Reese Witherspoon was young when she had her first child. Sure, she was already an established celebrity and married to a fellow established celebrity (Ryan Phillipe), which meant money was presumably not much of an issue. But as someone who also started motherhood young, I can tell you that there's no amount of money in the world to prepare you for how your life is going to change. Or how unprepared you might actually be. In a new video, Reese Witherspoon touched on how being a young mom is "scary," and she's 100% correct on that front.
In one of her recent YouTube sessions of "Real Talk With Reese Witherspoon," the Big Little Lies star opened up about her experiences with motherhood. She is mom to three kids, 20-year-old daughter Ava and 15-year-old son Deacon with ex husband Phillipe, as well as 7-year-old son Tennessee with husband James Toth. That means there's a 13 year age gap between her youngest and oldest, which of course also means her parenting experiences were vastly different in both cases.
For instance, Witherspoon was just 23 years old when she welcomed daughter Ava, and she remembers vividly how it felt to become a mom when she was still so young herself. "You know, to be totally honest, it was scary. I was scared," she says in the video. And as someone who gave birth at 21... yes. Yes to everything she says.
"I didn't know what it was going to do to my job or my career," Witherspoon continued. "Your entire life will change. Everything you believe, every piece of food you eat. Every piece of independence you have. You can't go out without thinking of another person. You don't think about whether you're cold or hot, you think about whether your kid is cold or hot."
While most of this is probably true for moms at any age, it can be especially frightening when you're younger than the average first time mom. Perhaps because your peer group isn't necessarily going through the same experiences and can't relate. In Witherspoon's case, she didn't have a peer group to help her at first. She had just moved to Los Angeles and her mother Betty Reese — who was a labor and delivery nurse in Nashville, Tennessee, according to Working Mother — was far away. Which is why she was so happy when she found a "group of women who were amazing" almost by accident.
"I joined this yoga group of women and they have been some of my greatest supporters," she explained in the video. "They would tell me what preschools to look at, they would tell me when I needed to get vaccinations; they would tell me everything."
Of course, Witherspoon did point out that there were definite benefits to having babies in her youth. Like the whole physical aspect, which she found to be much easier when she had Ava and Deacon than when she welcomed little Tennessee at 37 years old.
But here's the overriding message I got from Reese Witherspoon's parenting advice video: It's all messy and difficult and scary and beautiful and amazing no matter your age. Just take it as it comes and be nice to yourself. That last part is from me, by the way.