Yesterday my blog never posted, and I just realized now. So I’m doubling up on them this Mother’s Day. Yesterday I went to the Florence Writer’s Publishing Day which was wonderful and extremely informative and inspired me to get my butt in gear and maybe crank out a few chapters of something beautiful sooner rather than later – and by the time I got home, I was exhausted so I pulled out and edited some old writing to post.
Today is Mother’s Day, and each year, my list of Moms grows longer as my friends are having kids now. I’m “getting to that age.”But that age is apparently relative (to a degree of course – there is biology to think about, of course).
Just recently my friend that lives in California told me her doctor warned her at one of her latest appointments that she was getting to the end of the appropriate “age” to have children. She’s thirty. Here, at Rami’s Nonna’s funeral, everyone looked me up and down and couldn’t understand why we had married so young – kids didn’t even come up in the conversation. The average age for Italian women to have their first child is about 31 today, but many I know are starting their family later than that. In the 1950s, it was still 29 years old for the first baby. I am young here and certainly not at the “end” of my “age” of childbearing. I used this to help calm my panicked friend after the US doctor (they’re the best in the world though, right?) told her she’d basically ruin her life if she didn’t get pregnant within the next year or two.
It’s completely different in the US – though there are many recent articles claiming that things like the failing economy or climate change are reasons to not have kids right now – nevermind personal accounts of student loan woes, and political situations that worry some people so much they’re holding off starting a family. Currently, the average age for a first US baby is at 26 – and that’s already risen from 22 in the 80s (in the 80’s Italy was still holding out at the average age of 28).
So here, I’m the one that married early and “has plenty of time” to start a family, where when I go home, I’m sure many are wondering why Rami and I still only have a French Bulldog after almost five years of marriage. “Is something wrong?! Do they have medical problems?! Are they one of those couples that don’t want kids?” Of course, no one has mentioned these questions to me, but looking at the logistics, from the US perspective, we’re odd.
One of the best pieces of advice my mother has ever given me was to wait for kids. Enjoy being married for a few years. Learn to love each other first before you have a baby in the mix. Go on adventures just the two of you, live together for a while without other stressors. Don’t rush through this thing and onto the next. There’s time. She knows from experience – married at 21, she had me at 25.
These past five years have been incredible and I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way, and here in Italy, there’s no pressure at all for me to get pregnant NOW, there’s time to enjoy life (most important) and make it through an economy in a crisis, trying to pay my student loans, figuring out our endless immigration struggles (all less important but unfortunately necessary).
So this Mother’s day is still dedicated to my Mumma and my friends and family. Here, I’m just a perfectly normal thirty-year-old with a really great husband and a little dog, and I’m so extremely happy that I live in a country that doesn’t make me feel guilty for enjoying married life sans immediate children. So we’ll keep our couple life for now and hold off on babies and no one has to be concerned because the Italians certainly aren’t.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there – regardless of how many years old you are, and to those that are my age and have this ridiculous anxiety because you don’t have a baby yet, don’t worry. You still have plenty of time.