When I told people at work I was pregnant I had the usual excitement and congratulations, as well as a comment that I found a bit odd, along the lines of I was young to be having kids.
Now, I don’t think I am a ‘young mum’ by any stretch of the imagination. I’m 27 now and will be 28 around the time my daughter is born (she’s due 4 days after my birthday) so I don’t think that’s particularly young to have kids.
I don’t think it’s a particularly old age to be having my first child either, I think it’s a nice average age.
But the comment got me thinking, what classifies a ‘young mum’?
A few weeks ago I asked on Facebook how old people were when they had their first child and if they considered themselves a ‘young mum’. The responses were really interesting!
A lot of people who had babies while they were in their early 20s said they didn’t think they were ‘young’ at the time but they now think that age is ‘young’.
Some people said they weren’t ready to start a family any younger than they did (implying there is a strong link between age and readiness. If you have kids before you’re ready does that make you a ‘young mum’ even if you have kids at the same age as someone else who is ready and therefore doesn’t consider themselves ‘young’?)
Others commented that they didn’t think they were young until they went to mothers group and found that they were the youngest there!
Only two people who commented said that they identified as ‘young’ when they had their baby – one who was 22 and one who was 27. A few others said they think they were young mums in hindsight even though they didn’t think so at the time.
I think a large part of being considered ‘young’ in my situation comes from being in Canberra and being in a workplace where career advancement is expected of people in my age group. This is the time to being climbing the career ladder and gaining lots of experience, not having kids. Apparently.
The average age of first time mums in Canberra is 31 so by that definition I suppose I am youngish but definitely not a ‘young mum’.
Is being a ‘young mum’ based on your actual age? Or society’s perception of what people of a certain age should be doing? I have lots of friends around my age who have kids or are pregnant so I don’t see it as unusual to be having kids now. In fact, I think it’s quite normal!
But then, we were all ready to have kids and our kids were very much planned so I wonder if that has a lot to do with it as well. Is being a ‘young mum’ someone who wasn’t ready to become a mum, regardless of age?
It will be interesting to see if my perception of not being a ‘young mum’ will be challenged once I have my baby and join a mothers group!
What do you consider to be a ‘young mum’? How old were you when you had your first child?
Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT (I blog on Tuesdays)
Like what you see? You can sign up for the newsletter here!
It’ll be full of stuff you’ll love, I promise!