Thoughts from a new old mum

Today’s guest blog is from mum and author Karen Louise Hollis. Karen had her first four children in her twenties. She became pregnant with her fifth baby at age 41 and realised that this time round everything was ‘new’ again. Here she shares her experience of motherhood and writes about what inspired her to put pen to paper and write her own book about motherhood. We have two signed copies of her book ‘Thoughts of a New Old Mum’ to giveaway. To enter simple leave a comment on this blog and from all comments received by midnight on the 31st August we will pick out two lucky winners.


Motherhood is often about multitasking. This morning, I was changing my 18-month-old Karen Louise Hollisson’s dirty nappy, simultaneously pulling his fingers away from his wobbly bits while singing the alphabet song from CBeebies’ Get Squiggling (which was on the TV at the time). I am sure many of you can relate – which is one reason I wrote my book Thoughts of a New Old Mum. We have all had times when we feel completely worn out and isolated, as though we are the only ones awake at 3am with a screaming child – but realising that, in fact, most mums have experienced similar things is very reassuring.

I had my first four children when I was in my twenties and had loved reading pregnancy magazines and books about other young mothers. When I became pregnant at 41 with my fifth child, I expected to find books written by other mothers in my situation – but couldn’t really find what I wanted. There were plenty of ‘mumoirs’ around – but what did I have in common with these glamorous celebrity mums in their early thirties who had plenty of money and personal fitness trainers? I hadn’t lived in Leicestershire long and none of my friends were pregnant, so I missed having someone to chat to who was in the same position as I was. So I began writing a pregnancy blog, detailing all I was going through and how I was sometimes treated as an oddity by medical staff, where a pregnant woman in her forties apparently sets off a load of red warning signs!

thoughts of a new old mumI continued writing throughout my pregnancy and then after a difficult time giving birth, I found it was therapeutic to put down my experiences of the emergency C-section I’d had. Then I wanted to track my baby’s first few weeks and all the exciting developments a newborn goes through, followed by the teething, sitting up, rolling over, smiling, crawling, first words – and I ended up writing until my son’s first birthday!

At this stage, I decided I wanted to fill the niche in the market and write that book I had been looking for. I also didn’t want to write a book where everything was lovely and easy, where I sailed through pregnancy without so much as a glimpse of the inside of a toilet bowl then gave birth in two pushes without a whiff of gas and air, left hospital in my size 8 jeans and went home to look after my newborn who slept through the night straight away. Nope, that’s not how it happens – and I wanted a book that is honest and candid and says it like it is.

My book details my experiences of trying to conceive, needing a wee every few minutes in late pregnancy and horrific flooding after the birth. Pregnancy, childbirth and parenting are all wonderful experiences, but none of them are easy. It helps to have someone else with you at the time and hopefully Thoughts of a New Old Mum will help you feel you aren’t alone!


We have two signed copies of Thoughts of a New Old Mum to giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment on this blog post and we will pick out two lucky winners from all comments received by midnight on 31st August. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply.

Follow Karen on Twitter at  @newoldmumthoughts of a new old mum

Find her on Facebook at

Books available to buy from


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39 Responses to Thoughts from a new old mum

  1. DaniS says:

    This sounds like a great book and I cant wait to read it! As a ‘geriatric’ mother myself I can relate! I was 36 when I had my baby (my first and sadly last as my partner doesnt want more – she was his fourth) I was constantly told about medical fears and possible problems and was put on the high-risk list. As it turned out, everything was fine and I have the most adorable angel I could ever have dreamt of. I think it does make a big difference being an older mum and whils tthere are pros and cons of having children earlier and later I think less is written about us oldies struggling to keep up when our bodies might be slightly behind our minds…
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and again, I look forward to reading them 🙂 x

  2. I feel like an old new Mum at the age of 32! Everyone at our baby club type things are mostly all in their early 20s 😦

    • At the Toddlers group I go to, most mums are around ten years younger than I am and most of the grandmothers are ten years older, but I have found it easy to make friends. You just have to remember you have kids as a common interest 🙂

  3. suzirayner1983 says:

    Amazing story. I am 30 this year and feared I would be childless forever. Now at least I know there’s still hope and time. 🙂 xx

  4. Would really love to read this book can relate to it all well had my 9th when I was 41 still trying for no 10 but no luck can’t wait to read it xx

  5. stacy gibson says:

    This book sounds fantastic as you don’t usually find the everyday normal parts of pregnancy or birth. No one tells you the horrible gritty parts just the lovely bits. Its nice to see a book about ‘real pregnancy and birth’ I cant wait to read it and would love to win a copy. We are due our second baby in just 34 days a little sister for our 2 year old daughter. 🙂

    • Well, exactly! Pregnancy and birth is often messy, uncomfortable and full of embarrassing bits, but many books leave this kind of thing out, so you don’t feel connected to the author’s “sanitised” experiences. I am very honest in the book, so much so that my Dad had to skip bits when he read it, ha ha!
      Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy 🙂

  6. Leah says:

    Would love to win a copy to have an insight into what another older mum feels like to know I am not alone.

