On a sunny Friday morning, I travelled to beautiful Whitstable in Kent to meet and chat to mum of three, Lucy Baker, also known to some as the blogger 'geriatric mum'. It was lovely to meet Lucy and find out more on her passions for building women's confidence and beyond.
1. Lucy, please start by introducing yourself?
I’m Lucy, a 43-year-old mother of 3. I grew up in Lincolnshire with my two older siblings, Emily and Justin and have such fond memories of living on a disused farm with acres of space, an orchard, a tree-house, chickens, goats, geese, cats and donkeys in the winter months! I left home at 18 and hot-footed it to London to study Sociology, after which I spent a further 15-years in London working in media publishing and at 28, leaving the media world to train to be a Make-up Artist. I live with my husband (Dan) the 3 kids, 3 chickens, 2 guinea pigs and 1 cat in Kent, right by the sea. I can make a mean mojito and I can mirror write super quickly and it is pretty neat! 😉
2. Can you tell me about your blog name geriatric mum and the inspiration behind it?
I found out I was pregnant at the age of 42 and although I’m not a ‘googler’ per se, I googled – a lot. During my searches I felt like I was met with negativity, the risks, words like geriatric and older and I put my phone to one side feeling a bit deflated and worried. As time went on I felt more annoyed than worried, and I started to realise that other women, like me, must be feeling the same. In addition to my initial googling, when I told people that I was pregnant I was subjected to some negativity. Comments like “are you sure you want another baby at your age” and “do you know you will be 47 when the baby starts school” hurt, and I recognised that those throwaway comments were not ok.
So… I started www.geriatricmum.co.uk, the Facebook Page, the Facebook group and the IG account back in September 2018 when I was 5-months pregnant, at the age of 42.The name for the blog came from the absurd term ‘geriatric mother / mum / pregnancy’ and I happily chose the term because I found it so ridiculous. When my mum found out that I had called it Geriatric Mum, she said “oh you can’t use that Lucy!” – but I explained that I was using it in a tongue in cheek manner and because it was so utterly daft and of course, because it attracts attention.
3. You have a popular Facebook group with over 1,000 members to discuss the highs and lows of pregnancy over the age of 35. How does your community use the group and do you think it gives them comfort to have other parents in the same scenario to talk to?
We now have just shy of 1400 Gerry Mums in the Facebook group; We are Geriatric Mums. The geriatric mums (35+) in the group are a wonderful, wonderful bunch of individuals. Every day there are genuine posts about all topics motherhood (the good, the bad and the ugly), as well as posts on relationships, illness, worry, nights out, husband’s snoring, clothes etc and the support from other group members is outstanding, truly. It never fails to amaze me how helpful this group is and they advise, share and help each other on a non-judgement basis which I have always recognised and noticed. I always wanted it to be a cool place, and I feel that is what I have created, but of course it is all down to the behaviour of the members – which is just so fab.
I have arranged some GM Meet Ups in Kent and London, with a view to do more, and some of the women have met up with other members, which is just so brilliant. One of my aims for Geriatric Mum is to Connect Mums who Happen to Be Older, and the group is helping to do just that.
4. Of all the births in England in 2017 to 2018, 18% of births were to mothers aged 35 to 39 and 4% were to women aged 40 or older. What are the pros and cons of having a baby later in life?
My third baby was born when I was 43 and I’m so proud to be in the 4%. For me, there are many pros and just a few cons, I know it may be different for others but I’ll share with you what I believe to be the pros and cons of being a geriatric mum.
So, the pros; I felt so in tune with my pregnancy at the age of 42, perhaps this was because it was my third baby, but I also think it was because I was older, more relaxed and I knew what I needed to do to enjoy my pregnancy. My first pregnancy was a total mystery and although I was okay being pregnant and it was quite straight forward, I didn’t really relax into it, or enjoy it. Pregnancy number two was good, but I had a very busy one year old child, so didn’t have much time to stop and think about it, it just kind of flew by. I had a gap of 6-years before I fell pregnant with Rocky and I just felt so lucky I could experience it all again – and that the girls were in full-time school – result!
I did feel that my NHS care as a pregnant woman of ‘advanced maternal age’ was top notch. At week 28, I was assigned a consultant (because of my age) and she was just wonderful. I felt she took my pregnancy seriously and never once did she comment or remark on my age or make me feel like the internet did. She was realistic and she made decisions based on my previous births, my current health and the health of the baby and I always felt like she had my best interests and the babies best interest at heart. Because of my age, I was offered more scans, which I loved, they happened at 28-32-36 weeks and this was such a nice added extra and a definite advantage.
