining grandparents who love him to bits and spoil him rotten.

Overall, I am very pleased with the way things have turned out. I think I'm a better mum to my little boy than I would have been if I were younger, probably more able to be patient with him. And I really enjoy spending time with my little boy and watching him

Minibreak Mummy On Facebook
Minibreak Mummy On Twitter

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Old Skool Music Therapy

Thank you to Five Go Blogging and Older Single Mum for laying down the gauntlet of choosing three pieces of music which have really moved me, grooved me, shaken my bootie and made me stop dead in my tracks courtesy of Mammy Woo's 'Music Therapy' meme. Given that I DJ'ed for nearly a decade I wrongly assumed this was going to be an easy task and found myself totally overwhelmed by choice.

How on earth was I supposed to narrow down 1000's of records to just three? I've spent all week vacillating over what to include. So what I decided upon was those pieces which really influenced me as I blossomed from snotty, precocious girl into a demure woman fish netted brazen hussy. I've also been slightly mischievous by breaking the rules and included a fourth bonus track. So here we go. I hope you enjoy my selection .....

It's 1984, I'm thirteen years young and waiting impatiently in the front seat of my dad's car while he queues in Pizza Hut to collect the Saturday night take away. I turn on the radio and my ears are blown away by the arching synth sounds of New Order's Blue Monday. I have always been drawn to synth based pop. I can remember feeling mesmerised by Kraftwerk's The Model aged ten and a fan of groups like Tears For Fears, Scritti Politti and Propaganda as a middling teenager.
Blue Monday however was in a league of its own .....

How does it feel to treat me like you do
When you've laid you hands upon me
And told me who you are
I thought I was mistaken
I thought I heart your words
Tell me
How do I feel tell me now
How do I feel

Fast forward a few years, I'm 17 and coming of age with my first proper steady boyfriend. I dutifully follow all the indie bands he listens to but need some sounds to call my own. I discover The The's brilliant album Soul Mining from which the introspective Uncertain Smile is my hands down favourite. Now this song paints the ultimate background to the skin blemished, white histrionic knuckle ride of my latter teenage years. The piano solo, nod to Jools Holland, is vintage gorgeousness decanted into the finest Waterford crystal to be savoured over and over again courtesy of the rewind button.

Uncertain Smile .....

Peeling the skin back from my eyes, I felt surprised
That the time on the clock was the time I usually retired
To the place where I cleared my head of you;

But just for today, i think I'll lie here and dream of you.
I've got you under my skin where the rain can't get in,
But if the sweat pours out, just shout I'll try to swim and pull you out.

A howling wind blows the litter as the rain flows,
As street lamps pour orange colored shapes through your window,
A broken soul stares from a pair of watering eyes,
Uncertain emotions force an uncertain smile...

I've got you under my skin where the rain can't get in,
But if the sweat pours out, just shout I'll try to swim and pull you out.

A year later and I'm dolled up in my gothy hippy gear and perched on a bench in the Leeds Warehouse. It's 1988, Friday night, and the speakers are pumping out indie rock and acid house. Unbeknownst to my retro rock chums, who contemptuously frowned upon any new emerging musical genre, dance became my secret guilty pleasure. I've always been a rhythm girl at heart preferring the actual music to lyrical content so it was only a matter of time before I threw off my guitar heels and strapped on my dancing trainers.

There were two tracks that shook the goth out of me and replaced the cemetery black with tie die, flares and strange wavy hand movements. So I have to the thank the Leeds Warehouse for playing A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray and Inner City's Good Life. To this day I can still feel the shivers both these records sent down my unsuspecting spine. I was utterly spellbound. I had tasted the forbidden fruit of the four four beat and entered the temple of house music. Goodbye indie rock. Farewell my dinosaur friend. Music therapy indeed. No wonder I became a DJ. Love the underbudgetness of the Inner City video; you can't beat dancing outside a shop window in your best 80's shoulder pads and wide brimmed hat.

Finally, and swiftly moving onto my third decade, the album that sound tracked my thirty something years is Stay Human by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Laid back, jazz and funk infused, each album track is just superb. It was really hard to pick one but thanks to the limited choice on You Tube I have gone with Soulshine. This happens to be one of my favourites anyway. It always leaves me feeling inspired and hopeful.


Take ya time
Unwind ya mind
We all need a little soulshine
Take ya time
Unwind ya mind
We could use a little soulshine

And now I am passing on the baton to the following great blogs .....
The Bling Buoy
Mummy Plum

Thursday 10 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Being An Older Mum'

By Polly of Caught Writing.

Her blog is emotive, thoughtful and and highly observant.

Enjoy ..... 


To be honest, I didn’t consider myself to be an older mum at first.  I only became aware of it as a result of other people’s comments.  A colleague at work, on hearing of my pregnancy, commented that I was “a bit old for all that.”  Someone else was stunned into saying that they thought I’d already gone through an early menopause.  I was 38 at the time.  The number of women choosing to have babies in their late 30s and older is increasing and it’s no longer the rarity that it once was.  There are many reasons for  this, from wanting to build and become established in a career before taking a break, to not being sure of the desire to be a parent until later, to meeting a suitable partner a little later and wanting to build that relationship before having a family.

