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Old Moms Club Podcaster, photo by Mia Valdez

Old Moms Club Podcasters Michelle Hooper & Kristi McDonald

This duo is helping ‘old’ new moms feel seen

Kristi McDonald and Michelle Hooper, friends, cofounders and hosts of the Old Moms Club podcast, refer to themselves as “new moms in old bodies.”

They use the word “old” lightheartedly after both women were told by doctors that their pregnancies were considered “geriatric.” The term was not exactly appreciated, but it became something to bond over and ultimately the inspiration behind their podcast.  

The moms met at Boss Talks Dallas, a women’s networking organization, and became fast friends and each other’s go-to person for all the pregnancy dilemmas no one talks about. During their talks, they found there was a lack of resources for first-time moms in their late 30s and early 40s.

They launched their podcast to educate, entertain and inform this past Mother’s Day. They record one episode a week, which airs every Thursday, and covers the challenges, milestones and magic of being an “old” new mom.

About the Old Moms Club Podcasters

Basics Michelle, 43, from Dallas; Kristi, 40, from Tyler.
Marital status Michelle is newly married to Matthew; Kristi is a newly single mom.
Children Michelle has Ava, 18 months, and three stepchildren ages 25, 27 and 29. Kristi’s daughter, Eden, is 1.
Mompreneuers Michelle cofounded the marketing agency Digital Philosophies. Kristi, a part-time middle school teacher, founded the E Teacher App.
Fun fact The pair usually records their weekly podcasts virtually.

Interview with the Old Moms Club Podcasters

DFWChild: Did you both always know you wanted to be a mom?

Michelle Hooper: I’d always wanted to be a mom and just expected it would happen. I would fall in love in my early 20s and then become a mom, and that just didn’t happen. And so, I focused on my career and traveled the world. I was 36 when I started to grieve the idea of not being a mom. Then at 37, I met Matthew and gave birth to Ava right before my 39th birthday.  

Kristi McDonald: I didn’t really have that ticking clock that many women have when it came to being a mom. I had my career and loved to travel so it wasn’t necessarily on my radar. But it’s funny how God always knows what we need, even when we don’t. Eden was exactly what I needed, when I needed it most.  

DFWChild: Kristi, you had an extremely hard pregnancy. What was the diagnosis? 

KM: My pregnancy was rough to say the least. I had hyperemesis gravidarum, a very serious condition that occurs during pregnancy that many people don’t know much about. I was hospitalized more than 20 times with such extreme nausea that I would literally throw up until I passed out. And there is very little, medication-wise, that you can use to treat the symptoms. I had to continually be on IVs to keep my body hydrated and to get Eden and myself the nutrients we needed.

DFWChild: How is becoming a first-time mom later in life different than having a baby in say, your 20s?

KM: On one hand, it was easier because life was more stable. We both had established careers, life experiences and life lessons on our side. On the other hand, the physical part of pregnancy and birth—it’s harder on your body and you don’t recover as quickly.

DFWChild: Do you think your perspective differs from moms who had babies when they were younger?

MH: I think there’s almost an identity crisis that happens when you have a baby and you’ve already lived 20 years as an adult. Most of your friends might not be in the same life stage as you are. Your identity has been in your career and to shift that into motherhood is a unique thing.

Old Moms Club Podcaster, photo by Mia Valdez

DFWChild: So you named your podcast the “Old Moms Club” to give a sense of belonging to other moms in your same situation?  

KM: Yes, because we all want to feel like we belong somewhere. We wanted it to be very inclusive. But you don’t have to be an “old mom” to be in the club.

DFWChild: Kristi, how has being single affected your experience as an older mom?

KM: Just like there’s a stigma around having a baby when you’re older, I think there’s still a stigma around being a single mom. In many ways, it’s been easier. There’s less tension and it’s going to be easier to instill the values in Eden that are so important to me.  

DFWChild: How did the idea of the podcast come up?

MH: With Ava being a few months older, I kept texting Kristi about things she was going to need in a few months. From that, we started making this list of topics that no one tells you about—pregnancy, birth or postpartum. There’s this whole secret world that moms know about, but no one talks about. We felt like we were doing a disservice to women by not talking freely about the things that all of us experience as mothers.  

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DFWChild: So many people have great ideas that never actually come to fruition. How did you make it happen?

MH: I had lived in Los Angeles where practically everyone had a podcast. I reached out to one of my good friends who had one and basically told her, “We need to know all your quick and easy tips and tricks for getting this launched in two weeks.” So, we hired her as a consultant and launched it on Mother’s Day.  

DFWChild: What’s your definition of an “old mom”?

KM: Apparently “geriatric pregnancy” is the new term for advanced maternal age or a high-risk pregnancy, which starts at age 35. When I heard that, I looked straight at my doctor and said, “You will not say that.” I mean, you’re newly pregnant and excited just like all the younger moms and you go to your doctor’s office to be told you’re geriatric?  

DFWChild: Have any listeners been upset at the idea that they might be an “old mom”?

KM: We have listeners who are like “we’re not old” and we’re like, exactly, that’s the point! Nowhere else in any medical situation is being 35 years old considered geriatric.  

DFWChild: What’s the best advice you’ve received as a mom?

KM: Advocate for yourself. You know what your body is doing and you know your body best.  

The Podcasters’ Mom Picks

Michelle Hooper and Kristi McDonald share their favorite baby apps, books and ways to make life with a toddler just a little easier.

Simple Self-Care 
KM: A luxurious shower. Although after new mom life, any shower longer than one minute seems luxurious. I love using all the hot water and fresh eucalyptus. 

Fave Baby App  
MH: My favorite app for tracking my daughter’s sleep and eating trends is Nara Baby. I also use The Short Years app, which is a baby book app. I upload pictures and answer a couple of questions each month, then they mail the completed pages.

Mommy & Me Time 
MH: We’ve attended Backyard Music Class since Ava was 4 months old. It’s taught by Audrey Schott and located in the Swiss Avenue Historic District in Dallas. We also started Mommy & Me Gymnastics classes at ASI Gymnastics in Lakewood.

Never Leave Home Without 
KM: Peel and stick placemats by Klean Kids. Great for restaurants and traveling with little babes—they’re lifesavers!

Treat Yourself
MH: Even after becoming a mom, I still never miss a manicure! My go-to spot is The Best Nails Dallas. They use a European-style gel manicure, which lasts over four weeks—a great option for busy moms that don’t have time for frequent nail appointments.

Photos courtesy of Mia Valdez