PARENTING

Thursday Thoughts: How old were you when you started your family?

 

courtney with ivy and quin

Living in London, I have always felt like a young mum. I was 24 when Easton was born. I was the youngest mum in my antenatal class and the youngest of all my new mum friends. Even at 32, when Marlow was born, I remained one of the youngest mums in any of the children’s classes or activities we attended.

I have always been quite maternal so I never thought twice about starting a family at 24. It was really only when Easton started school (I was 28) that I became more aware of my age compared to other mothers in the class, many of whom were in their 40s.

Women in London tend to wait longer to start having a family. It seems that the majority of women I know in London put focus on their careers first, and then started having babies in their mid to late thirties. Some of my friends even waited until their forties to start a family. A good friend of mine in London just had her fourth baby at age 45!

A recent study in the UK found that Londoners find the ideal age to have children is 37. This is mostly financially motivated as the cost of living in London is so high. I read a separate article recently that said that, for the first time, more women in the UK are having babies after the age of 35 than the number of women having babies under the age of 25. The average age of first-time mothers is getting older and older over time.

But that is London.

When we arrived to Sydney a couple months ago, I was struck by how much younger mums are. Unlike in London, I saw loads and loads of 20-something mums pushing buggies on the streets. For the first time ever, I became conscious of my age, aware that I was not a young mum in this city.

I mentioned this to Esther and Emilie and they told me that when they were in LA for our ShopUp event, they were struck by how young all the mums were there. It appeared to them that many women started having babies in their mid twenties so that by the time they were in their 30s, they already had several children. This was a noticeable contrast to their home cities, Amsterdam and Paris, where, like in London, women tend to wait until their mid to late 30s to start their families.

So now I’m curious. I’d love to hear where you live and at what age you started your family? Did you feel young or old compared to your peers? Do you think there is an ideal age? Or is it all relative? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Courtney x

p.s. I searched in my photo archives for a pregnancy photo and found this one from 2012. I was 8 months pregnant with Marlow – look how little Quin and Ivy look!


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Comments (95)

April 21, 2016

I was 27 and pregnant with our first baby when it struck me I was the youngest in the ‘zwangerfit’ class (pregnancy fit – class’. When I gave birth to our youngest I was 32 and still considered ‘young’.
For me it was a challenge to feel confident of our lifestyle choices of combining careers and our familylife instead of first establishing our careers and then start a family.
We love to combine our careers and take care of our children (my husband works 3 days and I work 2 so we can love on our children (3 boys) ourselves ;)).


Uschi
April 21, 2016

I am from Belgium.
Same here! I was 27 when I had my first son. It was considered young since I studied until I was 24, but I already felt ‘old’. I always wanted to be a young mum. Anyway I was 30 having my second. And now that I am 32, I see that a lot of mum friends start their families.
It is also true that my husband and I found it difficult to juggle the work life balance since starting at 27 those two clashed and still do. I had my first son as a lawyer and it was really hard. I would like to have a third child, but work and the daily struggle are keeping us from going for a third one…


Jess
April 21, 2016

Hi Courtney,

Very interesting topic addressed here – a colleague of mine has only just given birth to her first child and she’s 40 and sees this decision as a hugely positive one.

Both me and my partner grew up in London and have been privately renting for the past four years.Whilst I am only 22, we both feel that we are ready for children but due to our extortionate rent costs (we’re both in fairly well paid jobs), we know that it would be hugely irresponsible to start a family any time soon. This isn’t because we’re financially motivated, nor myself career driven (i’d love nothing more than to be a stay at home mum) – its just the reality of living in London, which I think for some; myself included, is a very sad one.


Esther in Amsterdam
April 21, 2016

I was 31 when I had Sara, which is early for the Amsterdam average. Here in the NLs, it also depends on education — often, people do not finish university before they’re 24 or 25, and then they choose to work for a few years before they are ready to start a family… Plus — of course you also have to meet the right partner! (I was 26 when I met Tamar!)
I heard about a teacher of one of the children of a good friend, who has 4 children. One is 29, and the the other three are 8, 5 and 3. How old do you think this teacher is??
xxx


Esther in Amsterdam
April 21, 2016

(She’s 51! Amazing!! She had her first child by herself when she was quite young, and then, she met a man in her 40s and had 3 more children! I find it so cool that it is all possible and excepted nowadays. I think there is no ‘right’ age to have children. It just goes the way it goes!!! x)


April 21, 2016

I was 35 when I had my twins. In Spain is difficult to be a young mother. I am enough young to follow their rhythm but sometimes I think that if I was in my 20’s it would bé physically easier


SHOW ALL COMMENTS
April 21, 2016

Super interesting topic. I live in Berlin and women are generally quite old when they start having children (no judgment intended!). I had my first when I was 25 and for me that was quite perfect. No, we don’t have any money and yes, having a career will be that much harder now that we have to juggle daycare and so on, too. BUT being a young mother has lots of advantages. Pregnancy wasn’t hard on me at all, neither was giving birth. I realize that this might just be me, not my age, but I think it definetely helped!
I recently spoke to an ‘older’ women (I’m guessing she’s in her late 30s) who had her first kid at 26 and her second one at 36. While the first pregnancy went super smoothly, the second one was very hard on her physically.
So, even though I might not have the career I envisioned for myself, I get to experience life with my little Sam a few years more. A bonus I wouldn’t want to miss out on – not even for money or a great job.


April 21, 2016

Oh and to answer the question: there is no right age, no right time. If it works for you, that’s all that matters!


