Mother, 46, thinks she's menopausal, but finds out she's pregnant

Mother, 46, thinks she's menopausal, but finds out she's pregnant


Mother, 46, with four teenagers reveals how she put her missing period down to the menopause – only to discover she was she was five months pregnant

  • Rachel Hodgson, now 47, from Melbourne, thought she was menopausal
  • But the mother-of-four discovered she was actually pregnant with her fifth child 
  • She gave birth to daughter Peggie Jean, who is 22 years younger than her oldest  
  • The new baby has been the ‘best thing’ says Rachel, who calls her a ‘miracle’ 

A mother of four teenagers was shocked to discover she was pregnant with her fifth child aged 46 – after mistaking her symptoms as the start of the menopause.

Rachel Hodgson, from Melbourne, was stunned when doctors told her she was almost five months pregnant with her fifth baby – 20 years after having her first daughter.

Rachel, now 47, and her husband Paul, now 48, welcomed their youngest daughter Peggie Jean into the world in November 2020 – just months after Rachel thought her periods had stopped due to the menopause.

When Peggie was born, her parents already had three girls; Isabella 20, Molly, 18, Olivia, 16 and a boy, Will, aged 14. 

The couple who have been married 24 years, call Peggie, now 16 months, their little miracle and have shared their ‘older parent’ highs and lows online. 

Rachel Hodgson, from Melbourne, now 47, pictured during her fifth pregnancy, was stunned to discover she was expecting a child, after putting the symptoms of early pregnancy down to menopause

The mother-of-five, pictured here with husband Paul, 48, and baby Peggie Jean on her first birthday, thought the days of night feeds and potty training were long behind her 

Rachel, pictured here with her older children Isabella, 22, Molly, 20, Olivia, 17, Will 15. There is now a 22 year age gap between her oldest and youngest offspring

Rachel said: ‘I was 46 when I gave birth to Peggie.

‘We were decades past nappies and night feeds, our baby days were long over – we thought the next stage would be grandchildren as we had four teenagers.

‘I was 19 weeks pregnant when doctors told me but I didn’t look or feel pregnant.

‘I simply assumed my periods had stopped because I was 45 and entering menopause.

‘I never for a second thought I could be pregnant.

‘I’ve been open and honest about our initial feelings – I devastated at the time.

‘We never thought it was the direction our life was going in.’

Expecting: Rachel, pictured here aged 46 while pregnant with baby Peggie, says she thought her baby days were ‘long over’ before the birth of her fifth child

‘Belly pictures’: The mother-of-five says she enjoyed documenting her pregnancy and early motherhood this time around, which is easier to do with modern technology

Gender reveal: Another first for the seasoned mum was throwing a gender reveal party (pictured) for her fifth pregnancy, which she hadn’t done before

Rachel added: ‘I was modelling, wearing my usual sized clothes, working full time, and we were loving having a more independent lifestyle.’

Rachel was 25 when she had her first daughter Isabella, now 22.

She added: ‘I had my older children when I was 25, 27, 29 and 31. I thought I was old having my ‘last’ at 31.

‘I cried a lot at first, but we decided it was meant to be and I accepted it.’

Rachel and Paul now have five children, Isabella, 22, Molly, 20, Olivia, 17, Will 15 and little Peggie.

Sisters: Rachel’s oldest daughter Isabella pictured with her baby sister Peggie. There is a 22 year age gap between the two siblings. Isabella was Rachel’s birthing partner

Peggie, pictured aged just one-week-old. The baby, who has been described as a ‘miracle’ was a surprise to her parents, who thought mother Rachel was going through menopause

Rachel (pictured here with baby Peggie) describes her youngest child as her ‘change of life baby’, saying the child keeps her young

Rachel added: ‘Peggie is our change of life baby, she certainly keeps us young and in the end it’s been the best thing in the world for us.’

Despite it being 15 years since her last pregnancy, Rachel had an easy pregnancy and birth.

She said: ‘Due to my age I was high risk, but thankfully all the tests were ok and I had no high bloods or diabetes. I was very lucky I am fit and healthy.’

Once the couple were over the initial shock, they announced their news.

Rachel said: ‘Friends were so shocked but supportive. No one could believe I was pregnant. We were the couple with teenage kids and child-free weekend breaks.

‘The kids were very accepting and excited for a baby sibling.’ 

According to Rachel, a lot has changed since she gave birth the first time around 22 years ago, with new traditions like gender reveal parties and bump photoshoots becoming popular

The mother-of-five has enjoyed documenting Peggie’s early life, which is much easier to do these days, with smartphones and cameras

Rachel says she has got into the spirit of motherhood in the 21st century, enthusiastically embracing trends like twinning mum and daughter outfits

Peggy was born in lockdown and the couple made the emotional decision to allow their eldest daughter Isabella to be Rachel’s birthing partner as she was studying to be a midwife.

Rachel said: ‘I could only have one support person and so Isabella helped delivered her sister. It was an incredible day for us all.’

Since giving birth, Rachel has reflected on the changes in pregnancy and looking after a baby since she had her eldest 22 years ago.

Laughing she said: ‘A lot has changed between my first pregnancy and last – including gender reveal parties, baby showers, maternity photoshoots and twinning mum and daughter outfits.

‘I loved taking belly pictures. I never had a smart phone back in my day and I have loved being able to document Peggie’s life so easily 

‘So spoilt’: Rachel (pictured here with baby Peggie and husband Paul) says the latest addition to the household is spoilt as the other children ‘adore her’

Peggie, pictured here with her mother Rachel, was a lockdown baby, and born at home. Her older sister Isabella was Rachel’s birthing partner

‘Queen of the house’: baby Peggie (pictured, centre, with her parents Rachel and Paul) is adored by all her siblings

‘We had never done a gender reveal before and I got to have a bump shoot which was amazing.’

Despite the new technology, Rachel said parenting basics have remained the same.

She said: ‘Looking after a new born felt familiar and new at the same time. The basics are the same but we have much fancier gadgets.

‘In some ways I felt like a first time mum again. We never had a steriliser or a video monitor with the older kids.’

Despite the age gap between the siblings, Peggie has settled in well to the family.

Rachel added: ‘Peggie is so spoilt. She is queen of the house and the kids adore her.’ 

Now Rachel describes age as ‘nothing but a number’, after giving birth to her youngest child  while well into her forties

Family: according to the mother-of-five (pictured with her children and husband Paul), her kids were happy to find out they were going to have a baby sibling

Rachel does worry about the impact on Peggie in later years and said: ‘I’m always doing the maths, working out how old will I be when she is at school etc. 

‘I’ve not yet been mistaken for her gran, but I’m waiting for it.’

Rachel added: ‘I would like my story to be a message of hope to older women, those trying to conceive and a voice of reason to those with an unexpected, later in life pregnancy.

‘Having Peggy at 46 is a reminder to me that age is just a number.

‘She is our little miracle and she has taught me that everything happens for a reason.

‘She is my greatest lesson in life.’

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