The average age of women starting families in Ireland is 32.5 years.
The average age of women starting families in Ireland is 32.5 years. Mothers under 30 accounted for nearly 30% of births in 2015 compared with 10 years previously, when the under 30s accounted for nearly 40% of births.
And the age of first-time mums is slowly increasing. Being a young mum has become more and more unusual. I was a young mum - I had my son at 21. I have to say now, almost 10 years later, I still stick out like a sore thumb waiting at the school gate.
I had a surprise pregnancy at 21 and certainly feared the unknown. But being a young parent can also be wonderfully invigorating. I found such drive when I became pregnant, I wanted to prove all the people that eye-rolled at the thought of a “young mum” wrong. I was determined to do what I needed to do to give myself and my unborn baby the best possible life. Even if I was absolutely terrified too!
You hear all the horror stories first and foremost. People tell you how horrific labour is, how tired you will be, how you will never go out again and when you do you will only want to come home again out of sheer exhaustion. But nobody really tells you how your life will also change for the better.
How this new little person will make you want to be the best possible version of yourself. The love you will feel as soon as that little one is placed in your arms. And how much you are going to love this new world.
However, parenting is a whole new world. One you don’t even get a glimpse of until you’re thrown in at the deep end baby in arms. This was me at 21, I had no preview of what was to come and no friends that were mums. It was extremely isolating.
That was my biggest struggle I think being a young mum, not having close friends to lean on. Parenting is half raising your little ones and half finding your “tribe” to help you do that.
At 21 the close friends I had didn’t have children and they had no idea of what I was going through, how could they. Parenting is like an exclusive event with absolutely no sneak preview. So, finding your tribe is essential. The friends I had didn’t understand or acknowledge my new role as a mum and I found myself left out of my old life, desperately trying to find my feet in my new one.
I couldn’t or simply didn’t want to go on the nights out and last minute get-togethers I previously lived for. Hard for some old friends to accept or understand. But I had this beautiful baby boy and he was my world now. Even I didn’t fully understand who my new “mum self” was. But she loved that baby, even more than herself and she would do everything in her power to be the best mum she could be.
Truth be told, 10 years later and 3 more children, she still does!
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.