Victoria
April 21, 2016

Like you Courtney, I was 25 when I had my first child here in London and I was the youngest Mum in my NCT, nursery and school classes by a looooong way! People always comment on how I look *too* young to have children and that I am ‘just a baby myself’ and I often find the surprised reaction pretty insulting… Why is being an older Mother so often deemed more sensible / appropriate / normal?! x


Charmaine
April 21, 2016

I was 20, and I had my 2nd at 23. I had good pregnancies and 2 healthy children. They are now 11 and 8. One benefit of being young is I have the energy to keep up with them. I have enjoyed rearing my children it’s been fantastic journey, I was very privileged in the respect I haven’t had to work, I have been able to fulfil my role has a mother. But there have been frustrations along the way, the unfulfilled career and lack of a degree, lack of financial independent. But the hardest was the lack of respect by elders and the comments about being able young enough to start again! But I don’t want to start again, I am happy with my husband and our children.


Sofia
April 21, 2016

I agree, there is no right age, if it works for you then is the right time. Although, if one is driven by her studies/career (I just finished my Ph.D.) having children can be a little daunting. I had my son at 29 but, thankfully, I had a lot of help from my parents for the times when studying, writing, and attending conferences were at stake. I am curious, Courtney – did you attend university, having your first at 24? And if yes, did you have any extra help? I think help (and maturity of any age, of course) is the key to have children, at least for me. Today at 40, I still have to admit that it takes a village 🙂


Courtney in London
April 21, 2016

Hi Sofia,
Thanks for your comment and question. I did attend university from age 18 to 22. I met Michael immediately after graduating, and we moved to London shortly after. So things moved really quickly for me in that regard. I didn’t have any help when we had our first couple babies, and with family being very far away, I couldn’t rely on their help either. But… having grown up in a big family with lots of younger siblings and cousins, I was essentially a little mother from my childhood. It felt very natural for me to start a family of my own. I agree it takes a village to raise a family — maybe this is why Esther, Emilie and I bonded very early on as new mothers in London. x


April 22, 2016

I think it definitely is why we bonded. We were in London with babies and no family around. We basically became a bit of a replacement for a family, right? 😉 xx


Manca
April 21, 2016

Im from Slovenia (EU)…I think it depends where you live… I live in the countryside its normal to have children in 20s. I had my first at 25 and second 27, now i am 28 i have plenty of time to have some more 😉


Daniela
April 21, 2016

I had just turned 27 when my first son was born. In New York it was considered very young and I felt it when I told people I was pregnant and was only 26 and especially when he went to school and the other moms were shocked by my age.
Now we are living in Brazil. Here in Sao Paulo women tend to have their first child earlier than in New York, but I’m still on the younger side. But what is shocking more the people around me now is that I’m pregnant with my 4th. Here they usually consider 2 kids more than enough :).
I think it might be another interesting topic. How many children is considered normal in different part of the world.
Xx


Kim
April 21, 2016

Hi, I think you are completely right Courtney in Western Europe people tend to have children later and specifically London, as living is so expensive. Also I think society in London is very much driven by ‘having it all’ which means you will have to build a career before having the 3+ children.

I do think a more interesting subject maybe one day (?)would be the seemingly rise of the larger families (3+ children) – I always wonder with the world population spinning totally out of control – why do people chose at the moment for larger families again (or so it seems around me)? A couple of years ago it seemed 3 was the new 2, but now more and more i think 4 seems to be the new 3….


Lo
April 21, 2016

I always find it so strange When people mention career or finances as being the reasons women “delay” starting a family.

I feel like you’ve forgotten a huge factor and one that was by far the most important for me – meeting the person I wanted to start a family with. You can’t just snap your fingers and make that happen. And so – that’s how I ended up having my first child at 35. It’s something that from time to time makes me a little sad – I wish we had met earlier so I could have started earlier but am hugely grateful that I have been lucky enough to have a family at all.


Courtney in London
April 21, 2016

Hi Lo,
I completely agree, and perhaps I should have also mentioned this. I was very lucky to have met Michael when I was so young. And it helps that he is 11 years older than I am, so when I was 24 he was 35 – and this felt like a very good time for both of us to start our family.

My sister is two years younger than I am and still hasn’t found someone to start her family with, so the choice is not up to her at this point. She’s on a very different path than mine for many different reasons. Hopefully by 35 things will be different! 🙂 x


gilly porter
April 21, 2016

Beautiful photo! I too was 24 when I had my first and 26 when I had a second child – and then we had our “twinkle in his fathers eye” when I was 40! and my husband was 50! (the same husband in case you’re wondering!) All have felt right at the time. I had more energy for the older two and more patience and wisdom for the younger one (Now almost 11). He keeps us young! Back in the 1980’s, 24 wasn’t so young – lots of my peers were having children around that time, but now I look at my 26 year old eldest son and can’t believe I was only his age when I was married with 2 children!!


Nina
April 21, 2016

Interesting topic. I was 26 myself, when my first son was born and also the first one of my friends who was becoming a mother. I had finished my studies but was in the middle of my “referendariat” (the second chapter of becoming a teacher), so it wasn´t really “planned” this way, but I always regarded it as wonderful. Second one (a daughter) at age 29, third one with 34 (another son). By this time (34), many of my friends were expecting their first babies, so it was nice to be able to share the experience of being pregnant (this was something I missed when being pregnant at the age of 26). But there was something that surprised me… my gynaecologist was so much worried about nearly everything during my third pregnancy, despite the fact that everything was fine! I think she was because she saw me as an “older” mummy to be and because she only looked at the 34. Funny things…
Nevertheless, when thinking about (perhaps) having a fourth baby, I somehow get worried myself because I think I maybe too old, but then I think “What if you only think this because so may people around you might think so? Trust your feelings!” So… I´m sure, as said before by others above (Sarah), there is no perfect age, or with other words, every age is perfect if you only feel that it is for you (sorry for my creepy english!)
XoX Nina


