I was flicking through Cosmo on the bus last week and came across their article ‘when is the best time to have a baby?’. As a 27-year-old who is 24 weeks pregnant, I got to thinking about how my views about ‘the best time’ have changed in recent years.
When I was much younger I thought 24 was a good age to have a baby – my mum was just shy of 24 when she had me and it sounded like a nice ‘grown up’ age. Then, as a teen, I had little/no desire to ever have a baby and as I crept closer to The Age, the more I realised that my life wasn’t going to be how I imagined it would be – graduate with a career, decent salary, long-term relationship…
According to Cosmo, the average age for a woman to have her first baby is 28 and there are all kinds of things we want to tick off before we ‘settle down’ and have kids – education, career, own home, travelling, etc. There are loads of things I want to do (you’ve seen my 30 before 30 and bucket lists) but I realised recently that there’s no reason why I can’t provide for a child without these things and, also, having a child won’t stop me from achieving them in the future.
I met the boyfriend when I was 20 but we didn’t get together until just before my 23rd birthday. He claims I lured him in under false pretenses as, at the time, I wasn’t particularly into the idea of marriage or having kids. Three years later I did a total 180 – it’s a woman’s perogative to change her mind! Practically overnight I realised that children, or, rather, a family, was a big part of what I wanted for my future. Luckily he was up for having children at some point and we began to have more and more conversations about it. A pregnancy scare made me realise just how much I wanted children and that we would be able to cope if we had one at that stage of our lives. Still, the boyfriend wanted to wait until we were a bit more financially secure but spending more time with our nephew, and seeing my younger brother cope with parenthood, made him realise just how much he wanted to be a dad. Plus it’s true what they say – babies just need your love, a clean nappy and a boob!
Sure, there are other things I want for my future: a higher salary, a bigger house, to see the world, but I also really want a family and that’s the only thing that’s time sensitive. It’s more important to me to be able to have children when I’m younger and more able to run around after them than to do everything else first. The world isn’t going anywhere. Besides, when the little one comes along, isn’t he going to feel like my whole world anyway?