Tara Brown says she is a lucky woman. Not only has she created a stellar career as one of TV's most successful reporters, but she's managed to keep the best part until last — becoming a mother again in her 40s.
As a 60 Minutes reporter, Tara Brown has faced illness, fatigue and all manner of frustrations that have, at times, left her physically and emotionally drained.
Yet this time was different. This time, Tara wasn't just sick and tired — she was tired and sick.
It was April last year and she was on the trail of one of Australia's hottest rocks acts, Powderfinger, who were signing off after 15 years at the top with a farewell national tour.
"Shortly before, I'd been in Queensland covering the worst floods in more than 100 years," says Tara, 43. "And towards the end of that, I was getting cranky, crankier than I should have been. I put it down to being tired.
"Then, I was straight back on the road with Powderfinger. I started to feel sick, nausea that didn't let up. I thought, 'Maybe I'm exhausted. Maybe I am sick of being on the road, or sick of the boys in the band, or both.' "
As it turned out, it was neither. When Tara arrived home, she realised there was an explanation she'd overlooked. She took a pregnancy test. It proved positive.
"I was surprised, delighted, shocked, incredibly lucky and relieved, all at the same time," says Tara. "I hadn't really considered that I might be pregnant. I know how lucky I am.
"So many women out there try so hard for so long to conceive and have the greatest difficulties, so to conceive as an older woman, when the chances are less, is a gift.
"Even so, I didn't fully appreciate just how lucky I am until I held this child in my arms."
That child, Tara's second with her husband of 12 years, John McAvoy, 41, is Tom Oliver McAvoy, who was born at 11.07am on December 12 last year at Sydney's North Shore Private Hospital.
He weighed 3.35 kilograms and measured 53 centimetres, but the experience, says Tara, was vastly different to that with Jack Cooper, their first child, who is now two-and-a-half.
"It was all much faster this time around," says Tara, who was six days overdue when she and John went to the hospital for her to be induced. "The doctor broke my
waters and almost instantly I went into labour. But there wasn't any time for pain relief. Two hours later, Tom was born. It was that quick.
"I don't know how women do long labours. Jack was four hours and I thought I was going to die. Tom was only two hours and I still thought I was going to die. It was quicker, but it was very intense. You can never say that childbirth is pain free - because it certainly isn't — but it was uncomplicated and I was grateful for that."
The pain, however, quickly passed when Tara's doctor handed Tom to her. "I am still amazed at how you can be in a world of pain, feeling so immobile and awful, and then, the second that the baby is born, you can be up and walking around, and the pain is gone. It's incredible," she says.
Tara and John always wanted a second child after the birth of Jack in October 2008, but didn't follow a plan. "It was more a hope than a plan," says Tara, who conceived naturally.
"Again, being an older mum I think I'd come to terms with only ever having one child if that was the way it worked out. I felt so grateful to have Jack and was madly in love with him, as I still am."
Read more of this story in the July issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
Your say: Have you ever been surprised by a pregnancy, or were yours all planned?
Video: Favourite movie mums