Mama Mayhem

Young at heart, not-so young in body

By Ivy Jensen

YESTERDAY was a special milestone for my little sis.

She turned the big 40. So not so little any more.

Seeing as I am the older, wiser sister and have been there done that, I prepared her for the significant birthday.

Mid-life crisis, Botox injections, losing all your money in a mass shopping spree, drowning your sorrows in a container of cookies and cream ice-cream while looking over your high school yearbooks – all perfectly normal reactions to a momentous but slightly terrifying occasion.

So, about a year ago, I told her the best way to celebrate it was with an all night party filled with good laughs, good friends and family and good French champagne (we’ve upgraded from Passion Pop and Yellow). That way, 40 would feel like 20 – for at least the next few hours anyway.

Instead, my sister decided to get pregnant and spend the rest of her days as a 39-year-old being fat, nauseous and uncomfortable.

Signe gave birth about a month ago which meant at least she wasn’t waddling around the party, trying to avoid knocking my cocktails off the table with her protruding belly before retiring for the night at 8 o'clock.

But now having a newborn baby literally attached to her day and night meant she was on the mocktails (leaving more Moet for me) during a more appropriate lunchtime shindig.

Not that it worried me. I much prefer daytime parties as it gives me time to chill out at home, watch my favourite show on telly and be in bed by 9pm.

Something my little big sis won't be doing for a few more years yet.

Not that she’s complaining (too much). Of course, she is over the moon about having another delightful daughter to love and spoil.

But with love comes great responsibility.

And caring for a newborn is bloody hard work. I was 29 when I had my first child.

And I was exhausted. All the time.

My ideas of motherhood were thrown out the window as I got up every hour or two to a screaming baby who could not be placated any other way than being rocked or driven in the car.

And then when she finally did fall asleep, it was time to feed her again or change her nappy.

This continued day in, day out; the monotony of the days all rolling into one until I didn't know what month it was let alone what day - or date.

I was a walking zombie for months on end until she finally settled into a routine long enough for me to feel like a human being again.

And I was in my 20s – an age when you’re supposed to have enough energy to care for an infant.

Imagine doing that in your 40s! I think I would literally fall apart if I had a baby now. Or I would be spending all money on a nanny whose main job is to latch bub onto my boob every night and put it back to bed so I can get my necessary eight hours.

I take my hat off to those women over 40 who are having babies.

And they are on the rise, with more babies born to mums over 40 – 4.3 per cent in fact – than babies born to women under 20 (2.2 per cent) in Australia in 2016.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the fertility rate of Aussie women aged 35-39 has more than doubled over the past 30 years and tripled for women aged 40-44.

And as more women are putting off having families and IVF becoming a viable option, we are seeing a lot more first-time mothers aged in their 30s and 40s.

My sister already has a five-year-old, so she will certainly be kept busy for the next few decades.

But if anyone can do it, my sister can. Her personality hasn’t really changed over the years and she still acts like a 20-year-old most of the time.

But while she may be young at heart, the body ain’t, so it’s my job – as the favourite auntie of course – to ride in on my white horse and save the day.

I couldn’t think of a better 40th gift than taking care of the kids while she does whatever she wants – whether that’s shopping, going to the movies, getting a facial, enjoying a shower by herself, or (if it was me) sleeping.

Because she’s going to need it.

And so am I, when I finally give them back. The beauty of being an auntie.