Why There Is No Perfect Age To Become A Mother!
“I distinctly remember the first time a stranger thought it would be acceptable to comment on my age as a mother. I was six months pregnant at the time with my first baby, and I happened to be 19 years of age. A woman in my class, also pregnant, asked me point-blank if I knew who the father was. After I got over the initial shock of what I’d just heard, I answered her with, “Yeah I do. He’s also my husband.”
This is how 30 year old mum of four, Jessica Offer started her essay about her experiences as a young mum. She wrote about the prejudices she faced when she was a teenager with a baby and the looks of judgement directed her way- particularly from other mums.
Offer went on to say that if she were the one commenting on ‘older mums’ she would get shot down in a second.
“But here’s the thing: I know for a fact that if I rocked up to some random woman who appeared to be middle-aged and said, “Aren’t you a bit old to be a Mum?” I’d get completely flamed; I’d be met with disgust.
With that in mind: why is it okay for people to comment on younger mothers, but completely not okay to do it to older ones?”
Is this true? Do we look down on young mothers for having kids in their teens or early twenties? Do we celebrate when older mothers have babies yet shake our heads when young mums do?
I spoke to a girlfriend of mine recently who is now in her early thirties and had her first child at 21. Although she was with her fiance at the time she says that didn’t stop people from asking her if “she knew who the father was.” When she was referred to a mum’s group the maternal health care nurse advised her to join the young mother’s one as well as the general one. So she did. Unfortunately she felt out of place in both. Too mature for the young mummies yet not quite established enough for the older mums. She found herself being judged for not having her own home, a successful career or just being so young.
The older mums somehow assumed she didn’t know what she was doing because of her age. Now with two school age kids my friend has just had her third and feels she has finally found her place. While new mums who meet her aren’t surprised by the fact she has a new- born they do start doing the maths in their head when she mentions she also has two school age boys.
Do we do this with mums in their 40’s? Do we quickly work out how old they’ll be when their kids are in high school? Is there judgement because they’re of a certain age or do we just assume it’s okay because they’ll know what they’re doing?
Another young mum, Mariah Jager was supermarket shopping one day with her five-month-old son when she was shamed by a complete stranger.
“I overheard one woman say to another that they ‘bet any money that teen mum stole all that expensive stuff for her baby’!” the 23-year-old NSW mum said.
“Holy Moly I am astounded by the nasty things people can say about another human!” the single-mum-of-one said in horror.
“Righto then – I guess working three jobs while pregnant seven days a week isn’t possible for a teen/young mum so she can buy her children nice things. These things aren’t even that nice – my pram was $50 for crying out loud!”
Are you a young mum? Do you feel others judge you simply because of your age?