What would your life have been like if you had conceived in your 20s?

(33 Posts)
shopaholic85 Tue 16-Feb-16 14:45:44

This is for all the women, like me, in their 30s who are TTC #1. I am really sorry if this kind of post is painful for anyone.

In the darkest moments after my mc 6 weeks ago, I really hated myself for putting my career first and not ttc in my 20s. I met my DH when I was 25 and we could easily have had children pretty soon after, but it was my choice not to and he never pushed it. I was naive and never listened when people told me not to wait too long, that it got harder as you got older and just ignored my biological clock ticking away.

But now I am feeling stronger, I am starting to realise that having children in my 20s would have been a disaster. I don't think our marriage would have survived it. Looking back, I was quite immature then and the added stress of having a child would have made me more so. I would have been side-lined in my job and would be in the same entry-level position I was in when I started. I wouldn't have the money to buy a bigger house, like we are doing now. I wouldn't have been able to travel and widen my horizons. At the risk of sounding cliched, I feel like I really know who I am now and what kind of mother I want to be. I just wish my body had reached it's peak at the same time as my mind!

How would your life have been different if you had conceived in your 20s?

Ragwort Tue 16-Feb-16 14:53:33

My situation is slightly different as I had no trouble at all conceiving at 42 - when I finally decided I would try to become pregnant (or rather my DH persuaded me to !). I am sorry that you are struggling to conceive.

But I agree that I was at a much better place in my life to become a mother than in my 20s - we had a lovely home, we could afford for me to be SAHM, we had lots of 'life skills and experience' to share with our DC; I was proud of where I'd got to in my career - for me it was the right decision, but of course it is different for everyone.

shopaholic85 Tue 16-Feb-16 15:08:08

Thank you for sharing Ragwort. That's exactly what I've been thinking. I need to remind myself that it was a conscious decision not to have children in my 20s. I just didn't feel ready. I'm glad you had no trouble. I love hearing stories like that from women not in their 20s. And in the grand scheme of things, I'm not really struggling. There are no health reasons stopping me having a healthy pregnancy next time. I just haven't gotten lucky yet.

My mum had her first child when she was 17 and really struggled. I often wonder what kind of mother she would have been had she been older.

riddles26 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:10:05

I sometimes think about the same thing Shopaholic. To be fair, we did start trying in late 20s, hoping we would have had no1 before 30 but unfortunately it took 2yrs to conceive and then I mc 2 months ago.

We have been together since we were 18/19 but put education and work first so we had financial stability before getting married or starting our family. We then travelled and lived abroad before returning to UK and trying to start our family - when going through my mc, I did think if we should have travelled less/started ttc before returning back to UK/started ttc quicker when we got back to UK instead of waiting for me to have a job that would give me flexible working after the kids came etc

Like you though, I have since realised I was looking at other scenarios through rose tinted glasses. We wouldn't have been able to buy our house if I was pregnant or already had a baby when we returned. This would have meant living with our in-laws with a baby which would have been a struggle (this is expected instead of renting in our culture). If I hadn't waited for this job, I would have thought 'what if..' when I was struggling with flexible working and childcare. If we had shortened our travels, we would have missed out on the many wonderful experiences that strengthened our relationship and love for each other.

I have come to accept that we would have made things work and been happy if we had children earlier or later but I don't want to wish away the wonderful experiences and achievements I have had just because we waited before ttc. Hopefully our time will come soon and we will be able to share all the things we have learnt with the extra life experience with our children

evilgiraffe Tue 16-Feb-16 17:22:49

I wouldn't have been a SAHM. Initially, anyway. I might still have had the spectacular career implosion that I had, and ended up in the same place I am in now.

I think (almost) four years of infertility gave me a kinder outlook, though - you never know what awful shit people are dealing with. I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, but I think I'm a better person than I would have been for having weathered it.

I also have a good sense of how lucky I am, with a delightful (most of the time) toddler DD, and another baby arriving imminently.

Good luck to all struggling to become parents smile

shopaholic85 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:28:52

I'm sorry for your loss riddles. Sounds like you've had a wonderful 20s and, you're right, we shouldn't wish those experiences away. Have you started ttc again after the mc? Tell me if I am prying.

