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Being an older mum keeps me young

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | 0 comments

A city mum who defied medical experts by giving birth for the fourth time at the age of 48 has said she would “recommend” it to any older woman.

Karen Wellstead mistook signs of pregnancy for the menopause but when she found out she was expecting a baby she was warned of the health risks to her and her unborn child.

The single mum, who has a daughter Amy, 21, a six-year-old old son, Declan, and also lost her first child Jade 22 years ago when the infant was only two weeks old was warned by doctors she could suffer kidney failure, lung problems and could bleed internally while giving birth.

Noah is now a healthy 18 months old and Miss Wellstead is now 49 but she said being an older mother was a “blessing” and she feels she has “more to give” this time round.

“I had all the fears before hand but I have had no problems and neither has Noah since he was born,” she said. “I feel I have more time to devote to Noah where as 21 years ago when I had Amy life was much more hectic and there seemed to be other things always going on. I have more patience now.

“My friendships have changed a bit because my friends had grown up children. It means I spend more time with younger mums because we have more in common.

“I really enjoy being an older mum because it keeps me young.”

Experts had also warned the baby could develop Down's syndrome and other medical conditions including diabetes. The risks were so great she even said a final goodbye to her other children when she went into the operating theatre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, fearing she would die during childbirth.

Noah was born by caesarean section with no complications weighing a healthy 6lb, with black hair and blue eyes. Neither mother nor baby have since suffered any health problems.

Miss Wellstead, who lives in Hooker Road, Heartsease, said although she knew the risks she did not want to terminate the pregnancy.

She said any concerns she had regarding the stigma of being an old mum have been banished in the past year.

“People just seem to accept it,” she said. “Nobody has been shocked really. Sometimes my daughter does get mistaken for Noah's mum but that is just natural. When people find out I am the mum they just go with it and accept me just like any other mother.

“I think times have changed and people do not find things like this out of the ordinary now. I am very happy I am an older mum and I would honestly recommend it to anyone who is considering having a baby when they are older.

“It really was worth it.”

As reported in the Evening News last year mums in Norfolk are bucking a national trend with more young mums giving birth than ever before.

Just 10 years ago there were very few 12 to 19 year olds giving birth but now they amount to 5pc. The birth rate in the 20 to 30 age group has grown from 544 in 1996 to 1,792 last year.

Women who have given birth in their 40's include Cherie Blair, who had her fourth child Leo when she was 45, and Madonna who had second child Rocco at 51.

Women under 40 are eligible for a single cycle of IVF treatment on the NHS but women over this age have to go private. A cycle costs about £3,000.


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost our precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted there will be no more babies in our house.

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