Therese
April 21, 2016

out of curiosity I looked up the average age for giving birth the first time in Sweden (we have statistics for everything). I’m pregnant with my first child now, being 28, and that seems to be the average age in Sweden (or 29). I could easily have gotten children when I was 25, but I didn’t meet my spouse until later and I must admit it’s very practical to be working since I both have been on sick leave for extrem nausea and having a docent income during maternal leave. In Sweden we are compensated economically for being on maternal/paternal leave, for more than 1.5 years, which is such a blessing…


Evgeniya
April 21, 2016

Hi! I’m from Russia. I have two kids in my 33. I gave the birth to my eldest daughter when I was 25. And my husband was 28. We live in the European part of the country, we both were graduated from universities and had our job, but Russia is a very big country with different nationalities and religions, I think this fact also has a great influence on the age a woman wants to become a mother. (Muslim and north native minorieties women tradionally start family life very early, even before their 20s ). I looked for some statistic facts about Russia and found that woman’s average age of giving the birth to the first child is 25 for the last year. It’s really not popular to have kids after 40, it’s still considered to be smth extraordinary especially in the countryside. I thinks it also depends on the medicine and doctors attitude. As for me, I spent almost 6 years with my kids and now feel that they are big enough and I can combine my job (I’m an architect) and my family role. I would like to have one more kid but a little bit later, may be after 37-38.


Anna
April 21, 2016

I had a baby when I was 30. Originally Russian (where when I was 27 older people kept asking me when I’m finally going to marry and have kids), I was living in Montreal then. I felt somewhere in the middle, judging by birth classes and looking at other pregnant women. I probably wouldn’t be considered late in Moscow (although I heard a story about a doctor telling a pregnant 30yo that it’s pretty late for having the first baby), seems like people decide to have children later in their life now, at least in big cities. It definitely is earlier than in London though. Some comments above mention the age of graduation from the University, I wonder if that influences it too. In Russia, you graduate at 21-22 usually.


Hannah
April 21, 2016

I had my first baby at 26 and second at 28. Where I live (Cardiff, Wales) I think this is a little under the average age and I was one of the younger mums at nct etc. But venture out to the neighbouring valleys and I would be considered one of the older mums.


Alison
April 21, 2016

I had to laugh when I reached the end of this post. I promise you Esther and Emilie those LA moms only LOOK young! I live in the UK now, but both my kids were born in LA (I was 35 and 38) and that was quite normal. Yet everyone in LA tries as hard as possible to look young. All the women in my birth class and my circle of mom friends were within a few years of me. On a related note, living in Europe now it strikes me that it is much more socially acceptable look one’s age. I see mothers with gray streaked hair and ‘laugh lines’ (wrinkles) all the time here, whereas everyone in LA works hard to look 10 years younger than they are. Even the style of dressing is very influenced by youth culture. In Europe it seems OK to be a grown up. The ‘aging is natural’ attitude seems a bit more common here (at least where I live in the UK) and I find it very refreshing!


Ana
April 21, 2016

True! Youth culture in the way you dress/look like and in what you do for fun, is a lot more visible/common in the United States and among American women as compared to those in Europe, where is okay to have gray hair and actually look “adult” or mature. I was wondering how this works in Sydney, where Courtney saw “loads and loads of 20-something mums pushing buggies on the streets”. Does the Australian beach culture stress that same youth glowing look? and therefore mothers tend to follow it as well?
At the same time, let’s not forget that Europe is still suffering from a serious economical crisis and couples tend to delay more and more their family goals…


kelly rae
April 21, 2016

We are from Texas (the states) and we had our first when I was 28. Our second came while we were living in Glasgow when I was 32. He is 16 weeks tomorrow. We moved back to Texas when he was 6 weeks old after 2 years of living in the UK.

We aren’t planning on anymore but I swoon every once and awhile about having more. My ultimate plan was to be done having kids by 35.

My mom had me when she was 29 and I was their only child.


Lisa
April 21, 2016

Interesting topic!!

I was 30 when I had my first and 37 when I had my last. I feel a lot older now and am finding it harder to recover from this last baby. Obviously I am very grateful though. Most of my friends waited and had their first between 35-40. I’m on the east coast of USA by the way.

I feel like this was all good timing for us as I’m looking forward to adventurous 40’s being spent traveling more (inspired by you Courtney).

I agree about the la comment above- those women just look younger!!!!!

Xoxox


April 21, 2016

Really interesting topic! At 29 I felt “old” when we started our family. I think mostly because both my mom and my husband’s mom were 18/19 when they had their first children and so many other moms I knew had started having children in their early to mid twenties. Now that I look around late twenties seems more average and I almost wish we had waited even longer so that we would have had time to save more money and do more before we had kids. (I am in the midwest)


Christie
April 21, 2016

I live in a college town with a very high percentage of PhDs and JDs. Most of the moms I know were in their 30s when they started to have kids. My friends who were in their late 20s seemed so young! I was 31 with my first and 34 with my second. It feels old to me because my mum was 18 when she had me, so I was out of the house when she was 36. Now I am 36 with preschoolers! I don’t feel particularly old, though, and the fact that everyone I know is my age with young kids is comforting.


Shannon
April 21, 2016

I was 32 when my daughter, now 2, was born and that seems about average for my neighborhood in Brooklyn and my immediate group of friends, none of whom started having children before their late 20s (the oldest child in my circle of friends will be 6 this summer). I didn’t and still don’t feel particularly old relative to other mothers with similarly-aged children – perhaps because I’m the oldest child of three and my mother was 30 when I was born, so it has always seemed natural to be about this age when starting a family. I know a number of women who are pregnant with or recently had their first child in their mid-30s or beyond and no one here seems to bat an eye!


Kathryn
April 21, 2016

My husband and I have been together for 6.5 years but only married for 6 months – I’m 29 and he’s 31, and MANY of my friends in the US are either pregnant or have a young child at home. However, we’ve jumped around from a few big cities, and our friends (including us) are nowhere close to starting to have kids. Indeed, the majority of our friends with kids now are living in smaller towns and/or moved back to be close to family. Talking about having children is a big part of our relationship and kids will certainly be a part of our future – but we’re still at least 5 years from it.


