10 Reasons Having Babies in Your 20s Rocks

young familyI didn't realize I was bucking a trend when I decided to get pregnant in my early 20s. My husband and I just felt like it was time for us. We'd been married for several years; we'd already purchased our home; and we were ready for that next big step.

But this week an article from Early Mama blogger Michelle Horton, titled, "Are 20-something unwed moms the new teen moms?" has been making its rounds of the blogosphere, and even though I'm a married mom, I couldn't help but nod along. The article acknowledged something I've been feeling for years now, ever since my daughter was born. Starting a family in your 20s just isn't DONE these days.

When my husband and I go out with our daughter, we tend to be among the youngest parents in the place. It doesn't tend to bother me; I've always been a bit of an old soul, and I can relate just as easily with a mom 10 years my senior as a co-worker of the same age.

But when you pair the overwhelming number of older moms I meet with the myriad strange comments about young motherhood that I've encountered, I admit it can be isolating. From assumptions that I was a teen mother (I wasn't!) to the idea that I started early so I could be best friends with my child (I already have a husband for that, thank you very much), I wager I've heard it all by now.

And yet, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm still glad I had my daughter when I did -- just shy of my 23rd birthday. On behalf of young moms everywhere, here's why having a kid in your 20s rocks:

having babies 20s twenties1. Finances: Imagine trying to juggle retirement with paying for college. I won't. My husband and I have it worked out so we will begin paying tuition just after we finish paying off our mortgage ... and we'll still have time to rebuild our nest egg for retirement.

2. Biological clock: I never heard it ticking. Starting when we did means I didn't go through a period of wondering if I should get cracking at childbearing. We talked about it, and then we started right away.

3. Fertility: It took us more than a few months to conceive, but I saw no reason to stress ... I had plenty of time left. I can only imagine what each month that passed with just one line on the stick would have done to me if I were feeling a time crunch.

4. Family: Having a child "young" when more moms are waiting means my kid is the same age as several of my cousins ... and the relationship blooming between them makes me all warm and gushy inside.

5. Empty Nesting: Let me be clear, I'm not looking forward to the day my daughter announces she's ready to live on her own. I'd like to keep her around for as long as possible. But I'll admit to flights of fancy about what my husband and I will be able to do when she goes off to college ... and we're still in our 40s.

6. Flexibility: Already I'm starting to feel what aging has done to my body. I'm not 17 anymore, but I'm still pretty darn good at getting down on the floor to play LEGOs or plop on the grass to watch her soccer practice. There are plenty of women who have bodacious bods well into their geriatric years, but I have a feeling I won't be one of them ...

7. Energy: This is another subjective thing. Some women have high energy levels no matter their age. I'm in my 30s and already feeling more exhausted than I did 10 years ago. I'm relieved I've been able to give my daughter my more energetic years considering what's inevitably to come.

8. Career: For some women children can negatively affect their career. For me it was very much the opposite. Motherhood helped me prioritize. Having my daughter inspired me to make some big changes on the career front that made me a happier person -- and a happier mom -- overall. Other moms in my boat have told me they were able to start before their career really got going; they avoided the disruption of a maternity leave at more crucial points in their work lives.

9. Memory: Plenty has changed since I was a kid in the '80s, but plenty has stayed the same too, from the same teachers to the same playground equipment at our local park. Our 23-year age gap allows me to use some of my own experiences as a kid to be a better mom to her ... experiences that would no longer be relevant if I'd waited.

10. Her Future: I'm caught between wanting my baby to stay little forever and an intense curiosity about what will happen for my daughter in the years to come. Will she be a writer like me? Go into computers like her dad? Chart a new course entirely? Will she get married? Will she have kids? Whatever happens, I intend to be around to see as much of it as possible, and if I come anywhere close to the life expectancy of an American woman, I stand to see a lot.

There are cons, of course, and this is not to say that a woman who gives birth in her 30s or even 40s is doing anything wrong. But this is for all the other 20-something moms out there who are feeling alone!

Are you a young mom? Why do you think it rocks?

 

Image via Jeanne Sager

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nonmember avatar kaerae

I was 27 which, believe it or not, in the red state I live in is pretty old. But I was 45 when they went to college, so I still felt pretty young, was beginning a new career and, since I wanted to stay single after my divorce while I had kids at home, still left me young enough to date after they left. There are definite advantages to having kids younger or older, the key is to do what works for your family and not worry about what those around you are doing.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

Disagree with #1. I had my kid jut shy of my 22nd birthday...and yeah...I wish I had waited until I was more settled into a job.

cassi... cassie_kellison

I had my first when I was 20 (yes on purpose, we had been married for 6mo before I got pregnant) and I love it. I will be 39 when my first goes off to college and 45 when the second leaves the nest. So yeah I wont be ready to be a Grandma the second they move out, I will still be young (Although sometimes I feel older than my 27yrs being a mom of two).

nonmember avatar NoWay

Thank You! I had my kids at 23 and 25 and I feel so out of place. I don't fit in at all. In my small, cliquey town, I am one of the youngest mothers. There is at least a 10 year age gap between me and most of the other moms with kids my age. And they all seem to know each other somehow ... but that is another topic for another day. But, yes ... I do often feel very isolated being a young(er) mother. But I am happy that I will be in my early 40s when my kids will be able to get out on their own!

April... AprilJune

I recently had a friend who told me I was the only person in my twenties with two kids that she knew. All of her other twenty-something friends didn't have kids yet, but most of her thirty-something friends did. I never felt like I was a "young Mom" until then. I've always felt like I wanted to be done having kids by 30....I didn't realize that wasn't a "normal" age I guess!

ashjo85 ashjo85

All my friends started having babies around the same age...so I guess I don't feel out of place? I jumped the gun a little though, having my first when I was 24, my second at 27. My friends were 26-27 for their firsts. I don't find it weird.

mamav... mamavaness

My mom had me when she was 16 & at 35 she was rid of me lol. Now, she goes to school, runs marathons, works, travels, i think its pretty awesome. Granted, she was lucky to have a good job and my stepdad who had a good job as well.

nonmember avatar lisakphillips

I had mine in my 20s. They'll be grown when I'm 44. My mom had me later and was going through menopause while I was going through puberty. BAAAAADDDD IDEA! No one needs that much hormonal imbalance in the house at one time!

Lowry... LowryCuisine

My oldest will graduate highschool in 8 years, my youngest in 12. When I think about how young I was when I started having kids I get depressed, but reading what you wrote has given me somthing new to think about. Like how I will be 42 when my youngest graduates, and how I still have time to be a kid with my kid and play with barbies, bake, and be the cool mom who does crafts.

nonmember avatar Kristin

I guess technically I fall into the teen mom catergory. I was married for almost 2yrs when we had our twin girls (22 days shy of my 20th bday) and now at the age of 28 my husband and I have 5. Let alone having the energy to keep up with 5 kids I still have the flexible body to get my shape back after so many playing havoc on it! Couldn't imagine doing that with a metabolism that has slowed way down.

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