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June and Jake Billet

June and Jake Billet

Heads-up to all Kelly Preston critics—women can even get pregnant naturally and give birth to healthy children at 47, according to a recent article in the UK’s Daily Express.

Having Babies In Our 40s Made Us Better Mothers (see link below) has also been welcomed by many as something of a breakthrough in the usually suspect media coverage of later life motherhood, because it dared to highlight some of its benefits.

Could this be the advent of the light of reason in the court of media and public censure for mothers over 40?

Yet, if you ask the women interviewed for the piece, there’s a question regarding how much of the truth made it into the final feature—inevitably reconstituted for the easy moral digestion of the Express readership.

Flower Power Mom (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com/) spoke to June Billett from Lancashire, and Jan Andersen, Founder of the UK website Mothers Over 40 (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/), who were interviewed for the piece.

According to the Express, on her 47th birthday, Billett told experts that she was “perfectly capable of getting pregnant naturally” after being offered IVF. Her problem was she just couldn’t “hang on to the fetus.”

Just two weeks later, Billett discovered she was pregnant, and was given an undisclosed course of medication to support the pregnancy and finally gave birth to her son, Jake, in 2006.

However, when asked about the article, however, Billett admits: “Some of it wasn’t accurate.”

“I was on the phone for the interview,” she says, “and a lot was edited out of the article,” adding that she was never offered the opportunity to review it for accuracy before going to print.

Billett cites some important points that didn’t make it to press, including the proper spelling of her surname.

“I devised my own baby recipe to keep conceiving, and the meds I got from the consultant were heparin injections, baby aspirin, and progesterone for the first four months.”

She further states that, contrary to what the Express article suggests: “I don’t keep getting asked what if I die and leave Jake alone—no one has ever asked me that!”

“He wouldn’t be as he has two half-sisters in their 20s for a start,” she continues.

However, despite these omissions, Billett admits that—having been told that it would be a positive article—she felt that “on the whole it was.”

Understandably, Billett knows only too well the risk of being burned by media as an over-40 mother.

Like the rest of us, she’s witnessed their appetite for vilifying those who have conceived and birthed children later in life, only stopping short of burning them at the journalistic stake.

“The press have a sensationalist view on older mums,” says Billett.

“They think that the negative side of it will sell more papers, which is quite sad really.”

She also feels the stigma is related to those who give birth—but not those who adopt—in later life.

Adoptive mothers like Madonna or Sandra Bullock receive less criticism, however, Billett argues that “at the end of the day, they are still mums to young babies, aren’t they?”

Jan Andersen, Founder of the UK’s Mothers Over 40 (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/)—who was also interviewed for the Express feature—says “overall, I was happy with the piece because of the totally positive angle.”

Although there were “some minor inaccuracies” and her “words were somewhat skewed,” Andersen felt “for the first time, the media has published a totally positive perspective.”

Regarding the future media coverage of the ever-increasing number of women having children after 40, Jan Andersen calls for further change.

“They need to steer clear of grim medical statistics that seem to be compiled by bodies that only deal with couples experiencing fertility problems, such as IVF clinics,” she says.

“They need to focus on the numerous benefits of midlife parenting—not least in terms of wisdom and life experience.”

According to Andersen, the media “need to accept the fact that not all women’s reproductive organs become ‘redundant’ after a certain age, nor do we all become disease-ridden or incapacitated.”

To this, June Billet, now 51-years-old, chimes in: “My chronological age is somewhere around 42–I’m sure I will be around long enough to see my son grow into an independent man.”

Could it be they’re ringing in the changes and lightening the maternal load for over-40 moms to come?

Notes for this blog:

Having Babies Made Us Better Mothers: http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/186422/Having-babies-in-our-40s-made-us-better-mothers (http://www NULL.dailyexpress NULL.co NULL.uk/posts/view/186422/Having-babies-in-our-40s-made-us-better-mothers)

Jan Andersen’s website, Mothers Over 40:

http://www.mothersover40.com (http://www NULL.mothersover40 NULL.com/)

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