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starting a family at 20?


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I'm not really sure which category to put this one in, so apologies if you feel it's in the wrong place...

 

I've been with my boyfriend for 8 months now, and everything is going great. Before we started dating we had known each other and been friends for just under 18 months (we have had feelings for each other throughout our friendship). We are both 20 years old.

 

I come from a large family- infact I am the youngest of 6 (including 2 step siblings) and I already have 2 nephews and 2 nieces. I look after my one of my nephews and niece a couple of times a week as my sister has to works full time during the week.

 

My partner was the middle child of 3 but unfortunately his younger sibling died at when he was 10 years old.

He works around 50-60 hours a week and is currently re-training and starting up a business.

Whilst I am working 6 days a week, and trying to decide my future.

 

I was enrolled on, and attending my first year at University up until the end of November when I became really ill and unfortunately had to defer until this coming September. Since having this time out of education, I have realised that I was only attending to please my parents. If I am honest, I have never wanted to go to University to gain a "degree and career". I have always wanted to "just" be a mum as I see this as a much more worthwhile path for me to take.

 

I think my parents have noticed my lack of enthusiasm to return to University in September and are accepting it as they just want me to be happy.

 

I've never mentioned to my parents or boyfriend, my strong feelings to be a mum. I have however told one of my friends that there isn't anything else I want out of life. Her sister has just had a baby, and I was telling my mum what they had named the little girl today. When she came straight out and asked if I was broody, as she would love another grandchild.

And my boyfriend a few nights ago, told me that he wants a baby...now I'm not too sure just how serious he is, but he has said it a few times over the last few days. I told him what my mum said earlier, and his reply was something along the lines of "well I'll have to have a chat with her and see what we can arrange"...again I didn't really know how serious he was being, so was unsure of what response to give. Then he told me to stop trying to change the subject.

 

I personally feel I am ready to start a family, and that he is the right person to start a family with. We don't live together at the moment, but he does have his own place, where I seem to spend all my time when neither of us are working.

 

In your oppinion, is 20 years old, too young to start a family, if you are 100% certain that is your role in life?

And any suggestions on the best way to re-approach the baby conversation with him and find out just how serious he is?

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It is fine to have maternal instincts but in this day and age it is best to have some kind of career you can fall back on. Supposing you have a baby now and then your relationship doesn't work out and your boyfriend leaves you...how would you support yourself and your baby...child support is not enough to pay all your bills. Even if you got married there is no guarantee of the marriage lasting long term. If you don't go out now and get trained for job market skills then you will be in a financial mess if your relationship doesn't work out. University is not the only thing, you can go to school to learn some kind of skill for the workplace. Having job skills and a track record of working is very important, especially in this day and age when relationships are here today and gone tomorrow. Many people in previous generations had children at age 20 and stayed home..back then marriages lasted because divorce was frowned upon. So women stayed in unhappy marriages feeling trapped because they were financially dependent on their husband. While you may want to start a family now, I would strongly recommend that you first get yourself sorted with some kind of career and job training/experience. You are young and still have plenty of time to have children. Who knows if in 2 years from now you will even still be with this guy. Lots of relationships at your age do not last as people change and grow.

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I've been with my boyfriend for 8 months now,

Considering you're only together for 8 months, why not make 100% sure you two are meant to be together, by going through the motions of getting engaged for a year and then planing a wedding etc. All this will take up to 2 years which will be perfect to see where you're both at in 2 years time and THEN start a family. I think 8 months of dating is way too soon to launch into having babies (imo) - you're still in the "honeymoon" stage and things change a LOT after all the high of being love wears off.

 

I say you should re-think this very very carefully.

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I could never imagine having a family at this age (I'm 21), but then again I'm very career driven and have never desired to become a mother thus far. =P However I have a friend who's about a year old than me, been married about a year, recently became pregnant, and all seems well. So it seems to work for some young people.