Laura
April 21, 2016

I live in London and was 32 when I had my daughter (now nearly 3). In my NCT group I was the youngest, the other mothers were 40, 40, 38, 37 and 34 and all having their first babies.

My partner and I really struggled with the adjustment to being parents, even though our pregnancy was planned and we had been trying for two years to conceive. And I often wonder if I had become a parent younger would it have been as difficult? I think because we were so used to being independent and living life based around our careers, hobbies and friends, it was harder to put that aside. If I was 20 when I had a child I would not have experienced so much time making decisions just for me, and maybe would not miss my old life so much? I hope that makes sense! I wonder if anyone else feels this way, and if it is related to age, or just personality?!


April 21, 2016

I was 29 when I gave birth to my first child in Los Angeles. Which I feel is maybe around the average age of a lot new parents. But I was the first of my close friends to have children. We now live in Boston and I am pregnant with my second – I will be 31 when this one is born. I think physically this is the ideal time to have children.


Jessica
April 21, 2016

I was 23 when our twin girls were born, they are 19 months now. Im def the youngest of all my mummy friends here in London, most are in their 40’s. For me, it was the perfect age to have the girls 🙂


Gemma
April 21, 2016

I am 32 and have been TRying to conceive for 3 years. We are about to embark on IVF treatment and are desperate to start our family. We are based in London but I am originally from Wales.
I have always been very maternal and dreamt of being a young mum, I guess times have changed and I met my husband when I was 27 we got married when I was 29 and it’s been a very long time coming starting our family. My mum was a very young mum so we were encouraged to live life and enjoy our freedom. My sister has two children and had her first aged 35. I love looking at your photos of your family and dream of having lots of children. I think as long as they are happy and healthy and you can give them all the love you can muster it doesn’t matter about age when starting a family and also sometimes we don’t have control over the timings of things. I hope we get our baby soon and I’m trying to embrace the lack of control and remain positive we will get what we desire.


Louise
April 27, 2016

I hope so too, Gemma. I have my fingers crossed for you. X


Helene
April 21, 2016

Not by choice I gave birth at 46 yrs of age. This followed many years of failed fertility treatments and painful losses. The day we said … enough we just aren’t meant to be parents … all our friends and family started to tell us watch now you will get pregnant. This was hugely stressful as we felt we had to miraculously comply! Unexpectedly we moved from London to Phoenix AZ (having lived in Paris, New York and London all my life I can honestly say Phoenix was NEVER on my places to live list!). We arrived in the desert expecting to hate it and be surrounded by idiots because you have to live in a major city to be wonderful no?! Ha – we loved it almost immediately. The healthy lifestyle, the beauty of the American southwest, the array of interesting people we met. And yes I did become pregnant and gave birth to my Arizoba baby 2 yrs ago at age 46. Arizona Mums are SO young and if I wasn’t so deliriously happy with motherhood I would be worrying about being the oldest Mom on the block!


April 22, 2016

That is such a lovely story! As a lot of people say: there is no right age! x


Sophie
April 21, 2016

Sometimes, it’s not the woman’s choice to wait until later! I live in London and am 33. All of my friends are now married and have recently had babies but it hasn’t happened for me yet as both long term boyfriends that I have had have not considered themselves to be ‘ready’ for children. Whereas women are now able to take control of their own careers and finances, they are still largely at the mercy of men (short of going it alone) in deciding when to have children. Some of us are career women by default, not through choice!


April 21, 2016

Hi, I am from Slovenia and I had my first child at 26 and second 28 .
I was the youngest mom I knew and the first of my friends to have a child, but the thing was, I never thought I would have children in my 20′ because of the need to make a carrer. I soon found out, that a carrer comes & goes, but family is what matters the most.
Now at 32, I would like to have one more, but the financial situation sadly doesn’t alowe it, at the moment, but we will see, I am stil young 🙂


Bridget
April 21, 2016

I have found the same thing! We’re in Harrogate in the north of England, here as well, many women wait until they are at least in their 30 to have their first. I’m American and 22 was the right age for our first, we had been together since I was 19 and married at 21. I was the youngest I’m my NCT class, baby gym, swimming lessons etc. It never really upset me too much, but after some rather hurtful comments I found myself so self concours about it! It surprises me how blunt some women find it acceptable to be about age! One women even asked me if it was an accident! We have three wonderful little ones now (and a dog!) and now the comments tend to be more in the range of ‘ah you’ve got your hands full!’ I wonder if women on the other end of the age spectrum get it the same?


Alaina
April 21, 2016

I am from Minnesota and had my first child at 25 and just had my third and final baby at age 30. (@Courtney, we named her Marlow Corrine! I have been following your journey and fell in love with your little ones personality as it reminded me of my 5 year old daughter, Elin. My middle child is a boy named Jonas.) Having my first child at 25 here in the Midwest felt fine…most of my friends that I grew up with have children similar ages to mine.


Kate
April 21, 2016

I live in Vermont and was 31 when I had my twins and 34 when I had my third child. Now sometimes I wish for a fourth baby, I don’t think there will ever be a time when I wouldn’t like another baby in my arms, but I am actually beginning to feel a bit old. It’s been harder to “bounce back” after the third baby and I feel pretty disorganized and spread thin… Courtney, you seem so accomplished and graceful with four, meanwhile I feel like a bit of a wreck!
In short, my maternal age is pretty common in Vermont. Interestingly, my husband is 6.5 years younger and he still gets a lot of attention for being 29 with three children! In a way, I think I’ve taken on more of the childcare responsibilities because of his youth. I’m grateful to him for getting started “early.”


