Interview with a new (working) mother, aged 40
Occupation: National Sales Manager for Swindon-based communications company.
Q. How old were you when you gave birth?
I turned forty one month after the birth.
Q. Did you plan the pregnancy?
I already have a son from a previous relationship, but my present husband is younger than me and didn't have any children of his own, so he was quite keen on the idea of becoming a dad. However, we didn't actually 'decide' that I should get pregnant, rather we just "left it to nature"! Somehow I felt that I'd fall pregnant quite easily (despite what is generally said about one's fertility decreasing with age), which did indeed turn out to be the case. Even though we hadn't actively set out for me to become pregnant, we were both delighted when we it happened.
Q. Were you well during the pregnancy?
I suffered with a bit of morning sickness for the first three months, but after that I felt absolutely marvellous and couldn't believe how much energy I had!
Q. Did you alter your lifestyle as a consequence of the pregnancy?
Not a all! The only thing I did was to take a folic acid supplement for the first twelve weeks of the pregnancy, but then I would have done that at any age, if pregnant.
Q. Did you have any special pregnancy tests?
I was given a leaflet on the nuchal fold scan by my hospital, though they didn't have the facilities to carry this out. However, with me being 'older' we wanted to have this test, so paid to have one done privately in Bristol, at a cost of £110. Despite this high price it was well-worth it, since based on the encouraging results we didn't feel the need for me to have any other tests.
Q. When did you stop work?
Two weeks before the birth!
Q. Where and how was the baby born?
In hospital, by elective caesarean at thirty-eight weeks. After giving birth to my son a few years previously, I had such a terrible time that I vowed then never to go through the birthing experience again! Fortunately, this time round my GP and the hospital were, in the end, supportive of my intention to have a caesarian. One of the advantages of being an 'older mother' is that you know what you want - and don't want - and increasing age means that you become more assertive about the various choices open to you.
Q. How was the birth and how are you now (eleven weeks later)?
The caesarian birth was fine. I had a 'local', by spinal anaesthetic, meaning that I was awake during it. What was really good was the freedom of knowing exactly when and how I was going to have the baby, which meant that I could make plans. I'm doing well after the operation, though of course I'm being careful as was still, after all, major surgery.
Q. Are you planning to go back to work and, if so, when?
Yes, I start work on Monday - twelve weeks after the birth! I've always worked, so I really can't imagine giving up now. In any case, througout the pregnancy and during my maternity leave we had always intended that I would resume work.
Q. What was the attitude of your employers to your pregnancy?
They were brilliant - very supportive.
Q. What childcare provision have you made?
We have a nanny from 8am-6pm who looks after our baby daughter, as well as dropping off and collecting my son from school.
Q. How did you find a suitable nanny?
We researched the 'nanny option' ourselves, but in the end resorted to using a local agency since our own search proved fruitless.