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Age of a Mother

Young and Naive or Older and Wiser?

In this month's Glamour, Naomi Watts dishes on the pros and cons of being an "older" mother.

In the article, the 39–year–old actress talks about giving six–month–old Alexander (aka Sasha) a sibling down the road.

When asked about waiting until later in life to start her family, Naomi said:

"Well, for one thing, picking him up off of the ground 20 times is different when you hear your knees cracking! From an intellectual point of view, you’ve had a lot of time to do research and figure out how you want to raise him."

The mama also pointed out the advantages of early motherhood. She said:

"But there is also something to be said about having a child in your early twenties, when you’re just operating on instinct."

If you had it your way would you choose to be a younger or older mum?


jen23 jen23 8 years
I am 26 and have a 6 yr old son and 3 1/2 yr old daughter. I absolutley love being a young mom b/c when they hit their teens I will still be young enough to enjoy and do things with them:) I remain active, whether it's walking or going to the gym and I know I will still be more than ever ready to enjoy their teen years:)
bibliophile bibliophile 9 years
I don't understand when people say they want to have children early to "get it out of the way". Wouldn't you relish such a rewarding, yet challenging experience and embark on it when you feel you are able to provide what's best for the child and not feel hurried to get it over with? Besides, I think one can be plenty active in their 40's, 50's, and beyond, after the children have grown. I might move at a slightly slower pace, but I wouldn't stop doing the things I love to do!
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I've done both. Baby at 26 and now one at 35 (gasp, macgirl is an old lady ;-) ) It seems so much harder this time around. I feel like I sold my new husband a bill of goods- "oh, Dylan was such a piece of cake, babies are easy". I have had some minor challenges that I didn't have the first time around- jaundice, thrush, and reflux. This has meant at home phototherapy, medication and playing around with how he is fed, how often, and what he is fed-all that work pumping breast milk that he can't keep down in his tummy. I think the sleep deprivation was much harder this time around. Oh and for the aches and pains I did something to my knee after I had him and now I can't kneel down on my left knee without sending a shooting burning pain up my leg. I also worry that I will look like his grandma when I'm 40 and taking him to kindergarten ;-) I don't feel like I'm any more prepared or calm at 35. With there being 9 years between the two, it might as well have been my first as I have forgotten everything from the last time. The one thing I do have going for me this time around is being in a much better relationship. I was married young and so much changes by the time you get to your 30's (not for everyone, of course). I'm in a relationship that is good for me, not one that I got into because we had been dating for 6 years and marriage seemed like the next step. I really feel like it can work out for both young and older. Really depends on the person.
kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
some of the problems people have said and listed here sound so difficult. i hate when people say that marrying at 22-24 is too young. my neighbor told me that it was (she is a second mother to me) and i had to disagree. i don't have many close girl friends in college, and those i do mostly have seroius boyfriends. and i would love to get married soon after college, my boyfriend and i have aspirations to, and we both want children as soon as we get enough money. i don't want to wait simply because i want it to be easier to lose my baby weight, play with my children, and what not. plus, i can't wait. i love children.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
McPro have you ever read the book The Maker's Diet? I believe the author (doctor) had Crohns disease but turned out fine. Not that you're soliciting advice... but good luck with the baby!!
mcpro26 mcpro26 9 years
I am 24 and getting married in April and plan on getting pregnant that night because I have Crohns disease and I will have a high risk pregnancy which I would rather do now then when I am older plus my soon to be husband is 39 so I feel that we need to have a child now before he gets older and risk for problems with the baby grows. The Autism rate grows after a man turns 40. He has never been married and does not have any children and he questions if he is to old but I know that it truly is now or probably never.
alllacedup alllacedup 9 years
I cannot wait to be a mom. I would love to be a young mom. I think having kids earlier gives you longer to do things with them. For example, my grandparents were fairly young when they had my dad and he and my dad were able to do a lot of stuff together, like go camping and fishing. Meanwhile, my friend's dad was 54 when his son was born. They never had any of those memories together. That's why I want to be a young parent- more time to enjoy.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
licketysplit, when my son was 15 months he developed a disability and it became severe. I was only 21 yrs old and had another child that was almost 3. Luckily I had my family and their support AND insurance. I had also just gotten divorced. Know what??? I lived, my kids lived, it was tough, sometimes I didn't know if I would make it but we did. You never know what you can handle until you are faced with it and when it comes to your child you go on instinct and you just DO IT! There is no doing well or doing ok. You just do it. You do everything and anything to get what your child needs. I am sure you would have done just fine. If I could do it...heck...anybody could!
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
personal choice, but consider this. our first child was born fine but when i was pregnant with #3 our first developed a disability. if i had been in my early 20's and had my life change the way it did i don't think i would have done very well. also wouldn't have been able to afford all the therapies and treatments i wanted for her. in a perfect world we all have our babies when we are young and healthy and they are healthy. but it isn't a perfect world so we just do the best we can.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
I think it is a personal choice. We had our daughter at 30 and are ready for number 2 soon. It was just what is right for us.
gossipqueen7 gossipqueen7 9 years
phatE ur right 21-23 isnt the average age that women are having babies, but thats not what i said ...i said that my doctor said its the best age to have children biologically speaking ...ur body is stronger and able to bounce back more quickly