Charlotte
April 21, 2016

I am from Norfolk, UK and started very early at 19. Obviously this wasn’t planned but I wouldn’t change it for the world! I am now 31 and had my 4th baby in 2014 (no more now!) I am hoping to train as a midwife when he starts school. The only thing I feel I missed out on was travelling but hopefully we can do that very soon and take all the children to see the world too! A plus side of being young was that I didn’t find it too much of a shock having sleepless nights and not having a lot of me time..I have never known any different! I have Mummy friends of all ages and don’t feel like being young has affected that, although I have always been very conscious of how people expect a teen parent to be so with my first 2 I was more strict than I am with my younger 2.

I would say most people around this way have had their first by the time they are 32. I think the ideal age depends on your personal circumstances though, some people want to work higher up the ladder before they start a family, for some people it can take several years of trying or maybe you don’t find Mr Right until your late 30’s! From my own personal experience I can only say that my 4th pregnancy was by far the most tiring, but that could be down to having 3 more to think about not that I’m getting older!


Gina
April 21, 2016

This is really interesting. I’m from Barcelona, I’m 24 and I was born when my parents were 30 & 31 (and then 3 and a half years later they had my brother). Most of friends my age also have parents that are now in their mid 50, if not older, but their are considered young parents here in Spain, cause people is now starting a family at their late 30’s or later. The vast majority of people who is my age doesn’t have kids and they will probably won’t have them till their 30, cause we’re considered really young to start a family here (specially considering the poor financial status of all of us). It’s an interesting thing. I have a strong maternal instinct but I don’t really know if I want to have kids. I started following you when Marlow was a tiny baby and your family really melted (and still does) my heart and made me want to start my own, but I’m afraid of the world my child would have to live in… In the other hand, I would like to be a young mom like you were when you started your family cause I think it will be easier to deal with pregnancy and the care of little children (the energy I have when babysitting decreases every year!) and because my partner is really much older than me (he has a son my age) so we don’t have really that much time to decide, but as you can see, I’m a total mess…


Jill
April 21, 2016

I’m from Melbourne, Australia and like many other countries have a noticeable difference between city and regional areas for maternal age. In the city first babies are common for women 32-37 while it is younger in the country. This is mostly due to the cost of living and the investment women have made in the education and careers. Also travel is a big rite of passage for Aussies with most going on big trips or studying/working overseas in their 20s. I had my first baby at 35 and just gave birth to my second at 37.
Most families have 2-3 kids.


Leanne
April 21, 2016

I was 32, not through choice, we tried for 8 years and 3 IVF cycles before our little miracle was born in 2011! That said, as an older mum I feel a lot more patient now than if I’d have had had a baby in my 20s and I cherish the 10 years alone my husband and I had and I wouldn’t change that for the world as now our family is complete. Weight has been an issue though post baby, I’ve always been a healthy size 12 (I’m tall) and always been able to lose a few pounds easily before having my daughter, how on earth do you babyccino girls have so many babies and stay so slim! Can I request this for Tuesday Tips please!!!!


Katy
April 21, 2016

My first was born in London at 25. My second in Seattle at 26. My third in Seattle at 30. In both places I’ve felt very young compared to my peers. Many of my Seattle mom friends are 40+ now that our eldest are in school. It’s very strange. It is all relative. My mom had me at 32 in the 1980s and she always seemed much older than my friends’ parents. Times have changed. I like being on the young end of things and there was a huge physical difference between my first and last pregnancies (old body! Haha), though I did give up my career to stay at home and I’m not sure I’ll be able to gain that ground back. If I had waited another decade to have children, time out from my career would have been easier. I loved reading everyone’s answers.


Angela
April 21, 2016

I was 26 when I had my daughter in London. My husband and I were at least 10 years younger than every other parent in our NCT class and we found it really hard to bond with any of them. We kept getting comments like “you are only a baby yourself” and “the last thing I wanted to do on my 20s was to have babies”. Funny enough we were the couple who had been the longest together (we meet on holidays when we were 14, I moved to England at 18 to be with him at uni and got married just after graduating).
We have just moved out of London and I can already tell that most of the mums on our playgroups are much younger than in London, most of them are in their late 20s


Anna
April 21, 2016

I live in the USA and had just turned 31 when I had my first and 37 when I had my (probably!) last. Technically I read somewhere that the average age in the USA for first time mothers is 26 now, but where I live I don’t know anyone who had their first that young. Socioeconomic factors play into this, too – here I think if you are more educated and have more money, the average age to start a family is much older. In retrospect it might have been nice to start a family a few years earlier, but at the time we felt young even to start in a family at 30! Definitely where we live (near a major city) I’m on the average to young side for being a mother — but in some parts of the USA I’m sure I’d feel the opposite!


Leanne
April 21, 2016

Hello, I was 28 when I had my first child and I was living in the inner west of Sydney. I didn’t think this was old but I assumed most people were my age or even younger on average. I attended a mothers group in my area and found I was the youngest mum. The average age of the mothers was 35. This was 19 years ago now. I went on to have 2 other children by 31. The women in my mothers group were all professionals and had established careers. Interesting topic.


lily lawrence
April 21, 2016

I’m a marine biologist and I would have loved to have had children in my twenties but I was too busy establishing a career then and I had to wait to meet the right guy. It was a long hard climb to the top with a PhD and some privileged internships and jobs and conferences and lots and lots of travel and lots of time away at sea…. Even when I met the right man, we waited until I finished my PhD. In these highly competitive fields, second chances are hard to come by and it’s hard to stop and start. A lot of my Australian friends started early but I think being wealthy and not having to work and then not being passionate about a specific career helped. I’ve noticed too that sadly, a lot of them aren’t with the same man they had their first baby with. In California where we live by San Francisco, it’s a very competitive, career-orientated environment and all our friends which are mostly scientists, professors, surgeons… have waited to start families later. Most of us don’t have our families here (mine is Australia and my husband’s in Europe) and living is expensive and we don’t have much help. I think if you want a higher education and to make it into a competitive field, can’t afford to not work or can’t afford help… then it can be difficult to have children earlier in life no matter how one might otherwise choose.


