BEST AGE TO HAVE A BABY? Four women reveal their experiences of becoming a mum at different ages

It is thought the 21st Century trend of late motherhood boils down to women putting more importance on their career and lifestyle

19 April 2018 - 06:03

WHAT is the best age to have a baby?

Women are constantly bombarded with information about when they hit optimum fertility, yet pregnancy rates are falling for women of all ages – apart from those in their forties.

In that age range, according to the Office for National Statistics, there are 15.4 pregnancies per thousand women – up two per cent, and more than double the 1990s statistic.

The rise is thought to be down to women placing an increased importance on their careers.

Here, four women who gave birth at different stages of life tell ALLEY EINSTEIN and CLAIRE DUNWELL about the trials and tribulations of becoming a mum at their respective ages.

Teens

MUM-of-three Kirstie Thompson first got pregnant as a teen.

The 24-year-old lives in Ilminster, Somerset, with husband Carl, 29, a landscaper, and kids Danny-Jay, seven, Ruby, four, and Ebony, two.

 Kirstie Thompson had her first kid Danny-Jay when she was 16-years-old
 
Kirstie Thompson had her first kid Danny-Jay when she was 16-years-old

She says: "I was a tearaway teen before I had Danny-Jay. I was partying and drinking under age.

"When I realised I was pregnant at 16, I was shocked. I was suddenly faced with a situation my mum couldn’t get me out of, like she normally did.

"There was never any discussion about terminating the pregnancy.

 She said the first time she held Danny-Jay she changed from a teenager tearaway to a responsible mum
 
She said the first time she held Danny-Jay she changed from a teenager tearaway to a responsible mum
 The 29-year-old claims raising kids is better than any work experience
Olivia West
The 29-year-old claims raising kids is better than any work experience

"The moment I held DJ was the moment I changed from reprobate to responsible mum.

"I lived at home with my parents for a few months after giving birth, but I was determined to show everyone I could do it right. I took responsibility for everything and kept up school work.

No work to get in the way of me and my children

"I may have put off starting a job but the experience I have had raising my kids is better than any workplace could provide.

"I was committed to being the best mum I could be and had my other two children quickly after.

 Kirstie said she kept up her school work while raising her young son
 
Kirstie said she kept up her school work while raising her young son
 Kirstie with her eldest Danny-Jay
 
Kirstie with her eldest Danny-Jay
 She is now married with two other kids Ruby, 4, and Ebony, 2
Olivia West
She is now married with two other kids Ruby, 4, and Ebony, 2

"Money may be tight but I don’t have any work distractions getting between me and the children.

"Once the kids are all in school I plan to go back to study midwifery. My thirties will be about helping to get us financially stable.

"I just do not understand why any woman would put off having a child."

20s

HAVING kids in your twenties means you have longer to enjoy them, according to Amanda Stewart, 35.

The early years worker lives in Carluke, South Lanarkshire, with husband Jamie, 34, a web developer, and children Callan, nine, and Erryn, six.

 Amanda Stewart shortly after giving birth to her youngest child Erryn
 
Amanda Stewart shortly after giving birth to her youngest child Erryn

She says: "I always planned to have two children by the time I hit 30. We didn’t want to leave a big gap in between because we wanted to be young enough to enjoy them growing up.

"When the kids are in their twenties, we’ll be in our fifties, so Jamie and I will have time again to spend as a couple.

"The mortgage should be almost cleared, and the kids will hopefully be off doing their own things.

"I met Jamie when I was 18 and in our early twenties we went on long-haul holidays and weekends away.

"We wanted to do all the things we wouldn’t be able to do when the kids came along.

 Amanda says those who opt for motherhood later in life are missing out on milestones
Olivia West
Amanda says those who opt for motherhood later in life are missing out on milestones
 The mum-of-two with web developer husband Jamie, 34, and kids Callan, nine, and Erryn, six
 
The mum-of-two with web developer husband Jamie, 34, and kids Callan, nine, and Erryn, six

"Now we’re fun parents because we like to have a good time with the kids.

"We don’t dictate to the kids and we’re not too strict but they know their boundaries.

"We have a healthy balance and I hope the kids feel they can talk to us about anything when they’re older.

 Mum Amanda sunning it up on holiday with Callan, right, and Erryn, left
Collect
Mum Amanda sunning it up on holiday with Callan, right, and Erryn, left
 The 35-year-old says she is looking forward to seeing her own kids get married and start a family
Collect
The 35-year-old says she is looking forward to seeing her own kids get married and start a family
 Amanda said she had always planned to have kids before she hit 30
Olivia West
Amanda said she had always planned to have kids before she hit 30

We look forward to our two becoming parents

"Women who leave having kids late risk missing out on milestones.

