What Kind Of Mother Would You Be At 25-Years-Old?
A new survey says that the majority of Americans think women should have their first baby at the age of 25. What say you?
I would never argue that young motherhood equates to bad motherhood. While the media likes to portray the horrific examples of young women turned mothers and the precious lives they put in peril by their immature actions, that is certainly not always the case. I know many women who had kids at a young age and do a great job.
My own mother was a young mom; at hardly 20 years of age, she gave birth to me and then my brother by 22. I have high school friends who became mothers shortly after graduation, and even more who went on to college just to have kids very quickly after that. So, by no means would I generalize an entire age group of mothers by arguing that a recent Gallup survey stating the majority of Americans think women should have their first baby by the age of 25 is shocking. But this survey is, sadly, very shocking.
Becoming a mother, regardless of age, is unlike any path a woman will walk in her life. It’s both communal and isolating. The role breathes so much life into you… and it sucks that much out, too. Most all mothers will admit that becoming a parent has transformed their identity. And at 25-years-old, I was not ready for that transformation.
Apparently, a majority of Americans don’t agree. Gallup recently polled 5,100 people and found that 58 percent said 25 is the “ideal” age for women to have her first baby. Only 3 percent of respondents said 31 or older is the ideal time for a woman to have her first child. While 72 percent of adults 65 and older said that women should have kids by 25, only 60 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 agreed. Blacks and Latinos, as well as Americans with little or no college education, were also more likely to agree women should have her first child by the age of 25, says the LA Times article.
Being Latino, and married to a black man, I can attest to the cultural pressure to have children. In fact, at exactly the age of 25, my biological clock was wound up. Tick, tock, time to get married. Tick, tock, where are the babies? Tick, tock, time to devote your entire life to someone else other than you.
But also being a college graduate and professionally ambitious, I can say that I knew, at the tender age of 25-years-old, young motherhood was not a good idea for me. At 25-years-old, I was really selfish. Really consumed with things that didn’t ultimately matter. I really needed sleep and nights out on the town and time to myself. And when you become a mother—the kind of mother I wanted to be, anyway—all those things would be compromised for the health and happiness of your child.
The majority of Americans say that 25 is the “ideal” age to have your first baby, but I urge you to not worry about the majority. You’re ready to have a baby when you are ready to have a baby. Whether it’s 25-years-old or 35, the thing that matters is that you’re the best mom you can be. And that isn’t always dependent on age.
What kind of mother were/would you be at 25-years-old?
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