  7. Sharon Barwell says:

    Karen, I really wish this book had been around when I was pregnant 3 years ago … I had 2 daughters in my early twenties and now have a son who was born when I was 41 and my daughter this year when I was a month away from my 44th Birthday!
    I’m constantly learning how to be a ‘new old mum’! I thought I knew all I needed to know but a hyperactive 2 year old and a young baby who breast feeds constantly, is making me take a long hard look at my life and how I can make the most of this precious time…certainly has made me draw upon all the strategies learned from my years of primary school teaching! Anyway I take my hat off to you …Well done for managing to find the time to put pen to paper! I struggle to find time to put my bum cheeks to the loo seat!
    Take care and wishing you every success with the book

  8. Liz Boyle says:

    Sounds like a great read. I had my first and only baby at 42 and I think he will keep me young!. It is tough but there are so many laughs too. My 21 month old wakes up every morning this week proclaiming ‘rock n roll, rock n roll’ hilarious but exhausting at times

  9. mish l says:

    Its so true as an older mum the books on the market do cater for younger mums and parenting as an older mum can make you feel like a geriatric even on the labour ward with my third child i was the oldest by a mile and found mums groups full of twenty somethings not really compatible when you are a child of the 70s.Well done for getting your story out im amazed you had the time to do it!

  10. Lizzue Adams says:

    I’m not a new old mum I was only 22 when my eldest of two was born but everything I’ve just read rings so true to what I went through in my 1st pregnancy and birth! I may have to buy this book myself, I felt so much personal pressure to pretend everything was “perfect” it was only until I watched Sex and the City 2 where Miranda and Charlotte talk openly with each other about how rubbish being a mother is sometimes tat I felt confident to be truthful with myself and others! Too many pregnancy books are written by smug people who giving birth was easier thn having. Tooth extracted lol! :0)

  11. Irene says:

    Would love to win this book, I gave birth to my 3rd child a week after my 40th birthday, I had my 2 other girls when I was in my twenties, it is very different when your older, like you say your friends aren’t pregnant and have grown up kids so I do feel isolated, walking into a parent toddler group was very daunting when the majority of the mothers are 20-30ish and assume you are the grandmother :/ which has had happened on several occasions even though I do feel I look fairly good for my age! Haha, but after having kids in my twenties and now in my forties, I can honestly say I’m enjoying far more this time round with far more experience and a lot more relaxed I enjoy every second with my little girl, would love to read your book I think it would be very interesting.

  12. Clare Bullen says:

    I had my first at 30 and my second at 45, and what a difference. Natural birth first time, high risk second time and a c-section after a week of going into and out of induced labour. My two year old son is thankfully happy and healthy and keeps me on my toes and we love the family days out. I find it hard to talk to mum’s at the local toddler groups though, they are so much younger, more fashionable, more manicured…. My husband keeps mentioning another, which would be the fifth between us, so NOT going there – 47 next week – OMG!!!

  13. sam says:

    Sounds like a great book, would love to win a copy and relate to someone else’s experience.

  14. sybil says:

    I’m a geriatric mum! 46 with my 1st and 48 wihen my 2nd pops out in 8 weeks time – I wish I was young like you lot 😦

  15. Emma fairley says:

    This sounds like a fun read! Im a new mum to a seven week old baby girl and find everything is aimed at younger mums. I’m 32 and thought I was young until I walked into my local baby group and saw everyone was at least 10 years younger than me! I’d like more children eventually but the thought of being even older is daunting. Looking forward to reading your book to gain a little insight!

  16. Lorna Craig says:

    I wasn’t a new old Mum but this sounds like an amazing read!

  17. I was 37 when I had my son (after five years of trying to conceive). My father said to me recently “you’d better hurry up and have another one or the other mums will think it’s their grandmother picking them up from school”. MY OWN FATHER. This is the kind of thing older mothers face every day. Depressing. Hurrah for other older mothers! We may not have the face of a 20 year old, but we have the life experience of two!

    • I am 46 and still trying to get pregnant with our first child. I didn’t meet my 2nd hubby until I was 39 and we got married last year so we are late comers to having the chance to start a family. I also feel that some doctors think if you are over 40 then you shouldn’t be thinking about babies. My mum also mentioned that “grandparent thing”, seems that being insensitive is something that comes with being over 60 for some people. It is hard as the negative comments seem to stick in your mind more than the positive.

  18. Ann Taylor says:

    I can totally relate to your experience – having my 7th child at 45 (a sixteen year age gap). My first child was born when I was 20 so was 25 when I had my little one. Soooo much had changed, so much choice – prams, sterilisers etc also the advice given is totally different. I admire you for writing a book – would have loved to have had it when I was pregnant – there was very little out there. My little one is about to go to school in September – at times it feels like yesterday I was pregnant at other times seems he has been here forever. I would love to read your experience.