TeaT1me Tue 16-Feb-16 17:29:51

I conceived my first at 30, but in the are I'm now in I'm considered an "older mum" by many. Most parents conceived at 18/19/20 I think and then a few at my age!

I do think my outlook is broader, but I do envy the small-townnesss sometimes of having famliy and friends around the corner.

shopaholic85 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:32:09

Thanks giraffe. I'm so glad that you got there in the end.

Are you on the same career path that you were on before you had children?

TooAswellAlso Tue 16-Feb-16 17:37:12

Just from the other side - I had fertility issues and treatment to conceive in my twenties. I had two children by my mid twenties.

My marraige didn't survive (I now see this as a good thing) retraining has been hard with kids, money has been tight and tbh I've been an immature and pretty shit parent.

I wish I had waited until my thirties.

Hope you get your bfp OP

SummerMonths Tue 16-Feb-16 17:38:36

I did conceive in my 20s and I hope it's not insensitive if I say it was not the cliche people expect of negative impact on career, money worries and missed experiences. Age doesn't have to define what you make of any situation.

I didn't mean to get pregnant and was v career focused. I kept working (after maternity leave) and secured a big promotion while pregnant with DC2. I still kept working and secured a position on our senior management board while pregnant with DC3. We stayed living in London as we felt too young to move to suburbs alrhough we are now considering such a move in our mid/late 30s. I travel with work so have still seen the world and DH even took time out during my last maternity leave and we travelled for a couple of months with the kids.

I appreciate I am inordinately lucky but I just wanted to counter the cliche of young(ish) mums. I really hope you all conceive soon.

riddles26 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:40:52

I'm sorry for yours too shopaholic Flowers: , I really wish that no-one would ever have to experience anything like it.

We have both lucky to have had great experiences in our 20s and had the luxury of time with DH before the children. I keep focusing on that and all the other positives of having waited when I do feel upset.

No you are not prying at all, I had my first AF mid Jan and we didn't try or prevent last month. Now waiting for Feb AF and hoping to start trying after it. I am still debating whether to use ovulation sticks, track cycle etc - the one month we finally did conceive, we had stopped trying (I had an investigation laparoscopy booked for following month), only bd twice, went on holiday and forgot about reality! Have you started?

riddles26 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:50:37

SummerMonths, I don't believe having children early will have that cliche effect on everyone. I wasn't in a suitable place work-wise to consider children until 24. If I was willing to work full time after mat-leave, I could have had children at this point and still continued progressing in my career but I wasn't prepared to make that compromise - I wanted to go part time after children.

Considering the problems we had conceiving, I do sometimes wonder if I should have been more flexible and tried earlier but it can't be changed so I focus on all the wonderful experiences that I have had and hope it will work soon.

When you talk about your life, it is exactly what I had pictured for my own future from the ages of 18-22!

shopaholic85 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:56:03

TeaT1me, 18/19/20 are such young ages to have children. I would much rather be an 'older' mum!

TooAsWellAlso, thank you for sharing. Do you think you will be a different parent now that you are older?

SummerMonths, I wish I knew women like you! It's a little either/or in my circle.

riddles, we started ttc as soon as I stopped bleeding after the mc, and in my second month now. Like you, when I did conceive the baby I lost, we barely bd and I was convinced I was not pg. I intended to take a more relaxed approach this time, but with so much at stake, I have been tracking my cm and using ovulation sticks. Too lazy to temp though!

TooAswellAlso Tue 16-Feb-16 17:59:29

Yes I think I would have been. I would have been surrounded by different mums (a lot of my school friends waited until their thirties) and I would have been older and more mature. I would have had more money behind me, and in all honesty probably not have had children with my ExH.

But then again, my current DP and I only work as we met post having children with other people. I would have loved children with him in some ways, but I know in others it would never have worked as he is not cut out to be full time dad.

I would have also probably stayed in my high flying career and so not retrained like I have.