Ley
April 21, 2016

I’ve had to stop reading articles/blogs/thoughts concerning this issue – and honestly, I was hesitant to read this post. I turned 28 a week ago and I have never felt so much pressure to start a family. I feel guilt and worry but I am also happy for the friends that have kids “early” that I can love on.


April 22, 2016

I don’t think there is a reason at all to feel guilty. So many of our friends are having children now in their 40’s and are super happy with this too. It is so much based on choice, chance and environment. xx


Julia Manickam
April 22, 2016

I was 26 and definitely the youngest in my Melbourne cohort. I had my fourth when I was 35 and felt the average age. Energy wise I am so glad I started earlier. I don’t think i would have had it in me to have four if I had started later. Also I am amazed how many people say they wished they’d started earlier as they didn’t realise how hard conceiving was.


Emily
April 22, 2016

I’m in Melbourne Australia. I had my first at 30, second at 32 and now pregnant with my third (and last!) at 34. I would say at 30 I was among the first wave of my friends having babies, but lots of friends had kids are the same time. In the inner north my mother’s group were all between 30-35. Many of my friends are having their first around 34 or 35. I think it’s most usual here to have 2 kids. A few friends plan on 3 and I only know one planning 4..

I found the Sydney comment interesting as would have expected the maternal age to be similar to Melbourne. Maybe all the Bondi Beach mamas just seem young?!


Joanne
April 22, 2016

I had my 1st child when I was 30 then my 2nd child at 32 with only 15 months between them. Four days after turning 47, I had our 3rd child. Our son Levi was a massive surprise and did take me most of the 9 months to come to terms with it. When you have a 17 and 15 year old, going back is huge. I love all three of my children and could not imagine life without them. Levi has brought so much joy into our lives – but I am extremely tired trying to keep up with him 🙂


Zoe
April 22, 2016

Wow Michael is 11 years older than you! You both look so young!

My mum had me at 32 and for some reason I thought that was quite old – but now I’m thinking maybe not, as it seems many people are commenting on here that they were around this same age to have their first child too. I have always thought mid to late 20s were the best time to have the first child, but obviously it takes a lot of time to find the right man, the right career and everything else to fall in place first! 30s seem ok now as well!

Very interesting!


Josephine
April 22, 2016

I had my first child at 32. I am now expecting my second child at 37. My husband has now decided he likes the idea of a big family and wants a third. I do sometimes wish we had started earlier as we could more easily have a bigger family and I would not be so physically tired. If I’d had a choice I would say mid to late 20’s would have been a better age to start. I married at 29, however I had dated my husband since we met at University when we were 17. I lived at home with my Mum until I was 25 working various casual jobs and focusing on lunch out with girlfriends and nightclubbing with my boyfriend and just enjoying life. We then decided to move to London, worked and lived in share houses with other international 20 something’s, continued a party lifestyle an enjoyed taking holidays in Europe. My then boyfriend always said he didn’t want to get married before he was 30, I think he was scared to settle down and have responsibilities and after living alone in our own flat for two years he proposed and we married as I said at 29.


Adriana
April 22, 2016

I’m from Colombia and had my first one at 25. I was exceptionally young compared to my friends, all of them started having babies after 32. the national average here is 27 years old, but that is because in rural areas they start really young.

We moved to London for a year when my daughter was 1. Being so young and looking hispanic, I had to hear London mums in playgroups and parks asking me repeatedly if I was Gabi’s babysitter!!!


Kirsten
April 22, 2016

I was 37 and 40 when my children were born. We didn’t expect that, though, since my first pregnancy was when I was 32. It was my four miscarriages that dictated when my children were born, not choice! It all worked out, though. Most of my friends were in their 30s also, when they had their first child. Beautiful photo, by the way!


Catherine
April 22, 2016

I was 25 when I had my first baby & at the time I didn’t feel particularly ‘young’ as a lot of my friends were having babies too. However, when my eldest started school I suddenly felt a young mum as most of the other mums were late thirties. My mum was 36 when she had me & I always considered this to be older as most of my friends parents were lots younger & seemed to have more energy than mine .. maybe this was one of the reasons I wanted to start a family in my twenties. Fortunately I was lucky enough to meet my husband when I was young & were just about financially able to support ourselves having a baby!
I’m now 30 & have just had my 3rd (& final!) baby – I don’t think age really matters at all … the only difference I noticed in my last pregnancy was it took more out of my body than 5 years earlier!


Janneke
April 22, 2016

Hey Courtney,
I am Janneke from Holland and i had my first child at 24 and my second at 27. Sometimes i think i was quite young but i learned a lot through the years and i am grateful for my family everyday. A lot of my friends are just starting to get a family soI love to read other moms stories how they handle some things and i try to use it in my own way.


Regina Michael
April 22, 2016

Hejhej. I think it’s always the right time to have a baby ;).

We are living in Switzerland and Marit our little girl arrived when I was 28. It’s really a average age, most people here get their children later…( with 34-36 years)

We decided to start before 30 because we wish to have 4 kids one day.


April 22, 2016

I live in Sydney and I was 29 when I had my first and just turned 32 when I had my second. I was one of the first out of my group of friends to have a baby.


Irene
April 23, 2016

I was 25 when I had my daughter, my husband is from USA and I am from Spain, I had see that people here have children younger than in Spain, my sister Is 12 years older than me but our kids only two years apart, I think is a choice but it also has to do with work, and finding the right person, I think I was lucky meeting my husband earlier in live. Everyone now ask when is the second one coming and I just can’t see to do it. Was it hard to make the decision of having a second child?


