Those of you who were/are 'young mums'.. what are your experiences please?(30 Posts)
So I'm here because I am 22 and have just found out that I am pregnant. It was totally unplanned due to the fact that I was not informed by my GP that my new medication would affect my contraceptive pill. I am lucky enough to be in a long term relationship with my partner who is 31. Together we earn a good income and are in the process of buying a house together. If I am to keep the baby, I would be 23 and a probably classed by others as a 'young mother'. For me the unknown is very daunting and the thought of entering in to parenthood so young and maybe missing out on the best years of my life is scary. I do not want to be left with regrets and I am risking having regrets either way in this situation whether I keep the baby or whether I do not. I wondered whether others could help me by sharing their experience of being young mothers please? The good, bad and the ugly, I want to hear it all! Thank you
I had my first at 23.
I think it's a great age to have a baby.
Do not go to young mums groups the people who run them are very judgmental. I ended up falling out with someone because of it. I hate people who judge. Apart from that it is hard work but at the same time rewarding. I keep on telling myself I got my daughter to 12 and she has grade 4 piano, grade 1 viola and kicking arse at school. Treat you're child like a project what else are you going to do get drunk and make a fool of yourself. Thats what young people who don't have kids do. You can go on educational trips with you're child life don't stop or end. Live through you're child.
Do you have support from family members?
Young? I was 16 (just) when I had dd1.
Not all groups are judgmental - I suppose it depends what area you are in. I enjoyed the baby groups I took dd2 to.
Dd1 is 21 now and is a fantastic young woman but I had lots of family support.
I wouldn't say that is young tbh. I was 18 and that was a fair few years ago when it wasn't seen as the "norm". I was left in a position where the sperm donor (we can't use his name as he ran away and is a horrible person) wasn't contributing towards dd1's upbringing and it was tough. But if you're in a good financial position you don't have that worry at all! Most of the mothers in my antenatal group were double my age but we were all in the same position, first babies and all. Oh and I found I lost the 3 stone I put on a lot quicker than with my subsequent pregnancies! Always a bonus. Congratulations to you and your other half!
I just had my first baby 3 months ago and I'm 22 too!
I've been with my fiance since we were 16, and we always knew we wanted kids - but DS turned up a year before we planned.
I don't feel particularly young to be a mum, but I think it helped that 2 other women at work that were very close in age to me were pregnant at the same time. I also have a childhood friend who has 2 young ones so being around them has helped me adjust into being a younger mum. That might be something worth looking out for - if you know anyone already at a similar age with kids a similar age to yours. It helps with the advice side of things and affirms that you aren't the only one of your kid starts doing weird things!
All I can say is when they're fist born you might not feel mumsy straight away (ie you might be scared to hold them etc) but it'll start to come naturally- trust your instincts and it'll be okay
I never really thought of myself as a 'young mum', as young mothers groups here are usually aimed at teenaged mums. I had DC1 at 23, and DC2 at 25.
To be honest I'm not entirely sure what the difference is, my friends who are mothers all span ages from having their first DC between 18 and 39, si quite a spread. I think the main difference might be in how people treat you. And it also depends on where you are in life and how you feel.
I have colleagues at 30 who feel too young for children, but when I had my DC I wasn't worried or felt too young. I was (still am) married and had been taking care of myself for a while before marriage, so whilst I was young compared to peers in terms of getting married and having children, in terms of where I was in my life the timing was good. I don't feel I'm missing out - like the 'what do you miss' thread it would be nice to have a bit more spontaneity, but that is compensated for with what I enjoy with the DC.
One thing I would say, I'm a trainee in a professional career and apparently I look young for my age. When colleagues find out I have children they start treating me as more 'grown up' There are a lot of young trainees in my organisation so they expect me to be similar to them, but having children earns me some sort of maturity points. Not sure if that's the right thing, but it's what happens with me.
I was there to fill the gap hardly anyone turned up to the young mums group. I was 25 when she asked me to go along. I was 20 when I had my first. I don't regret none of it I had baby number 4 last year. Life starts when you're 40 you are more older and wiser so they say.
