the truth if you’re thirty, single and longing to be a mother

In a spirit of honestly I must confess that I won’t be thirty for a few weeks yet, but stick with me, okay?

So…the truth?

A family friend just wrote it in an email,

Although you feel that you are getting older, you are still in the prime of your life.

I read those words and there was a sparkle in my heart that was a little bit like the twinkle of a fairy-godmother’s wand. It probably sounds silly to those who are thirty or older already, but I feel old these days. Having a trusted source say that I’m still young was a gift.

I’m one of those girls who always wanted to be a wife and a mother and isn’t yet and lies awake at night wondering if she’s going to be single forever.

And that makes me feel old and turning thirty feel like, well, the end of the world.

Perhaps the truth is that I’m still young. And turning thirty isn’t any more the end of the world than turning twenty-nine or thirty-one. And it’s going to be okay.

Are you 30 (or more) and single and longing to be a mother? Rest in the truth, dear sister.

So, if you’re thirty, single and longing to be a mother, this is the truth…

You still have time to become a mother.

I imagine that we’ve all read articles about the biological benefits of getting married and having babies sooner rather than later. It’s true that childbearing is only an option for a certain number of years. It’s also true that, at thirty, most of us still have time to become the mothers we long to be.

Some of us may need to hear that we have biological clocks. Choosing to reject motherhood throughout our twenties and thirties and planning on having a baby as and when it’s “convenient” in our forties is a risky game to play. Motherhood is a gift and if God gives it to us in our twenties and thirties then I believe that it’s best embraced with gratitude.

Some of us, however, surely need to hear that, at thirty, we still have time in the providence of God to meet and marry the man He has in mind and have a baby or three. It’s easy to feel old and rushed. And, certainly, my body is aging here and there in ways that it wasn’t a decade ago.

The truth, however, is that I’m not old. And, at thirty, you’re not old either.

So take a deep breath. Stop panicking. And stop reading articles that stress the risks of delaying motherhood and the signs of a ticking biological clock.

Start, instead, trusting that God has your times (and the times of your someday-future-children) in His hands and that He has, well, time to make the dream of motherhood come true.

You can still be a good mother.

I’ve never wanted to be “an old mother” and dreamed, instead, of being a mother in my teens and a grandmother in my forties. The only older mother I met when I was fifteen was terrifying. I still don’t want to be that sort of mother half my life later!

However, there’s another story.

I’ve recently met a couple of older mothers. In their forties, they have a couple of young children each, but no older children yet. And they’re lovely mothers: mature and mellow and sweet. Their age and experience are gifts that inform their mothering, deepening their appreciation, softening their impatience. Their children are happy and lively and intelligent.

Some women are devoted, sacrificial mothers at nineteen and they tell a beautiful story with their lives and mothering.

But those of us who are, well, older maybe need to look to other women as role models for motherhood. We need to recognise (or ask God to reveal) older women with young children who tell a different-but-beautiful story with their lives and mothering. The truth is that it’s possible to be a good mother at any age.

I’ll never be the young mother I dreamed of being, but by the grace of God, I can still be a good mother. You can still be a good mother. Someday we may be some of those mothers with giggling toddlers and silver strands in our hair. It’s different, maybe, from what we dreamed, but it’s good and beautiful.

And you practise for motherhood while you wait.

I’m pretty sure that the moment that a woman becomes a mother through bearing a child is beautiful and miraculous in a way that no other moment can be, but I also believe that all women are created with life-bearing, life-nurturing hearts. I used to think that it was easier, when some of my friends were having their third babies and I didn’t even have “a special guy in my life”, to ignore babies and pretend that “I’m not all that good with children”.

I was wrong.

I still don’t have “a special guy in my life” and one of my friends is having her fifth baby. It’s unspeakably hard to wait for motherhood with a sweet spirit. I believe now, at almost thirty, that it’s actually easier to wait while practising for motherhood now.

I think it’s time to stop pretending that we can’t spot a baby a mile away with the naked eye.