April 23, 2016

I live in Belgrade, Serbia and have a 6 year old boy who I had at 27 and a 3 year old girl that I had at 30. Only after 9 months of dating my now husband I got pregnant. We had talked about having kids and decided to give it a go. I just didn’t expect it to happen right away!☺☺I love our family so much, although I sometimes wish we had a little bit more time for just the two of us. The day we were on our way to the hospital to have our first I was commenting again how we are the first ones among our friends doing this and that we should be travelling etc. my amazing husband said to me:”We are doing something more important and bigger than anything else!” And I love him so much for that.


Bex
April 23, 2016

Great topic, Courtney. We are Brits but have lived in Sydney for a long time. I had just turned 35 when I had my first baby and felt maybe slightly older than other first time mothers but not a lot older. I do wonder if Bondi is a very particular case study and if the mums they look younger than they really are.. It’s so expensive to live in Sydney that I think a lot of people do wait to until they are in their 30s to start a family. I have a group of 8 close girlfriends who are all in their mid to late 30s and only three of us have children.


Isabella
April 23, 2016

I’m Brazilian and am only 20 years old. I do want to have my kids at a young age (before my 30’s) so I can keep up with them, and perhaps live long enough to see grandkids (and who knows, maybe great-grandkids). My mom had at the age of 32 by mistake (well not entirely, she knew what she was doing) and she’s turning 52 this year and never had any other kids.
However, I thought it would be nice to comment on Chloe and the beans. She’s only 23 years old and has 6 kids under 4! Her instagram is @chloeandbeans and the kids are adorable. She recently made a video answering a few questions and said they planned on having children at a young age.


April 24, 2016

As many of you already said it depends a lot on when you meet your partner. I met my husband in high school when I was 18 and we waited until I was 29 to have our first child, we then had jobs and a good place to live. We had our third when I was 38, that’s a common age for people to have their first here in Stockholm Sweden. But I think a lot of it has to do with finding Mr right, it seems to be harder in big cities.. Interesting topic!


April 24, 2016

I do think maybe the young mum thing is more of a London thing – I live in Yorkshire. I had my first at 24 and I’ve recently given birth to my third at 28. I would love another in a few years time too. We don’t live close to family but I have met an amazing group of mum friends that are all a very similar age to me. My eldest hasn’t started school yet so I’m interested to see what it is like then. I met my husband at 19 and we married at 22. I always wanted my family young so I can enjoy the maximum amount of time with them, and increase the wonderful things we could do together. Thankfully I met the right person to do that with and I couldn’t be more thankful xx


Anna
April 24, 2016

Interesting reading this – I’m from Sydney and have just returned to live there after 10 years living in Canada and Denmark. I’d have to disagree with you Courtney it may be the lifestyle and the vitamin D but most Aussie first time Mums would be around the 30 mark. I was a first among my friends at 26, most people were newly wed or still single and now having my third at 34 I’m enjoying sharing in my pregnancy with lots of first time Mums. In Canada and Denmark it really varied – I felt in Denmark a lot of girls had babies young due to the government benefits – they’d often interrupt universiry study to have a baby whereas I felt in Canada and Australia that’s more unheard of. It’s all so different and it really depends on when you and your partner are ready and when you’re blessed with a healthy pregnancy. I’m so thankful for starting young but it has meant a lot less money and me choosing family over career for us – but everyone is different and we are happy with our choice!


Emma
April 28, 2016

I’m from Melbourne and just had my first baby last year at 29. I’d say late twenties and thirties is most common in my circle. I wish I’d been able to start a family earlier, my mum had four kids by the age of 28!!


Lindsay
April 28, 2016

Had my first in San Francisco at 28 and felt very young compared to the other moms there. Had my 2nd at 32 in Rhode Island and again, I was a young mom there too. People asked if I was the nanny a few times but I do have a young looking face. Having my third in Seattle and I am 35 and feel just about average. I think maybe it has more to do with cities verses more rural areas?


Ellie
May 1, 2016

Really interesting and I love how women are internationally united by the this topic, regardless of their back story. ☺ I was 27 when I had my son and then 32 for my daughter. I’m just turning 34 and many of my friends don’t have children…


Ellie
May 1, 2016

Amd say they don’t feel ready yet. Like so many above I’m all for choice but several who left it later are now struggling with fertility issues and told me they regret waiting. It must be so hard for them now that they have made the massive decision to…


Ellie
May 1, 2016

Try for a baby and now perhaps they may not have one. For us it was the right time but we met at 20 and so had had a few years of enjoying time together before adding to our family. Good luck to anyone trying x


Jackie
May 2, 2016

A little late to the party with my comment. But I’m from Los Angeles I was married at 24 had my first at 25. By 31 I had 3 little ones. Most people I know my age were having their first when I was having my third.


Isadora g
May 2, 2016

L.A. Mom here, had my daughter at 28 and I agree that most of the moms at the shopup L.A. We’re young but it really depends on what part of L.A. You are from. Also most of the moms on Instagram who were aware of the shopup are young and social media savvy


Isadora g
May 2, 2016

Where I live, I am the youngest. Most of the moms in Bev Hills & Bel Air are in their mid to late 40’s. However where I grew up, girls start having babies in their early 20’s or even in their teens. Good topic!


Andrea R
May 3, 2016

It’s interesting what you experienced in Sydney. We live here as well but in a suburb with a majority of parents working in corporates and here I see exactly what you describe about London. When I am out with my kids (2+4), I feel very young, at 35.


Anne @Bella Materna
May 9, 2016

I started a brand designing maternity and nursing bras when I was 30, and ‘she’ still feels like my “oldest”. (Before ever giving birth to my own children.) My younger friends think 34 and 37 seem old to them, but similar factors of finding the right partner and relational dynamics play such a powerful role. In this light it is almost miraculous just how many babies happen! (businesses too!)


