If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me, while I stood there with a belly full of baby, I could probably get a week’s worth of free coffee! It was mostly strangers I was being introduced to who were the culprits. ‘This is Jessie’ was always quickly followed by ‘She’s going to have a baby soon!’ (because the basketball I swallowed didn’t seem to give it away) and this then prompted the person I was meeting to look slightly confused or shocked and then I would countdown in my head 3…2….1…before ‘You look too young to have a baby?’ would come out their mouth. It was as if being a young mum scared other people.
When I fell pregnant with my first child, Jaxxi, I was 22. However, without sounding like a vain or conceited person, I do look younger than I am. (I think I still sounded vain?!). I can rarely buy booze without being asked for ID, an I’m almost 27 now. Yes, I know this is probably because they have to ask anyone who looks under 25, but I like to pretend I’m just so damn full of youth. So I understand I possibly scared them with how young I may have looked when I was 22?
Many of you who just read I was 22 when I fell pregnant, probably asked the same question I often heard after people stated I looked too young. They would ask ‘Was it planned?’. Now, I don’t blame you for thinking that. I often wonder this with ANY pregnancy that’s just been announced. And not because I think their pregnancy was an accident, I just love sharing in the joy of a ‘happy surprise’ or ‘longingly wanted gift’. Both bring a different tinge of joy. But I do show restraint by not verbalizing my thoughts because it’s none of my business (Unless you’re a close friend – it’s totally my business, as they all know!). When someone would state how young I looked to the level of TOO YOUNG to have a baby, and then follow it up with the intrusive question regarding how much planning we put into this creation of life, it was impossible to avoid feeling judged. (I’ll tell you if she was planned or not at the end)
Once a person had said the inevitable ‘you look too young’ comment, I just began responding by pointing at my belly and saying ‘Well it’s too late now!’ I’m not sure what they were trying to say? Or what they were hoping I would say in response? It certainly wasn’t intended as a compliment about how young I looked, I could hear the concern in their voice every time. Maybe they didn’t realize how strongly their judgement was coming across? Does seeing a young person cooking up a child make them automatically assume this young mother surely couldn’t have the initiative or life skills to MAKE this happen or even know what she is doing? Personally, I think if someone feels the need to ask out loud whether or not it was planned, it’s because they doubt it was.
These days, if you’re pregnant before you’re 25, you’re too young. If you aren’t knocked up at 25, people start asking ‘When are you going to have kids?’ and you begin hearing the impending TICK TOCK of your biological clock, while your knees get weak and your palms are sweaty (Mum’s Spaghetti..sorry, couldn’t resist!) as you visualize the social and financial freedom you’re used to slipping away with the thought of kids.
I want YOU to know that is unnecessary. Whatever age you are, whether it’s early 20’s or into your 30’s, please don’t feel the pressure to conceive or, alternatively, keep your legs together. You do you! Having kids is the biggest commitment anyone can make. So, my view (and this doesn’t need to mean anything to you if you don’t like it) is to determine the time you want to have kids by when you feel ready (although you will never fully be ready, that last little change doesn’t happen until they’re born). Do not let your age dictate it. Of course your age may play a role in your consideration, but don’t let the number be the deciding factor. Let your experiences and your feelings decide! If you feel you can financially, mentally and emotionally support a living being and WANT to, you’re good to go!
Don’t think I’m just speaking to the younger Mums. Ladies, if you want to establish your career, knock a chunk off your mortgage, travel or enjoy alone time with your partner or husband, then you go right ahead! On the flip side, it can be tough feeling pressure to pop a baby out. I haven’t fully experienced it, but I did get a thick layer of ‘So when is the next one?’ not long after Jaxxi was born. So I feel I have a little insight.
The timing of when (or not at all) to have kids is your choice. You’re the one who will be paying with your money, your body and your time.
If you see a woman about to have a baby, no matter her age, she doesn’t need questions about whether or not it was planned and she also doesn’t need any comments on her age. That lady needs a bloody high-fucking-five because she’s about to embark on a kick-ass adventure.
And for the record, Jaxxi was planned. We tried over a year for her (FIFO schedule made a mess of getting the timing right!) and when I finally got the Positive on the test, it was one of the best/scariest days of my life, which is probably why I felt the sting so much when someone asked if it was planned because they had no clue about the number of negative pregnancy tests I looked at and shed a little tear over.