I don't think age really matters an older person will have the same struggles as you. The only difference is is that you have more energy because of you're age. I think 20's is a good time to start a family but its not for everyone. Not everyone is ready to have a child in there life they wait a few years.
Read the book raising boys or raising girls that will give you an idea of what its like.
It has benefits - you have more energy and you will be 23, not 16. I was 26 & that is young nowadays but as it stands DS will be leaving home when I am still youngish and I will hopefully be a young grandparent. Your body copes better with the strain now than it would in 10 years. You can have which age gap you choose rather than having any subsequent children quickly as you're needing to 'get it over with'
Negatives are feeling young in mum groups and at the school gate. being ahead of the curve in relation to your friends. Missing out on doing more kid free stuff like all day hangovers and crazy holidays.
I would struggle to have a termination if I was in your situation.
I had my first at just turned 25, and did very much feel I was younger than most other new mums where I live (middle class area, mostly graduates) Like you, it wasn't planned and I did wonder whether it was a good idea so young. But I kind of figured that having kids was something I absolutely knew I wanted to do in life, probably more than anything else, and you never know how long you're going to live, so best get on with the most important thing first. A good friend lost his mum at age 25 (his mum was 50) and that made me think it's best to have kids young as you'll have more life with them.
On the plus side DS is now 16, and younger DC is 13, and I'm only 41. In a few years they'll be independent and i can throw myself more fully into my career of I want. Or go traveling the world.
On the negative side, I'm not with their dad and with hindsight he wasn't the best person for me to have kids with. My DC hand also had crowded homes and quite a few house moves and a school move which could probably have been avoided if I'd been older and had more money first.
A lot of my similar aged friends now have little kids and I'm not feeling envious though. I feel quite smug to have lovely, interesting older kids who no longer wake me at night. And my own dad is sadly dying soon. But I'm very glad he had me quite young and I've known him 41 years, not 15 years which could have been the case of he'd left it as late as some men I know.
Hey, I had my DD at 25, she is going to be 13 early next year. I've gone on to have 2 more DS's. I am so glad I had her when I did, she wasn't really planned and at least now when she is going through the trials and tribulations of hormones and being a pre teen I can relate. I wouldn't change it in a heartbeat and in fact if I could've had her in my life 3 years earlier (like you are now) I would of. It's hard work, it's demanding but I couldn't bear to be without them. I've messed up along the way, she definitely was the Guinea pig I hadn't a clue no matter how much I thought I knew but we are extremely close and I'm really proud of her (hormonal strops and all).
In contrast my Mum had me
at 45 and I lost her to cancer when
I was just 12. My Dad is now 86 and I'm losing him everyday to dementia......
My experience of being a young mum has been brilliant but everybody differs... I had always known I wanted a baby and she was planned etc which obviously make things that little bit easier.
I had DS at 15 and DD at 20, DS was a massive struggle, i was still at school, went to college and then did a degree, all whilst balancing a child I wasn't really emotionally mature enough to handle, by myself coz is father is an absolute arse. Then I met DH and DD appeared a little quicker than planned, I don't think I've had any more issues with her than an older parent would have, except that my friends were out every weekend and I occassionally felt a little left out. Admittedly I hate the school run but I'm not a morning person and I doubt I'd like it any more at 40, but otherwise I like being a mum and my kids (now 12 and nearly 8) are pretty damn awesome, also I'm quite enjoying watching my friends post about baby dramas/sleepless nights while mine take themselves to bed, use the toilet etc.
I was a youngish mum, my first I had loads of energy for and worked pt as well and had a good life balance. 8 years down the line and pg again - not feeling so spritely but that could be because I have plural DC or possibly that my body
pelvic floor isn't that young anymore!
I know quite a few mums who are now in their 30s who were teen mums (a mix of single mums and those with their DC dad), yes they missed out on the carefree 20s experience on the whole (but they didn't totally go without! I should know I partied with most of them ) and they've all done well for themselves and are happy and their DC have grown up to be lovely people too. Some have gone on to have more DC, all have plugged away and built careers/did further studies, a few are professionals or are self employed.
