Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips has revealed she received harsh criticism in hospital after giving birth to her second daughter at the age of 47, in 1991.
Arlene, now 74, said she was “treated like a freak” and told that she “should be a grandmother, not a mother” at her age.
Doctors even told her it would be hard for her to bond with her daughter Abi because of her age.
Arlene told Good Housekeeping magazine that she normally wouldn’t put up with such comments but was in a very vulnerable place, having just given birth.
She explained: “I’m so vociferous if anybody says something to me that I find offensive. But I was so vulnerable. I let all these remarks go by with tears in my eyes.
“Nowadays, being an older mother is very common. When you let all those things go, you see the absolute joy of having a baby when you’re older. You really do feel like you’ve been given a gift.”
Arlene was already a mum to her first daughter, Alana, and thought she would be hitting menopause soon when she discovered she was pregnant with Abi.
She reveals that she and her partner, Angus Ion, didn’t have any plans for a child together and were “stunned” to learn they were expecting a baby.
“We didn’t discuss it, it just wasn’t on the menu. I already had Alana, and Angus soon saw her as his own.
“No one could have been more stunned. I thought I was heading for the menopause, and here I was expecting a baby. It was such a blessing.”
However, Arlene’s joy was soured by comments a doctor made when she attended the Royal Free Hospital, in London, for her first appointment. The doctor told her that she was the oldest mum-to-be they’d ever had and that she “should be a grandmother, not a mother”.
“That made me feel terrible”, Arlene recalled.
As Abi grew up, Arlene said she sometimes felt “self-conscious” picking her up at the school gates, but this feeling disappeared as Abi became a teenager.
In a previous interview with The Mail Online, Arlene said that dying before her children grew up always worried her, particularly as her own mother had died young. “The main worry is always whether you will see your children grow up. My own mother died from leukaemia when I was 15 - she was only 43, so you can’t legislate for that.”
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