Getting pregnant in your teens and 20s was once considered the norm, these days folks are putting off parenthood until later. Many first-time mommas don’t start reproducing until their mid-to-late 30s, and it’s not rare to see pregnant people in their 40s. I never imagined myself having kids and, even when I did, I assumed I wouldn’t start until I was at least 35. Instead, life threw me a few curveballs and I started reproducing in my late 20s. I gotta say, there are a few things I wish I’d known before getting pregnant in my 20s.
I’m 32 now, and I haven’t had any babies since turning 30. Therefore, I can’t fully claim to know the difference between pregnancy and childbirth in my 20s vs 30s. However, I will say this: I know that if I were to be pregnant again (and now at this age), I would definitely have even less energy than I did before. In retrospect, I sometimes wonder how much more energy I would’ve had to chase after and play with my son had I had him when I was, say, 21. At 21, I could do consecutive all-nighters no problem. Then again, maybe I would’ve been less worrisome than I am now, which could mean a slight amount more chance of danger to my child. These are not absolutes, of course, but just some musings.
Regardless, this is what I do know, and what I wish I would have known about pregnancy and motherhood in my 20s before I actually started down this crazy journey we all call motherhood.
Your Home Will Never Be This Clean Again...
If you enjoy having a tidy apartment or house, that’s great. Just know that once you’re pregnant, and especially once you have your baby, that twenty-something, super hot bachelorette pad is probably going to look more like a scene out of the Muppet Babies. You’ll try to be tidy but, trust me, it’s not going to work.
...But Your Home Will Never Be So Messy Again, Either
Are you the twenty-something with the pile of pizza boxes in the living room? The one that carefully places all her empty beer cans and wine bottles on top of the kitchen cabinets? Yeah, your house is going to still be messy upon motherhood, but it won’t be that kind of messy. You have to baby proof all your stuff, so that means no more dumpster diving tables with sharp corners or leaving your hair iron still warm on the floor.
You Can Kiss All Your Breakable Items Goodbye
Do you have shelves filled with collectible Star Wars figurines? Or maybe you’re one of those collectible plate people? Whatever the case, that doesn’t pair well with babies, so you’ll have to put them in safer places (like wrapped in plastic, inside boxes, in the basement).
Your Wardrobe Will Change In Noticeable Ways
I’m not talking mom-jeans, though that may happen, too. But at least for a time, you won’t have the energy to primp yourself up the way you might have once done before. Old shirts and stretchy pants will become your best friends, and stains? Well, they’re inevitable.
Your Body Will Definitely Change (Though Not As Much As Older Moms)
Pregnancy changes everyone’s body. I don’t know why, even while pregnant, I thought I might be somewhat exempt from this. However, my hips got wider and my feet grew and I still don’t fit into my old shoes. That said, apparently it’s a bit easier to go back to your “old body” the younger you are (but really, why not just embrace your body always?).
You’ll Rarely (If Ever) Party The Way You Used To...
When you’re pregnant, and especially when you become a parent, your old party days tend to take a back seat. This might be a bit of a bigger surprise to younger first-time parents, who might have conceived said baby during a pub crawl. Honestly, though, even when you do have the rare opportunity of escape, you usually don’t feel like it anyway.
...But All Those Times You Partied Hard Are Good Parenting Prep
Depending on how early in your 20s you got pregnant, you might have sharper memories of nursing your drunk friends back to health. Either way, the all-night parties and dealing with gross, hungover people is actually a good predecessor to parenting. Once you’re a mom, you’ll have even less sleep and more grossness to deal with.
You’ll Never Have The Luxury Of Being Hungover
In your 20s, you tend to take those hungover Sundays for granted. Having the ability to be left alone to your Netflix account is a glorious thing, but a glorious thing you will rarely if ever get to enjoy in the same capacity every again.
Your Friends Will Freak Out The Moment You Announce Your Pregnancy
When you announce your pregnancy to your other twenty-something-year-old friends, you’ll undoubtedly face a variety of reactions. Some will quickly congratulate you and ask when you can go maternity shopping. Others will press you on why you’re not getting an abortion.
Once you’re in your 30s, it’s like people feel you’re suddenly more responsible (not always true). But in your 20s, folks are still wondering why you’d exchange the ability to fly to Vegas for a weekend for diaper duty (but let’s face it: we’re usually not flying out to Vegas, anyways).
Some Friends Will Basically Disappear From Your Life
Some of your friends will get on board with your new life. Others will slowly slip away. Some will do it purposely because they don’t agree with your desire to procreate. Others will do it because they just don’t care enough to continue to invite you to events when you’re almost always unable to attend (because, hello, baby). You learn quickly who is worth keeping around, too.
You’ll End Up Being The Motherhood Resource For All Your Friends
If you’re the first (or maybe even the second or third) new mom in your group, you will undoubtedly become a fountain of knowledge for your soon-to-be mom friends. They will ask you how to combat nausea, if you got any stretch marks, who your OB-GYN or midwife is. They’ll ask you for crib and daycare recommendations and you’ll nod and smile because it’s kind of cool to be asked for your opinion, anyway.
Miscarriages And Other Losses Happen, But Your Odds Are Slimmer Than If You Were Older
Pregnancy is a complicated thing in that it does not always guarantee a baby. When you’re in your 20s you have a tendency to think you’re somewhat invincible (even if you’re not actively thinking that). As a result, you don’t realize that things can and often do go wrong.
I wish I had known about the risks and symptoms of preterm labor as this happened to me during my first pregnancy. I wish I’d been more knowledgeable in general about the risks, as I definitely do now in my 30s, especially since I know many who have lost babies.
Your Kid Will End Up Having Tons Of Additional “Aunts” And “Uncles”
One of the coolest things about having kids when you’re younger is that you’ve still got a wide net of friends. These friends are usually pretty quick to name themselves unofficial aunties and uncles to your little ones. That means more love, more gifts, and more people to help with the child rearing. It’s not the same once you get older.