Yep you heard me right! 10 Reasons why it is Brilliant being a Young Mum!
Oh I do love to court a bit of controversy!! Being a young Mum get’s a lot of bad press. But it’s not all bad. I promise! I’ll try to explain…
I was a Mum at 18, and honestly, it was the making of me. It gave me purpose and direction. I’m now 37. My boys have all left school and are making their way in the world. I have professional qualifications, a successful career, I’ve bought a house with my ‘significant other’ and I’m still busy ticking off all those other major life goals! Having a baby at 18 hasn’t scuppered my life ambitions.
Me with my lovely little man
Having babies in your late teens or early twenties is no longer the norm, like it was in the 1960’s and 70’s.
The average age of mothers has risen steadily over the last 30 years. When I was born in 1980 the average age of a first time Mum was 24.6 years, and when my son was born in 1999 the average age of a first time Mum was 26.4 years. In 2016 54% of women expecting babies were aged 30 or over. With the average age of first time mums’ being 28.8 years.
This is a trend that doesn’t seem to be changing.
Quick Survey of Friends and Family!
I only have to look at my friends from school, college and university to see this trend panning out.
I literally can only think of one or two friends who have had their first child before the age of 30, the majority have only just started their families in the last few years, aged 34, 35, 36, 37…
My sister, is 18 months younger than me, had my gorgeous squishy niece just a year ago.
Why are we having babies later?
There are lots of practical reasons why women are having babies later. For a start women spend longer educating themselves and establishing careers.
Women understandably want to have developed some financial independence, a stable home and to have some life experience and freedom before settling down and having a family. Plus finding the right partner isn’t easy and you don’t want to just ‘settle’. So, all of that all takes time.
Having babies later makes a lot of sense.
I want to fly the flag for having babies when you’re quite a bit younger than the average 28.8 years!
Mostly because I feel very strongly. that as women we are sold a myth that we can delay motherhood, we think we have plenty of time and it’s just not true. So many women suffer the trauma of infertility because they thought they had all the time in the world. Plus there are more risks to consider in pregnancy and childbirth when you are older.
When I was 33 I had an emergency operation that has pretty much rendered me infertile. If I’d waited I would never have been a mother, I can’t tell you how grateful I was that I already had my children. Which is why I am happy being an advocate for young motherhood. I don’t want other women to miss out.
Having a baby is a wonderful, life enhancing experience that should ALWAYS be celebrated, whatever your age. Sadly, when you make the decision to start your family when you’re younger lots of people comment about it being a shame, wasting your youth, opportunities…
But, I can’t think of a better way of using all that youthful energy than running round after some rugrats!
Based on my experiences of being a young Mum, here are my 10 reasons why being a young Mum isn’t just Ok, it’s flipping awesome!!
1. Do you remember how when you were 18 you felt invincible? That you could do anything, just go with the flow, nothing really bothered you massively? I like to call that ‘youthful resilience’. Let me tell you, it’s flipping brilliant when you’ve just had a baby.
Quite simply because you just don’t have the fear about everything, that you have managed to accumulate by your thirties! This means that you just don’t worry about any of the small stuff, you pretty much just focus on keeping them alive!
2. Your body is designed to have babies when you are young. Pregnancy and childbirth is hard work. It’s much easier to get through it all and ping back to normal when you’re younger.
I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes within 2 weeks of giving birth to my first child and within about 6 weeks of my second.
3. You have bags of energy. It makes the night feeds, running around and all the other work that goes into raising babies and toddlers much easier.
4. You don’t have to make any financial sacrifices or dramatic lifestyle changes to have you’re children because you haven’t got used to having a large disposable income. You’re not missing holidays, nights out, expensive clothes and make-up because you never had them! (You enjoy them later!)
5. Having a family when you are young gives you bucket loads of drive and ambition to build the best life you can for your children. Because now you have a clear purpose, a reason, and it’s compelling.
6. As you work towards achieving your goals you set a great example for your children. They get to see you working hard, educating yourself, making progress, developing your career and they learn that to get the good stuff in life you have to work for it!
7. Your financial situation improves, as you develop your career, as your children get older (and more expensive!).
8. You grow and experience life with your children. When my children were born, I had never really travelled, I couldn’t drive, my life experience was limited.
There was so much I wanted to do and share with my children, so a lot of my first experiences have been my children’s too, which is incredibly special. For example: Going to America, snorkeling in Mexico, Music Festivals, Inter-railing in Europe. We’ve done it all together.
9. When your children are teenagers you’re far more in touch with the realities of their lives. Plus you get to lull their friends into a false sense of security! Because your sometimes quite a bit younger than their own parents, possibly tattooed, pierced; they think you’re ‘cool’ and can’t imagine that you would have rules and high expectations!
10. By the time you are 40 your children are technically adults, and you are young enough to reap the rewards of your career and prepare for an amazing mid-life crisis! Your friends will have little people still at preschool and they will still be doing the school run when they’re 50, whilst you’ll be off sipping cocktails somewhere lush…
Pros and Cons
Ultimately, there are pros and cons for having babies when you’re younger but also later, when you’re ‘more mature’!! It’s about making the choice that personally, is right for you. At the end of the day the only opinion that matters is yours.
But, if your teenager comes home and tells you they’re pregnant… Don’t panic. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be ok, and let’s be honest parenting is hard no matter how old you are!
When did you have your babies? What do you think is the best age to have a baby? I’d love to know your thoughts!