One in five mothers believe they had children ‘too late’ in life, survey says

Rob Knight

One in five mothers believe they had a baby “too late” in life, according to a study.

Researchers who surveyed 2,000 mums aged 18 and upwards found many regret not having a child when they were younger.

More than half who felt this way believed they struggled to keep up with their child due to their age.

One in six also thought they would have coped better with the pressures of being a new mother if they had become a parent sooner.

Another 15 per cent would have liked to have had their child young enough to be occasionally mistaken for their child’s sister instead of their mum.

The poll, which identified 26 as the perfect age to become a first-time mother, was commissioned by MTV for the new series of Teen Mom UK.

Amber Butler, who features in the new series, said: “These results show that whilst there are challenges with being a young mum, there are so many more positives.

“I love being able to share the experiences we do with my son, Brooklyn, and might not be able to do that if I had less energy.

“I wouldn’t change having Brooklyn at the age I did, who wouldn’t want even more time to spend with their baby.”

It also emerged 12 per cent of those who wished they became a mum earlier would have liked to have been closer in age to their offspring – so they could have gone clubbing together.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) felt "very aware" of the difference in age between themselves and other new mothers.

The research also identified 38 years old as the threshold for being regarded as an “old mum”.

However, becoming a parent at 25 or younger would officially make you a “young mum” according to those polled.

The poll suggested there is a trend for modern parents to have children later in life – half said they were older than their own mum was when they themselves became a parent.

Of those who wished they had a baby when they were younger, one in 20 (five per cent) said having a child later in life had a ‘detrimental effect’ on their relationship.

Fifteen per cent said they felt too tired to play with their new-born.

Of those who were a teen mum, 70 per cent felt older first-time mothers looked down on them – and regarded them as “less of a parent”.

Alongside the survey, MTV carried out interviews with current and former teen mums.

One of the participants, Leanne Dove, 38, from Benfleet, Essex, was 15 when she became a mother.

She said: “Becoming a teen mum made me the person I am today as I was out to prove that no matter what life throws at you – you can just deal with it.

“It is a testing journey but as a teenager, you just get on with it.”

SWNS