It’s time to start opening our eyes and hearts to the children, the need, the opportunities in our homes, our churches, our communities. Churches always want more volunteers for the nursery and Sunday School classes. Schools usually like mature and responsible people who can give a few hours a week to help with literacy and numeracy. You don’t have to go abroad or intercity to find children who need mothering.

It’s not the same. No. I understand that…I really, truly, cross my heart do.

But the day that a little girl from a broken home smiled at me and said, “I love you,” was a day that undid me in the best way. It wasn’t because I needed to hear a lisping voice say those words. It’s because all I’d done for this little one, for just half a year, was plait her hair and chat with her about the everything and nothing of a four-year-old’s world and make an effort to speak life and love and laughter into her heart. That’s all. And, for her, all that was love.

We don’t have to wait for a guy, a ring and a baby of our own to give from our life-bearing, life-nurturing hearts. And when we do give from our hearts, we become more the women we’re created to be, because we reflect the heart of God. I like to think we’re also practising for the day when we become mothers in every sense of the word.

So, dear thirty, single and longing to be a mother, don’t give up hope. Don’t believe the lie from the enemy of your soul that you’re old and it’s already too late. Believe that God can still, if He so wills, give you the desires of your heart and that He’s given you a mother-heart for a reason.

Photo by Jenni Marie Photography

More encouragement for your mother-heart:


  1. I’m late to the party 2021), but I’m about to be 33 with no husband or babies in sight. Thank you for sharing truth!

  2. HI Elisabeth,

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I just turned 30 in September of 2015 and I’m feeling like the biological clock is ticking, and ticking fast! Thank you for reminding me that I am not old and that I still have time! In the last few years, I’ve been seeing kids that I used to know who are now getting married and either have babies or are expecting them. Seeing all that makes me feel old and that my hour glass will soon run out of sand. You have shown me that my thinking on that is wrong. Thank you for reminding me that I can practice motherhood while I wait for my own kids. I actually work with kids in our community and at my women’s bible study that I attend from September to early May. I was a Children’s Leader for a year a few years back. My philosophy has been that if I don’t have any children of my own, then the kids I work with will be my “kids”, but of course, I kind of feel like they are my kids now. As for me, being married and a mother was never the end all to my world, but I certainly would like to have a little one of my own, and the right man who tells me he can’t live without me. I never wanted to be a first time mother in my 40’s, but if that’s the way God plans it, then I’m certainly cool with that! I have always said that I would rather be single and in God’s will, than to be married and not in God’s will.

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    Many Blessings!

  3. Thank you for these words! I don’t think we can ever do too much encouraging of each other! My own mother married at 29, had 4 daughters in her 30s and a son in her 40s. She is more energetic and still has more drive than many younger women I know!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s story, Sarah, it started my day with a smile! πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you so much, Elisabeth, for telling us girls that “there is still time.” I will be turning 30 this October so what a timely article! I also appreciated your challenge to use our nurturing hearts in loving children as a ministry. You’re right…there are so many hurting children who just need to be loved. Thank you again!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Katheryn, you are more than welcome! πŸ™‚ I was so encouraged when my friend assured me (admittedly in other words, as quoted) that there is still time and it’s my pleasure to share that encouragement with others. It’s nice to hear from another 30-in-2014 girl too!

  5. This was a super encouraging read for me today. Not only is tomorrow Mother’s Day, but my brother is within a week of getting married, one sister is engaged, and another is dating, and they’re all younger than me! But God is bigger than statistics, and He has our good in mind at every point!

    1. Amen, yes, our God is bigger than statistics! πŸ™‚ I know it’s hard when younger siblings “overtake” though. May God give you grace. And a beautiful surprise sometime soon! πŸ™‚

      1. I’ve always thought KG should run an article on trying to live gracefully after your younger siblings have overtaken you and are married. Especially when it’s your younger sisters.

