1. Alexlayer
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    Alexlayer New Member

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    Early Motherhood

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Alexlayer, Jul 11, 2013.

    Hi everyone. I’m new ‘round here and this is my first post ever. Here’s a question about something that for some reason I’ve been tempted to write for a while but that I feel I should get some feedback about.

    Basically, I had this crazy idea that for some reason I wanna go through that involves a 19/20 years old girl – yes, that young – suddenly feeling the urges to start a family of her own. Yeah, to get pregnant and have children…

    Now, obviously I don’t have this in mind without some sort of background to explain it. For one, she’s got a complicated relationship with the idea of family, as she never felt she really had a “solid” one. Never met her father, things with her mother were pretty complicated, and while there wasn’t really any malice from them, she could just never really get along with her uncles and grandparents. That said, she’s recently lost her grandmother, whom she rarely talked to but DID care about since she was the closest thing she had to a mother during the times her mother just wasn’t around, and yet… not even once in her life she told her that she cared for her (yeah, she’s not good with words, specially not at expressing her feelings). And now that she’s passed away, the chance is lost forever…

    Furthermore, her lover just barely escaped a very tight life-or-death situation. So basically, she’s got mortality presently engraved in the back of her mind. She doesn’t want to lose her loved ones, and wants to fully exploit the time they got together, for who knows how long that may last, and she doesn’t want another chance to be lost forever. So yeah, this is what initially plants the “I want to have a child with you mentality”.

    Now, I’m fully aware that realistically, these are far from the best reasons to start a family and I plan to acknowledge that in the story. As her partner reminds her, she’s thinking like this because of how prominent mortality is in her mind right now, not to mention they are both too young yet (like I said before, she’s either 19 or 20 years old, and her lover is just 5 years older). Even she acknowledges from the moment she starts talking about this that she may not be really thinking rationally and “part of me wants you to talk me out of this madness, and part of me hopes you agree and we may start working on this right away…”

    Ultimately, she acknowledges they’d be doing it for the wrong reasons and would very likely regret it later. Since the urge won’t go away just like that, though, while she agrees to “not now”, they concur on that, if she’s still feeling like this in over a year, they’ll consider it and start making whatever plans and preparations are required to start a family.

    And… that’s what I got so far. Now, I guess what I need to ask is, would you guys find it credible that after a whole year, she still finds herself yearning for this? Even if she got over the continuous fear of death being at every corner? What do you guys think? Is it reasonable for a woman of 20 years to be already thinking like this? For the “biological clock”, as they call it, to get to this stage so early? Anyone knows of a case such as this, met a woman who felt like this at such a young age, or maybe you’re that woman?

    Really, anything you can tell me guys would be welcome. I already thank you guys if you’ve read all this. :)
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Historically, twenty isn't all that young for having a woman's first child. Googling, I see that in the 1970s, the average age of a first-time mother was 21, while in 2010 it was still only 25. So not only is it perfectly realistic for a woman to have a child at age 20, but it may be _so_ common that it won't even serve as a plot point for you.
     
  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Nothing is unreasonable if your writing is convincing enough. I mean if we can believe and feel for a disable guy who sleeps inside a tanning machine and becomes a blue human-monkey, believing a 20 years old lady wanting to get married is nothing :)

    Biologically and mentally a twenty years old is mature enough to want to have a life partner specially when the guy is filling up the dependable and caring figure she never had in her life. I think you already covered the reasons for her decision or urge to get married. The only thing I would suggest is to not let her state the reasons for her decision, or you, the writer, stating the reasons as part of the narration: "I want to get married because ..." or "she wants to get married because..." (sorry about the blunt examples... it's for clarity's sake). Let the story flow from her childhood to the point she decides to ask her bf to get married and as I said never state the reasons because most probably she might not even know why she wants to get married. In a way, the entire story will "show" why she takes the decision and the readers will empathized when the bf tells her to wait.

