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Five Women's Stories: When to Have a Baby

Is becoming a mom in your 20s easier or harder than it is in your mid 40s? We asked five women to share the ups and downs of having babies early, late, or somewhere in between.
first baby at 21 First Baby at 21

Carla Lehrer

Mom to Avi, 3; Aliza, 1; pregnant with third child

I met my husband, Amir, on the first day of college, and we got married in my sophomore year. By second semester, I was pregnant with Avi. I've always wanted lots of kids and saw no reason to wait -- I come from a family of five children and want at least five of my own.

I took a year off and went back to school when Avi was 10 months old. It was tough being a mom and a college student: I'd leave him with a babysitter during the day, rush home for dinner, then Amir would take over while I went back for my evening art classes. I'd do my homework in the middle of the night. By graduation I was pregnant with Aliza.

Being a young mom means that it's hard not to be selfish about my time. I used to sleep in, read, or watch TV whenever I wanted and go out with friends any night I pleased. All these freedoms go away when you're a parent.

Bouncing back after pregnancies is easier when you're younger. I've gotten down to my starting weight after each one. Two weeks after I had Aliza I was in a bridesmaid dress.

I'm happy that my kids have young grandparents -- they're all in their 50s -- and seven great-grandparents. I'm always calling my mom and mother-in-law for advice, and I also go to Facebook, where I started my own young moms group called Mommy and Me.