        It’s so hard not to sit down and sob and try to think of where you went wrong, what’s wrong with you and what you could’ve done differently when you find yourself in such a position, to be honest.

  6. Thank you, Elisabeth, for taking the time to write from your heart on a subject close to many other single girls’ hearts! I know that I seek to trust the Lord fully for His plan for my life, but sometimes I honestly am one of those girls in her late twenties who lays in her bed at night wondering if she will still meet a godly man to marry and raise children with. Thank you for encouraging us in the Lord to keep trusting and waiting and serving in the meantime … I don’t want to waste my single years! God bless you and all our single sisters. And praise the Lord for our married sisters who are examples and blessings to us too!

    1. You’re so welcome, Anna, truly. I feel for you for those late nights of wondering. May God give you faith and hope and love in abundance for Him and others as you work with Him to make this season of your life beautiful.

  7. You definitely still have time! I have several friends having their first babies at closer to 40, and NOT because they planned it that way or had been career-oriented or something. That was when God made it happen for them.

    In my church there is a 21 year old first-time mother, a 41 yr old, and a 31 yr old (me!). There is definitely a difference. I think a lot of times I can relate better to the moms who are 30+. I enjoy how “seasoned” they are spiritually. I love what you wrote about toddlers and silver hairs! πŸ™‚ There are some consequences and at this point I can’t imagine having 6 kids like I used to dream about. But you never know! I’m still in my “prime,” right? πŸ™‚

    I’ve heard younger moms say they’re glad that they “had their babies” when they were young, or something to that effect. Well, I’m happy for them too, but not all of us had that option. I personally am glad God is writing my story and knows best.

    And yes, I have a lot less time for other people’s children now…no more teaching Sunday school or anything at the moment. I still like children, but my heart is too occupied right now. My child comes first.

    1. It’s good to hear another young women say “you still have time” – thank you for sharing your heart, Elizabeth, it’s a great blessing! You’ve been an encouragement to me over the years. Reading about your marriage and family on your blog is lovely. (Although I rarely comment. Sorry about that … is it better if I say that I rarely comment on any blogs?!? πŸ™‚ )

  8. So much encouragement here! I love the reminder that some women need to hear about their biological clocks, but others need to be reminded that they still have time. My personal concern about the bio-push is that some women would develop such concern that they would make unwise marriage choices. Its so much better to be a little older than the dream, and in a healthy marriage, than to rush something for fear of a ticking clock. Thank you for your wise words!

    1. Amen to that, Callie. Better to be single than having regrets of making an unwise marriage choice. I know that God’s timing is perfect for me and it’s exciting to see what He is doing in my life and where He is leading me now.

  9. Thank you so much for this!

    As a 27-year-old with a recent breakup with the man I thought I’d be marrying this year…your words are echoes of the hope of my own heart that often is crushed by well-meaning people, articles, etc.–or just the plain old lies of the Evil One.

    I agree with so much of what you’ve said…the “older” moms I so admire, the wisdom and experience I’ve gained in these single years, the trust in God’s plan and timing…

    Reading your words was such an affirmation of hope.

    1. I know what you’re going through Laura…my husband and I broke up for a year and a half before reuniting and marrying. I cannot begin to explain how rich my time with God was in those months though it was hard to get through my frustration and anger. He has an amazing plan for your life (I hate cliches but at least this one’s true!). Hold on sister!

      1. Rachel,

        Thank you so much for replying to my comment! It really touched me– and you’re allowed to say cliche things because you’ve been there! πŸ˜‰ And you’re right that it’s true…somehow despite the overwhelming emotions, I do have a deep sense God is in control…thank you again for sharing a bit– it stirs my hope and faith in our good God, that He uses everything and does have a beautiful plan.

    2. Aww, Laura, I’m so sorry. Rachel wrote you such a beautiful reply, I don’t want to spoil it by trying to same thing in my own words πŸ™‚ , I just want to encourage you to wait and trust and hope. I know it’s hard. But the God of hope is watching over every detail of your life with love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *