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


  1. I was 46 when I had my daughter - I didn't plan to leave it so late but life has a way of happening despite your plans. Usually everything turns out for the best - even if you can't see it that way. I totally agree about having the confidence to do things my way and not be upset by anyone's opinions of judgements. Your little chap is gorgeous and you don't look a day over.... :)

  2. What a lovely post. That you can be so laid back and comfortable with that approach, I think, must be age related. It is a comfort to read. I completely understand that not really needing anything else. So much is out of our systems by then! It is particularly poignant after having read your 'Motherless mother post.'

  3. Thanks to Older Mum for the opportunity to write this guest post, and thanks to MidlifeSingleMum and OlderSingleMum for your lovely comments. I look forward to reading other "older mums" stories in the future. Polly x

  4. I don't look a day over...? You made me smile there. We are lucky mums aren't we, to have such special little people in our lives and to have the wherewithall to make it all a bit more plain sailing than it might have been in earlier years.

  5. It's so funny but living in New York City, being 35 was the age most of us were getting pregnant for the first time. I was considered young at 33 when we had our first, being 36 and 39 when babies two and three came along meant nothing. My younger sister had her first baby at 40 and just had her second a year ago at 42.

    I love having the maturity and experience I also loved the fact that my husband and I had time in our marriage to grow it and nurture it before all the stresses of children and family came into it.

    I loved your post and I think it's great that there is a site devoted to the older mom. Honestly till I started blogging I never really felt that different!!! Take care!! And enjoy your beautiful son!!

  6. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a positive comment. Cultural differences never cease to amaze me, especially between the UK and US as I wouldn't have thought we were that different, really! I love having the maturity, too, as you say. I certainly couldn't have been the mum I am now at a younger age. I'm so grateful for my son. Enjoy your three, too! Polly x

  7. I was 34 when I had my son and 38 when I had my daughter and I'm now 42. Ok, so I have had some issues with creaking knees and lower back pain with all the lifting. On the other hand, I think that having our children later keeps us younger for longer. I know couples my age who have children that have grown up and left home. They now have a very middle-aged attitude to life and have settled into 'slowing down' mode! On the other hand, I am still charging around after a 4 year old, tripping over lego and dressing fairy dolls. I feel like a young mother, even if I'm not, and middle-age seems a long way off. Having my children at this age was simply perfect.

  8. Exactly how I feel too! I don't feel in the least like slowing down, even if I could. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Polly x

  9. Thanks for your blog. Really great to read your experiences even though I'm coming to them almost six months on! I had my first at 37 and my second at 41 - both boys. I love it, although I am now a single parent and things can be tough when you are on your own. I have done most of the things I wanted to do, am about to retrain as a teacher (a career I would never have considered before children). Older mum you don't sound in a muddle at all. You sound wonderful. Here's to all of us older mums!!

    1. Thank you for popping by. That was a lovely comment. Although challenging, sounds like you are doing great. Retraining as a teacher? That's very inspiring.


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