Why I am happy I had my first baby at the age 24

We were young and had energy

When I reflect back at the baby years (now my kids are 7 and 4) I get tired just thinking about it. My first born was in NICU for a couple weeks and even after an emergency c-section, I had energy to recover, pump milk, go to NICU everyday with barely any sleep. Then when my son was born, I was 27, my daughter was a toddler, and I somehow had the energy to chase a toddler, make it to play dates, and to keep our regular life going with a newborn in the mix. While we would love another baby, the thought of sleepless nights and adding a newborn into the current mix is our most effective contraception. I cannot do it again. I am tired at 3 PM and ready for bed by 7 PM everyday. At 32, I am happy that I am not waking up every couple hours to feed or respond to sleep regressions. I paid those parenthood dues back in my twenties.

We are still young and still have energy

The best part is that we are still young and we do have energy. It’s just that we have the perfect type of energy for the current ages of our kids. We are the parents that climb on the play ground equipment with our kids. We get messy, dirty, and get into playing with them wherever we go. We will race each other on their razor scooters. I’m the parent who is the volunteer soccer coach. We love being able to things we couldn’t do with them as babies and we love having the energy for it. Our kids make us feel alive and we are learning through play with them. I am not at all saying that older parents don’t play with their kids or that they don’t have energy. I am just happy to be 32 and being able to go on bigger adventures with my kids now. And getting enough sleep and being able to sleep in on the weekends refuels us.

We spent less money

This doesn’t seem so obvious because babies are supposed to be expensive. And they are. But compared to what?

We weren’t stuck in our ways.

We didn’t know how valuable this would be for our mental health as new and young parents. As we got older, we have begun to “get stuck in our ways”. What that means is that we have structure now. We like things done a certain way. We have expectations of our weekends and days in a way that we didn’t before. I am glad we are transitioning into being more structured as our kids grow up. In my opinion, the first two years with a baby demands flexibility and being able to go with the flow. Everything is a phase. If they are sleeping well, it’s a phase because a sleep regression is coming. If they are teething, it’s just a phase and they will be happy again. Because we didn’t have a way of doing things, flexibility came natural to us. We just went with the flow. If we were to have a baby now, the most difficult thing would be figuring out how to make our structured life more flexible and responsive to the changes of a baby. And this takes me to my next reason…

Our marriage took the hardest battles in the beginning

Until you are holding your baby after birth, you actually have no idea what it’s going to be like. The first year is full of magical firsts and eight years later, I cannot believe I am saying “time just flew by”. While time did fly by and it seems like I didn’t get enough time with my babies in their infant years. The days were long. The days were slow. The days were a struggle. Imagine having to problem solve daily, learn how to be parents, and keep little humans alive with no sleep with a partner. It’s impossible. It shouldn’t be attempted but we did it. We also did it with no help from grandparents. It was just us. Parents do it every day around the world. We are not unique.

When my oldest is 18, I’ll only be 42.

And this needs no explanation. Our 40’s will be our 20’s.

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Sheffy Minnick

Sheffy Minnick

Sociologist, Dialogue Practioner, Mother, Runner, Teacher, and Chardonnay Enthusiast.