My friends and I used to joke about how young our mums were when they had us. One of my best friends was born when her mother was only 17. Mine had just turned 21 when she had me.
We used gawp at how bizarre that was. 17 and pregnant — wasn’t that only reserved for MTV? We couldn’t quite understand what life would be like, and how much of life you’d lose, by having a baby so young.
We would make resolutions not to get pregnant until we had our shit sorted. 21 was supposed to be about partying and travel, not changing nappies and doing washing all the time.
We could sympathise, of course, because not all teenage or ‘young’ pregnancies are planned. Some girls simply have no choice. But we didn’t want to be those girls – we were determined to have control and keep our lives our own.
As we got older and reached those milestones – 18 and 21 – we quietly cheered about how we’d stuck to our promises. We’d remained child free, albeit making plenty of other mistakes along the way, but keeping our word nonetheless.
Whilst we partied and slept in and studied not quite hard enough, classmates of ours had children. These young girls, with their whole lives ahead of them, made chubby little babies and became chained to their hometowns.
We felt sorry for them. We hoped they were happy, but were also relieved not to be in their shoes. Didn’t they have plans and goals for their future? How were they supposed to grow up and find themselves with a demanding toddler on their hip?
And then came the weird trend online where it was cool to be a young mum. Maybe the Kardashians are to blame, or that handful of influencers who make it look ridiculously more glamourous than it is.
Either way, it gave us chills. We still weren’t ready, no matter how adorable matching outfits are.
But it also made me wonder – what would my life be life if I had a baby 5 years ago?
Would I be glad to get it over with so early, and to be energetic during those first few years? Or would I resent the kid for putting all my dreams on hold? Would I still be with its father? Would I be married by now? Would I own a house and tick all the boxes?
The rabbit hole runs deep. It’s suprisingly easy to spiral into oblivion when you throw a baby into the mix.
24 used to be considered old to be unmarried and childless, which quite honestly, scares the shit out of me. There’s still so much I want to accomplish before I even dream of starting a family. Travel. Business. Writing. Saving money. Enjoying my relationship. Getting to know my true self.
At this stage in my life, babies aren’t for me. I hope to venture down that path one day but for now I’m happy with it just being me and my boyfriend and our cats and our plants.
In the meantime, I’ve perfected a remedy for the rare moments when I’m feeling scarily clucky:
Take two brothers (aged 2 and 12), add one sleepover, subtract 5 hours of sleep and voila! The 5am wake up alone smacks the thought right outta me.