Should you have kids young or wait until you’re older? With the average age of first-time moms climbing, we thought that this was the perfect issue for BluntMoms. We put two of our writers head to head to debate this issue.
Our youngest writer mom, Christella, was 23 when her first son was born. Our not-youngest mom, Jenny, was 40 when her second son came along.
Who do you think had it easier, the chipper twenty-something or the feeble middle-aged broad?
Conception & Pregnancy
C: Being 23 when I had my first son, my pregnancy wasn’t exactly planned. While I knew I wanted to have kids young, getting pregnant nine months after meeting my boyfriend wasn’t exactly a relationship goal. It worked out for us, but telling my friends and family I was up-the-duff felt more like a confession than an announcement.
J: Oh, please girlfriend. At least you had fun sex. Old eggs meant I took my temperature and checked cervical mucous every day for months. When I finally had a goopy vagina, I had to drag my husband away from football. “Can’t we wait until half-time?” “Now! I have mucous.”
Labor and Delivery
J: At 40, labor and delivery was like open heart surgery. Every freaking nurse on the wing was monitoring something. I was high risk, first it was blood pressure, then the baby’s heart rate. An epidural? Roll that shit over so we can shove a needle in your back. Thanks to arthritis and a disintegrating spinal column it only took three fucking tries. By then, I was mainlining Pitocin ready to pull the damn baby out myself. Water birth? Midwife? Um, no. I needed a fleet of physicians, IVs galore, and six puke basins.
C: Well, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I was so LOW risk my first set of midwives didn’t believe me when I told them I was in labour! (Ha, silly girl! Back pain isn’t labour. Except WHEN IT IS!) The second time, my midwife expected a longer labour. My body had other plans. My son decided to crown while the midwife had her back turned. He’d show her! I got a never-ending streak of judgement. How I choose to shit out another human is my choice, mmmkay?
C: For me, having a newborn with little-to-no support, no money in the bank, and a partner who worked all the time felt like a jail sentence. I spent most days with another human pulling on my nipples. Older moms totally have the newborn days better; they’re smart enough to sleep when the baby sleeps and have more support from family and friends.
J: No. Having a newborn at 40 was like running a marathon at 90. I have never been so exhausted. I slept when the baby slept; I slept when the baby was awake. I strapped him into the bouncy seat and I freaking slept. All the time. As for support? Ha! Our family waited so long for a grandchild all they wanted was coo and visit. No, thank you. The laundry was piled up and I hadn’t eaten a real meal in weeks. For the love of God, couldn’t they just leave a lasagne on the porch?
J: I was the oldest mom of my friends, other preschool parents, and every single skinny playground bitch. I felt like a grandmother. Nobody got my pop culture references: “Robert Duvall? Never heard of him, oh he’s old, like George Clooney.” Uh, George Clooney is my age. Robert Duvall is geriatric. And forget playing with the kids. You might have played Mommy Ring-Around-The-Rosie, I’ll just do the falling down part. And I’ll stay down. With a back pillow.
C: I had my first son so young that most of my friends thought pregnancy was contagious, therefore keeping a safe quarantined distance most of the time. Once the baby came, I tried making mom friends only to find out they were really old, like 35! It’s kind of hard joining in on the conversations about infertility and RRSP’s when you get pregnant faster than you pee!
C: It must have been nice to afford daycare, groceries and your mortgage in the same week! Having kids young meant giving up things like savings accounts, opting instead for living paycheck to paycheck, of course, that meant paying for daycare so I could work in the first place.
J: No sympathy there, sweetheart. While I should have been saving for retirement, expenses grew every time I opened my wallet. A case of diapers $40, new car seats for every freaking stage of development $900, a 3 a.m. ER visit when the baby is burning with fever and barks like a seal? $600. It’s fine, I won’t retire, I’ll be dead soon anyway.
Youth vs. Maturity
J: There’s something wrong with a mom going to bed before her baby. At 6 p.m. My first thought upon waking was always: when can I sleep again? Old people like to sleep. Plus, my so-called maturity does not equal patience. Peri-menopause and toilet training do not mix. You do not want hot sweats and raging homicidal hormones while you’re wiping your child’s ass.
C: On the flip-side, having too much energy isn’t awesome either. No matter how hard I tried, some nights I couldn’t fall asleep until past midnight, leaving me exhausted and drained the next day. My internal clock just operated later, meaning I loved 2-am feedings, while early mornings felt like a bad hangover.
C: Being a young mom meant instead of getting societal support, I got judgment. It’s like people were waiting for me to fail. Having a baby young these days isn’t the norm anymore. I had to work twice as hard to prove I could be young and a good mom. Plus, my parents were young too. They were still working and couldn’t come watch little Johnny every time I wanted to go get fro-yo.
J: When you’re over 40 and should have your shit together, no one thinks “She’s going batshit crazy at home after a career of international travel and expense accounts.” And yes, I do need my kid in daycare twice a week. Don’t give me the side-eye because I’m not working outside the home. What do you think I do at home? Diaper blow outs don’t change themselves. You have to clean that shit up, and then wash your hands 695 times. I can still smell it.
J: At 40+ with a toddler and infant the last thing I wanted was sex. A ten pound watermelon was sucking on my boobs 24/7. Plus, older moms get fun things like prolapsed bladders and rectums. When a body part that belongs inside gets so stretched, bloop, it pops out. That’ll dampen your sex drive. Go ahead and cringe, be disgusted. I was. My husband’s big idea: “Just shove it back up there.” By the way, that doesn’t work, and I almost lost an elbow. It’s a cavern up there. Two surgeries; that worked.
C: At MY age the last thing I wanted to do after having a baby was have sex, especially since my track record consistently meant that sex = babies. Unfortunately the only thing more exhausting than a baby waking me up at midnight was my partner keeping me up past midnight, if you know what I mean. *wink*
C: With a partner working 90% of the time, it meant 112% of the domestic duties fell on me. The weekly cooking, cleaning and child rearing, all me, even though I had a career, too. Kind of tough to choose between clean floors or clean kids. (I usually went for the kids, depending on the condition of the floors.)
J: Again, I was ancient. I barely had enough energy to flush the toilet let alone clean it. It looked like a biology experiment. Slippers were perfect for ignoring the sticky, crumby floors. Plus, I let the environment go to shit. Global warming? My fault. Paper plates were my best friend. Take out, a close second. If it wasn’t delivered by a family member, a pimply teen in a beat up Hyundai or eaten straight out of a can (hey, cold soup is a thing), I didn’t eat.
J: When your kid starts college, you’ll still be younger than I am now. And then you get a life. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to stand on my own, without a cane or walker, at my kid’s wedding. If I’m really lucky, I won’t be wearing five layers of SPANX and an adult undergarment.
C: True, BUT… the only thing worse than becoming a Mom in your 40’s is becoming a GRANDMOTHER in your 40’s. You may be wearing diapers, but I’ll be changing them all over again.
Moderator here: so readers? What do you think? Who had it better? How about you?
Spring Chicken Mom: Christella Morris
Seasoned and well marinated Mom: Jenny Kanevsky