‘I was having my 12-week scan when Olivia rang me to tell me I was going to be a grandmother’: The tensions and tears when a mother and daughter have a baby at the SAME time Sally Peach, 39, a former legal adviser, lives near Nottingham with her husband David, 50, a team leader for a construction company, and has four children, Olivia, 21, Bradley, 18, Alfie, 12, and Luca, one. Sally says: Nervously waiting in hospital for my 12-week scan, my mind was full of concern for my baby. Then my phone rang. It was my 19-year-old daughter, Olivia — and she had sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ news.
Not only was I an expectant mother, but I was going to be a grandmother, too. I wept happy tears when I heard the ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ in her voice. The pregnancy test she’d taken at home was ᴘᴏsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ and she’d called me even before her husband, Richie.
‘This is the happiest moment of my life, Mum,’ she sobbed. ‘I’d given up hope this could happen to me.’
Olivia had always dreamed of having a baby but, at 18, she’d been told that because of a sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ɢʏɴᴀᴇᴄᴏʟᴏɢɪᴄᴀʟ ᴄᴏɴᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ, it would be impossible for her to conceive. She’d taken the news so badly I hadn’t told her I was trying for a fourth baby. So, when I found out I was pregnant, my first thought was: ‘How on earth will I tell Olivia?
I was in tears when I phoned her, and with good reason. I knew my daughter and how much it would ᴅᴇᴠᴀsᴛᴀᴛᴇ her. Sure enough, it did. She started sobbing, but after a few minutes started trying to congratulate me. Hearing my darling girl putting on a brave face made me feel even ᴡᴏʀsᴇ. So, when she called to say that she, too, was pregnant, I confess that my tears of happiness were also mixed with ones of sheer relief. My guilt at falling pregnant slipped away only at that moment. But it was immediately replaced by a maelstrom of other horrible emotions.
There was a moment of sʜᴀᴍᴇ: would people judge us for being a mother and daughter pregnant at the same time? Would they write us off as lower class? It was upsetting to think people might start making false assumptions about us. The thought of the two roles I would be expected to fulfil also overwhelmed me. Olivia would be looking to me as her mother for help and guidance. How would I be able to support her emotionally and physically when I was sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ sɪᴄᴋɴᴇss ᴀɴᴅ ᴛɪʀᴇᴅɴᴇss myself? I’d always dreamed of being a hands-on grandmother, but it was going to be impossible to devote time to Olivia and her baby when my own child would need me more.
My husband David and Olivia’s brothers Bradley and Alfie weren’t perturbed at the prospect of having a sibling and nephew at the same time and in the same house — they were just ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ.
We shared fantastic times as we clocked up the pregnancy milestones. I remember my 20-week scan with Olivia at my side, genuinely ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ for me and then, two months later, it was my turn to be ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ for her. And to discover that we were both having boys was just incredible. But two pregnant women living under one roof was explosive at times, especially towards the end when we were both huge, hormonal and feeling fed up. We started bickering about trivial things, arguing over who had done the housework and then not talking to one another for days. It was the best thing for both of us when Olivia moved out to live with Richie the week before I gave birth. The tension immediately eased and we became our happy selves once more.
My son, Luca, was born at Nottingham City Hospital in January 2013, with my husband by my side. Then nine weeks later, I was back in the same delivery suite with Olivia and Richie as my grandson, Morgan, was born. I’d been determined to be there for Olivia at the birth, but that meant leaving my own baby in the middle of the night. While I stayed with her through the labour, I had to race back straight after Morgan was born.