(Photo: Darko Sikman via Getty Images)
Hilary Swank is pregnant with twins at the age of 48, and the happy news has got us thinking about the joys of later motherhood.
The Million Dollar Baby actor described her pregnancy as a “total miracle”, telling Good Morning America: “This is something that I’ve been wanting for a long time...I’m going to be a mum ― and not just of one but of two. I can’t believe it.”
Louisa Castle, 44 and based in Chester, had her daughter aged 40 and was also thrilled to find out she was pregnant.
“We had been trying for a while and weren’t sure that it was possible, then one weekend I was sick and thought it was food-poisoning but no... and the rest is history,” she says.
She took an immediate dislike to being called a “geriatric mum” – a term used by some in medical circles to describe mothers over 35 – and says “in my head I am still in my twenties and forget that sometimes, as I am swirling around the living room with Amber and the dog to Frozen!”
Being a little bit older has made her “more self-aware and appreciative of the little things”.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Mai Musié, from Bristol, who gave birth to her daughter just shy of her 40th birthday and says: “The best thing about being a mother in your 40s is to have experienced life – the ups and downs – and to hopefully share those experiences of survival with your offspring as a learning tool for them.
“I wanted to finish my doctorate before I had a child. I wanted to show my daughter that she could achieve anything she wanted to if she puts her mind to it as well as having a strong supportive family network.“I wanted to be a role model to my daughter despite all the hardships incurred as a former child refugee.”
Mai Musié and her daughter. (Photo: Mai Musié)
She says her 30s and 40s have given her the time to truly know who she is, “to be intellectually curious, to have fun, to absorb culture and the arts, and be independent.
“Seraphina is already showing some of those traits so I must be doing something right!” she says.
Stacy Thomson, an entrepreneur from St Albans, felt so empowered by becoming a mum aged 42, she’s created a dating app specifically for those who want to start a family.
“Motherhood has motivated me more than ever before – in fact, it taught me how important family is for so many,” she says. “As a solo IVF mum, I know many people are missing out and if it wasn’t for my own personal journey and the birth of my son, Milo, I would have never become a founder of a dating app dedicated to helping people find the family they want.”
Stacy Thomson with her son. (Photo: Stacy Thomson)
For Josie Perry, a 46-year-old London-based sport psychotherapist, having a baby aged 40 just made sense, because she got to do “tonnes of exciting stuff when younger. “All my friends had kids first so they have great tips and advice!” she adds.
Nobody commented on her age during pregnancy and she thinks it’s becoming far more normalised for women to have babies in their 40s.
“We did have our daughter through IVF and we were limited by NHS trust to one round which had to be started before I was 40,” she says. “So I was 39 when I started it and just incredibly lucky that it worked.”
Josie Perry and her daughter. (Photo: Josie Perry)
The biggest thing these mums agree on? When you have a baby in your 40s, you’re more confident.
“Even though this is my third child, just being that bit older means I’m more confident in myself – who I am and how I want to parent. Whereas before I was very much influenced by other peoples opinions, I’m comfortable doing what feels right for me and my family,” says Eliza Flynn, who’s based London had her youngest aged 40.
“And even though I’m a pre and post natal personal trainer at The Warrior Method, I’m less bothered with what I look like and more how I feel. I am strong and I move with ease - that means so much more than ‘bouncing back’. I’m also at ease with my loose skin and stretch marks in a way I wasn’t before. ”
Eliza Flynn says she felt most confident when she became a mum in her 40s. (Photo: Eliza Flynn)
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.