Tina MaloneIf you have to hand out labels -- and these days it seems you do -- I guess I was a "young mother." My daughter was born just a few weeks before I turned 23. It's not teenage motherhood, but when you compare it to Tina Malone, the actress who just gave birth to her second child at 50, it's young.

Yes, I said 50. Can you imagine having a kid at 50?!

I know, 50 is the new 40 and all of that, but I have just one thing to say about Malone -- the British actress best known for her turn on the comedy show Shameless -- girlfriend is brave! She and husband Paul Chase, who is 31, seem over the moon about baby Flame (yes, yes, that's her name), and that's wonderful. But it's still brave.

OK, so maybe I have more than one thing to say. I'm not trying to start a young mom vs. older mom war here, and I really could give a fig when you start bearing children (or IF you have kids, for that matter).

But as a mom who started out on the young side of the trend, I can tell you from experience that motherhood is exhausting. What's more, aging is exhausting!

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I look back and marvel at the person I was even just 10 years ago. The all-nighters I could pull to work on a job at 21 seem impossible now that I'm in my 30s and would love nothing more than to go to bed at 10 p.m. and actually be able to sleep ... without my wide awake child in the next room calling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" at me.

I love my daughter, but the older I get, the more I realize I also need to love myself because my body demands it. Ignoring my own needs to sleep and eat and wear moisturizer was simple at 20. Now my shoulders actually cry out in pain; my eyes scream "fire, fire" the later in the night that I keep them propped open.

Technically I'm still very young by modern motherhood standards, but the idea of going back to the baby stage seems almost impossible. I'm coming to accept that my body is changing and I'm getting old, but it's with a relief that I got those early no sleep for days (or was it weeks) months out of the way when I could still ignore myself and throw myself completely into mothering my daughter.

Still, I marvel at older moms like Tina Malone or Halle Berry.

That's right -- marvel, not judge. I want to know their secrets! How do they manage to juggle the aging body's urge to just get some darn sleep already against a baby's need to eat in the middle of the night? How do they bend over to buckle that car seat in and actually stand back up again?

What do you think is the perfect age to have your first baby?

 

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