As if I didn’t have enough on my mind preparing for my most important exam in the course of my studies and thinking about my future in the therapist formation (which brings a buttload of it’s own problems, but more on that some other time) – I apparently should be thinking about chugging out my own family as well. According to data just released by the National Center for Health Statistics (USA): mothers’ mean age at their first childbirth fell to 25.0 years in 2006 (the most recent figures available) from 25.2 in 2005. The 0.2-year drop is statistically significant because it’s the first time the trend has ever gone down in history. In Germany – for those of you wondering – the mean age is 26.
Anybody else freaking out? This is like crazy scary young to me. I mean sure, I just turned 24… wait a minute. I thought this age was the one where I get to have fun and stuff. Not that that’s what I’m doing, since sadly I’ve always been more of the boring responsible kind, but still – do I only have a year left? Two tops? I refuse! In my mind, I would only consider – maybe, eventually, if I really have to – have kids at the age of 30+. Since biologically, in terms of fertility and risks and stuff, we start getting screwed and it’s all downhill from 35, I guess I pretty much set myself a defined window of expanding the household. *runs away screaming*
Sure, it doesn’t help that I’ve been pressured about this since I can remember – “I’m not interested in having kids” “You’ll see, that all changes when you grow up” – like it is completely unnatural and weird and wrong to not go baby-crazy as a women as soon as you can pronounce your own words. But I have news for you: in this day and age, it’s not so different for men. I know enough guys – including The BF – who always knew they wanted a family and plan way ahead to make that feasible. Not that I wouldn’t think the same way if I could get out of the responsibility that easily, just have to be the breadwinner and not shove the things out myself (too cynical?). Plus, though rarely spoken about, men have a window of fertility as well. While it shuts slower, it does squeak closed. Recent studies have linked older fatherhood with increased risks of schizophrenia, autism, Down syndrome and other disorders in children. And in this case, “older” means as young as 40.
I could go on about bonding differences between women, men and their children – since I’m reading about it in my study topic – but I think this post is long enough and I can always add that some other time. Just think about this: the differences within a gender group are always larger than between them. I wish the patriarchal German child-care system would figure that out as well.
What do you think? Are you even thinking about this already?