I was 39 when my little chap was born.  I was already 34 when I met my husband and it took a while for him to decide that marriage and children were what he wanted.  Having made that decision, we then had trouble conceiving and unfortunately lost our first child at 14 weeks.  By this time I was nearly 38 and faced with the very real prospect that we were going to find this process difficult and that, biologically speaking, time was getting shorter.

There may have been a few comments from friends and acquaintances about my slightly advanced age, but I encountered nothing but support from the NHS.  I was never treated with anything other than dignity and respect and my age didn’t come into any discussions with any of the health professionals, apart from the obvious increased risk of conditions such as Downs. Thankfully, following a blood test, my risk for Downs came back as minimal, so there were few worries about that.

I sailed through my pregnancy and most of the birth.  I had none of the problems that other women seemed to experience.  I felt vaguely sick for most of the first 14 weeks or so, but was sick only once and I had none of the other symptoms commonly associated with pregnancy.  I remember commenting to one doctor when I was about 22 weeks pregnant that I hardly felt pregnant at all and it was true. I felt very, very healthy.  I wanted a home birth and did achieve a home labour, but 12 hours into the labour, 24 hours since I’d last had any sleep, the contractions stopped and I was taken to the hospital, where the little man was born twenty minutes later by ventouse.  I defy anyone of any age not to need a little help after more than 24 hours without sleep, 12 of which were spent in labour, and I don’t believe that was related to my age.  Many younger women have longer and more difficult labours.  Mine was as tranquil an experience as it could be, spent at home with my husband and two midwives.  In fact I remember one of the midwives commenting that she couldn’t believe how calm I was.

Once we bought the little man home, we settled into parenthood very easily.  I had already decided that my life was now his and I devoted myself to him.  This made things easier, I think, as I wasn’t trying to get back to work, keep up a social life, or fit the baby into my life.  I fitted completely and easily into his life, and just went with the flow.  I certainly had the confidence at 39 to declare that this is how it was going to be, whereas when I was younger I might have been more easily swayed by other people’s opinions about how it was “meant” to be.  I knew exactly how I wanted to nurture my baby and that was largely led by his needs and requirements.  I remember those early weeks as being calm, quiet and peaceful, just me and him, and my husband in the evenings and at weekends, getting to know one another, cuddling up on the sofa all day.  I don’t think I stopped looking at him or carrying him around for the first year of his life.  I was so lucky to have had that time.

I don’t think I had less energy being an older mum than I would have as a younger one.  For one thing, I was much healthier at 39 than I was in my twenties; closer to my  healthy weight, better nourished, less stressed.  I remember telling my husband that, despite he sleep disturbances that come with a new baby, I had never felt so alive or energetic.  It was amazing to me, but the whole experience gave me such focus and positivity.  Our little chap is such a joy and has bought us nothing but pleasure.  We are lucky to have these experiences, at just the right time in our lives for us.

Caught Writing On Twitter

Thursday 3 November 2011

Guest Post - 'Tick Tock'

The first in a series of Older Mum guest posts is by the wonderfully witty and thought provoking Flossing the Cat.

I can't recommend her blog highly enough and I thoroughly look forward to reading her every week.

Enjoy .....


Once upon a time there was a young woman who didn’t want babies. She was too much of a fantasist, too selfish, too skint. But one day, when she was thirty-four, she woke up with a funny sound in her head. Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock. The sound stayed with her the whole day, and the whole of the following day, and the whole of the day after that. If anything it got louder, much louder, eventually spreading to every part of her body. In her stomach it was like infrasound, making her feel sick. She could even feel it in her fingertips, when she touched things. She mentioned it to a friend, who said, “Sounds like the biological clock. You need a baby.”

Now that she had let the thought in, she knew it was true.  In fact, it seemed like the only true thought she had ever had. Her writing fantasies were nothing. Her PR job was nothing. The idea of travel, and adventure, and parties, and success, was nothing, less than nothing. She now saw them as hateful pursuits that had diverted her from becoming a mother. She gave her copies of The Female Eunuch, The Dialectic of Sex, The Second Sex, and The Rights of Woman to a charity shop. She hated her other dreams. She hated herself.

For a year, every time her period came, it felt like dying.  She would dream of flowers that had lost their petals, and bare white rooms, and deserted landscapes. In work one day, she was so stressed she couldn’t remember her telephone extension, or how to boot up the computer, or how to count money, so she went home. And she stayed home. Her relationship deteriorated, as did her sex life. Sex was all about ovulation, and basal body temperatures, and sticking her legs up, desperately, in the air. Her partner lost interest. She couldn’t blame him. For a while they split up, then got back together again.

When she hit 35, it got worse. Everywhere she tuned there  were apocalyptic stories about the declining fertility of over-35 year-olds. Fertility halves by the time you’re 35, said one expert. She googled stuff late into the night, desperate to find stories about older mothers, women who had beaten the  odds. When she finally became pregnant, a month or so after her 35th  birthday, she was so shocked that she did the test four times. At the same time, she knew it was true. All along, she had known it was possible, even probable, even likely.

She was an older woman. She was pregnant. She was great.

There was a child inside her body and she was great.

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