I have a question, I hope the EB members can give me some advice. Is 22 too young to be a Mum?
My situation – DH and I have been dating since I was sixteen and we married last year just after my 20th birthday. I have wanted kids for as long as I can remember and I am really, really, really keen to start a family asap – preferably this year.
This dilemma is all a social perception; nowadays we have become used to reading about and seeing women in their forties have their first child. It really has skewed the way that we perceive an ideal age to become a parent.
DH isn’t sure. He thinks we should buy a house first (we’re renting, but I’m happy to rent though) and he also worries that none of our friends have kids yet or are probably even close to starting a family. His comment is just that we’re too young and we should think about it in a few more years.
I’m not the sort of person to get pregnant unless he is sure about it too, but I would love to hear what others think about whether or not 22 is to young … You never know, I might be able to change his mind …
First off, as you said, it does need to be a mutual decision that you and your husband reach together. Other than that, I think the age at which you become a parent is an intensely personal thing. Is there “too young” or “too old” an age? I’m not sure, so I have asked registered nurse, midwife and parentcraft nurse, as well as author of the wonderful 'Baby Love' and 'The Mighty Toddler' books, Robin Barker, for her advice.
“ In terms of a mother’s age – well, my mother was twenty-two when she had me, and most of my friends had their children at around that age as well. I was the exception, not starting my family until I was twenty-seven,” says Robin. “This dilemma is all a social perception; nowadays we have become used to reading about and seeing women in their forties have their first child. It really has skewed the way that we perceive an ideal age to become a parent.”
Fee, Robin advises that if you were considering the ideal age of parenthood from a purely physical perspective, then somewhere between sixteen and twenty-two would be just about right. “In relation to modern society though a lot of women are busy studying and having careers at that age. That in turn can also impact on their financial arrangement, which is a terrible shame. A terrible shame that women should have to wonder whether they can afford to start a family.”
“In the context of modern living, the only downside that I see is the financial security,” says Robin. “Not that people should necessarily aspire to a large house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, but it is nice for a parent to be able to enjoy spending time with their baby without being worried sick about whether the bills are going to get paid.”
In relation to looking after a child though there are a lots of benefits to being a young Mum. “You are likely to have more physical energy as your children get older,” says Robin. “And your children are also more likely to have younger, fitter grandparents who are able to play with and help with the children – if they are interested. It can be a wonderful thing for the children.”
And Fee, it also means that you would be getting those child rearing years done nice and early, leaving you with plenty of time – and youth and energy - to enjoy yourselves together down the track. But – Robin also echoes my opening statement that it does need to be a mutual decision between you and your husband. Otherwise it can be a recipe for disaster.
So good luck, and enjoy your family –whenever you decide to start it!
EB Members: Do you think 22 is too young to be a Mum? What advice do you have for Fee? Leave your comments here.