MelTown
May 9, 2016

I live in Texas, where traditionally people have their children somewhat young, but we call Houston home and here people seem to have their children much later. If you head to the suburbs many of the moms are in their 20s, but I live in the city and I’m the youngest of all my mom friends. I had my first baby at 28 and the second at 30 (and hopefully will have a third before I turn 34) and most of my kids’ friends’ moms are 5-10 years older. We actually weren’t planning on having children at 28, our daughter was a surprise on the precipice of me going to medical school (which I ended up forgoing), but that surprise ended up being great because 28 was a good age for me for a number of reasons. Obviously there isn’t one perfect age to have children and we were lucky to have the means to afford children in the city at our age, but for us 28 was great!


Rafaela
May 10, 2016

Hi, I’m writting you from Portugal, 36 over here and 2 little ones with 2 and 4, dreaming about the 3rd 🙂
Here is the same about having babies (too) late, indeed my country is one of the Europe’s oldest ones – very low wages and long working days, family faraway or still working… Hope to see this change very soon.


Poppy
May 11, 2016

I was 19 when I had my first child! I had just finished my Alevels and was at university!
Three years and 2 babies later I returned to university and got my nursing degree. One more child later I went back to university and now also have a midwifery degree!

I have 3 beautiful children at 28 years old and work as a midwife. I feel very blessed.
I’m also very aware that every time I mention I have children please are shocked, more so because I have 3! At my age. I find it insulting really when people say I look too young to have children….as I wouldn’t dream of telling a 40 year old mum she looks too old.

I come from a large family too and all I have ever wanted to be is a mother. But I’m super lucky I’m a mother and a midwife 😁
I managed to achieve all my dreams despite having my children “young”

M


stella
May 13, 2016

That’s such an interesting topic!
I’m 23 and I am with my partner since 2 year now. We graduated last year and are still trying to figure all the money-thing out 🙂
My mom had me when she was 38, and my boyfriend’s mom 36. Nor him or me have brother and sisters, so it’s just the two of us.
I feel kind of in a rush to start my family, I don’t know why, sometimes it just feels like you know you won’t every “feel” ready so why not now!
But my boyfriend needs more time, because to him we have to spend more time just the 2 of us and then start something. I get it, but I just know how time flies and you wake up missing out !

Well, my point is that I feel like if I wait the time my mother waited to have me, I will have my 1rt at 40 and my parents will be 80! It obviously would be their first grandchild, and that would be so sad to skip a whole generation!
I mean, my grandmothers had my parents in their early 20s, so when I was born they where 60s, just a great age to enjoy your grandchildrens I guess! I just keep in mind the fact that, at least where I come from, people would have their kids at 20! It has changed so much!

I feel it’s really really hard to catch the right time: when it is to late, when it is too soon? In France, all of the moms I know wait until 30-35, but it sounds forever to me, haha.

It was really nice to read you all! Starting a family is so important to me, and what you all said was really inspirational!

all my best,

S


Laura
May 18, 2016

I’m from England and had my first at 20. I’m now 30 have a 10, 6, 4 and 2 year old! My partner and I have been together since I was 18 (he was 22) I’ve always felt a young mum, even with my youngest I feel one of the youngest mums at groups.


Amy
June 2, 2016

I am originally from the US and had my first at 25. I felt as it was the perfect time and have never thought of myself as being a young mom until our move to London 4 yrs ago. I am now 36 and just had my third and do get looks and comments of how young I look when walking down the street with all three….makes me very uncomfortable.


Lauren
June 4, 2016

I’m from Johannesburg in South Africa and was 26 when I had my son. I am by far the youngest mom out of all of the moms at his play school. I don’t have any friends who are even close to having kids. In fact none of them are married and only a couple of them are living with partners. I definitely feel like a very young mom where I am.


Yanna
July 11, 2016

I have my son when I was 20.. my friends with babies was 21, 23… since then I have my second in 29.. now I’m 33 with two beautiful kids and master degree in water technology engineering..Now Im starting my PhD.. Kids never stoped me in anything they motivated me.. My mother have kids in 30s an 40s.. but I think that younger woman give birth the more energy she has.. but its my opinion.. lot of my high school friends are not even married yet.. Most important is to have a right man by your side.


Sara
October 16, 2016

I live in London and I had my irst baby when I was 39, my second when I was 41. So, I agree with you that in London women tent to start later. In my case I don’t feel old yet…maybe if I could go back I would probably start earlier, around 25-28.


Kate in London (originally from South Africa)
April 11, 2017

Very good topic. I have just turned 40 and I have a 2 year old. I was extremely career driven and in fact never wanted children.
I met my husband when I was 22 and we were happy just the two of us. When I hit 37 I started questioning my decision to never have kids. I felt bored of thinking only of myself/us. My husband had always wanted children but was equally happy not to have. He is turning 50 when our little girl turns 3 so I also had the biological clock ticking in my head.
We are old parents, but you would never guess my or my husbands age, we are lucky to have kept quite fit and young in ourselves. I do feel like an old mother though even in London with a lot of older mothers around. If I could write a letter to myself 15 years younger (who probably wouldn’t listen anyway) I would tell myself to have kids earlier.


Kiley Wilkinson
May 4, 2017

I know this post is a way back; but I thought it was interesting! I’m from the East Coast of North Carolina + had my first at 20, second at 21! It was a little overwhelming. Now they’re 6 + 4 and I miss the baby stage. I wonder how it would be having one in my thirties. 🙂


Shauna
February 12, 2019

I had just turned 26 when I had my first, u had 2 more before my 30th birthday, I always thought what I had by 30 would be me as i, in my head, thought that was old enough to be having children, but I had my 4th last year at 34. I live in Ireland. Anything goes these days, most comments I received were about my large age gap between #3&#4…


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