I got married at age 21, had my first baby when I was nearly 23, and my second at age 25. It’s not a timetable that I’d necessarily recommend. Because we had our kids young and were also committed to having me stay at home to raise them, we were also strapped financially–living on one income in fairly expensive region of the country.
Most of my same-age colleagues are now in the early years of childrearing. Their kids are babies, toddlers, and in preschool. My kids are teenagers and have a good amount of independence. I was chatting with one of these friends recently and she was telling me how smart I was to have my kids so young. Because she’s in the position of wanting another baby, but realizing that because she’s in her forties it’s just not worth the health risks for her to get pregnant again.
There are pros and cons to starting a family young–I am well aware of research studies that show that children of young parents don’t do as well in school, that divorces are more likely for young marriages, etc. There’s also a twinge of jealousy that I have when I see my friends’ carefree 20s–John & I had to “grow up” very young to take on the responsibilities of parenting (John especially bore the burden of having to work full-time to be the ‘provider’ for our young family).
Knowing what I know now, I think I would probably have waited a few years between my wedding and the birth of my son. But at the same time, it seems like it’s all worked out just fine anyways.
Picture above is of my cool kids in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, taken about 4 years ago. One of our biggest joys as a family is traveling together–and we’ve learned how to do so somewhat economically (backpacking through Europe or wherever else we are able to go).