Hubby and I just watched Away We Go tonight. The movie itself was so so, but it got me thinking. In the movie the main characters are 33 and expecting their first child and they are portrayed as being really young and unprepared-just kids, possibly too irresponsible to have children.
Really? At 33?
I'm probably biased, but I don't think that 33 is too young to be a parent. If you just base it on numbers alone it doesn't make much sense. The life expectancy in America is 76-which would make 38 exactly middle age...at what point did people who are 5 years shy of the mid point of their lives become too young to have children?
I think this movie is representative of a bigger cultural shift. I was browsing US Vital Statistics the other day (yes, I do that a lot-but I've warned you before that I'm a giant nerd) and it seems that in the past decade the birth rate among women under 30 has been declining at a steady pace-while the birth rate among women over 30 is rapidly increasing.
In 2003 the birth rate of women aged 30-34 jumped four percent. The birth rate of women 35-39 jumped two percent in 2003 and another two percent in 2004. At the same time the birth rate of women 18-24 has dropped 8% since 2000, and the birth rate among women ages 25-29 dropped by just under two percent between 2003 and 2005.
As I was Googling this phenomenon, I came across a surprisingly large number of message boards, websites, and support groups for women trying to conceive at 40+ years old-many of them for the first time.
It makes me wonder-why have people decided to have children so late? Why do people who do not have children at all until later decide to wait so long? Why is it so taboo to have kids in your 20s these days-after all, you're an adult by then.
It does seem that, by popular demand, 40 is the new 20 and 20 year olds are treated like children-why is that I wonder?
Obviously there are no magical, defined answers to my questions. Everyone is going to have different opinions-but I think I'm still forming mine. So tell me......
What do you think is the perfect age to have children and why? Why do you think society has decided that "40 is the new 20"?