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Real Life

REAL LIFE: "I'm a granny at 39!"

''I faced plenty of challenges, but look at what they’ve given me.''

By Mitchell Jordan

Lucy Millwood, 39, Launceston, Tas shares her story:

I rushed to the bathroom, reaching the toilet just 
in time.
My morning sickness was intense, but that wasn't my only problem.
I'd fallen pregnant at just 16 years old.
My boyfriend and I hadn't planned on having a child – in fact, I'd always told people that animals would be the only kids I'd ever have!
But once I discovered 
I was expecting, my whole life changed.
Thinking of the baby growing inside me made 
me realise there was no 
way I could end its life.
I still lived at home 
with my mum.
Although 
I was determined to go through with the pregnancy, I worried about breaking 
it to her.
When the morning sickness got too bad, I finally confessed.
"I had a feeling," my mum, Sally, said. "You've been sick a lot lately."
And I thought I'd covered it so well!
Mum was concerned I was too young, but she knew 
I was responsible: I'd left school to work full-time at 
a pet store and had some experience 
of the adult word.
Things didn't work out with my partner, but my mum assured me she'd help support me and my bub.
''Me at 17 with 
my beautiful daughter.'' (Image: Supplied)
And, when my daughter Mikalah arrived, that's exactly what happened.
I'd worked right up until the birth and, while having 
a baby to care for kept me 
on my toes, I craved being busy again.
"Dinner's ready," I'd tell Mum when she arrived home from work each day.
I'd spend my days organising meals and making sure the house stayed in order, along with bonding with Mikalah.
"It's like you've become the mother to me, too!" Mum said with a laugh.
Nothing made 
me as happy as my daughter.
''With Mikalah and Maizie – I love being a mum and now a gran.'' (Image: Supplied)
I wanted to give her the best possible future, so I returned to my old job once she'd started to crawl and paid for Mikalah to attend childcare.
By then I'd got my own place and was determined 
to gain my independence.
But once I was back at work, I started eating less.
Then, before I knew it, 
I wasn't eating at all and 
felt sick at the idea of doing so.
"Are you taking care of yourself?" Mum asked me, concerned.
"Yeah, I'm just busy," 
I explained.
My weight quickly dropped and, before I knew it, I hit 33kg.
I knew this made me anorexic, but I didn't want to deal with it and brushed off everyone's attempts to help.
From left: Lucas, Lily, Mikalah with Maizie, and Chloe. (Image: Supplied)
One day, a friend turned up holding a brand-new blender.
"What's that for?" I asked.
He went straight into the kitchen and whipped up 
a smoothie.
"You're drinking this," he insisted.
I can't explain why but, 
for some reason, I did what he said.
From the second I sipped the chocolate drink, I felt 
a rush of energy swim through my body.
I hadn't felt this alive for the longest time!
After that, I slowly started eating again and rebuilt my weight.
It was scary to think how sick I'd let myself become – especially when I had a child to care for.
I would never let Mikalah go without anything, so why had I done that to myself?
With my life back on track, I went on to fall in love and, over the next five years, had three more children: Lily, Lucas 
and Chloe.
I thought it might have been easier being a mum who'd started so young, but back then I was too naïve 
to know what I was getting myself in for.
This time around, I worried about 
all the things that could 
go wrong.
Five generations – we all cherish 
this photo. (Image: Supplied)
Thankfully, the kids were all healthy but raising them meant it was hard for me 
to continue working away from home.
Childcare for three kids was an expense I just couldn't afford.
So I set up my own baking business, making brownies.
More than money, the most rewarding thing was getting to be with my kids every day – even if I had to keep them away from all the chocolate I was using to do my job!
My relationship with the children's father didn't work out, but Mikalah, 
by then a teenager, often helped me and we grew so close that she felt like my best friend.
She met a great guy called Matt and they married. 
By the time she turned 21 they started trying for a family.
One day, about a year later, she called me.
With Mikalah (right) 
at her wedding. (Image: Supplied)
"Mum, we're having a baby!" she cried excitedly.
I was thrilled 
for them.
For some reason, people were amused by the fact that I'd be a grandmother by the age of 39.
"It doesn't bother me," I told them.
In fact, I loved knowing that I'd get the opportunity 
to see my grandchild grow into an adult.
And when Mikalah gave birth to Maizie, my own grandmother, Carmen, 93, was there to see it.
I think it's amazing that she got to experience this moment.
We even organised for a photo of us five generations of women. COVID 19 has since brought us even closer together and we catch up regularly.
Looking back, having a child so young might not have been my plan, but I'm proud of the family I've created and I've now got 
a job working with animals, which suits my well-honed nurturing instincts perfectly.
I like to think I've been 
a role model to my kids 
and shown them they 
can achieve their goals 
no matter what.
They all make me so proud and mean the world to me.
Nothing's as rewarding to me as being a mum.

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