So although I don't regret my life as such, yes, Ido believe I would have been a better parent in my thirties.

joyalf Tue 16-Feb-16 17:59:50

I had my LO at 23. I obviously wouldn't change anything as I love him to pieces but I have to admit it is hard- I don't have a great career & am currently looking into retraining, we don't own our own home, I sometimes get negative reactions from other mums & even strangers, money is tight, my friends don't understand what it's like as they don't have kids, no grandparents for childcare as they all still work. On the other hand I have a long term health condition & was told I would most likely struggle to conceive, so I am glad I have done it young. Good luck everyone, I really don't believe the timing can ever be perfect thanks

Chookford Tue 16-Feb-16 18:26:57

I have experienced both, my first dd I was 27 and my second I was 33 with a mmc In between... I know I am extraordinarily lucky in that I got to stay at home with my dd1 on a career break and then went back after her and I'm now on a mat leave for a year. Work wise I have no regrets about having the time with my children but I have really noticed the difference in how I feel about parenting this time round, I'm much more laid back, calmer and confident which is an element of being a second time parent but my age is also a factor. I wouldnt change how/when I had my girls but think had I been a little older with my first I would have been less stressed at times!

Each person has a different way of life and what works for some will not work for others and it's totally up to you how you wish to live it...When I had my first dd I was by far the oldest mum on my ward at 27, with my youngest who is 8months I was the youngest by quite a few years so a lot of women are waiting for various reasons. There is no perfect time to have babies just when it feels right for you and your other half.

I'm sorry to hear about the losses that have been suffered, it's a shitty thing to have to endure but my consultant at the hospital when I was going through mine told me 1 out of 3 women will miscarry their first pregnancy usually because it just wasn't right and your body knows this.. And most will go on to have a successful pregnancy afterwards, Wish you all the luck in the world conceiving again soon.

Cocoaone Tue 16-Feb-16 18:32:59

I had my DD at 26. I get less tolerant with the lack of sleep as I get older, so I would have found having her in my 30s quite tough. I'm fairly lucky though in that I have a good job, I and have been promoted twice since starting this job after maternity leave (when DD was 1). She's 6 now. I wouldn't change a thing, but I've always been a fairly mature person anyway, compared to some of my peers.

eastpregnant Tue 16-Feb-16 21:21:36

I'm 30 and pregnant with my first. I was also 25 when I met my DH and if I'd got pregnant earlier I think we would have felt like we were rushing things. It was really lovely to have those years together just the two of us.

To be honest, even now I sometimes feel like we've done everything too quickly, especially compared to our friends. Some of them were together 10+ years before they had their first child!

I'm not sure having kids earlier would have had a huge impact on my career as my employer is pretty good on stuff like this. It would certainly have meant a financial hit though - we bought a place last year and I'm not sure how we would have afforded that.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 16-Feb-16 21:33:05

This is no brainer for me, as I was with the wrong man for most of my 20s! My life would have been very different indeed had I had children with him so I'm glad I waited.

However I can see that I'd be torn if I'd been with DH at that point but put off DC, only to struggle later. But it is such a lottery. I know someone who made the same choice as you and was pregnant after a month of trying age 35 -it's impossible to predict while way it'll go.

I wish you good luck and sorry to read of the MC.

CwtchyQ Tue 16-Feb-16 22:11:23

I hope you are feeling a little better for reading these responses OP flowers

I was told I would struggle to conceive in my late teens and became obsessed with it at a time when all my friends were out having the time of their lives. I had my frankly miraculous DD at 23. I wouldn't change a thing. However - I have been sidelined when it comes to work and belittled in such a way that I don't think would happen if I was an older parent. It's going to be a hard climb up the ladder, that's for certain. It probably would've been better if I had been totally naive about my fertility etc: I would've had more fun, I would've pursued my career more aggressively.

It sounds like you have had a lovely life so far OP. Don't torture yourself for that. Fertility is so random and unfair. I'm sorry you're seeing the shit side of it, but the chances are that you absolutely will have a baby. Don't give up, and be kind to yourself flowers

Haudyerwheesht Tue 16-Feb-16 22:19:35

I don't really know if I can be of any use in my reply but I hope I don't offend or upset.

I had 2 kids in my 20s. I'm early 30s now and all my friends are starting to have kids. Now, it's fine. I have friends with kids who I have got to know via toddlers / school etc.

