Teens – Vicky Way. 19, is mum to Cameron, 6 months
‘Cameron wasn’t exactly planned, but now he’s here I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love every second of being a mum. People tend to underestimate teen mums, but I think there are loads of advantages to starting a family early.
‘I had a really easy pregnancy and my birth was pretty straightforward. My figure sprang back into shape straight after Cameron was born. I was back in my size six jeans a few days later – good, youthful muscle tone, I suppose!
‘I’ve always had loads of energy, so I don’t struggle to keep up with him – it’s been easier than I thought it was going to be, in fact. Cameron is a really laid-back and happy baby and I wonder if that’s because I’m quite chilled out about things. ‘I do think that there is a stigma attached to being a teenage mum – I sometimes get disapproving looks. I’m sure that wouldn’t happen if I was an older parent, but I know that I’m a good mum and there isn’t a single thing I would change. Also, having Cameron young has given my mum and dad the chance to be grandparents, something that they are really thrilled about.
‘I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything [having a child young]. The way I see it, I’ve got all my life ahead of me. I can still do all the things I want to do with my life – plus I’ve got a gorgeous little boy. And I’ve got plenty of time to have lots more babies!’
20’s – Roz Langley, 28, is mum to Abigail, 8 months
‘My midwife told me that mid-20s is a perfect age to start a family and I have to agree: I’m loving it!
‘I’ve always wanted children and I didn’t want to leave it too late – and this way I feel that I’ve not missed out on my wild youth, but I’ve also got plenty of time to have more kids.
‘My career was established by the time I fell pregnant, so I feel that I can easily go back into it (although I’m just loving being a mum and spending time with Abby right now). Work kept me busy almost up until the birth, which was tiring, but gave me less time to focus on the labour! I kept fit walking the dogs every morning and still managed to go out on the town with my non-pregnant friends, even as I got larger.
‘I’m the first of my friends to get married and start a family, which I have to say is great – everyone is willing to travel to see me and the munchkin! On the downside, it means they are all out partying on Saturday nights while I’m at home trying to rock my baby to sleep.
‘I’m glad I waited until now before having a baby, as I don’t know how younger mums do it. It’s hard work and there are a lot of choices to make. Now I know myself enough to realise what kind of mother I can be, but I’m also flexible, rather than sticking to approaches that aren’t really working.’
30’s – Tanya San Juan, 35, is mum to Adam, 3 ½ and Katherine, 10 months
‘I spent my twenties doing what I enjoyed: I travelled Europe, established myself in my chosen career and went out lots! Waiting until I was in my 30s before starting a family just felt right and has definitely been the best decision.
‘I felt quite tired during the first three months of pregnancy, but otherwise had a really positive experience on both occasions, and my births were both quite easy. I was worried that, as an older mum, my figure would take a lot longer to spring back, but I weigh less now than I did before I had kids – I guess it’s the running round after them that does it!
‘I don’t feel like I have less energy than younger mums. Most of the time I don’t even feel 35 – I still have plenty of get up and go to leap around with my kids at soft play, and for games of chase and rough and tumble. The sleepless nights are hard at first, but then they are tough for everyone, and I think I’ve got more stamina than many younger mums!
‘Because I’m well-established in my career, it has been easy to negotiate a return to flexible working – I’ve gone back to work with confidence as its second nature to me now. I think it would have been much harder to juggle work and being a mum a few years ago when I had less experience of the job.
‘Everyone is different, but I look back at how I was in my 20s and I think I’d have found motherhood hard. With the experience of age, I feel able to consider different approaches but I also know my own mind. It wouldn’t be right for everyone, but I’m having a ball as a 30-something mum.’
40’s – Sara Doak, 46, is mum to Albert, 18 months
‘I tried for many years to get pregnant in a previous relationship.
When that relationship ended, I then dated someone who already had a family and didn’t want any more children. So, I was resigned to the fact that I would never have kids of my own – when suddenly I fell pregnant.
‘I was over the moon but also terrified – scared that things might go wrong because I was an older mum; scared of being on my own after I split from my partner; and anxious about how I was going to cope. I realised that by the time my child went to school, I would be over 50!
‘I’ve now realised that age is just a number. I’ve always kept myself quite fit, so I’ve got plenty of stamina. My parents – who are thrilled to be grandparents – also help out loads. My mum sometimes jokes that I should have done this 20 years ago, though!
‘Albert is the best thing that could possibly have happened to me. He’s a miracle, and knowing that I’ll probably never have another makes him all the more precious
‘I don’t miss a thing. I’ve had a fantastic career over the last 20 years, so I have no regrets. I think as an older mum I have more patience, and I never take motherhood for granted.’