'Geriatric' mum says she had children later in life as she didn't want to give up her party lifestyle
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A so-called 'geriatric' mum has explained how having children later in life allowed her to enjoy a party lifestyle and wait until she was more responsible to start a family.
Mum-of-two Samantha Heathcock, now 43, was 35 years old when she welcomed her first son, Elliott, and 37 when she gave birth to her second son, Jake.
She didn't actively choose to put off having children, but was busy in her younger years enjoying nights out and establishing her career in marketing.
"If I had children earlier, I wouldn’t have had the financial stability to be able to care for my children," Samantha explained.
“I now look after myself better. I wouldn’t have been able to give up my party lifestyle when I was younger."
As a big fan of a 'night out, cocktails and drinks', Samantha knew she wouldn't have made a very 'responsible' parent in her 20s.
When the partying started to die down, she enjoyed time travelling the world with some amazing holidays. Over time, though, she became more 'emotionally mature' and in 2015 she became pregnant with Elliott.
During her pregnancy, the mum noticed she 'didn't find much online support' for older mums and criticised the term 'geriatric' as being outdated.
“It’s not a very nice term, and I certainly don't see myself as geriatric," she said.
“The way we act at our age now is so different to how it used to be. I think it’s an over-the-top term to label advanced maternal age."
Samantha described being met with hostility from some people as she entered motherhood, with one medical professional blaming her age when Samantha struggled with breastfeeding.
“The medical professional walked in and found me in tears," she recalled.
“She saw bottles sterilising in the kitchen and then asked me in a confused voice ‘I thought we were breastfeeding’.
“The medical professional told me that because I was an older mother, I was finding the transition into motherhood more difficult because I was more used to living life on my own terms.
“It was nothing to do with my age. Becoming a mum is hard whatever your age.”
Though Samantha had a healthy pregnancy with Elliott, she was 'wiped out' during her third trimester when carrying Jake.
When examined by doctors, she was allegedly told it was 'because she was too old'.
“They fobbed me off and said - ‘you’re that little bit older and you’re going to be tired now’. I was completely in dismay," she said.
“I was concerned about early pregnancy loss, and she just dismissed my symptoms as a result of my age and that a lot of people get spotting at the start of pregnancy."
Thankfully everything went OK with the pregnancy, and Samantha has now expressed belief there needs to be a 'complete culture shift and change in attitude to how older mothers are represented and treated'.
"Regardless of age, having a child is a major life change. Motherhood is still a shock and a challenge to the system," she said.
“There is no rule book. Age doesn’t make as much as a difference as people believe."