Older or Younger Moms. Which is better?
As I watched all the Mother’s Day celebrations on the various TV networks, I got to thinking about the age old question, “when is the best time to have kids?” Older or younger mom, which is better?
When I first started practicing medicine, I got myself into a sticky situation when I asked if the guardian was the grandma, and it turned out to be the mom. I myself have been in situations when I was the oldest mom on the block. Is one truly better than the other?
Younger moms in their twenties, do tend to have an easier time conceiving and carrying a baby to term. They are less likely to require fertility treatments. The risk of illnesses like hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus during the pregnancy is low. They tend to be more energetic and are able to run after their children more easily than older parents. Some argue that they can have all their children before their thirties, get them into school and get back to focusing on their careers.
Some of the disadvantages of being a younger mom are that you may be less financially secure. You may just have entered the workforce and your employer may not be that excited about you taking time off for maternity leave. Sometimes younger moms still want to socialize with their friends and this may be a challenge if they have babies. They may tend to be a little more high strung and nervous about their baby’s development since they haven’t had much life experience themselves. Some may not be in stable relationships or have a stable financial situation and this takes a toll on both the mom and the baby.
What about older moms? What advantages do they have?
A lot of older moms are more stable in their careers and it may be easier for them to take time off and get right back into the workforce. They tend to be more financially secure and may have saved money for the arrival of their baby. Some older moms are more laid back and don’t tend to be so anxious about their babies especially if they have learned from their friend’s mistakes. Some though who had to go through difficulties to have babies can be more anxious. Older moms may be in more stable relationships and have the support they need in raising their children. And, I’ve seen some women in their 40s who are physically more energetic than women in their 20s because they have taken good care of themselves physically.
One of the biggest disadvantages of being an older mom is the fear of not getting pregnant. We have all heard about “the biological clock ticking away,” but really the eggs don’t die simply because you turned 35 years old. Anxiety does tend to play a huge role in trying to get pregnant when older, and older moms may need fertility treatments to get pregnant. And of course there is the risk of pregnancy associated illnesses like diabetes and hypertension and some chromosomal anomalies occur more with advancing age, but young moms can also have babies with these anomalies.
So what does this mean for our teens? Is there an ideal age for women to get pregnant?
I say the ideal age for any woman to get pregnant is when it is the right time for her, in her particular circumstances. We need to teach our teens to be confident in themselves and to realize that having babies is not a competition. Why rush to have a baby you’re not ready for and then spend the rest of your life resenting the child or regretting the decision.
If your daughter is financially, emotionally and mentally ready in her twenties, and she is married or in a stable relationship and ready to have a child then she should by all means go ahead and start her family. But women should never feel pressurized to have babies because all their friends are having babies or because they feel they are growing older.
Our daughters should be taught to set goals for their lives. If they are inclined to pursue their careers that is great and they should be encouraged to do so, and not made fun of. Encourage them to be the best person they can be in whatever career they choose to follow.
Teach them the value of lasting relationships. They should be complete in themselves and not feel that they need a relationship to be complete. They should not have a child because they have family problems and low self-esteem and their baby will always love them. Babies are not toys and they come with a lot of responsibility. If your child is not emotionally secure, how is she going to raise her child and give them the best they deserve?
And of course there is the financial burden of having children. Young women and their partners should have a means of financially caring for their kids. They should not depend on you or the government for financial support. They should take pride in being able to care for their own children and should teach their children the value of hard work and being able to contribute to society.
At the end of the day, there is no “ideal” age to become a mom. Teens should be taught having babies is a big obligation whigh should not be entered into lightly. A physical age does not matter as much as being emotionally, mentally and financially ready to provide for your baby. Being ready means you welcome your baby and are ready to give your best to raise your child who will one day be proud to call you mom, no matter your age.