Why I’ll Encourage My Daughter To Have Babies Sooner Than I Did

I’m 40 years older than my daughter, Viv.  As my mother helpfully pointed out, if Viv waits until she’s 40 to have kids like I did, then I’ll be 80 (eighty!) before I’m a grandma.  Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be in any rush to explain safe sex to my daughter.  Is being a teen mom so bad these days?  Seems like a one-way trip to MTV stardom.

I kid, I kid.  I want my daughter to have every possible choice when it comes to her body and her future, and I sincerely look forward to having detailed, embarrassing (for her, not me) talks about birds, bees and penises.  But if Viv were to ask my opinion about the right time to have children, well, here’s what I’d say:

Honey, don’t wait ’til you’re 40.   Mommy is tired.  So tired.  I wanted to show you a cartwheel in the park today but honestly I was afraid I’d break something.

Pregnancy, which is never a barrel of monkeys, was extra tough on your old mom.  At the outset, there was one scary screening test after another.  Thankfully, you were perfect, my darling, but if Mommy heard the phrase “advanced maternal age” one more time, she was going to stab someone.

The rest of your gestation was a greatest hits of older mommy pitfalls, from a shortened cervix (Why does it get shorter?  Osteoporosis?) to glucose intolerance.  Mommy did not like being pregnant while unable to get off the couch or eat carbs.  Grilled cheese deprivation sometimes caused me to say horrible things to Daddy, which I hope your beautiful face has made him forget.

Mommy’s skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be, so while it expanded easily to become your fetal studio apartment, it has yet to find its way home.  I recently asked my doctor when I could expect my stomach to return to normal.   “Do you really want to know?” she whispered, as if guarding a dark secret.  “Never.”

Viv, I hope that when you’re a teenager you will enjoy Mommy’s retro bikinis.  Someone should wear them again; they are very cute.

Since you were born, I think I’ve been up to the new mother task, other than being too farsighted to read the instructions on your toys.  I’m sorry about your bubble maker, but triple A batteries are ridiculously small.

Now that you’re a toddler, we’re hoping to give you a brother or sister, which is like a baby doll that cries and poops and will worship you for life if you don’t beat it up too often.   Except at Mommy’s age, there are no guarantees.  Honey, if I’d known how much I was going to love having you, I might have left myself enough time to produce a dozen kids.  We could still pull off a large family Octomom style, but frankly, at my age, I’d never be able to tell multiples apart.

Mommy didn’t mean to wait until 40, but that’s how long it took to meet Daddy.  I wouldn’t change a thing, because then I wouldn’t have you.  But if you’re lucky enough to meet a wonderful partner a little earlier in life, I’m hoping you’ll take a break from solving cold fusion, choreographing Cirque du Soleil or whatever you might be doing and have some kids.

Speaking of which, have I ever told you about the stork that brings babies?   Let’s talk.

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  1. Cathy
    Posted June 26, 2012 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    What a great post! So honest about the complexities that come with age. Where was this when I was 20?? Maybe thanks to MTV we’ll be grandmas sooner than our parents. They make motherhood look so glam between living with their parents and dodging jail for beating their baby daddies.

    • Amy
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Don’t they make it look awesome? Cover of the tabloids just for being a mom…why aren’t the paps following US around?

  2. Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    You are such an incredible writer. This just made me laugh and cry all in two minutes. I feel you, lady. I think all the time that, had we started younger, our kid might have a sibling. But for me, 35 was it. When I was 38 and we started talking about trying again, I threw out my hip… Just TALKING about it! I feel so blessed to have waited long enough to really know that we wanted a child, and I feel wiser because of the age. But yes, it’s a young person’s game. Not like chess. Chess is for old folks, like us. 😉

    • Amy
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      LOL yes those talks do not do a body good (and neither does all the procreative nookie-on-demand). I should take up chess.

  3. Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I am in love with the line “fetal studio apartment”. Fantastic post. I am now forwarding it to my sister.

    • Amy
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!

  4. Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I was 30 having my son, but I actually feel the same way. My husband and I are together since we were 18 and there are days I wonder why we didn’t have a child sooner. We just had this idea that it would be foolish to have kids too young – but I don’t think we realised that anything over 25 probably wasn’t too young!

    • Amy
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      That’s amazing you met your husband-to-be so young. I think it’s great that you had all that time to build a foundation before kids, and at least there’s still time to have more. But I know what you mean – some women are probably meant to be young moms.

  5. Posted July 1, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink


    How much does 40 in mom age translate to in dad age? (primary-parent dad as opposed to random uninvolved dad). Cuz I am way older than 40 now (thankfullly still in my 40s … barely … ) and I don’t have a baby yet! How much time have I got? An inquiring mind wants to know.

    Coach Mike

    • Amy
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Luckily for you, you’re an actual dude, so you’ve got at least until 50. Just be young enough to still coach soccer, or at least play catch. Do it, it’s worth it!!

  6. Posted July 20, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    Totally agree. I was 29 when my daughter was born and a big part of me wishes I could have met my husband and have her earlier. Yes 29 is considered normal, but having a child early/mid 20’s has so many more benefits with regards to body and grandchildren.

    • Amy
      Posted July 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Miri Moo (like that name!), you probably did things just right. Any younger and you might have felt like you missed out.

  7. Arik
    Posted October 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Here is a dirty secret about American motherhood in the 21st century regardless of age.
    “You are going to be criticized for picking the wrong age to be a mother regardless of your age.”

    I had so many female friends, co-workers, and family give birth from their twenties to their forties. All those ages had one criticism in common.
    “Lady you picked the wrong age to be a Mother! You will automatically be a bad parent for your child.”
    We in America refuse to accept that life is somewhat of a gambling game.

    • Posted October 20, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It’s true – we live in a time of excessive feedback – lots of it negative! And yes, the best is to go with the flow – there is no perfect plan. But for me, I think I genuinely thought I had more time than I did, and I still plan to be honest with my daughter about not waiting too too long if she wants a family. I think girls today are lucky they can freeze their eggs – that wasn’t available to me. It’s expensive but incredible insurance.