The average age of new mothers in the U.S. has been steadily rising since the 1970s, when the number was just 21.4 — by the late ‘90s, it had increased to 24.9, and in 2014, the mean age was 26.3. Experts say the trend is mostly because of a decrease in teen pregnancy, and partly because many professional, educated women are delaying motherhood.
As a result of this shift — and maybe because I'm personally surrounded by so few young mothers — I feel disconnected from the (still sizeable!) portion of women who have children starting in their early or mid-20s. I wonder: How did they decide to become a mom (or if it wasn’t exactly planned, how did they grow into their role as a parent in just nine months)? Are they treated differently as mothers because of their age? What’s it all like?
To dig deeper into what it means to be a younger mom, I talked to seven mothers who had children at or before their 25th birthdays, and two who had children at 27. Some of these women had unplanned pregnancies, while others had always been attracted to the idea of being a young mom. Read on to see what they had to say.