When is the right time to have children? Is it when you are young and fresh and bouncy? Or is it when you are more mature with greater life experiences and are more secure?
It seems this question is often asked but there is never a simple answer. A fact quite typical of most parenting questions!
The average age of Australian first time mums today is 28.2. This is just an average and represents the largest percentage of first time mums. There are also the minority extremes which impact this average, such as teen pregnancies, and much older mums in their 40’s.
So has Australia got it right? Is 28.2 the best time to have a baby or are you better off having them at the start of your adulthood, or the middle?
Being an older mum giving birth to my first little ray of sunshine at the ripe old age of 40 I can say with confidence that there are definite advantages and disadvantages to being an older mum.
The advantages for me were I didn’t have the yearnings to go out and party in between feeds like I would had I conceived in my 20’s. I was happy to stay at home as I was past the age of needing to ‘go out’. I was also more financially secure and had the obligatory travels under my belt.
However, I felt every minute of my 40 years when I had to get up every few hours to feed. I didn’t cope with the sleeplessness as well as all the other mums in my mothers group who were 10+ years younger than me.
I also felt awful guilt that I would never be a cool young mum to my kids. That people would be looking at me with my kids and assume I was their young grandma. That I would be 60+ at their 21st’s. That I would die of old age possibly before meeting my grandchildren.
Oh the guilt.
This guilt was such a stupid and pointless thing to feel as of course all my children need is a loving and supportive mum regardless of my age. But you tend to feel guilt over the tiniest most ridiculous things when you are a new mum.
I was rocked out of my guilt one day when I read a comment on Facebook by a mum answering this very question. She said it was a ridiculous question to ask and that there was no single perfect age and the only difference between her (a young mum) and an older mum is that she looks hotter.
As I read this, I thought to myself, who’s to say that I am not hotter than her????
I mean, I would have to say that Sonia Kruger at 47 is one very hot mama and would be hard to beat in the hotness stakes by anyone at any age.
With this in mind, my answer to this age old (see what I did there?) question is, the perfect age to have children is the age YOU were when YOU conceived. Your body and the miracle of conception made the decision for you and you stood to the challenge and became the best mum you can be.
Who cares if you are the youngest or the oldest in your mother’s group. Who cares if you are mistaken for your child’s sister, or grandma?
The only thing that matters is that you are their mum. Their one and only mum. That is what matters.