Young mom
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevin dooley

Fertility trends change over time. While it was once common for women to have their first child before the age of 21, today many women are waiting longer. The advent of birth control has allowed women to take charge of their own fertility, and to wait until a time when they’re more comfortable with the idea before starting to have kids.

There are, of course, pros and cons to having children at any age. There are both social and physical implications of when you decide to have a child.

Going back in time

If you go back far enough, and for the vast majority of history, women have become pregnant when they were in their teens or early twenties. Now, we’re not talking about the latest episode of Teen Mom 2 on MTV; this is the way things have been for thousands of years.

In some ways, this can be a boon for the young mom. They’re more sympathetic to their children’s position, because they can remember what it meant to be a child. You could make a case that having a child builds character and forces a person to mature quickly too.

Not to mention the fact that, if your children are all born before you’re 20, by the time you’re 40 you’ll have your house back.

Today, however, there are some compelling reasons not to have a child that early. Financially, it can be a big challenge. Young moms tend to be in a worse economic position. There are some health risks, too, for moms that are too young.

Starting a little later

Most women today start their families in their late 20s and early 30s. This lets you complete college, be more financially secure, and be more secure in your relationship with your partner.

On the other hand, this can be exhausting. Many women with careers choose to turn parenting into their full-time pursuit when having children at this stage.

Over 35

About one in five women wait until 35 to have their first child. This means that parenting is a definitive choice, and that you do so without the economic problems that tend to plague younger women.

That said, 2 AM feedings can be a real problem as you get older, and you’re not sure you want to coach little league in your mid-50s.

How old were/are you when you became a mom? Do you wish you’d have started earlier or later?