baby

From 18 to 44: 13 women on the age they had a baby - and whether it mattered.

Nowadays, Ever since the dawn of time, it has felt like everyone and anyone has an opinion on when to have babies.

Trying for a kid? You better not be too young - it's irresponsible! But too old? You don't care about your baby!

As if the prospect of bringing a child into the world isn't hard enough, women are expected to time it to absolute perfection - oh, and own their own homes with a happy partner and big backyard for their golden retriever to run freely in too, of course.

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But something we can all agree on is that having kids is a minefield. Whatever age you are.

So, we decided to reach out to the trust of Mamamia parents to hear from 13 women about what age they had their kids to see what the advantages and setbacks were, depending on age.

Spoiler alert: Not one person regretted it!

Andrea, 39.

I was 39 years old when I found out. We had only been trying for two months but I had waited for so long I had given up the idea of ever having children. 

My boy wasn't a miracle baby in the common sense, but for me and my parents this was the baby we never thought would be. He’s 10 now and sometimes I still can’t believe he’s here. 

I had my second at 42. 

It wasn't the life I had originally planned as a young adult, but I got there in the end. 

I've got my husband and two children (and I'm a little tired) but happy at 50!

Natalie, 19.

I was 19 when I gave birth to my daughter.

None of my friends had kids and I definitely didn’t fit into my mothers' group, but the school mums have been fantastic and really supportive of myself and my daughter. 

We did it alone for the first nine years, and we are really close because of it, so I am grateful for that. 

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I have no regrets, but I do think it’s more sensible to have gained a career or work experience and earned super first.

Jess, 29.

I started trying when I was 26, but we ended up needing IVF so I didn't have my first until I was nearly 29. 

I'm 32 now, and have a three-year-old and a nearly-two-year-old. 

As hard as it was experiencing fertility issues, having had a few years of trying under my belt, I was more prepared and ready for my daughter at 29.

I'm glad I started early though because obviously that gave the IVF a better chance of working. 

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My husband is turning 40 soon. 

If we were younger we may have considered a third after sending our first two to school, but we both think we will be too old and tired to start again then.

I went out a lot and travelled in my early 20s and I'm so glad I got to enjoy that time before babies. 

I'm happy with when I had them and I think I'm much more content with the mum lifestyle then I would have been if I was a younger.

Melissa, 20.

I was 20 turning 21 when I gave birth to my first baby.

At the time, I felt conflicted. I was so ready and mature to have a young family while everyone was out partying, but I also felt too young to fit into the mothers' groups in my area.

My partner and I were more than financial stable to start a family and my husband works so hard to provide for our children.

I have two now and our third is due in December (I’m currently 24). 

Absolutely no regrets.

Stacey, 25.

I had a couple of friends who just had babies when I found out I was pregnant, so I didn’t feel alone or left out. 

My brother and his wife were due with their first baby the day before I was, so I also got to go through pregnancy and the first months with someone to talk to, get advice from and help me feel normal. It was such a blessing.

Emily, 18.

When I had my first baby at 18, I felt very alone and judged. 

My husband and I alternated our work shifts, so she was always with a parent and I worked my butt off to prove everyone wrong. 

We purchased our first home at 19 and I then had three boys, my fourth child before my 24th birthday. 

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One time, I got stopped in a shop and was lectured about "babies having babies" and the government raising them. 

He soon shut up when I told him I worked part time around my husband's job. 

I have recently had my fifth baby at 31 at home with my older children present. 

I am treated so differently now to when I had my first four children but I have also grown in confidence.

Starr, 21.

Starr and her two kids. Image: Supplied. Baby number one was a surprise! 

My fiancé and I found out on father's day and we had just booked our wedding date with the celebrant the week before. I was excited and felt so grown up. 

Now at 25-years-old, I am a mother of two under four and divorced. 

I am realising how young I was and how naïve I was about life. 

I didn't know who I even was as a person. 

However, I do feel my daughters have shown me how strong I am and who I am as a person. 

I have learned so much about myself through being a parent and about how I was brought up and why I have the issues I have. 

We are all a product of how we were raised and I'm doing so much right now to undo what my parents did to me so I don't pass on negative attributes and complexes to my daughters. 

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I remind them every day that they aren't burdens and they are worthy.

Kylie, 32.

I was 32. 

It was absolutely perfect timing for me (emotionally, physically and financially). 

I felt like I had lived my 20s to my max and was also at a point in my career where I could comfortably hit “pause”.

Lisa, 35.

I was 35 when I had my daughter. 

I had had several miscarriages with my now ex-husband and had always thought it was not possible for me. 

I had been dating my now partner for two years when we fell pregnant and it was definitely a surprise for both of us, but a very happy surprise. She’s five now and I couldn’t imagine our life without her. 

The only thing that really shocked me was the use of the term ‘geriatric’ pregnancy at 35.

Hayley, 32.

I had my first bub at 32 in May. 

New parenthood in Melbourne's lockdown with no family within 5km has been a jourrrneyyy! 

I'm grateful I waited and got my career established and bought family home.

Hayley's baby. Image: Supplied. 

Inam, 30.

I was 29 when I fell pregnant, and 30 when bub arrived.

I wanted to be at a certain stage in my career and earning a certain amount before having children, because I knew I wanted to return to work part time after maternity leave and would like to remain working part-time until my last child at least started school. 

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Now I'm 33 and am expecting bub number two in 10 weeks.

Whitney, 26.

I had just turned 26 when I had my first. 

It was perfect timing for us, we got married when I was 23 and travelled overseas a couple of times a year. 

We just finished building our house a year ago, and were at a place financially where I could take a year off from work. 

Bub is six months old now, so he has grown up during COVID which has been strange, but it also meant hubby could be home for the first six months of his life which we would not have been able to have done otherwise. 

Also, I don’t get FOMO from seeing everyone on their holidays because we’re all stuck at home together!

I’m the first one out of my friends to have kids, so that can feel kind of isolating but aside from that, grandparents on both sides are in their early 50s so they have been super helpful with babysitting and we have been able to find time to ourselves if needed.

Alexandra.

My comment is from the perspective of a child of an older mum. 

My mum had me at 44, I was the third child, and my sisters are 10 and 15 years older than me. 

She was great as a mum.

She had plenty of time (and money) to spend with me and we went on overseas trips together. 

She was very patient with me from the time I was small, and supportive of my decisions. She was also not uptight about me going out and gave me a lot of responsibility which I think helped me make better choices. 

But my mum passed away from cancer at 72, which has meant that she hasn’t been there for me or my babies so we have both missed out on having her in our lives.

For me, having an older mother was great while she was raising me, but down the track there was lots my children and I missed out on.

How old were you when you had your first baby? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.


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