Circle of Moms member Esther D.'s question, posted in the Debating Moms community, is one that circles through the culture periodically. What is the ideal age to have kids?
To me, any "versus" question (in this case young moms vs. older moms) is almost always a strange one, as "either/or" set-ups lend themselves to polarizing — when the truth is almost often more nuanced and multi-faceted.
Many anecdotal generalizations have been made about the virtues of being an older or a younger mother. Have you ever heard anyone say the following? "Have a baby when you're young and have lots of energy," or "Wait until you're older — you'll be so much smarter." In reality many of us don't choose precisely when in our lives we have babies.
I'd wanted a child since I got out of grad school at 24, and by my late twenties this desire had become a full-fledged elephant in the room. And I was even in a relationship — but my (much older) partner at the time was quite adamant that kids were not in the master plan. Because I was happy in other ways I put a lid on that desire, as best I could, and, as it turns out, for misguided reasons. It's never really a good idea to just give up something of such dear importance, but at the time I thought of it as a compromise for the greater good of the relationship. On the contrary, this turned out to be the issue that brought that partnership to its knees. Unfortunately, it took 15 years to unravel to the point that I could fully get out.
After I finally extricated myself and spent a couple of years on my own, I fell in love with someone I had known for a long time who'd never seemed like "relationship material." Flash forward to 2011: We've been together for six years, married for three — and we have a two-year-old son. And I am now 45.
I had Olin when I was about six weeks shy of my 43rd birthday. I should add that I don't feel or look particularly old, but 43 I was. And the number scared some people. Doctors stamped my chart with "advanced maternal age," and I got monitored a lot more frequently in late pregnancy. I didn't mind any of that. i had a completely symptom-free pregnancy — the most severe thing I experienced was a new aversion to fish. And I only gained about 20 pounds, so I didn't ever feel overwhelmed by my size. I was also extremely lucky with labor and delivery. We wanted a natural birth at the hospital, and that's exactly what we got. I was allowed, by some miracle, to push for six hours, something I was told most doctors don't sanction.
And now we have this gorgeous, non-stop two-year-old creature running around without a care. And yes, in case you're wondering, sometimes I am so bone-tired I can't keep up with him. Sometimes I wish I were 27 and limber enough to swing him around in circles over my head for as long as he likes. And sometimes I think that if I'd had even one more hour of sleep, my achey knees might hold up longer. And I know that when he graduates from high school I'll be 58...and I wonder what he'll think of that, really.
However, what trumps all these questions and and what-ifs is the reality that I am exceedingly happy. Giddy. Delirious. Thrilled that this boy is on earth and that he's mine — and completely cognizant that this would not have been possible at any earlier time in my life.
Am I smarter than I was when I was younger. Yes, but not as a mother. I learned everything about being a mother from my son, and so that knowledge did not magically accumulate in me all through my twenties and thirties. No, I am a new mom in every regard. And this, paradoxically, keeps me young.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.