In 1959, at age 20, my grandma got married and gave birth to my mum one year later. Shortly after, my other grandma, at the ripe old age of 34, gave birth to my dad and, believe it or not, was placed in a special ward for ‘more senior first-time-mothers’.
But times have changed somewhat since then…
In 2015, reports showed that more babies are now born to mothers aged 30-34 than any other age range and that the conception rates for women aged between 35 and 39 have almost doubled since 1990.
There’s a multitude of reasons for this, not least that women now have careers of their own that they are loathed to put on the back burner too early in life. And as a not-so-quiet feminist and mild-activist for working parents, this is music to my ears.
However, this does mean that being a ‘younger mum’ (ie, under 30) is increasingly going ‘out of fashion’. And as with every dying trend, there is a a darker side to the conversation.
For many, it’s assumed that if you’re a mum in your twenties or your teens, there’s no possible way it’s by choice and, clearly, there was an ‘oops moment’ somewhere along the way.
For some of us (myself included) that is indeed the case. But that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily uneducated or incapable. My ‘oops moment’ came at 24 with my boyfriend of four and half years after a condom and the morning after pill let us down (I know, either really bad luck or some really determined little swimmers!). But for many, starting a family before they turn thirty is planned, organised and eagerly awaited.
As the ‘younger parent’ becomes less the norm, there is the concern that judgement will only increase. It can already sometimes feel like we’re not supposed to share our experiences – ‘you have youth on your side, how difficult can pregnancy be?’ for example – and the stereotypes attached to ‘young(er) parents’ can be stifling.
This Round-up (live the second Saturday of each month) is here to shatter the stereotypes of ‘younger parents,’ to show that while we may be a ‘dying breed,’ we are fierce. As your Round-up host, I intend to discuss the topics close to our hearts, the issues we face and above all, to champion the under 30s parent blogger community, whatever that may mean to you and your writing.
So this first edition of the Under 30 Parents Round-up is to show how diverse the under 30 parenting crowd really is. The stereotypes represent only a tiny fraction of our community. From 19-year-old stay at home mums to 29-year-old single mums; form those dealing with unexpected pregnancies to those powering through IVF and family planning; gay, straight, mum or dad – there is no one-size-fits-all description of an Under 30 parent.
Below is just a snapshot of the variety of under 30 parent bloggers out there. But whether you’re a blogger or not, do join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag, #ParentsUnder30 and let us know your story.
Louise (Squished Blueberries) is 28, married with three under 5s. She always planned to have children younger but as she creeps closer to the big 3-0, she finds herself wondering, “Am I done having babies?”. I guess time will tell…
Beth (Life As Mum), now 23 and expecting her third little bundle of joy, recently wrote an incredibly raw, honest and inspirational post about her experience as a new, single mum and just 16-years-old.
Kirsty and Amber (Goblin Child) are 27 year-old Londoners with twin boys and are expecting twin girls this summer. As a two-mum family, both sets of twins were conceived via IVF with donated sperm and in this post, Amber writes frankly about their ‘DIY route’ and the hurdles they faced not being married at the time of conception.
Grace (Dear Freya) is a 19-year-old SAHM of one. In this post, she explains why she isn’t “anti-equality/anti-feminism” for deciding to stay home to raise her daughter and instead feels as though she’s answering her life’s calling.
Hannah (Budding Smiles), 29 and married has just last week given birth to her child and recently wrote about the difference between pregnancy one and two, showing very clearly that just because you have youth on your side, doesn’t mean pregnancy is plain sailing.
Maddy (The Speed Bump), 21, engaged to the father of her little Speed Bump, recently graduated with a first from University ‘despite the odds’. She’s actually written a book – yes, that’s right, because apparently she wasn’t busy enough! – about what to expect when you’re (unexpectantly) expecting.
And that leaves me, Amie (Finding Our Feet), 27, living happily (most of the time!) in sin with my boyfriend and our strong willed two-year-old daughter. I recently wrote about how sometimes being the only twenty-somthings you know with kids can get you down.
Thank you to everyone who submitted posts this month. Whether you’re a veteran blogger or new to the scene, please send your posts through to Amie (@findingourfeet) each month via Twitter and join in the conversation using the hashtag, #ParentsUnder30.
(So far, no blogging under 30 dads have come forward – if you’re out there, give us a shout!)