  19. Amanda Hayes says:

    This book sounds great, I have just had my first baby at 42 and although i found a few blogs out there, there is not a lot of advice or discussion regarding older mums. It would be good to read this and see if we are all thinking the same!

    • Francesca says:

      I was 42 when I had my first, and only, child. I felt my age accutely during my pregnancy but now she is here I don’t think of it very much at all. That said I don’t know very many young Mums in their twenties. I am aware that even friends whose children were born 10 years before my daughter found the experience different in many ways……sounds like a good book…..

  20. Jo says:

    I am a new old Mum too, I dont feel too old but my body does somedays and I would like to read this book to see how it compares to my experiences. My baby daughter is just over a year old, she brings us so much joy but it is hard work being a mum !! I have mum friends in 20s, 30s and maybe the odd one in 40s but we all have our babies in common.

  21. Sandie says:

    You stole my idea – hahaha! But seriously I had thought about it, I had my first child at 38, miscarriage in January at 41, and hopefully another baby within the next year. I wished I had kept a proper diary at the time as had thought about it being an honest read for other mums to be, I’m so glad you did. I’m sure it will make a fabulous and, if its completely honest, funny read, can’t wait. And well done to you for making the time to do it – thanks in advance 🙂

  22. Sally says:

    Would love to win a copy of this book x

  23. jo says:

    i was 42 3 months after having our little girl.everythings different to years ago when pregnant with our two sons i was 21 with firstborn. then 24 with 2nd son.we had a big age gap but both felt happy and blessed to be having a perfect little daughter .not everybody shared our happiness with lots of comments good and bad.we had lots of love to give to our baby girl.this time round we had a scan which tells you what sex the baby is.which was amazing especially the 3d one.none of them options were around 20 odd years ago so we didnt find out till babys were born.being an older mum is more tiring but also keeps you younger and on our toes more.we go to different groups when we can.i have found a nice small friendly bunch of mums.2 or 3 that i have stayed close to.our little girls are close in age so really nice.not sure if its an age thing but going down slides chasing my little girl and having fun at climbing through tunnels really tires me out by the end of the day im ready for bed.but wouldnt have it any otherway.its exhausting being an older mummy but just seeing her big smile and hear her laughing we know that we have done well.not bad for almost 44 and daddy 46 who she adores.x

    • Oh yes, 3D scans are amazing! Six months or so into a pregnancy and you can say “I’m pregnant with baby Florence” or whatever! We have a display of framed photos of our children on the wall and my son (18 months) loves looking at them, including the 3D one of him ‘in utero’ and yes, he does look like how he turned out! So weird – but wonderful 🙂

  24. alana says:

    Finally, a book written by a normal person, to which everyone can relate, thank you. I’ve just had my 3rd baby and I’d love to have more but there’s no doubt that pregnancy books focus too much on the airy fairy loveliness of it all and less on the reality. In a way that can lead to new mums feeling down and depressed because their pregnancies, births and that first year are not always magical. What about stress incontinence? Pooing during labour? Hair loss? Hormonal acne? Raw nipples? breast infections? That first post labour poo? After birth pains? That immense feeling of total isolation? The pressure to be a perfect mum? Lack of confidence to talk about anything that isnt baby related (quite often I’ve had long conversations about the consistency of poo!) All things I wish someone had told me about. Hope some of those are touched on in the book, thanks and good luck! Xx

  25. sam king says:

    oooh infected c sections,mastitis,vegetables in ur bra…sounds like my kind of book 🙂 we are ttc baby no 3 at the grand old age of 42,i would love to read your book .

  26. Claire says:

    I cant wait to read this book. Im an older mum at 39 and desperately holding on to my 30s. I have made some lovely new “mummy friends” that are all holding on to their 20s! I am the mummy’s mum of the group! My other half is a new older dad at 52 – hes having bets at being the oldest dad at the school gates!

  27. Ann brown says:

    I’m Karens mum and I havent read it yet but her grandma who is 96 has read it cover to cover and even at her age enjoyed it. She said how does she remember it all. Bless her!

  28. Jackie says:

    This sounds like the book I meant to write myself! Excellent, now I don’t have to! 😀

  29. Carknz says:

    I totally relate to this, a new Mum at 38, I felt like because I was older everyone expected me to know what I was doing, yike! My waters broke at 16 weeks, I held on to 32 weeks and after a very scary c section now have a beautiful daughter. I cannot wait to read this, at last, some sense rather than preachy ‘do this, don’t do that’ books. I threw all the ones I bought away 🙂 !

    • I had an emergency C-section – not much fun 😦
      Congrats on your daughter! Makes it all worthwhile!
      The book definitely isn’t preachy. It’s how I did it, but mistakes and all, I’m not some perfect size 8 media mum by any stretch of the imagination, ha ha!!

  30. Congratulations to the two winners! I will send out your signed books this week, Alana & Sally 🙂
    Remember my book is available from for those who weren’t lucky enough to win a copy!

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