I had quads at 50, it was exhausting and made me look old – Naomi Campbell has no idea what she’s in for

INJECTED with hormones, suffering relentless exhaustion and being mistaken for a grandmother. This is the reality of having a child in your fifties, according to these mothers.

They know all too well what model Naomi Campbell has in store.

Tracey Britten gave birth to ­quadruplets at the age of 50. The full-time mum says: “I ­suspect Naomi doesn’t know what’s awaiting her — a lot of love and laughter, but those nights out on the town are long gone.

“I would be lying if I said it was all fun and games. Motherhood is tough — and it’s especially hard when you’re getting on a bit and not so sprightly.”

Tracey, now 52, from Enfield, North ­London, started her family aged 18 and had three kids with her first husband, who she went on to divorce in 2003. By 2012, she had married second husband Stephen, a roofer, and become ­pregnant. But the pair chose to have an abortion.

She says: “It was the wrong decision. Six weeks later, my mum Pauline died suddenly aged 66 of a blocked artery and I felt sure it was the world punishing me for what I’d done.

“Despite trying, I couldn’t get pregnant again. So, when I was 49, we decided to spend £7,000 of my mum’s inheritance flying to Cyprus for IVF. Spending that much was daunting but my desire to have a baby was eating away at me.”

Five embryos were inserted into Tracey’s uterus. She says: “IVF was really tough and stressful, both emotionally and physically. Every day for two weeks Stephen injected me with hormones in the bum to stimulate my eggs, before I was given medication after the embryos were implanted. It was anxiety-inducing. Would the embryos take? I wondered how I’d cope if it didn’t work and I couldn’t give Stephen a child.”

'Motherhood has really taken its toll on me'

In April 2018, Tracey and Stephen were stunned to learn they were expecting quadruplets. She says: “I burst into tears and felt full of nerves. I wondered how we’d cope but we eventually rea­lised we could afford it and started to get excited.

“It was so cumbersome carrying them around. I was warned I needed to rest as I risked blood clots. There was one moment at 11 weeks when I was warned the quads’ best chance of ­survival would be to abort two to save two — but I refused.

“It was the right decision and on October 26, 2018, they arrived following a planned C-section. There was no way I was ­squeezing out four babies, although I’d had natural births before.

I look worse now than I did with my first three.

"About 30 doctors at University Hospital London watched as 2lb 12oz Francesca, 1lb 15oz Fredrica, 2lb 7oz Grace and 3lb 10oz George arrived safely.

“The four were kept in hospital for many weeks but I kept on smiling — a perk of being an older, and wiser, mum.

“Motherhood has really taken its toll on me this time round. I look worse now than I did with my first three. I’m middle-aged, so the sleepless nights catch up with me.”

'Years of utter exhaustion'

AFTER 16 years of trying and a £30,000 dent in her finances, Diane Reid welcomed her first child at the age of 52 but has found motherhood hard work.

Despite the exhaustion, the NHS technician became a mum for the second time last year. Now 57, she is a single mum to Jessica, five, and Joseph, one.

She says: “I’d warn Naomi that motherhood later in life is not all misty-eyed cuddles, but a tiring full-time job. I was sick every day of my ­second pregnancy. I get ­mistaken for their grandma, and do worry that I won’t live to see my children get a job and get married.

“It’s exhausting. Now Joseph is a toddler it’s even harder as I have to run around after him all the time. I get more tired and it’s more of a challenge, ­especially with two. I would have preferred to do it in my ­thirties as I’d have had more energy. But early motherhood wasn’t meant to be for me.”

Diane, from Hull, first knew she wanted to be a mum when she was 36 and although she had a partner they decided not to start a family together. Instead, Diane chose to go it alone, but her first six IVF attempts failed.

She says: “It was devastating every time an attempt failed, but I was elated when I fell pregnant on my seventh attempt. Tragically, I lost the baby at seven weeks. On my eighth attempt, I also lost a baby at six weeks. It was incredibly ­difficult.”

As she reached the age of 50, Diane found no ­clinics in the UK were prepared to help her so she went to Alicante in Spain.

She says: “I had embryos ­created with donor eggs and sperm implanted into my uterus and two weeks later I was thrilled to be pregnant. In June 2015, I gave birth by C-section to Jessica at Hull Royal Infirmary.

“It had taken 16 years and cost me £30,000, but eventually I was a mum. It was amazing to finally hold my daughter.”

I would have preferred to do it in my ­thirties as I’d have had more energy.

In 2019 Diane travelled to a clinic in Cyprus, where she had two embryos inserted into her uterus from egg and sperm donors — and got pregnant with twins.

She says: “I lost one before 12 weeks, but Joseph arrived in January 2020 and completed our family.” Diane is still with her partner but they live separately and she raises the children as a single mum.

She says: “Even though it’s utterly exhausting, having two gorgeous children in my fifties is the best thing that ever ­happened to me. The months and even years of utter exhaustion I am still embarking on are all worthwhile.”

'Society judges women my age for having children'

CLAIRE MEAR gave birth to daughter Amelie soon after her 50th birthday. She sometimes feels judged for being an older mum.

She says: “Lots of ­people mistake me for Amelie’s grandma. Strangers in the supermarket have told her, ‘Be good for your grandma’ — I always laugh and correct them.

“Some might argue that I won’t be around for Amelie when she is older but life doesn’t always work out how we plan.”

Writer Claire, 54, and paramedic husband Brian, 56, from Sheringham, Norfolk, met in their 40s and quickly decided they wanted to start a family together.

She says: “I knew I wanted Brian to be the father of my children and I was 46 when I fell pregnant. Tragically, our baby Molly was stillborn two days before her due date in August 2013. It was horrendous, it felt like my last chance to be a mum.”

Four years later, Claire decided to try IVF at a clinic in Greece. She says: “We used Brian’s retirement money to fund the treatment and it cost us £8,000 including two trips.

“Using a donor egg and Brian’s sperm, I fell pregnant on the first try. But I never felt I could relax as I always worried something could go wrong again, so the months felt like a lifetime.

“I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes too, which can happen to women of any age during pregnancy, but I followed advice and kept a strict diet.”

In May, 2017 Amelie was born by ­emergency caesarean after be­coming distressed during labour. Claire says: “Like all newborns she didn’t settle into any kind of routine for a few months and it was very tiring. We were up every couple of hours for a feed.

By six months, I was tired out and we started to try to get some routine into ­Amelie’s sleep.

“I breastfed for the first six weeks and I was constantly worrying whether I was doing enough. By six months, I was tired out and we started to try to get some routine into ­Amelie’s sleep.

"Family and friends have been supportive but society judges women my age for having children and that is wrong.

“At playgroups, I’ve mixed with young mums, and although I wish I knew a mum a similar age as I am, we never struggle for conversation.

"I may be 54, but I feel about 30 because running around after Amelie keeps me young.

“Your body changes after having a baby but I know mums of all ages who feel this. Of course I’m tired, but I don’t think this is to do with my age — speaking to other parents I know they feel the same.

“When you have a stillborn baby you feel so grateful for the chance to be a mum, so I’ve always looked at the positive side of parenting.”

  • Claire’s book Rocker Bye Baby is available from Amazon, £9.99.

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