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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  1. Aww your pic is so cute! I'm guessing that daddy was also in the soft play area? Haha.

    I honestly think that there is no age that you 'should' have kids. It's just society sticking their noses into other peoples business! Stacey thinks we should have another baby when she's 18 and Oscar is 9, which would make me 37 (the age my mum was when she had me) haha.

    Louise xxx

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper | An Undomestic Goddess

  2. I think 30 is the perfect age. Not old, not young, in the middle really... I had mine at 29 and I actually think I would have liked to wait another year given the choice again! lol x I kind of juts think whenever is right for you is the right time. None of my friends have had children yet, and the mum friends I've met are all in there mid 30's with their first babies so that makes me the youngest mum of the group which I never expected! In my head I'm still about 27, and I'd like to keep it that way thanks... :))) xx

  3. Many 'oldet mums' are fitter that many of their younger counterparts(fact),just sayin'


  4. Great post. I don't think it's too old to be in your 30's and have a baby. :) x

  5. I don't think 31 is at all old to have a baby, I was 32 and 34 when I had mine and I would say 95% of my friends waited until they were in their 30's before having kids. Here in London it is quite common to see first time mum's in their 40's too, I guess many are career women and whilst you could say they're selfish, often they have progressed along the career ladder and are more able to provide financially for their babies so there is definitely an argument for both sides. Great post, very thought provoking! x

  6. I don't think being in your 30's is old to be a mum, but then I don't know why people have to attach an age to being a mum

  7. I'm exactly the same as you, feel like I'm still in my 20's mentally! My bday is September too. I think as long as parents can care for their children and give them all they need emotionally, physically etc why should it matter? I was surprised when I read you had health checks & were a considered an older mum! I didn't experience this. My mum had me when she was in 41 and I'd be furious if anyone called her selfish! I had a very happy upbringing , I did not want for nothing and I was probably spoilt. It is a shame when age is seen negatively at both ends of the scale. Xx

  8. I don't think 31 is old enough to be considered an older mum at all! It's a fab age! I'll be 26 when I have my first child in April but I'm 100% in the minority amongst my friends and work colleagues who all think I'm crazy and are not thinking of having kids till they're at least in their early if not mid 30's. Everyone's different huh, each to their own :) xx

  9. Fab post. I'm like u i still feel like i'm in my early 20's! You're only as old as you feel! xx

  10. I had my first at 39 and I turned 40 8 weeks later. My little one was a complete surprise as I'd been told many years previous that I wouldn't be able to have children. I was classed as a very old mum! I did have a couple of complications which lead me to being induced at 38 weeks and then being quite poorly and the birth was quite traumatic but everything was great in the end. I will be honest I worry about being an older mum, because maybe I won't be here as long I might not see my daughter get married and have children herself. I did everything later in life only just getting married last year to little ones daddy. So if she leaves it as long as me I'll be in my 80's OMG!!! I wouldn't be without her she is wonderful and I don't regret the way in which my life has been. I was very career driven, partied a lot and holidayed in some great destinations even travelling around the world for a year. Now I'm mummy and it's great!

  11. Hi! I was 32 in September too, having had my first baby last January (when I was 31)
    I must admit I did feel like a but if an old mum (because if always wanted to start younger) but two close friends were pregnant at the same time, both ages 34, so this reminded me I was a-ok :)
    I'm looking to start a blog soon and really enjoyed reading this post

  12. I agree with some of the other commenters that 31 really isn't old at all! I had my first at 22 as a younger Mother, and my 5th at 38 as an older Mother. 31 is the end of middle :D
    I think it alters once you get to 40, you actually do start to age, but I'm still not past it. Despite breaking my leg 6 months ago I've still managed to run about after my 3 year old :)

  13. i had my 1st when i was 25 and was considered an older mum i think i was labelled a prima gravida on my notes haha great post x


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