Plenty of women can’t wait to become grandmothers. Not this mum.
When her daughter said she and her partner wanted to start trying for a baby, this British woman wasn’t happy. She felt her daughter was too young. Her age? “Just 23.”
The woman, calling herself Fab40nhy, turned to online mothers’ forum Mumsnet for advice.
“I know that plenty of people have children far earlier,” she wrote, “but I feel that this is often not by choice. My daughter is knowingly plunging into a huge commitment without fully understanding the tremendous impact this baby will have on her life (loss of independence, financial implications, strain on relationship etc).”
The woman explains that her daughter’s partner is 32. They have been together for three years, both have good jobs and they’ve just bought a home together.
“I acknowledge that technically they have the means to afford and care for a baby but I just feel disappointed at the prospect that they will not be able to enjoy these exciting times together without the potential burden of a newborn baby so very soon when there is so much left in her life to experience and enjoy.”
The woman’s question was this: “How can I warn her she’s too young without being unreasonable?”
Most of the people who replied had the same answer.
“For goodness sake,” wrote one. “Mind your own business.”
“She has a job, a house and is 23, not 13,” posted a second. “Keep your nose out.”
But there were others who agreed they would also be unhappy if they were in the same situation.
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“Whilst I'd support my daughter through anything, deep down I wouldn't be best pleased if she wanted a baby at 23,” admitted one.
“ is young these days to set out to start a family,” said another. “Like you, I'd hope my daughter would live life a bit more first.”
For others, the question came down to something else entirely: fertility.
“Too many women are leaving it later and later and then have problems conceiving,” declared one commentator. “Twenty-three is actually a perfect age to have a child if you can afford it.”
This is the dilemma for women today. The window of time in which it’s seen as “right” to start a family seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Have a baby before your mid-twenties, and people will tell you you’re too young and missing out on life. Decide to leave it till after your mid-thirties, and you’ll have people warning you that you’ll regret it.
But is 23 really too young? Surely we all know parents who had kids in their late teens or early twenties and did a brilliant job of it. Surely we all know women who swear having their children young was one of the best choices they ever made.
Some 23-year-olds may still be living at home and getting their parents to cook and clean for them. But in this case, the woman has a good job and has bought a house with her partner. How can she be treated like a child who doesn’t know her own mind?
If a baby is wanted, and the parents have the maturity and the money to care for that baby, then age becomes irrelevant. 23, 33, 43... whatever.
How young is too young to have a baby? Do you think age determines how well you can care for a child?