While many of my peers are crushing it in the corporate world, pursuing various degrees, and rocking the latest style trends while bar hopping until well after midnight, I spend my days reading children’s books, taking stroller walks, and hoping that no one notices the mashed banana on my mom jeans while I weave through the aisles of Trader Joe’s, singing the ABCs to my 8-month-old daughter. I’m a mom in my early 20s, and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
The average age of mothers is steadily increasing, and young women are, more and more, being encouraged to delay motherhood in favor of career aspirations. Our society seems to look at young mothers quizzically or, worse, pityingly. It’s generally assumed that those who have babies in their younger years either lack ambition and talent or are a casualty of a patriarchal society. As a young mom, though, I can attest to the fact that this is an unfortunate misconception.
For me and for many other young moms that I know, motherhood was joyfully and eagerly chosen over a variety of other paths. I walked away from athletic goals, graduate school, and job offers in order to become a mom at age 23.
Some young women know they want to be nurses, so they avidly pursue that aim, going to nursing school and passing their licensure exams as soon as possible. In the same way, I knew — with all certainty — that I wanted to be a mother. So, my husband and I chose to start our family right away. While it’s not the right choice for everyone, there are countless benefits to being “the young mom.”
The Benefits of Being a Young Mom
You Have Better Chances for a Healthy Pregnancy
You have the greatest chance of becoming a mother in your 20s, as you have the highest number of good quality eggs and the lowest pregnancy risks. Your odds of conceiving after only 3 months of trying are roughly 20%. Fertility begins to decline at age 32, and that decline gets rapidly steeper by age 35. Your odds of conceiving after 3 months drop to 12% and your risks for miscarriage, genetic abnormalities, and other pregnancy complications are much higher.
Your odds of conceiving after only 3 months of trying are roughly 20% in your twenties.
You Have More Energy
You also naturally have more energy in your 20s. This helps not only with postpartum recovery, but also with the entire 18 plus years of raising children. Sleepless nights with a newborn are, unfortunately, not a myth. The nights are short (or virtually nonexistent), and the days are jam-packed with sustaining and nurturing new life. Some days feel like competition in an extreme sport (especially when your youngster becomes mobile). With all of the carrying, squatting, bending, chasing, and panicked lunging, I’m so thankful that youth is on my side.
You Can Relate to Your Kids Better
With this youthfulness comes a better ability to relate to your children, especially as they get older. Think Lorelai and Rory (disclaimer: I’m not advocating for teen pregnancy). You certainly don’t lose the authority that comes with being a parent, but you do gain a unique capacity to understand your children and the world in which they’re growing up.
You gain a unique capacity to understand your children and the world in which they’re growing up.
It Strengthens Your Marriage
Having children early on also serves to strengthen your marriage because babies, while the greatest blessing and joy, pose new challenges. Diamonds are made under pressure. So, too, marriages grow when faced with various trials. Communication becomes doubly important when raising children. Making time for each other becomes more difficult, but also more vital. Self-sacrifice takes on a whole new meaning when another being is entrusted to your care. And love intensifies when, together, you create a beautiful new life.
You Can Fulfill Your Dream of Motherhood
Perhaps the greatest benefit of being a young mom is getting to live the life that you so desire. If you dream of finger painting on the front porch, pushing a pram to the park, and singing lullabies while your little one drifts off to sleep in your arms, pursue that dream with the zeal of one studying for a law degree. You don’t have to delay living out your greatest ambition because you’ve been told that your twenties should be spent in school, climbing the corporate ladder, or establishing yourself as an individual. Your twenties should be spent becoming the woman that you were born to be.
Don't shy away from this vocation because society has deemed it to be of lesser value.
Just as not everyone is called to be a doctor, not every young woman is called to be a mother. Some may be called to use their femininity in other beautiful ways. Some may simply be called to motherhood later in life. But, for those who determine that their call to motherhood is sooner, they shouldn't shy away from this vocation because society has deemed it to be of lesser value than career.
Your hands may often be sticky. Your chic wardrobe from college may not fit quite right anymore. And you will likely have to say “no” to many a Friday night outing. But, motherhood abounds in joy, laughter, and the purest love. It’s not always easy and it’s certainly no longer the norm, but the sweet baby kisses will make it all more than worth it.
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