phatE phatE 9 years
older.. i would like to finish school and live a little with my husband before adding kids into the picture.. and to whomever said age 21-23 is the "prime" it sure isn't the average age.. a majority of women are waiting..
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I am 22 and my daughter is 2, my son is 1. This is perfect timing for my husband and I. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I can't wait to be pregnant again. I love having the energy to play with them, and I love knowing that when they all grow up and move out (God willing) my husband and I can sit back, relax, and enjoy the silence... but still have the energy to go play golf together and ride roller coasters with my grandkids. But I know I'm pretty much the exception. Case in point, only one of my friends from school has a baby... everyone else is away at college wasted.
Neural Neural 9 years
I had just turned 29 when I got pregnant. I'm 31 now and I'm hoping for another soon!
cbgmick cbgmick 9 years
I concur -- this is clearly a personal choice and that there are many considerations one must make at any age. Hey, there are tradeoffs with any decision (not just in regards to having children!!) and being younger or older doesn't necessarily mean that one is "more ready" to parent (although clearly biology tells us not to wait TOO long and the younger you are, the better your chances for a healthy viable pregnancy). With that said, having kids in my 30s was clearly the right thing for me and my family. We weren't ready in our early / mid 20s. Plus, after completing graduate school and doctorate I was able to devote time to establishing my career. That way, when I did have kids I was able to take lots of time off (18 mo. full time SAHM w/ my first) and then have more part-time options that were both fulfilling and lucrative when we were ready for me to start working. Striking this balance was important to us and we wouldn't have been able to do so while I was in my 20s, so it was clearly the right thing for us to do!!
Hootie Hootie 9 years
I had my son when I was 22. Now that I'm 32 and would love to do it again! I loved having him at 22. I think doing it again now would also be amazing. More patience and less stress this time around!
michelleannette michelleannette 9 years
personally i would like to have kids at a younger ago. i'm 25 now and see myself getting pregnant in the next four years or so. i believe if you are healthy, mature enough and financially responsible you are ready to have a baby. and don't get me wrong, just because you are not ready doesn't mean you can't succeed at it. i just think that it would be a lot more fun if you didn't have to worry about finances.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
everyone is different. I mean, I was 19 and 21 when I had my first 2 kids and I did just fine. I don't feel like I missed out on anything. I think I was just meant to be a mom. I enjoy every minute of it and I didn't really want a career. I wanted to be a wife and mother most of all. Now, I am 38 and we are doing IVF soon so we can have one more. I think the only difference in it this time will probably be I have a lot more patience. It all depends on the person and their individual circumstances.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Ive always liked the idea of having a kid when you are younger so that once they are out of the house you can still be active. My mom had me at 26 and now that Im out of the house she can really enjoy her 40s without having to raise a kid. Although she is not liking the idea of being a younger grandmother ;) (my brother is having a kid)
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
pjtach, I agree! I think it completely has to do with personal maturity. :) And I may only be 20, but I do think that if I were to get pregnant right now I am mature enough to take care of the child.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I am currently 20 (almost 21-in march) and have been dating my guy for 5 years. We plan on getting married in about 2 years or so. We should be done with school by then and working. After that I want to start having our kids. I would love to have one right now, but we can't b/c of school, no $$, and we just aren't ready for one. We want two. And I want to have them before we are 30. Maybe have the second right when we turn 30, but not after. I really think that 20-30 is the best time to have kids. Oh and I don't necessarily think that younger = naive! Believe me I know what goes into taking care of a child. I may have never raised a kid myself, but I do have a younger sister and 2 nephews and I have worked at daycares. I also currently babysit a 4 month old and have babysit him since he was about 3 weeks. I know it will be different when I have one of mine own, taking care of him/her all the time, but I am not naive.
pjtach pjtach 9 years
i have friends in their thirties that do that...gosssipqueen. i don't think it's about age, but personal maturity. i think younger or older depends on each individual. i had a discussion with a woman the other day about something similar...she said, "you are never really ready for children. there is nothing you can do to prepare for it. we decided to have my son, and once he was born i was walloped with the reality of it." i said..."interesting, i found that i was completely ready. my first son was surprise and much to my own happiness i found i knew everything i needed to know and had everything i needed (and i'm not talking about high chairs ors onesies here) without even trying." i think it is about the individual. i was 26 when i became pregnant with my first son...
gossipqueen7 gossipqueen7 9 years
i definitely dont pawn off my daughter ...i hate to be separated from her for more than a few hours but my cousin who got pregnant when she was 20 pawns off her daughter every weekend to get wasted. friday night she gives her up and doesnt get her back until sunday which i find disgusting
sundrops sundrops 9 years
Oh, elipsery, solidifies my point. While I don't pawn my kids off I often feel like I don't want to be settled and definitely don't have the wisdom that can only be gleaned thru time, as ellipsery so wisely put.
sundrops sundrops 9 years
I'm 26 with a 6 year old and an 8 year old. It will be nice to be younger when they are older. Unfortunately they have to live through US growing up, as a couple, and as individuals and they bear the brunt of it. What I wouldn't trade to be having them right now or in a few years, when I have a small glimpse of who I am, instead of as young as I did.
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