With the average age of first-time parents over 30 and rising, having kids in your 20s is increasingly unusual. So what is it like swapping nights out with friends, for endless night feeds?
When she was a teenager, Maya Dupre wanted more than anything to be an actor, like her idol, Emma Watson. By the age of 19, Dupre, from Leicester, was performing in local productions, and attending the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama on weekends. But when she unexpectedly got pregnant, her plans changed. I had to put things on hold, she says.
Although she quickly accepted her new reality, not everyone around her did. One family party, when Dupre was about four months pregnant, stands out. Her bump was showing, and a family member pulled her aside to express their dismay. They said: Oh, its such a shame: you had such a bright future ahead of you, Dupre recalls. That really annoyed me, because it wasnt a shame. It was a massive blessing. The comment left her feeling really low, but it also made her determined to prove them wrong.
Dupre is now 22, and mother to 18-month-old daughter Ayana. She and her partner Biniam look back fondly on the time before Ayana was born, when their lives changed dramatically. We always reminisce about when it was the two of us and how different it was. They rarely go out, but Dupre is content. My dreams have changed, but Im equally happy.
Dupres story is striking because of the gradual decline in British people having children in their 20s. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average age of mothers and fathers continues to rise: 55% of first-time mothers in 2017 were aged 30 and over, up from 43% in 1997; 69% of fathers were over 30, up from 60% in 1997. This trend is particularly pronounced among professionals, where the average age of mothers is between 31.7 and 33.5. Meanwhile, teen pregnancy rates have halved in the past decade.
But this tendency to have babies later in life, if at all, isnt necessarily a cause for celebration: an ageing population that is living longer, thanks to advances in modern medicine, combined with fewer adults entering the labour force as a result of our falling birth-rate, creates the risk of an economic timebomb.