Anika was 25 when she had her daughter, now aged five
When I was growing up, if anyone had asked when I wanted to have a baby, I’d probably have pitched a guess at ‘in my twenties’. But when the time came, I was nowhere near ready. I was just building up my career, I was still insecure about who I was, I was going out all the time and was nowhere near the fully-formed adult I’d imagined I might be by that point.

It was an accident, but not a mistake. I knew within days. I took several tests and finally the result showed – that potent blue cross on the plastic stick. And I freaked. After crying for hours, I finally rang my boyfriend. He was in shock, and though he never said it outright, I think he was expecting I’d get an abortion. So did some of my friends – none of us were anywhere near the ‘having babies’ stage. But have a termination was an option for me – what if it never happened again for us?

I was just building up my career, I was still insecure about who I was… it was an accident, but not a mistake

Soon the hormones kicked in and I started to feel really excited, as well as totally terrified. But I think that happens no matter what age you are. One of my friends from antenatal classes who was in her forties said the same thing: some people never feel fully grown-up.

It’s annoying when people say ‘it’s alright for you, you’re so young’, because running around after kids, juggling work and life – especially when you’re in the middle of establishing your career – and missing out on having children at the same time as your friends, which is what happened for us, is difficult regardless of how old you are. Especially if you’re not earning much money and can’t afford to buy in help. Sometimes it’s brutal, especially now when I see how much further a lot of my friends are now in their careers, having not taken time out.

I think these things are tough and amazing in different ways, no matter what age you are. But I like knowing I’ll be younger as the kids hit their teens

But I’m also really happy it happened when it did because I didn’t have to make that decision, and now my boyfriend is the best dad ever. He’s more relaxed than I am. Having kids in your twenties means less pressure to have the next one in quick succession, and I feel sad when I see friend who are now in their thirties thinking about freezing their eggs or intentionally becoming single mums, because they haven’t found the right person.

I think these things are tough and amazing in different ways, no matter what age you are. But I do like knowing I’ll be younger as the kids hit their teens, so then I can hopefully reclaim some of the social life I gave up to have them!

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