First of all, I think these are the most extreme phases in life one can propose having a first child. I personally find both points not ideal. The nine-month gestational period is no game neither is nurturing someone for the next two decades or perhaps more, mere child’s play. For one to be up to the task of raising a child to be a responsible adult, one has to be prepared physically, emotionally and even financially. Lacking in one aspect will create a world of hardship for both child and parent.
The eighteenth year spells the transition of a teen into a young adult. Most teens can’t wait to turn to that age as if merely attaining it is some magical requirement to grow up instantly and be prepared for adult life. The legal age to vote, drive, drink, get married seems to appeal to most teens. But most middle-aged people would advise the youth of today not to rush to become adults because it is not as ‘fun’ as they think it to be.
Recalling my 18-year old self, I don’t think I was ready to have a child. I was still a child then! Apart from my body not ready to handle the responsibility, I was not mature in any way to take care of a tiny, crying and helpless infant.
Preparing to enter the university, the whole idea of being by myself, being responsible for my choices and taking care of myself was freaking me out. I couldn’t handle stress very well; the least obstacle would put me in tears. Imagine my baby’s cries making me cry as well. Who would comfort who?
I am still wrapping my head around what it entails to be an adult and how to play my cards right so I don’t mess up. If I’m planning to bring a human being into this world, then I should ensure that I’m prepared to give him/her the best of myself and what the world has to offer. Falling short of that wouldn’t be fair to the innocent newcomer.
They say, life begins at forty. I’m pretty sure the mental picture of that expression is enjoying the fruits of your labor after having your kids and having achieved some level of stability in life. I doubt it implies now beginning the Parenting course 101.
Aside the health implications of giving birth that late, having to change diapers and deal with baby tantrums along with the temperature swings and body rashes at such an age sounds like torture. If that were to be a second, third or last, at least one has experience with the whole baby drama and so can play his/her role without much stress. But the first? It could even trigger premature menopause!
But on the other hand, one would be much more stable and more mature emotionally and financially to take care of a child. One would have gather much more experience in life in order to bring up a child the right way.
Being a mother at eighteen to me sounds like a bigger baby taking care of a cuter one; and being a mother for the first time at forty is a preliminary for still being in the ‘active parent’ status even after retirement.
However, if I were to choose, I think I’d opt for being an older parent.
What about you? Does the idea of being a young parent excite you? Having your child being referred to as your younger sibling because he/she catches up with you with time? Or you prefer to be much older before taking on such a responsibility? Please share your thoughts.
Josephine Amoako © 2016