 

However I think you should just be in a relationship with your boyfriend for a few more years and live together for a while before starting a family. Have as much confidence as possible that your relationship is rock solid and healthy. And even then, have some kind of back up plan. It doesn't have to be university, but it's still possible to break up 5-10+ years down the road. How will you support yourself + your kids if that happens?

 

You also didn't mention marriage/engagement in your post. How do you both feel about marriage? I just think you both haven't been together long enough to give it real consideration, and aren't addressing everything that a having a kid entails.

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But I have no interest at all in University. I hated the few months that I was there and felt like I was wasting time being there, studying for something that I really didn't want. I know children are expensive, but I also know you can get places in life without degrees...and the debt that comes with University fees!

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Even so, making decisions that will affect you for years to come on an 8 month relationship (and we are all ridiculously aware of how often those fail)and some maternal instincts is incredibly risky.

 

I'd be wary of ever putting myself in a situation where I'd have to be financially dependent on an SO.

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We are both fully aware how relationships don't always go how you expect them to- both mine and his parents divorced when we were young. His parents remained in contact and friends for the sake of their children, whereas my dad cut all ties-both emotionally and financially. So I know what you are all saying (and mean by) it being hard to bring up a child on your own if the relationship fails.

Marriage isn't high on either of our lists in life-hence no mention of engagement...yes it would be nice to say "we're married" but, exchanging vowels doesn't make a relationship anymore likely to succeed.

As for work- I have been in employment since I was 12 years old. The company I currently work for, I have been with for as long as I have known my partner. And I am happy there. I don't have the career drive like many other people as I know I just want to be a mum...

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Are you sure you can provide for a child's needs for the next 18 years? Pay for a morgage, insurance, normal day to day cost of living, schooling, etc etc? If you think this is just about having a baby and being a mum, you are in for a very very rude shock. It's not going to be a fairy tale, but it seems you have made up your mind already and nothing we say will change your mind. Think of the CHILD's future in all of this. Seriously.

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I haven't made up my mind at all. I just know that I have always wanted my own family. And yes I realise a baby isn't just something to coo over, and that in actual fact they do grow up and turn into toddlers, and then yes they get bigger and go through school, and then turn into teenagers. I know children are a lifelong responsibility. I also know that there isn't a feeling quite like raising a child to become a responsible adult and member of society.

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I also know that there isn't a feeling quite like raising a child to become a responsible adult and member of society.

 

But you yourself are barely an adult, yet you already want to dedicate the rest of your life to another life cycle? Why can't you wait at least a few years once you've truly matured and figured out what you want to do? Why not enjoy your youth?

 

And really? An 8 month relationship + the fact you don't even live with him yet? I can see this idea going south really quickly.

 

And btw, I have nothing against kids. In fact I truly plan to have kids one day, but probably not for at least 10 years from now. So I'm not speaking from bias.

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Twenty is young by today's standards, but I do know women who became very good moms at that age.

 

I think that the bigger concern is that you've only been with your boyfriend for eight months. The university issue and the baby issue don't go hand in hand...they're separate and one decision shouldn't influence the other. In other words, don't use the fact that you don't want to return to university as a part of the reason that you want to have a child right now.

 

Not everyone is geared towards university, but I do think that at the very least you should try to go to community college as most jobs now require some sort of certificate or degree. It would only take you a year or two to become trained in something and your future would be much more secure with an education behind you, and so would the futures of any children you might have.

 

Plus you mentioned that your boyfriend is working 50 to 60 hours a week and trying to start a business. That's great and he sounds very responsible and hardworking. I think you both sound like sincere and decent people, so do what you can now while you don't have the restraints of children to build a solid foundation for your future.

 

The opportunity to have children will still be there two years from now and you'll both be much better prepared for the hard work that is involved and you'll also be in a better position to enjoy parenthood if you aren't worried about finances. Take some time first to nurture your relationship with eachother and allow it some time to grow.

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