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NAME: Joanna Brody
TITLE: Owner
COMPANY: Brody Public Relations

Brody Public Relations is a full service agency that works with clients who are making a difference in the world. From caring for the environment, to promoting public health and safety, to seeking justice for underserved groups, Brody PR loves working with clients who have a greater cause to promote.

KIDS NAMES & AGES:

1) Joey – born 5/15//07 – 6 months (adopted)

2) The Mackerel – due on Nov. 27th (so named b/c it’s such a miracle that I am pregnant with a healthy baby at my age and given my history. My mother-in-law is Filipina. In the Philippines, instead of miracle, they say mackerel, hence “The Mackerel.”)

1. What factors precipitated becoming a mom in your 40s?

My husband and I did not get married until I was 36 and he was 41. We wanted the opportunity to just be married for a couple of years and to do a bunch of things (travel, live in Paris, get a dog, he was switching careers, etc.) before we had children. Consequently, we did not start trying to have children until I was 39. Couple that with that I while I always believed that some day I would have children after I got married, I was never driven to do it. So we began trying to get pregnant when I was 39. I got pregnant relatively easily, but suffered four complicated miscarriages and one failed adoption over the next four years.

2. What do you love about your career? What is most challenging about your career?

Being self-employed is my biggest challenge and also what I love most. The lack of financial security, the need to constantly seek out new business, having to pay for everything myself (health insurance, phone service, office equipment, etc.), the lack of human capital/support, etc. are all major challenges.

But I love the flexibility and lifestyle it allows us to have. Before we had kids, we traveled a lot, did not live by anyone else’s schedule, and would work from wherever, whenever. Plus I get to say yeah or nay to projects – I have total control over what work I do and don’t do. I am also constantly challenged by new clients, new subjects, etc. My business is committed to working with socially responsible companies and people so that gives me a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment. And as a PR person, getting a really big placement for a client who then benefits from the publicity is the best reward.

3.What was a typical day for you before adoption, what is it like now and how do you plan to manage everything once the baby is born?

As both my husband and I are self-employed and both work from home, we do not have a routine per se. I would usually get up relatively early and work out – either run or go to a yoga class (after having coffee first of course). Then I would read the paper. We have two dogs, so sometimes I would walk the dogs with my husband, depending on how quickly I wanted to get to work. Then I would begin working b/t 8-9 am. I would work most of the day, but often took time out for personal matters such as errands, paying bills, time with the dogs, chatting with friends, lunches, etc. My husband loves to cook so he would either make dinner at home or we might go out to a concert in the evening, a late night walk with the dogs or out with friends.

After Joey arrived, I continued to work for several reasons. One, adoption is never guaranteed, so we didn’t really “wind down” or make any provisions for time off, nor did I tell any of my clients in advance. Plus at that point, I knew I was pregnant but did not know if it was going to stick. But if it did, I’d need the time off much more after the second baby was born. So now we are juggling with both working from home and taking care of Joey at the same time. Because he is on formula, I have a lot of freedom now that I won’t get with baby number 2, so I can actually go to business meetings, yoga classes, or OB appointments and not have to worry about getting home to feed the baby. Between my mother and father, and mother-in-law, and lots of caring friends, we do have periodic help when we need it.

We have also been fortunate enough to inherit some part-time help from a very trustworthy source. A friend of mine no longer needs her nanny of 15 years. The nanny only wants part-time work since she has school-aged children of her own, wants to work with babies (she wants another baby but her husband doesn’t), and (this was the seal the deal element for us), she loves dogs, especially big dogs, since she has two of her own. (We have two large sheepdogs and we definitely need someone who is comfortable around dogs.) She will begin working for us part-time after the second baby arrives. Having flexible schedules does allow us to work more or less depending on what other priorities we have. And I have developed a network of other PR professionals I trust who can support me and fill in for me as needed.

4. How do you think being "older" is affecting your experiences as a mom so far (good & not so good)?

1) Despite some traumatic and complicated miscarriages, pregnancy has been a relatively easy state of existence for me. This has really surprised me as I anticipated being miserable for most of 9 months. I did have the requisite morning (actually afternoon and evening) sickness that was unpleasant and at times, downright wretched, but it was never debilitating. So after 14 weeks when I started to feel better, I still anticipated being exhausted, etc. But I have actually felt pretty good. I attribute this to not having experienced pregnancy as a younger woman. In other words, I don’t have anything to compare my 43-year-old pregnancy experience to, so I wouldn’t know if I was more tired, achy, irritable etc.

2) I definitely feel more patient with Joey as the little things just don’t matter as much. I am an extremely mellow and non-possessive mom. I don’t know if that has to do with being more mature or being overwhelmed with an infant, being pregnant, finishing the house we are building and working, that I just don’t have time to worry about little things like sterilizing the pacifier each time or changing his clothes every time he spits up.

3) By this age, we are so set in our ways - workouts, cafes, movies, traveling, running out of the house at will, getting ready to leave the house and get places with no time to spare – these are all things I could easily do before we had children. My lifestyle has certainly been curtailed, but my husband is very supportive of me continuing to do as many of those things that I can. One of the biggest adjustments has been getting organized and getting out of the house with the baby. Just when you think you are all packed up and ready to go, he wants to eat or needs his diaper changed, or you forget something. This is a difficult adjustment for me since I have lived for so long only being concerned about getting myself ready and somewhere on time.

4) Physically I know it will be harder to be a mom of two young children at my age, even though I am in good shape. I also wonder if and when we’ll ever have “golden years,” where our children are grown and out of the house and we can travel and pursue our own interests – will we still be young enough to do that? The flip side of that is, we’ve gotten to do a lot of that already by not having kids until we were in our 40s.

5. Where do you turn to for support as a mom? Who is your support network and community outside of work?

My parents are close by so they have been a tremendous amount of help with Joey, especially when I need to go to an OB appointment or my husband needs to go to the job site for the house we are building.

I don’t yet have a network per se as we have yet to move into our new house. I will create one when we move. I do have quite a few friends who were in their late 30s before having children, so they are somewhat of a help. And because their children are somewhat older, they can help us with ours (giving us hand me downs, etc.).

In addition, we have a few friends who do not have children, but love them and especially love babies. They too have stepped up to the plate and helped us out a great deal.

My best friend is 45 and is pregnant and due to deliver her first child 10 days before me. We live very close to each other, so we will be our own support group for sure.

 

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