My mother had me at 38 at my sister at 40. She doesn't want either of us to have kids (she'd rather we put our careers first), but she has told me that if I must procreate to do it earlier than she did. By the time my sister and I were teenagers, my mom just didn't have the energy to parent us like we needed. I'm not saying this is true of all older parents, or even most, but it was true for my mom. I want a large family, and I want to start sooner rather than later -- with or without a partner.
Some people are judgmental because they aren't very empathetic. I don't mean in the "feeling sorry for others' misfortunes" sort of way, but in a "putting yourself in another person's shoes" way. It's hard for them to fathom that different people have different wants, needs, attitudes, priorities, and goals in life that are different from their own. Different doesn't mean wrong.
I got married at 21 and my parents' neighbors (I was a nanny for their kids at the time) who didn't get start their families until they were in their 30s couldn't believe I would want to be "tied down" so young. I married my best friend! I certainly didn't/don't feel tied down, or like I missed out on anything. Maybe I'm an old soul, too, but I like reading books and cooking and making art. I can do what I like just as well married, thank you very much!
One of my close friends from grade school frequently posts links to "feminist" articles on Facebook about things like young women choosing not to _____ (enter the workforce, enter traditionally male dominated fields, etc.) are somehow ruining things for other women or taking for granted the work of women who came before us in the feminist movement. I completely disagree with that! The point of feminism, as someone else stated, is that women (and men, too!) should be able to make their own choice about what to do with their life. No one should be forced or expected to marry young and have babies, but neither should they be expected not to! What I'm doing right now, being my husband's wife and our daughter's mother, fulfills me more than anything else ever could. It's my dream. I know it's not for everyone, but it is for me and that's what matters.
It's not that I've never done anything for myself or for my own betterment. I went to college, I have a degree in elementary education, I'm currently working towards a Master's in early childhood special education. I substitute teach on my husband's days off so I can get out of the house and earn some money and he can play stay-at-home-dad for the day. I'll go back to work full-time when our child(ren) are in school, but right now our 1t is only a year old and I'm savoring every moment while it lasts.
I got married at 18, had my son at 20, and am now 22 expecting my second right after my 23rd birthday. I admit, I would not have gotten married, probably if I hadn't had a horrible tragedy befall my family when I was 16 and basically was on my own and homeless after that, but I've been happy with my decision. We are not super rich, pretty poor in fact, but we are renting a nice place, have some savings for emergencies, my son has everything he wants and gets to do fun things, and he makes me so happy every day. This second child is not ideal timing (got pregnant on the pill) as I am just finishing my degree and my husband has still not finished his either, but I'm confident we will still both finish, maybe just a little later than we hoped. When the kids are older and have expensive hobbies we will have more money, but for now toddlers and babies don't really cost as much as people say.
People have judged us all along, but the ones I care about get over it when they see everything is OK. Like others said, many people will find any reason to judge parents.
I have been with my DH since right after I turned 20. I got pregnant at 22 by accident, had my daughter at 23, got married at 25, now 26 and TTC #2. So I didn't choose this path per se, but I did choose to keep the pregnancy and to enter into a long-term monogamous relationship early in my life.
I love being a younger mother but am also happy that my kids will have probably left home by the time I'm in my late 40's.
I am not a housewifey type. I am a pretty good cook, but I don't especially enjoy it and my husband's cooking is better. I clean only because it needs doing - actually, we have a cleaner now, but I still tidy up a fair bit. I am going back to study next semester and can't wait - I much prefer a balance between staying at home and doing something intellectually challenging (although being a SAHM is definitely challenging in other ways!) to being a SAHM, which I did for the first 18 months of Mila's life.
I do get very frustrated by the notion that once you have kids, that's it. No more study, no more exciting travel, no more nights out or whatever people in their 20's who don't have kids think they can only do without babies. We're now living in an isolated location but until we moved I had an active social life and plenty of time with my husband. Now we have lots of travel opportunities, which is my other great love in life. Summary of my rant: life does not end when you have babies!
