Monday, 17 February 2014

Older Mum Vs Younger Mum

I am currently 32 years old.

It surprises me every time I say that, because in my head I feel like I'm still in my early 20s in fact.

I don't feel any different - mentally or physically - than I did when I was 21.

But somehow the years have kept creeping by, and here I am in my early 30s.

I fell pregnant at the end of July 2012, when I was 30.

My birthday is in September, so I was 31 by the time I gave birth to Tyne in March.

I am therefore considered by many people to be an "older" mum.

Perhaps this wouldn't be the case so much if Tyne had been my 3rd or 4th child, but it seems that for a first child - 31 is generally the older end of the scale.

When I was pregnant, I was offered some additional health checks due to "my age" - which  immediately made me feel like a complete dinosaur!!!!! 

Amid my social circle, it does seem that I am somewhat in the minority - the vast majority of people from my school year have children who are between 6 - 10 years old - there are friends I had at school of the same age as me who now have children aged 16 and 17.

So I guess, in comparison, me having a baby under 1 is quite different (though I do also know other people from my school year who had their first baby this year too....)

At the end of the day, I don't personally believe that there is a right or wrong age to have children.

It's easy for some to say that having children as a teenager is a bad decision - but seeing some of my school friends as parents to 16 year olds I couldn't possibly agree with this, as they have done an excellent job of raising their children and clearly have no regrets.

It seems though, that some people think the ideal age to have children is in your early to mid 20s - and that once you're in your 30s, you are "too old".

So is this true?

Clearly I don't personally think so or else I wouldn't have done so! 

I feel that this is the ideal time in my life to have a child - In my 20s I was quite unsettled.

I lived at home with my parents until I was 25, neither of the long term boyfriends I had in my 20s would have been very good father material, I wasn't settled career-wise, and I was very much enjoying my social life - I can't say that I achieved a great deal in my 20s but I did have a LOT of fun times and I traveled to some great places - I went to the USA which I had always wanted to do, I went to Venezuela, Amsterdam, Spain, and I went on a cruise around the med which I had ALWAYS dreamed of doing.

I feel that I spent my 20s having a great time and really enjoying life in a carefree way - and once my 30s hit, I settled down and started life as a Mum.

This may not work for other people but it has worked out well for me.

I now feel that I have had my share of partying and I don't have the desire to do it anymore, I have had all the un-child friendly holidays I wanted to have and those are now out of my system and I`m left with the great memories and stories to tell Tyne when he's older, I feel like I know where I want to go with career and I feel much more settled and mature.

But do I feel old? Do I feel that I can't keep up with a child? Not at all.

I have heard comments made of it being selfish to have children in your 30s because you won't be around for as long - but who is to say?! The 7 years between me and a 25 year old doesn't really make a lot of difference or offer any guarantees of who will live longer!

I have heard it said that older parents don't have the patience or stamina to keep up with their kids and entertain them - again, I think that very much depends on the person. Yes I've seen people in their 30s and 40s who struggle with this, I've also seen people in their early 20s who struggle with this - so again, age is no guarantee.

But of course the comments do worry me, and they do make me worry about when we should have another child - ideally I think I'd like to wait until Tyne is 2 or 3 but I will be almost 35 by then, and I will be subjected to much more health checks in pregnancy and obviously come under more fire from other people for my age...

Then there is Jon's age to consider - at 40 he is practically considered ancient for a first time Dad! 

So who has it right - is there really such a thing as the perfect age to be a parent or is it all down to the individual?

This week Jade Jagger has been in the press as she is pregnant again at 42 - so many people have already commented that she is "too old" and it is selfish - but is this this really true?

I'd bet good money that someone with the lifestyle and fortune of Jade Jagger is likely to be in better physical shape than most 21 year olds and can certainly provide an extremely comfortable life for her child - so does her age really matter?

Can anyone ever really been too old or too young?

These are my thoughts as somebody who has been referred to as an "older mother", and I'm comparing my experiences and thoughts with my friend Louise at An Undomestic Goddess who was thought of as a "young mother" when she had her first child at 19 - you can read her story HERE.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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