My mother had me when she was 18. Quite acceptable at the time in Uruguay. I do recall liking that my mother wasn't old, when I was around 10-12 I think. Although I can't recall why I liked it. Perhaps it was no more than she putting it into my head how lucky I was. I have no idea.
Unfortunately, although I come from a family that values age - as the place of wisdom - I grew up away from my extended family and in the midst of this Western society that values youth.
Will my daughter see an old woman as her mother? Will she be embarrassed?
It is quite common these days for toddlers to be followed around by 40+ mothers. And our friends here are all close in age and have toddlers. So certainly here it isn't an issue.
I have no problem with age. None. I'm embracing reaching 40 soon. I value old age. So it's not a personal problem, being an older mother. Not philosophically.
However, physically, I feel the strain. I remember going to university, having a bite to eat and rushing off to one of my jobs, working until 2am, then heading off for a drink and a dance. Then doing it all over again the next day.
Now, changing the 8th diaper, preparing the upteenth snack, playing with toy animals, pressing play on the DVD, and reading the nth book of the day, does me in. Throw in a walk and I need to lie down!
Okay, perhaps not so bad, but close. I know a lot has to do with lack of sleep, but I also know the rest is my aging body. Will my girl, who has an amazing reservoir of energy, notice her mother's deficiencies?
Mother and daughter... at what cost?
I can't imagine having had a child at 20, or 25, or even 30. My world was not child-friendly then. The person that I am today has ripened over decades. And I know that whilst I can't give my child the gift of spriteliness, I do give her the gift of maturity.
Also, there's the effect on ourselves. Having children when young means they're out of our homes and meeting their own independent lives before we've turned 45. Woohoo, so much time and space to go off traveling, or whatever catches our fancy.
Having them when we're older means we've tasted the wildness offered by life that only youth can get away with. I've danced on tabletops and well.... we'll leave those secrets shall we.... But when I'm 50, my girl will be only 12!
And don't get me wrong, I do plan on being a wild woman for many years, but realise my limitations. Tabletop dancing now will likely incur a trip to the hospital. And tabletop dancing at my child's birthday parties is one I think I'll omit. Although if the Sangria comes out I can't promise anything.
ahem... where was I?
Being pregnant at 37 was a strain on my body. Then there's all the scares and tests that mother's under 35 aren't troubled with. Add to that risks attributed to older fathers.
It's pointless debating which is preferrable, as I don't think there is such a thing, despite what some claim. But it is a personal preference. Perhaps we wish we had children earlier and were able to share youthful exuberance with our kids. Or we worry about looking old. Or perhaps we've had them young and now realise that some years tucked under our belts would have helped. Does having kids later keep you feeling younger?
Do you worry about your age as a mother? Does it freak you out thinking you might be mistaken for the grandmother? If you became a mother after 35, did you have medical concerns? What do you love about being an older mother? And, only fancifully, if you had a magic wand, would you have done it differently?