Gemma Skinner has become Britain’s youngest gran at the age of 33. At this age, many women are proud to welcome a new child into their lives. But for Gemma Skinner, the new arrival is not her daughter – it’s her granddaughter. The childminder is believed to have become Britain’s youngest grandmother when her 17-year-old daughter gave birth last weekend – and she couldn’t be more delighted. At first I didn’t want to be called “nan” or “granny”,’ she said. ‘But now I’m loving it.’ Anyone who sees Gemma with week-old Larosa Maè believes she is the mother.
She told The Sun: “did the school run with the baby this week and someone came over to me and asked if she was mine, I had to explain that she’s my granddaughter and they were quite shocked.”
Gemma was only 16 when she became a mother to Maizie, who in turn became a mum at 17 in the early hours of last Sunday. ‘Everyone has assumed [Larosa Maè] is Maizie’s younger sister, so we have to keep explaining that she’s actually her daughter,’ Gemma added. ‘People mistake me for her mum all the time. ‘When Maizie was in hospital, the nurse who came to give the epidural asked if we were sisters. We can laugh about it because it happens all the time. I’m used to it now.’
Gemma has two other daughters, Gracie, ten, and Bella, four – who are now both aunties. But she says that when Maizie became pregnant: ‘My first reaction was worry because it wasn’t easy for me when I found out that I was pregnant so young. But I wouldn’t change anything for the world and I love our little family. Maizie has taken to being a mum so naturally and I’m so proud of her.’
She added that the birth had been ‘very traumatic’, saying: ‘I am so glad I was there with her.’ She explained that Maizie had to be induced and had an epidural which didn’t work down one side. Then Larosa Maè’s head came out three minutes before the rest of the body, but eventually she was born successfully, weighing 8lb 4oz.
Gemma, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, said that her younger daughters were pleased to be aunts, but that her own mother, Lorraine, 54, was ‘not ready to be a great-grandma’. Maizie – whose partner, Jack Weir, is 19 – said Gemma had been supportive throughout her pregnancy. The average age for a first-time mother in the UK is 29 and the average age for a first-time grandparent is 63. She said: ‘My mum was by my side the entire time and didn’t leave me. She’s teaching me everything I need to know and more, and I’m so grateful for her. ‘She has taught me how strong I have to be as a parent and I’m proud of what my daughter has in her.’ Gemma joins a small number of women who became grandmothers in their early 30s.
In June, Jenni Medlam, from Hull, also became a grandmother at 33 when her daughter, Charmaine, 16, gave birth to Isla-May. Speaking to her local newspaper last week, Jenni said it was a blessing to become ‘Nanna’ so young. ‘Being young grandparents just means you have more time to love your grandchild and longer to cherish them,’ she said. As with Gemma, Jenni, now 34, said everyone assumes the baby is hers, adding: ‘When we explain they get the absolute shock of their life.’ The average age for a first-time mother in the UK is 29 and the average age for a first-time grandparent is 63.