"We’re looking forward to seeing Callan and Erryn get married and have children of their own.

"If we had waited to become parents in our thirties or forties, the clock would have been ticking."

30s

FORMER medical researcher Sasha McDowell, 42, from Bournemouth, is mum to Katinka, ten, and Eiden, seven.

She says: "Every day I look at my two and I know I was right to have them in my ­thirties.

 Sasha McDowell shortly after giving birth to her youngest Eiden
 
Sasha McDowell shortly after giving birth to her youngest Eiden

As a teen I could not have given the big love

"Eiden suffers from galactosyltransferase-1 deficiency, which affects the way the cells in his body are structured. It is so rare he is literally a one-in-a-billion boy. He needs 24-hour care.

"If I’d had him in my teens or twenties I would never have been able to give him and Katinka the “big love”, as I call it, like I can now.

 Eiden suffers from galactosyltransferase-1 deficiency which requires 24-hour care
 
Eiden suffers from galactosyltransferase-1 deficiency which requires 24-hour care

"Many of my mates had children as soon as they left school, got married and by their late twenties were divorced. Instead, I was working as a nurse and then as a medical researcher travelling the world.

"I had two long-term relationships, but it wasn’t until my thirties that I met the kids’ dad.

 The 42-year-old says putting off motherhood meant she was able to progress in her career and travel the world
Stewart Williams
The 42-year-old says putting off motherhood meant she was able to progress in her career and travel the world
 Sasha did not meet her Katinka and Eiden's dad until she was in her 30s
 
Sasha did not meet her Katinka and Eiden's dad until she was in her 30s

"I’d been diagnosed with endometriosis (a condition affecting the uterus) and the doctors told me that having children would be hard.

"I was 31 when I had Katinka and work allowed me to have a longer maternity leave. That’s the benefit of a decade of working before having kids.

"Three years later, Eiden was born and required constant care. Work gave me time off and eventually I quit.

 Sasha says she was granted longer maternity leave due to her ten years of hard graft
Stewart Williams
Sasha says she was granted longer maternity leave due to her ten years of hard graft

"My relationship failed but we still see each other daily. Going it alone has been hard but my life experience has been critical to making it work.

"Now I do mum and daughter pageants.

"I don’t have time to date. I give up “me time” for my children.

"It can be tough, but I wouldn’t change anything."

40s

SPORTS therapist Tracey Disdel, 51, lives in Doncaster with husband Simon, 52, a warehouse manager, and their son Ollie, seven, above as a baby.

She says: "I hadn’t planned to be a mum for the first time in my forties but it’s the best decision I made.

 Tracey Disdel cradling son Ollie as a newborn
 
Tracey Disdel cradling son Ollie as a newborn

"People said having a baby at 43 was risky, but putting off kid until the verge of menopause has made me a better mum and a better person.

"In my twenties and thirties I was focused on my career in fashion and living the hectic city life in London.

 Tracey claims getting pregnant at 43-years-old made her a better mum
 
Tracey claims getting pregnant at 43-years-old made her a better mum
 The 51-year-old says despite the horror stories she did not go through a difficult pregnancy
 
The 51-year-old says despite the horror stories she did not go through a difficult pregnancy
 She said once she found the perfect man she had checks on her fertility
Olivia West
She said once she found the perfect man she had checks on her fertility

"I had given up on the thought of children as I couldn’t find the right man to get serious with.

"I finally found my perfect man and we got married at the age of 37. I had tests to check my fertility and was told everything was fine.

"But I still wasn’t pregnant at 40. We tried four rounds of artificial insemination which failed, so we registered for IVF.

"At this point we moved to Doncaster. We wanted a slower pace of living.

 Tracey says she is able to give her son more time than her friends who had kids in their 20s
Olivia West
Tracey says she is able to give her son more time than her friends who had kids in their 20s
 The mum-of-one says she wouldn't change a thing
Olivia West
The mum-of-one says she wouldn't change a thing

I give son more time than younger mums

"At 43, we conceived naturally and Ollie was born. Despite horror stories about mature mums, I didn’t have any problems with the pregnancy.

"I can give him more time than friends who had babies in their twenties.

"Some people say their forties are about “me time” but I say it’s “maternity time” and I would not change a thing."

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