I found some data that shows the average age for a first-time mother in 2002 (dated, I know) was 25. By 2009, I bet it has risen to at least 27. In 1970, the average age was 21. I found these numbers from this article. Nevertheless, the average age isn't 35 like all these commercials and tv shows lead you to believe! Where are the responsible, mature 24 year old couples with children on tv? Nowhere. The closest you get is "Engaged and Underage" on MTV which depicts foolish, immature teenage couples who get married. Some because they already have a baby with their "baby daddy". It's sad.
I used to think that the church as a whole was supportive of young couples who wanted to marry early and were open to the possibility of children early in their marriage. But it seems lots of Christians have adopted a pretty secular philosophy of marriage and children. What this looks like practically is: date a really long time before you get engaged, and when you do get engaged make it for at least a year, don't have kids soon because kids are such a burden and you want to be free to enjoy each other and be carefree, also they will limit a woman's ability to pursue a career. This advice does not support Godly young people who want to get married and it does not view children as a blessing and the natural product of marital intimacy. I'm speaking from experience, children do limit your ability to just pick up and go! We can't go on a spontaneous road trip and visit out friends whenever we want. But we get to parent a little boy who loves us and that is the biggest privilege and joy. Children don't mean that you won't get to enjoy each other, we enjoy each other more than we ever have! Truthfully, I think adolescence is extended *way* too long in our culture. Men are allowed to act like boys well into their thirties. College behavior is encouraged instead of adult responsibility. Marriage, children and anything that ties you down is discouraged and a selfish, "it's all about me mentality" is encouraged.
I'm just saying, as a 23 year old married, Christian woman with a baby, I feel underrepresented and often stereotyped by society. People assume that because of our age we are stupid and financially irresponsible. It's okay that I'm underrepresented. I know that I am in the minority. However, I do think that as Christians it is so very easy to let secular thinking permeate our minds without us even realizing it. This trend of delayed marriage and childbirth *can* have some disturbing motives when the layers are really peeled back and examined. I'm not saying there is a one size fits all approach for marriage and childbirth, or if you get married and have children later in life you have nefarious motives. God has a plan for every family and I know that His timing is different for different people. But, this is clearly a trend in our culture and I think Christians must always evaluate cultural trends through the filter of God's word. This is an interesting topic. Feel free to weigh in here and share your opinion.
In the meantime, Gerber, if you're reading...feel free to contact my family to represent the twenty-somethings with kids!