Oh and congratulations
I had mine at 21, 23 and 32. I had much more energy with the first two. It is only recently that
Older mums have been the norm. My daughter had her first two in het 20s. When she was 35 she had the freedom to do as she pleaded just as her contemporaries where saddled with young babies
I fell pregnant with ds at 19 completely unplanned and had only been with his dad for 9 months - we had no money and lived at his parents and both had shitty jobs so we were in a less advantageous position than you are. We decided not to terminate as we'd both been told we'd struggle to conceive without IVF and even then it would be difficult. We discussed the likelihood that out relationship wouldn't last (it didn't - we split when ds was 2.5) and decided we'd regret not giving it a go more. I went to a school that was a mix of middle/upper class so the friends I have from school have had a much more typical time in their 20s, always off travelling and having evenings out, going to concerts/shows.
Fast forward a few years, ds is now 6.
The negatives have been:
- Career ambitions on hold as I can not afford the childcare necessary to leave my part time and very flexible job
- Money, due to the above money is tight, which I find difficult as a family/friends I have are all comfortable to well off so it really highlights the difference and they don't understand how much I struggle when I can't meet the bills some months
- sleep!!! God how I miss sleep.
But the positives:
- Although I've missed out on a lot of nights out, I really cherish the odd ones I do go on, and I've had a lot of fun
- Only being able to work part time and having my evenings free when ds is in bed is allowing me to do the degree I've always wanted to do through distance learning. I'm currently on course for a 2:1 with a possibility of getting a first in my law degree
- I don't plan on having more children, that means once ds is a bit older and my degree is finished I can dive headlong into the career I've always wanted and give it my full commitment without taking time out
- it takes the pressure off. Friends I have that are still single are beginning to panic that they will miss out on having children. I don't have that concern.
- I can genuinely say that becoming a mum has filled up a gap in my life I didn't even know was there.
I don't regret my decision and never have. Sure I get wistful pangs every now and again about just being able to say yeah let's go for a few drinks after work or joining friends on one of their weekend city trips to explore but if I had to make a choice, I'd pick the life I have every time. Being a parent young does force you to grow up faster but I don't see that as a bad thing. It gives you a different perspective and makes you realise the things in life that are truly important. It's brought me much closer to my parents too whereas before, especially with my mum, I had a very strained relationship. And ds is a very happy, well rounded little boy who I frequently get comments about him being polite. He hasn't suffered at all for me being a younger mum.
Also it very much depends on the area as to what's classed as a younger mum. For example, amongst my school friends I am classed as one and I would imagine ds will be at least 8 before any of them have children. Yet at work, no one bats an eyelid that I have a 6 year old. I think at your age you will find very few people that will judge you harshly for it.
Good luck with whatever you decide - and if you decide to not go through with the pregnancy don't beat yourself up about it. I've known people in your position who've decided to terminate and although that brings its own difficulties none of them have ever told me they truly regret it either.
Different things are right for different people and we are lucky to live somewhere where it's our right to make that choice. It's there for a reason
I had my first at 20, had only been with my DH a few weeks when we found out as it had been a bit of a fling, we decided to make a go of it and moved in together. I didn't feel particularly young as in had two friends who had theirs at 18 and 19. I wasn't anxious while pregnant, planned a home birth which I didn't get but left hospital the night I had DS1 and all the midwives couldn't believe I was a first timer!
We were poor, renting, DH worked despite being addicted to heroin (which I found out when DS1 was a few months old! We got through that despite the odds and opinion of friends and family!) but didn't earn much. Got pregnant again a few months later (while breastfeeding, it is not an effective contraceptive if you're as fertile as I am!) so by 22 I had two sons 13 months apart and after we got married when I was 23 we had DD when I was 24 (another 'surprise')
We are still together, I studied from home then went to work as a care assistant part time once all were at school/preschool. I'm about to start nursing training... All is going well! ( I did fall pregnant again this year but had an abortion as that felt right for me).
We've never had much money and we don't own a house, but our kids are lovely and we consider ourselves to be a success story!
I wouldn't call 22 young, tbh. I was married with two kids in my mid 20s.
Several of the girls I went to school with were pregnant at 14 and 15, if you got to 18 you were knocking on a bit!
You sound settled, stable and sensible. That's a really good starting position.
