Grandmother joins trend of late motherhood
AT an age when most mothers are contemplating an empty nest, babysitting grandchildren or thinking about travelling, Jacqui (Jarratt) Barnett was picking out baby clothes.
The Coffs Harbour grandmother of three discovered she was pregnant again at the age of 50.
She is one of a small but increasing number of women who are giving birth much later in life than was once usual
In Jacqui and current partner Glen's case, they had not taken part in any fertility treatments and had not planned a baby, but had not used any form of contraception.
"I had a couple of miscarriages earlier," Jacqui said.
"And we were talking about fostering."
Jacqui said the pregnancy was uncomplicated and their son Flynn was born via a normal delivery.
"Obstetrician Harvey Ward, a brilliant man, said he did not foresee any difficulties but I did have an amniocentesis and ultrasound in Brisbane."
The results helped her relax and enjoy her pregnancy.
Jacqui said she used no drugs but credits her kinesiology mentor for improving her physical health.
"She has worked with a lot of older women and she had a child at 48," Jacqui said.
"I'm healthier now than I was in my twenties and thirties.
"There's a lot of older mums out there, but they don't talk about it."
Jacqui understands why they are retiring.
She appeared on a television program and was featured in a women's magazine, talking about her experiences.
The public response was not always positive.
"There was flak and negativity out there, but I chose not to read it," Jacqui said.
"I know I've put myself out there, but I have done it to give people hope that miracles do happen.
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
She said one woman in Port Macquarie, now 70, had had a baby at 49 but had lied about her age because she was afraid of people's reactions.
Flynn has meant some new joys - he is Glen's first child, while Jacqui's grandchild Sage is just nine months older than Flynn and the pair are very close.
It has also meant some adjustments.
"I'd like to do some things, but I've had to take a step back," Jacqui said
"Travel ads for river cruises in Europe don't show toddlers.
"I sometimes find it hard fitting in at playgroup with younger mums, wondering how do I connect, but I'm lucky my job has given me the opportunity to mix with people of different ages, shapes and sizes - attitude is everything."
Jacqui has been involved in the lives of hundreds of women in her role as a fitness instructor and personal trainer for more than 25 years.
In 2010 she published Unfamiliar Mirrors, a book of past, present and future reflections which illustrates women's problems with body image and self esteem.
It is a topic which is particularly important to Jacqui, who once battled anorexia and a poor self-image and now has a special interest in teenage fitness and self esteem.
She wrote the book to help other women facing similar problems.
"The women's fitness industry is a bit superficial and I now know so much more about working on the inside and changing your thoughts, as well as your physical fitness," she said.