However, the early days (including my pregnancy) was unbelievably isolating. I felt so alone and confused and on edge and whilst I wouldn't change the kids for anything I can see now that a lot of the problems I had were because I was so lonely as none of my friends had kids.

I've also been a sahm whilst dh worked since the kids were born and that too has been hard at times and it means I've no career really to go back to because graduated then had kids so have no work experience to speak of.

I guess I'm just replying because the grass isn't always greener and also because you just don't know how things would've been - I can't tell you what my life would be like if I was only starting TTC now. Nobody knows and tbh it's probably something that's best forgetting about because you'll only drive yourself mad.

Good luck with TTC

shopaholic85 Wed 17-Feb-16 09:21:39

Thank you all. I really wasn't expecting much of a response.

I feel better reading about all of your different experiences. It has really confirmed for me that I made the right choice not to have children in my 20s. I had an unhappy childhood and needed to deal with all the leftover issues from that first and I am glad I took the time to do that.

I don't want to live with regret and I should be grateful that I have a successful career, own my own home...etc but sometimes I feel like I would give all of that up if I could have a baby. I know this is not a healthy thought process and I am challenging it more, especially as my work has suffered post-mc.

evilgiraffe Wed 17-Feb-16 09:55:48

Indeed, shop, you make the choices that are right for you at the time. You can't predict the future, so all you can do is hope for the best.

I'm a SAHM now, but if/when I return to working I don't know if I'll go back to the same thing. I enjoyed it (and was good at it), but it's so tainted by my previous experience that I fear for my mental health if I were to try. Perhaps I'm more likely to go for a low-paid term-time admin type job - I've done it before and it feels safe to me, even if I am overqualified. I've never been ambitious or particularly career-minded, so that is one worry off my mind. Fortunately DH earns enough to keep us all currently, though who knows what the future holds. If I was working right now we'd be making a loss each month due to nursery fees, so being a SAHM is cost-effective for now.

It's strange how much infertility can affect how you think about everything, it's totally consuming. Having DD was both wonderful and a massive blow to my sense of who I was, infertility had become so much a part of me. I'm extremely grateful that we never suffered miscarriage, flowers for all who have had losses.

YouSaffBridge Wed 17-Feb-16 10:02:37

It must be very hard, considering all the "what ifs" flowers I know many other women who feel the same too - that whole, I spent my 20s desperately trying to make sure I didn't get pregnant, now I wish I hadn't.

Sadly none of us can know what will happen and can only make the decisions that feel right at the time.

Personally, I agree - things would have been very different if we had had DC in our 20s. OH is a little bit younger than me, and I'm not sure being a father at 26, 27 would have been the right thing. Career-wise, financially, emotionally, we have coped better in our early 30s.

Maybe it would have worked out. Who knows?

I'm sorry for what you are going through at the moment. What I always think, and I don't know if this helps at all, is - what does thinking this regret achieve? Can I go back and change it? Sadly no, none of us can go back and change it. So while hanging on to regrets is quite a natural response it is, like comparison, the thief of joy and in the end it doesn't achieve anything.

london32 Sat 20-Feb-16 18:47:36

I had mine 25-30 and agree with above poster it was extremely isolating , I was treated like a teen mum by nct and all the local mums were 36/42 in north London.

I'm 32 now and with a 6.5y old still the youngest mum at school and all the 'new' mums here are still older than me.

Although many of my friends are ttc at 32/33 and have been ttc for 1yr plus and becoming stressed out about it - eg they will be ages 34 if get pregnant today then may have to start ttc no 2 when no 1 is a baby as concerned about fertility

I had so so much energy at 25. Started new demanding banking job when DD 6m old and up 3/4 times per night. As that's just what people in mid 20s do.

My uni grad 10yr experience friends seem to think everything becomes perfectly fitted around the baby once you have it and are so naive. Like they overlook the enormous energy outlay and commitment and so many difficult child related work/ child care things have happened to us since 2008 yet these people think it won't happen to them. And my 3 don't have special needs and are never ever ill. It's almost like people who wait until mid 30s think they have an 'edge' or need to justify the decision to wait.

The difficult work environment and baby/ toddler/ child challenges happen to everyone however old they are.

Good luck ttc feel for you xxx

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