I'm 42 now and my children are 16 & 17, I think having them when I was in my 20s was the best thing for me, I had more energy than I do now. The thought of having babies at my age brings me out in a cold sweat!
It's such a personal thing.
I had DD a month after my 20th birthday after my coil fell out without me knowing. She's now nearly two and my life has changed beyond words but for the better.
I won't lie, it's really fucking hard. I receive and do still receive a lot of negative comments, the worst being 'please tell me, for her sake, you aren't her mother and are just babysitting' when in a shop. It's a huge change, or was for me anyway, adjusting to life with someone so dependant on you every second of every day but I wouldn't change it for the world.
In 20 years time when you are absolved of responsibility you will still be young
I had my first, last year, at 24 and it's been great. I'm definitely considered a young Mum in my area but I feel like I had her at a great time in my life. Me and DP have both got mega flexible careers so we can prioritise family time. We could probably buy a house in a few years if we both knuckled down and did some serious work but we prefer both working part time so can't see a house being bought in the near future. And despite not considering myself very fit, my age does show at baby groups/activities where jumping, running and dancing about is involved.
I was 19, very much unplanned - I was just starting my second year of uni. Boyfriend and I were living two hours away from all family at university so no practical family support but they were supportive emotionally.
Friends and uni lecturers were fantastic. Gave me the option of dropping out/deferring a year/pushing through and deferring third year/just bulldozering through it. I chose the latter
Pregnancy was tough because I was balancing morning sickness and getting bigger with lectures but you're a little bit older so don't have to worry about that as much. DD was born on the last teaching day of my second year; I handed in 2 essays in the month after she was born and got a 2:1 for the year so not too shabby and then carried straight on to third year and graduated with a first, so for me the experience was very positive!
I've recently turned 22 and DD is two and a half and I love being a younger parent. DP is 31 so doesn't fall into that younger parent bracket. I think some of the "oh you'll have loads of energy if you're young" is bollocks; every parent is in a sort of permanently-exhausted state but you get used to it quicker if you're younger I think.
I had some judgmental glares during pregnancy, I got tutted at in the queue in ALDI once which was a real low moment and obviously you encounter the "young mums/unmarried mums/unexpected pregnancies are irresponsible, scrounging blah blah blah" but ignore them. I've been blogging about being a younger parent for the last few years, trying to dispel some stereotypes, and there's an amazingly supportive community online.
I struggled with loneliness. As I was at uni, none of my friends were having babies or planning on it (neither was I in fairness!), and they all doted on DD, she was their little mascot before she was born but not having someone to discuss the pregnancy and birth and the difficult early stages with someone who'd understand it was tough. But that's where online groups come in; join the antenatal club on here for your due date. Joining the April and May 2014 groups was the best thing I ever did; we are all now friends on Facebook and have met up and they have been the most supportive, incredible community right from the word 'go'.
We don't regret a single thing. Marrying DD's dad in December, the money situation is nowhere near as bad as I thought it'd be, we've got a lovely private rent flat and supportive families just a phonecall (and still two hours) away. This little girl makes me so happy with every choice we made during the pregnancy; she fills my life with so much purpose and meaning that I didn't even know I was missing out on! When people say young parents should travel and have adventures first, I laugh - I don't think there's any bigger adventure than being a younger parent, and there's nothing I'd rather be doing.
It's turning into a bit of a novel but best advice I can give you is to join those online communities and enjoy. It's the most amazing experience!
I was 23 when I had dc1 although we were married and had lived together since 19 and actively tried for a baby. I had dc3 at 31 and found it a lot harder (pregnancy wise) than with dc3, thought could be because I was older or because I was already shattered running round after 2 dc. At times I think I was too young as I never went travelling or secured a decent career 1st (although I've always worked in haven't a fantastic job) but when I think if I was single now at 33 without any children I'd be slightly panicking it could get too late by time I met someone settled down n then had children.
I don't think there's ever a right or wrong time/age to have a baby. It's a scary thing to find out your pregnant whether your 16 26 36 or 46 with either your 1st 2nd 3rd 4th etc pregnancy. I think it's normal to panic at 1st cos your life will undoubtedly change but parenting is the most challenging yet rewarding thing you'll ever do.
Join the discussion
Please login first.