    I think I am getting carried away :) I think this idea has a lot of potential to become a story with deep rooted layers and I am a sucker for such stories. Please don't hesitate to ask me for any further brainstorming.
     
  4. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Has this actually been written? I may have to plagiarize this concept.

    As to the actual topic, I know 19-year olds planning to have kids. Mostly they are members of a Lutheran movement known as Laestadianism which is opposed to birth control. It's a big sect here and now that I think of it, they all tend to marry very young and have a lot of children starting from an early age. Realistically I assume that with the motivations the original poster described, the urge would diminish with time. But people are individuals and this could definitely happen. So don't worry about this aspect of your story. The premise is simple but if well executed this could have a lot of layers. It's a chance to explore why we think like we do and how our character is defined by our past experiences and childhood.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You've made a very good case for why this particular young woman would want to have a child with this particular man, and why she wanted to do it quickly at first. They've agreed to postpone the decision—they're being sensible and rational here (either that, or he's not keen and hopes she'll forget about it eventually!)

    However, I do think that this is the point—the year later—where you should begin your story. The reasons for the delay can be worked in, but it's at the point where she makes the decision that the story probably starts. Is he still in agreement with her? Has their relationship grown stronger in the past year? Weaker? Maybe if it's grown weaker, this would make for a more interesting story. Does she end up raising the child on her own after all? Or maybe the child would bring them closer together? Or maybe he does die before the child is born? All sorts of possibilities come to mind.

    I think if you concentrate on all the waffling beforehand, the story won't really take off. It's when decision-time finally arrives that the story begins, in my opinion.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are plenty of people who have children that young. When I was pregnant and unemployed a few years ago I joined a site called Cafe Mom. Go lurk around there -- there are a lot of moms who are that age. There are websites and bulletin boards for just about every demographic and interest out there -- you can get some great fodder for stories by lurking at one of them. You may be able to find some others by googling something like "twenty year old mom" or some similar phrase.

    I think Jannert is right that your story might begin when she has the child. You've got a lot of background info here, but you need to mold it into a story.
     
  7. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Women are biologically able to have children much younger than that, certainly by the age of 14. Culturally, there are many places where women start to have children well before the age of 20, and I've known 19-20 year-olds admit they felt quite broody and couldn't wait to start a family (although in their cases, they did expect to wait a few more years).

    So, definitely not too young - just make the writing consistent and convincing.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i married a man 14 years my senior, at 19 [in 1958], had my first of 7 children at 20... as late as the early 1900s girls often married and became mothers in their mid-teens... even today, teenagers are giving birth, so your thinking 19-20 is 'too young' makes no sense to me...
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  9. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Then be prepared for a legal battle with a big movie production house. I was talking about Avatar. I like the movie :)
     
  10. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with the others that 19-20 isn't too young.

    I was born when my parents were both 19. Their parents both also had their first child before they were 20. To use a more recent example, even among my group of friends in high school there were only two girls who didn't have a child by age 19. So, reading your post, I don't understand why you feel the need to justify wanting to have a child at that age? If you make it into a big plot point it's just going to feel exaggerated.

    I watched a programme a few years ago called 「14才の母」 (read as: Juyon-sai no Haha | English: 14-year-old Mother). It gained a lot of attention despite being a very simple story: there were no strong sub-plots, the programme was as literal and straight-forward as it's title. it Despite this, it had good ratings because of the protagonist's young age. I don't think it would have worked nearly as well with an older protagonist.
     
  11. Alexlayer
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    Alexlayer New Member

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    Uhm… damn, where are my manners?


    It’s been long, but I wanted to thank you all for your comments and advices. There’s some things I’d like to reply to some comments some of you made, but I believe it might be ultimately unnecessary. The reason is, well, I think you guys have already given me all I need to pull this off, and I feel confident and capable of writing this.


    So, again, thank you all. You’ve been awesome. :)
     

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