First-Time Moms Are Getting Older
The new average age for first-time mothers, according to the CDC, is now officially 26.3 years old.
In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't sound all that young. In fact, I had actually already given birth to three children by age 26, so I guess you could say I'm behind the times — or way ahead of them, whichever way you want to look at it.
But it's a trend that is probably here to say, especially when you consider how much the age of first-time mothers has risen, over two whole years over the past decade.
Interestingly, the numbers also showed that while the age for first time moms rose, the gap between her first and second child actually shrunk, meaning that women are feeling more pressured to pop those kids out closer together, which also has negative effects on her body and health.
I really am curious about this move towards delaying parenthood. I feel like the general consensus we have come to as a society is that waiting until you're “ready” to become a parent is best and that the ideal age to have children has been settled as the mid to late 30s. But on the flipside, you shouldn't be a woman who's selfishly wrapped up in her career and misses the opportunity to have children, either. So really, there's an incredibly small window that a woman has to actually get biologically pregnant with a committed male partner. It actually seems like nothing short of a miracle when you really think about it.
Honestly, instead of pushing women to “wait” until some magical, elusive age when their lives will fall perfectly into place and everything will be ready for them to have babies, I wish we promoted a more healthy and realistic image of parenting — that no one is ever truly fully “ready” to have children and that there is no magical age. There are challenges and benefits at every age, and I really do wish that young mothers weren't punished for doing what biologically actually makes the most sense.
I'm biased, of course, because I was a “young mom,” (even though I really don't think I was that young), but I feel grateful to know that as I enter my 30s this year, I have had four healthy pregnancies, and my chances of infertility were diminished simply due to my age. I wish we were able to openly discuss the potential benefits of having children earlier in life instead of simply telling women it's always best to wait because, frankly, sometimes it's not. Everyone is different, and that's what parenthood is all about.
How old were you when you had your first baby?