I had my son when I was 21 years old. While most of my friends were going to bars and job interviews, I was decorating a nursery and changing poopy diapers. I loved it. I was exactly where I needed to be, and yet people still treated me like I was doing something wrong. People always marvel with horror at how young my husband and I are. When I returned to school and I mentioned that I had a son, my fellow classmate’s mouths would drop open and a rousing course of “I’ll never have kids!” would assail my ears.
With rising feminism women are gaining more respect in the work place and more opportunities. This is such an achievement to be celebrated, and we need to push for even greater gender equality. But in this fight for empowerment, motherhood has been labelled as an anti-feminist choice, when in reality the point of feminism is to gain the right for all women to make what ever choice they desire. If a woman decides to become a mother at a young age, then good for her! That is her right as a woman to make that choice. The fact that I kept my son and was a stay-at-home mom for the first nine months of his life does not make me any less of a feminist.
This is not intended to hate on women who decide to have children later in life. If that’s your choice-then good for you! I just want to support and encourage mama’s who decided to have their babies young. We don’t get the respect or credit we deserve! So, let’s celebrate ourselves and our wonderful choices! Here are 10 reasons why having your babies young is AWESOME.
1. More Time
I will most likely be able to see my kids retire. I will get to be a part of my son’s life through so many different seasons. My odds of becoming a great-grandmother (which is a total dream of mine!) are much greater than if I had waited another ten years to become a mother. If all goes according to plan, I will most likely get more time with my children than someone who waited until their thirties.
2. Flexible time
Having a child in the middle of my college career seems like the most inconvenient thing ever, but in reality it has worked out swimmingly. When I returned to school my son was old enough to be away from me for several hours at a time, but school never required me to be away from more than four or five hours at a time. The time requirements of classes are so minimal compared to a nine to five job! I honestly think in the right circumstances, during college is one of the easiest times to have a baby.
3. Quick Bounce Back
It’s just a biological fact. Younger bodies bounce back to their pre-pregnancy fitness level quicker than older bodies do. Not that fussing over pre-pregnancy weights is wise or even important to do, but as a 21-year-old it was relatively easy to fit into my old jeans several months after my son was born. Sure I have stretch marks, but most people are surprised to learn that I’ve had a baby!
4. Skipping the Heartbreak
There are so many inconsequential parts of my life before I was married or a mother that used to keep me up at night. Worrying about dates, going to that cool party, losing five pounds to look better in that dress…etc. etc. I definitely still have my insecurities and frivolous worries, but my priorities are so different now that I have no time or interest in worrying about the silly things I did before. I feel fortunate that I am going to skip another decade of the stress and heartbreak that often come with single life. It doesn’t have to-but it definitely was my experience.
Imagine trying to save for retirement at the same time as paying for your kids tuition! Yikes! My husband and I will likely be finished putting our kids through college and still have time to refocus on our own retirement before it’s too late. Also, babies are expensive, but not as expensive as everyone makes them seem. We did cloth diapers for the first year of my son’s life and he still wears mostly thrift store clothes or hand-me-downs. It’s not glamorous, but he has no concept of designer brands or prestige! He just needs a mom and dad who love him wholeheartedly — not fancy clothes or toys.
Getting pregnant doesn’t always happen quickly. If you’re young and trying to conceive, there’s no stress! You have plenty of time! Plus, your body is in it’s prime baby-making years, so getting pregnant will be easier than if you were older.
7. Early Empty Nesters
My husband and I will be empty nesters in our early forties. That’s a lot of time for us to travel, change careers, move and rediscover our marriage outside the context of hands-on parenting. Many people wait to have kids until several years into their marriage in order to have some time “alone together.” I’m not looking forward to the day that my son decides to head off into the world on his own, but I do find myself day dreaming about all of the freedom my husband and I will have at such a relatively young age.
8. More Energy
Another biological plus about having babies young is a greater reservoir of energy to work with. It’s no surprise that babies are exhausting. They are up every few hours, they constantly need to be fed, rocked and cooed. They are constantly pooping. Babies require care 24/7. And when you’re younger this exhaustion isn’t as debilitating. My husband and I are still able to stay up late talking into the night like we did when we were dating. Of course, we always kick ourselves in the morning when our son woke up at five a.m. but those tired memories were worth it.
9. Optimal Career Planning
It might seem counter intuitive, but getting the trying years of baby raising under my belt in my early twenties will prepare me to more successfully devote myself to my career when I’m ready. Instead of getting several years into my chosen career then taking a big break off of work to stay home for a few months, I’ll be able to commit myself to a career without the burden of juggling a newborn or pregnancy with work demands.
10. Start a Family
My husband and my son are my two favorite humans. They are my people. I cannot imagine my life without my son. He is a giggly, curious, adventurous little joy. I wouldn’t trade a single minute with him for a more flexible schedule and a million dollars. Having his presence in my life makes everything more sweet. I’m so glad I didn’t wait even one more year before inviting him into my life. By having my son when I was young I got to meet the most precious little boy even sooner!
Featured photo credit: Gabriela Pinto via flickr.com