The age of the average first time mother in New York City, where I became a mom, is the same as it is nationally: 26 years old. So I was technically two years older than average when I had my first child. But in my social circle (consisting of women who, on the whole, look a lot like me on paper) I was the first. In fact, four years after the birth of my first child, none of my friends in New York have had a baby yet. So over the past few years—half of that time in my twenties, half in my thirties—with a solid 8 years of “childfree twenties” memories under my belt, I often find myself frequently wondering what my life would have been like had I waited to have children until later. What if I’d waited until now to start my family? What would my life be like if I’d waited until 35? 42? What if I decided to be one of those women who give birth in their 60s that you sometimes read about? OK, no, thanks. You do you, other ladies, but that’s a big no thanks from me.
Ultimately and every day, I know I made the right decision for me. Just to be absolutely clear on this issue: There is no universal right decision about when or if to have kids. I know for a fact all of my friends who went through their 20s without having children know they made the right choice for themselves. But it’s still a fun little game to wonder “what if” and to look back and reflect on how different my 20s looked before and after the birth of my lovely boy. Becoming a mom was “the record-scratch moment” of that decade. It was the moment when my 20s as I knew them stopped and all of a sudden life was different.