Is Age Just A Number?

This post originally appeared in my old blog, www.the-alice.co.uk

Does age matter when it comes to having children?

I was Skyping with Will and my sister in law a couple of days ago, when the conversation turned to M.I.L.F.S. (as my mum has always been one). SIL mentioned how crazy it was that one of her friend’s mums is coming up to her 50th birthday, which at the age of 26 to her felt strange. My immediate reaction was also one of ‘crikey, she must have been young when she gave birth’, but after discussing it further we realised she would have been 24. As in my age. As in the age I will be when Baby H arrives (should she arrive on time – if she comes 4 days or more later I will be 25).

I was surprised at how much of a shock this was to me – I hadn’t thought far in advance to how old I would be when baby ‘grows up’.

I’ve already noticed a slight age difference between myself and the other mums-to-be in the waiting room at the hospital, and I imagine that I will notice this more and more when baby arrives. I fully expect to be one of the younger mums at baby groups and the school gates, especially within the area we live in. This doesn’t bother me at all as I’ve always felt slightly wise beyond my years (hah! – others may disagree) and some of my very best friends are older than me (hi, Su!). But will it make me a better mother?

I don’t think it will. I think it may make me a different kind of mother, but not a better one. I’ve been working for 7 years now and feel accomplished with my career so I don’t feel I’ve missed out in that respect, and I’m lucky enough to work in a sector that I’ll be able to keep in touch with from home. Will and I have been a couple for 7 years so I don’t feel that we need any more time as a couple before we bring children into our little family. I’ve never travelled, but I’ve never felt the need to – I much prefer holidays, infinity pools and good restaurants to backpacks and hostels! I’m slightly regretful that we don’t own a property in London, though with prices the way they are and no desire to move outside the city, who knows when this would have happened?

I hope my age will mean I’m energetic, fun and trusting of my instincts when bringing up our children.

How old were you when you became a mum (or a dad)? Do you think it was the right age for you?

The above photo is of Su, me and Will – it was snapped on my 21st birthday (we’d just attended a ball with my mum and dad and brother) and to say we were worse for wear is an understatement!

16 Comments
  1. Dear Alice, I'm not sure whether the number or the years is the issue here. It is the experiences and what you learn that is really the point. I had my first at 27 and second at 39, so can confidently say I had them at two ends of the spectrum.
    I always lived in the city and could never see that changing, but now we live semi-rural and we love it. See cows from our windows and horses and sheep on the way to school. It is something quite different but quite lovely. All I really want to say is don't be surprised by how you and your opinion of things will soon change once that lovely bundle arrives. It takes you sometimes by surprise by how suddenly something which previously seemed very insignificant becomes hugely important. The whole experience is one huge journey from the moment you become a mother.

    1. I think when our kiddies get older we will move out the city, I reckon the first three years of our little one's life will be spent here but after that I will need more green. We both grew up in rural Gloucestershire and can't see a childhood for our kids that doesn't involve cow pats and countryside bike rides.

  2. Only this week have I found out that I'm unexpectedly (but very happily) pregnant, so obviously I haven't had time to think about anything yet really but having looked through your blog over the past few days (already you have been a godsend!) this is the post that has really hit home! I'm 21 now and will be 22 by the time little one arrives in December. I always had it planned that I would be somewhere between 25-30 when I had a baby but apparently thats not whats in store for me! Thinking about it now I'm really happy it's happened now, I've done the travelling I wanted to do and I know in 18 years time me and my man will still be young enough to enjoy going on safari and spending a couple of weeks in India for example.

    PS please never stop blogging your posts have already calmed with down with 3/4 baby related things!

    1. Thank you so much Bee! And congratulations!

      Ours was a pleasant surprise too, and though at the time I was totally shocked and surprised, like you I don't think it could have happened at a better time x

      1. Thanks for the congrats! Quick blog-based question or 2…. would you recommend wordpress? And also who is your webspace hosted by? Sorry for the boring questions! x

        1. YES to WordPress! I work as a web manager by day and I use WordPress with all the blogs I work on professionally. It's so much more adaptable than blogger, and gives you a lot more control over your blog. I love it!

          I've been hosted by http://www.dream-hosting.co.uk/ for about 4 years now (I have their Gold package) and can highly recommend them, I've never had any problems with my hosting at all and I reckon £20 a year is very good value for money. x

  3. Obviously i'm not a parent but i find the focus on 'getting it all'/'experiencing it all' before having children quite frustrating. Like you say, you've been working for a long time, been with Will for a long time, you're obviously in a financial position to be able to have a baby, so why not? Different people are suited to becoming parents at different times and i get kind of sick of people looking down on young parents just because they decided to have children before getting rich/getting to the top of the career ladder/owning a big house/travelling the world. That sort of stuff isn't the be all and end all.

    1. Amen!

      And thinking about it – 24/25 isn't THAT young. Two decades ago it would have been totally normal to have a child at this age.

  4. Dear Alice, I'm not sure whether the number or the years is the issue here. It is the experiences and what you learn that is really the point. I had my first at 27 and second at 39, so can confidently say I had them at two ends of the spectrum.
    I always lived in the city and could never see that changing, but now we live semi-rural and we love it. See cows from our windows and horses and sheep on the way to school. It is something quite different but quite lovely. All I really want to say is don't be surprised by how you and your opinion of things will soon change once that lovely bundle arrives. It takes you sometimes by surprise by how suddenly something which previously seemed very insignificant becomes hugely important. The whole experience is one huge journey from the moment you become a mother.

  5. Well, they say things happen for a reason. I was 32 going on 33 when little L arrived, and funnily enough, I was still a few years younger than the average first time mum at my antenatal class.
    I always wanted to have children at a young age. But a few years ago, I was stuck in an unhealthy relationship I needed to get out of. So if I would have got pregnant, I would be a single mum today.
    In my case it wasn't a question of 'wanting it all' before kids, it was rather the question of 'wanting kids with that special someone'.

    1. That's really interesting; I do look forward to meeting mums at my antenatal classes and gauging their reactions to my age.

  6. I think motherhood is a great leveller – you all have the same issues and its a learning process for everyone

    That said, it feels harder the older you are (or that may be that its just harder with two not that I'm 18 months older!)

  7. I know I am a bit late to the party with this but I wanted to say I am a young mum too, by today's standards. I gave birth exactly a week shy of my 24th birthday, and I'll be 26 this year. When I take my daughter to playgroup, I am still always the youngest mum there (and it's always heaving) and ditto when she was tiny and I used to take her to be weighed at the health centre.

    I've had some really snarky comments about it, too. I've been asked on more than one occasion if Ruby was planned (Yes, really!) and have found a lot of older mums just don't want to know. I wish I knew more mums in their twenties, because it seems we are few and far between! Frankly, something you wouldn't expect in Tooting!

    23 was definitely the right age for us to start a family. I don't feel like I've missed out at all. Ruby has enriched our lives in ways we would never have imagined.

    1. I have been asked this if the baby was planned tons of times too! And from near-strangers. I would never dream of asking the same, I have found it borderline offensive.

      Very interesting to hear your experiences, I fear I will have similar comments as I'm in the yummy-area of Muswell Hill. We shall see :)

  8. I don't think there's a right or wrong. Youth brings energy (which is really useful), but I like to think age brings something too. I agree with the comments that say motherhood is a leveller. That's right – if you let it.

    I had my kids at 32, 36 and 39, so not young, but not too terribly old either. I've got two friends who've had babies at 46.

    I love the photos of you on this blog, looking so proud to be pregnant!

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