If you ask me, I think your 20s should be a magical time of self-discovery. You should make mistakes, take some chances, and find your own way through this intense world. That's why, I think, there are pros and cons of having a baby in your 20s that are worth considering, whether you're planning on becoming a mom or not.
I had my first child in my 20s, and, like my mom and all the moms around the globe who've done the same, I was a wide-eyed new parent learning as I went. As much as I prepared for the birth of my daughter, I quickly realized that preparation and action are two completely different things, especially when you're sore, sleep deprived, and hormonal. So to say trial and error played a big part in my role as a mother is, well, to put it lightly.
I remember the early days of motherhood, trying to figure out how to take care of my first baby, like they were yesterday — the good, the bad, and the ugly. And while I wouldn't change a thing, I do think we, as mothers, should feel comfortable sharing the lows with the highs. So with that in mind, here are some positive and negatives to becoming a mom in your 20s, in my humble opinion.
Pro: You Have All The Energy
I had boundless energy in my 20s. Hell, I could go out all night on a Friday, snag an hour of sleep at most, then rally Saturday morning and accomplish something substantial throughout the day. Those long weekend nights at the bars definitely prepared me for the long nights feeding a newborn.
Con: You Have One Big, Undeniable Responsibility
Yes, I had tons of energy in my 20s, but it wasn't spent rockin' out in the front row of a concert like I always had. Instead, every ounce of it went to caring for my baby. My life had to shift, my priorities had to change, because I was suddenly responsible for another human life.
Pro: Every New Experience Is The Best
I can't speak for all moms, but everything my baby did was the greatest thing to ever happen to the human world. My daughter could literally do nothing and I'd cheer and rave for hours. Part of this came with being a new mom, and part of it was a direct result of my youth and an unscathed kind of hope and naivety.
Con: You Have To Learn As You Go
For the record, every mom essentially learns as they go, regardless of their age or when they gave birth.
That being said, I wasn't as wise or knowledgeable in my 20s as I was in, say, my 30s. My daughter was an experiment, of sorts. I had no idea what I was doing, and, as a result, I was terrified 99.9 percent of the time.
Pro: Everyone Will Want To Babysit
In my experience, your support network and group of friends is larger when you're in 20s. You haven't weeded people out yet, and people haven't necessarily gone their own way. While a baby will certainly separate the die-hard friends from the fair-weather friends, for the most part you'll never want for an eager babysitter.
Con: Your Social Life Suffers
I was an outgoing, fun-loving, concert-going 20-something, my friends. But that all changed when I had a child. Did I still like going out? Eh, sure? I mean, I really liked staying in and sleeping.
It's important to be honest with yourself about the changes a baby actually brings, and how your social life takes a hit is definitely one of those changes.
Pro: People Will Think You're "Doing It Right"
Ah, social expectations. Aren't they the best?
Of course, it depends on where you're from, who you surround yourself with, and so on, but for the most part if you have a baby in your 20s you're "checking off a life choice" on the ole "successful" list, and people will celebrate you for it. This is especially true if you're married, if you're married to a hetero cisgender person, and if you're married to a hetero cisgender person and living in a home you both own. You know, it's the whole "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage" thing.
Con: People Will Assume You've "Ruined Your Life"
You can't win 'em all, my friends. For every person who celebrates your life choice, there's one who promises you you've somehow "ruined your life" by having a baby in your 20s. They'll talk about your career prospects, lament about the death of your social life, and go on and on about all the joyous things you can no longer do.
My advice? Ignore them.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.