Getting Pregnant Young: The Great Debate

I always knew I would get pregnant young.

Ever since I was little, I wanted a big family. I was that girl that played house constantly, and grew up to be that teen that took on too many responsibilities. I don’t know why, but I have always loved taking care of people. I moved out with my boyfriend when I was 18 and we got our first pup soon after. I loved the responsibility of caring for a home, making sure everything was together for my boyfriend’s sake, and raising our fur-baby since he was 11 weeks old. Even now, four years later, I foster cats like it’s my day job. In addition to looking after our apartment and caring for our now three fur-babies, cats and kittens are in rotation in our home. I especially love the disabled, sick, or special needs ones, who require constant care, medical, and extra attention.

My point is, I love taking care of people. I like taking care of things. I would love to be that homemaker, who gets up in morning, feeds the baby, takes care of the home, and keeps everything organized. When I got a taste of independence, I knew I would carry on this love of caring for another being.

Now, I know having a baby is on a completely different level than sick cats and making dinner for your boyfriend- I get it. I have just always wanted to be able to run around with my child, to have the energy to be that playmate for all of my children. I wanted to be their main teacher during the infant and toddler stage, to encourage their development through play. I knew I would have a child before finishing college, before getting a stable job, and before buying a home. I know to some people, this sounds like blasphemy, but there are pro’s to this scenario. Now, I’m not advocating for teen pregnancy. If you are stable in your life with a partner you love and have been with for a good amount of time, why not explore that next stage of life? Without further ado, let’s explore some of the positives and negatives to having a child young, presumably in your early 20’s.

PROS:

The Energy

This is a big one for me. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and after going to school to be an early education teacher, I have learned the importance of development for infants and toddlers. I want to be that mom that is able to run around with my children, teach them things, and be aware that everything they do and touch impacts their development. I don’t want to be that mom that props my kid under one of those noisy play things on a mat on the floor and lets them go to town. I want to be conscientious of the fact that children learn through play, and I would love to be a big part of that!

Your Health

In your 20’s, you are in better shape and in better health than you would be in your 30’s or even 40’s. In all reality, your body is in its prime to grow a child. Child bearing and child birth are probably the hardest things on a person’s body, and if you factor in the health issues that can occur in mid-life, it only complicates things.

You’ll Be an Early Empty Nester

Having kids in your early 20’s means they will be up and off to college while you’re still in your forties or early fifties. This may not be such a great thing to some people, but I personally would love to be able to foster children and when my children move out, it opens up rooms and space for others in need to come in. That may not be your goal, but the point is, you can always plan for things to happen after your children move out. Whether it be converting their rooms to an art studio or just traveling more, you and your partner will have the freedom earlier in life to enjoy the things that are more difficult to enjoy while children still live at home.

Your Relationship Will Be Different

We have all had those classmates who have the really old dad, who’s retired and spends most of his time sitting in front of the television watching gameshows. Don’t get me wrong, those parents are probably great and incredibly nurturing, but don’t you want to play an active role in your child’s life? My mother was 26 when she had me and we have a great relationship. She’s at that age where she is still my strict, overbearing, loving mother, but also where she is young enough to be familiar with things like Facebook and social media. She’s a little too familiar, if you ask me, but I digress.

Your Fertile Window

This is an obvious one. When you’re younger, you have a longer fertile period. If you have a child young, you can always decide to try for another (and another, and another….) but as you get older, that window narrows. Lots of women get pregnant during their late 30’s and 40’s, but it is not nearly as easy as compared to conceiving in your 20’s.

A Shift in Life-Long Goals

Being so young, it can be hard to really sit down and contemplate what you want to do with your life. What you want to get a degree in, if you even want to attend college, and what you’ll do afterward. It’s a major shift from being a carefree teen with a part-time job to a full-time college student with a full-time job, paying real rent and real bills that you’ve acquired. Finding out you’re pregnant is like a kick in the butt. If you’re like me, you have a ton of goals that you would love to accomplish in the years to come, from regular hobbies to businesses and ways to make money. But, for whatever reason, you haven’t yet put them into play. You know how to go about it, but actually sitting down and starting something is a challenge. When there is someone else depending on you for financial support, you are more motivated to start that side hustle you’ve been thinking about for years now. You know you are no longer the important one, because he or she is growing in your belly.

CONS:

Finances, Enough Said

Generally, in your early 20’s, you haven’t really gotten that good paying job you’re hoping for. Heck, you’re probably still in college! Having a child before you’ve really gotten your feet career-wise can really prolong the journey to a lucrative position. Also, it can make taking college classes more difficult, and you’ll most likely spend more time in college to get a degree. Not to say you will be “poor”, but there are good chances that you and your partner will struggle financially for quite some time.

The Lack of Freedom

This one isn’t actually a con for me, but I can see how it would be for most (probably all) people my age. I am such a homebody, that I’m not concerned with social events, going to the bar, etc. Most of my weekends are spent at home, snuggling with my boyfriend and house-full of furbabies on the couch. But, most people I know that are around my age are concerned with going out, shopping, and spending time and money on themselves. This sudden change can be a bit of a shock. Now, you’ll have to cut down on bar runs and find someone to watch your baby if you do want to go out.

Unplanned Pregnancies

A lot of pregnancies that occur this young are unplanned. It can be a very scary time for both mothers and fathers, and everyone else involved. If you really didn’t anticipate conceiving that little thing that is going to change your life forever, it is like stabbing a hook into your life. You didn’t have a chance to mentally, physically, or financially prepare yourself. If the unplanned pregnancy occurred with a person who is not necessarily the love of your life/your future husband, you may end up as a single parent. This is scary, but not the end of the world.

How do you feel about young pregnancies? Have you been a young parent, or are you expecting right now?

 

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