In terms of the disadvantages of having a baby in later life, for me, it has to be the comments and reactions that I received. These comments don’t affect me now, but I was quite shocked that people felt like they could say whatever they thought about my pregnancy, without thinking of how it might make me feel. I guess the other con, is that my son might think of me as an older mum when he is at school. I have to say, I have always felt young and I can’t quite believe I am 43 – I have tons of energy, I am in excellent health and I’m not exactly frumpy – so it’ll be interesting to speak to him when he is 10, to see what he thinks.
5. How did your two other children (aged 7 and 9) welcome the new baby home and did it take them any time to adjust?
Nancy and Ivy were ecstatic about ‘the baby’ and still to this day are very miffed that they couldn’t have a day off school the day after he was born - he was born on Sunday night and they wanted Monday off! We came home from hospital on a chilly Tuesday evening in January, and the first thing that happened was that one of the girls accidentally (I promise) kicked him in the head whilst swinging off the arm of the sofa. I reacted, she ran off and sobbed in her room. I hobbled upstairs (whilst Dan held Rocky) and grabbed her and gave her the biggest hug that my beaten-up body could give and we both had a little cry.
I reminded her that I wasn’t cross, but that her little brother’s head was super soft and that we all needed to be careful around him. It wasn’t the best start and I did feel guilty for raising my voice, but it ended nicely and it was lovely that we had that moment together, she knew that she mattered and her clonk to his little head was okay. Apart from that little bit of drama, they were both remarkably good. I do think because they were 6 and 8 at the time, that was a huge advantage. They understood that I needed time to heal and they were so happy to go out for the day with Dan, while I rested and slept with our new little Baker. Before long, they were pushing the pram up to school, helping me find a nappy and holding him whilst I had a wee.
6. People often say that a third baby just 'slots in'. In your experience, would you agree with that?
Oh yes! I really do. In all honesty, for me, I found it much harder adjusting to baby two, than to baby three. This time around, I felt like I just knew what to do. I didn’t over-think anything, I didn’t read any baby books I just followed my gut instinct and brought him home trusting that it would all be just fine.
I was very aware that I didn’t want our home-life to change a huge amount and I guess because of that, our little boy did slot right in. The demands of two girls remained the same, so, to keep family life ticking along as best we could, the baby needed to not change the status quo.
I also made a concerted effort to include the girls in decisions around the baby. Asking them what he should wear, or if they thought he needed a bath or a cuddle really helped them to accept him as part of the family. I tried to be aware that if they didn’t want to help, or make a decision, that was okay – it had to be an organic process for them too.
7. You are a Pro Make-up Artist. Can you tell us some of your career highlights?
Whilst studying to be a MUA I was very fortunate to assist Caroline Barnes on a Kylie show – Money Can’t Buy – at the Hammersmith Apollo, in 2003. I did the make-up for 10 male dancers (think red lips and black eyeliner) which was special, I was on TV too. Upon arriving at the rehearsal at ExCel in East London, I plonked my bags down in Kylie’s dressing room, but was promptly ushered out and down to the main hair and make-up area – whoops.
A few years later, I was booked to do make-up for Kelly Holmes for a charity fashion event – the cool part was that I used a body oil on her athletic legs and I remember thinking I wonder how much these are insured for?
The other fab job I did was for Sky Living TV. I was booked for a show called Bigger Than, and was on TV a few times doing the make-up for the contestants – I absolutely loved it! All in all though, every make-up job I do is wonderful - the transformational power of make-up is pretty incredible and it doesn’t mean slapping loads of make-up one to change someone, it’s about subtle additions to someone’s face to enhance features that make someone feel good about themselves.
8. Your latest passion is working as a Confidence Coach and helping women to feel confident from the inside and out. Can you please tell us more?
Confidence is something that assists all aspects of life; relationships, work, motherhood, study, business, passion and success in general. I used to have very low confidence, for years, and it really is a handicap to success. I used to pretend I was confident, but in the background overthink situations, worry what other people thought of me, stop myself from achieving in life because I really didn’t believe in myself or my ability. I used to start off well, but then hold myself back purely because my confidence was so low.
I started working as a coach 2 years ago, after a make-up session with the female MD of a large engineering firm. I was doing her make-up ahead of her talk to a huge room of people, and during doing her make-up, I was coaching her about her confidence and doing lots of mindset work with her. After her on-stage talk, I received a text from her saying that my coaching helped her enormously and she implemented some of the simple ideas I talked her through and they worked.
From this moment on, I started working with women in business, to help them to get confident within their businesses and to understand their confidence from the inside, and to improve it. In addition to helping women in business, I help women in their general life, too. I am so so passionate about confidence, because once you understand your own confidence, understand what to do to improve it and maintain it – it’ll support you in everything you do.
9. How can people get in touch with you if they want to have a 1:1 session with you to boost their confidence after having a baby?
Email is the best way; firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow Lucy Baker on social media here:
Lucy Baker - https://www.facebook.com/lucybakermakeupmastery/
Geriatric Mum Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/geriatricmum/
Instagram - www.instagram.com/geriatric_mum