Two new mums defy birth stats
By ZOE SATHERLEY
MOTHER and daughter Vicki McIntosh, 44, and Theresa McIntosh, 20, are still coming to terms with having new babies at the same time.
One might be considered 'too old' to be a new mum, the other 'too young'.
Research shows the average age at which Australian women are having babies is now 30.2 years, compared with 29.5 in 1998 and 30.1 in 2002.
"I might be 14 years older than the average, but motherhood still brings the same joys and I should be allowed to make my own decision about having a baby," said Vicki, of Modanville.
Theresa, who has recently left home to set up house with her fiance, Andrew Dixon, a former Lismore local and now a teacher in Moree, said being a young mum had come as a huge shock.
"It has changed my life dramatically. I love my baby, she is just gorgeous and I'm glad I had her.
But I'd advise young women to wait at least until their late 20s before starting a family," Theresa said.
"I've had to stop my TAFE studies in aged care and I don't get out much anymore."
The latest NSW Health Department Mothers and Babies Report shows an increased trend in women deferring childbirth to older ages, and a further increase in the rate of Caesarean births from 19.7 per cent in 1999 to 26.5 per cent in 2003.
The number of teenage mothers continued to decline, falling from 4099 (4.8 per cent of all mothers) in 1999 to 3386 (4 per cent) in 2003.
Theresa and Vicki fall outside the State 'norms' in another way, too.
Little Tameka, Vicki's baby, at just five months of age is the aunty of Theresa's baby, 11-month-old Lilly.
Neither woman expected to fall pregnant and both were afraid to tell their mum.
"I thought mum would kill me," said Theresa, who wasn't regularly using contraception.
For Vicki, telling her own mother, June Axford, of Lismore, and her husband of 22 years, Michael, 47, was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
"There was a stunned silence in both cases," Vicki said.
Mum was initially very disappointed. She felt I was too old to go through another pregnancy after having had three children (Theresa, 20, Daniel, 18, and Renae, 16).
"Michael and I were just about to spread our wings and do some travelling. Now we're back to nappies, midnight feeds and broken sleep thanks to running out of the pill and being too slow in getting a new script filled.
"But Michael has been fantastic. He just loves his new little girl."
Vicki said her biggest hurdles so far were getting over gestational (pregnancyinduced) diabetes, the Caesarean delivery and being tired and worn out.
"I was so worried throughout the pregnancy about the baby being healthy that I didn't even ask if it was boy or a girl when it was born. I just wanted to know if it was normal," she said.