Is motherhood swinging back to the twenty set?

Is motherhood swinging back to the twenty set?

Happy young family

For the first time in decades, the average age of first time mothers is declining — why do you think women are having children younger?

In the past, women have delayed motherhood to focus on a career, travel or simply to develop their relationship without the distraction of little ones — but this is starting to change.

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The Wall Street Journal recently reported the average age of first-time mothers in the US had declined, falling from 25.2 in 2005 to 25.0 in 2006. This is the first time these figures, which are based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics in the US, have decreased since government records have been kept.

Admittedly the report shows only a small variation between 2005 and 2006 but the numbers do support a general feeling that we are on the cusp of change.

In Australia, the average age of mothers for all births registered in 2009 was 30.6, a figure the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports is “slightly younger than in recent years”.

Are women becoming more aware of the pressure that age puts on them to procreate before 30? Certainly age affects fertility but is this move towards motherhood before 30 really a result of young women ‘tuning in to their biological clocks’?

An alternative explanation is that younger women just assume that they can have both a fulfilling career and family life and therefore see no reason to delay the latter. To be clear, this isn’t a revival of the idea that women can ‘have it all,’ but rather an acknowledgement that we can work hard to make it work.

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For this reason, young women might feel less compelled to spend 10 or 12 years establishing their career before taking time off for babies.

Other people claim they want their children to enjoy the benefits of a younger family, including close relationships with their grandparents before they get too old and parents who still have the energy to run around in the park.

Your say: What do you think is an ideal baby-making age?

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