For Emily Symons, becoming a mum to son Henry was a lifelong dream, one she feared she would never experience. But, after several failed IVF attempts, the Home & Away actress finally fell pregnant with son Henry, now 14 months, at age 45.
“I didn’t expect it to work at all,” Emily tells Mother & Baby. “I thought I would be too old. There was a very small chance that I could get pregnant using my own egg anyway, so we were lucky that our last attempt worked.”
With a high-risk, difficult pregnancy due to issue with her placenta and blood pressure as a result of her age, Emily feared that Henry would be delivered prematurely. However, after being put on virtual bed-rest for the last few weeks of her pregnancy, Henry was delivered by caesarean at 38 weeks.
“I knew when I first visited the obstetrician that I would have a caesarean because of my age,” says Emily. “I didn’t mind because it’s taken me all these years to have a baby [and] as long as he was healthy, I didn’t mind how he came out.”
However she admits that the process was a little surreal.
“It was strange because we got there at midday, and by 1pm I had a baby!”
Like most mums, Emily also admits to feel mum guilt after returning to Summer Bay just five months after Henry was born.
“Going back to work was bittersweet,” she says. “It took a long time to adjust. Henry has an incredible nanny – she’s like family. It helps to know Henry is so well looked after when I am not there. It was hard to hand over to someone else, but now it’s working beautifully.”
Having lost her own mother several years earlier, Emily also says that Henry has helped in the grieving process.
“Watching Henry enjoy little things like going to the supermarket in the car has made me realise that it’s these things that matter. I lost my mother in 2010 and I forgot how to be a happy person,” she says. “Henry has bought so much joy with him and he’s really taught me how to enjoy my life again.”
To read more of Emily’s story, pick up a copy of Mother & Baby magazine, available at supermarkets and newsagents now.