I agree with the point that feminism is about the ability to make choices in life. I identify as a feminist, and I would defend my right to choose this path in life. However, I also agree with the point that these choices did not exist for many women in the 40's and 50's. Therein lies the difference: it's not half as satisfying a choice if it's what you must do, like it or not.
The door doesn't slam shut when you have children, my lovely neighbor had her three children before 25 and now is a young, energetic grandmother who went back to education and became a nurse. Young mothers have the time and energy for travel etc when their children are grown.
Having said that I was 37 and 39 when I had mine. Good luck with your family!
I'm not as young as you, but I don't consider myself old, either. I'm 32 and pregnant with baby #2. I had #1 at 28. I can say right now, I wouldn't have been ready younger to have a baby. I've been with my husband since we were 18, so it's not like I hadn't found the right guy, either. I do question making 17 and 18 year-olds (male or female) make the choice of what they're going to do with the rest of their life. I went to school, decided I hated my degree about halfway through and still plugged along. It wasn't until I'd been working 3.5 years that I decided I really couldn't stand it anymore, quit my job, and went back to school. If I'd had a child already, I wouldn't have had that freedom. Then I went and got pregnant while still in grad school. My daughter was 2 when I graduated.
As someone else stated, feminism is allowing women to make choices for themselves. If that choice is being a SAHM, then more power to you.
I'm 22 and I wouldn't mind at all if I were pregnant or already had an infant, my boyfriend is completely against it. He wants me to finish school (he's 26 with an MFA) and for us to both have 'real' jobs before marriage and children are even an option. But for me, I've always wanted to be a mom and have a family, so taking a few years off to raise two kids doesn't seem that scary to me! But with him being a planner, I don't think that will ever happen.
I think the 'baby fever' I experience is mostly due to the fact that I want something and he doesn't. Posing another question, when is the time right to have a baby? I'm sure I could ask thousands of you berries and there isn't just one answer! How on earth do I communicate that to my boyfriend? It's one thing to not be ready, which if he's not then that's okay (even if I am). But what gets under my skin is all the excuses he throws at me (the money, the time, daycare...) when is it enough!? I get it, you don't want a child right now (ladies, he doesn't even want a dog right now and we've been living together for almost a year! My parents are taking care of my dog!) What on earth is going on in his mind? We're not married yet, and of course I wouldn't stop taking my birth control pills or anything of that nature just to get my way. I want to have a baby, but I want him to want to have a baby too. Is it possible that not being on the same page about something like this could be detrimental to our relationship?
Am I being crazy right now? (It kind of feels like it...)
I've changed my degree path several times (I wish I hadn't been so indecisive, frankly) but I did have the freedom to do so.
Originally Posted by smismar
I've always known that I wanted a family. And I've always been impatient. The combination has created a nice, succinct life plan for me: Go to college, get married, finish college, have kids. Turn 26. Maybe I'll use the college, maybe I won't. It can't really hurt, either way.
My parents had us in their late twenties/early thirties. We're all basically young adults, all still living at home (I'm about to leave), being expensive and making noise. All they want to do is retire and play scrabble and go on day trips. I want my kids to be out of the house when I want them to be, and not have to wait for them to grow up.
I think that no matter when you chose to have children, there are always going to be pros and cons.. For me personally, I always knew that I would have children, but I wanted to get my degree first. I got unexpectedly pregnant at 19, gave birth to my beautiful daughter at 20, and am now married at 21. The funny thing is that I hear people tell me all the time how much I'm missing out on now that I'm a mom such as parties, but I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out at all! I LOVE being a mom!
I am going to be graduating from college a year later than planned, but I'm still going to end up with the degree that I've always wanted.
Now that I am already a young mom, my husband and I plan on having a second child sooner rather than later. We hope to have our second before our daughter turns 3. I'm sure we will get some negative reactions, but this is what is right for us and our family. I know lots of people who choose to wait until their 30's or later to have children, and I don't think anything badly about them. In my opinion, if you are able to provide a baby with a stable home, clothes, food, and other necessities, then it shouldn't matter what your age is!