When is the right time to have a child?

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Five Babies are born every minute in the United States (1920)
I want to be an offbeat mom. It has been my plan to grow up, get married, and have kids. Now at twenty-seven, I feel like I’m behind on all of the above and wonder how one “knows” when it is the right time to have a child. Or, is there no right time?

Many parents inform me that if you “wait until you are ready” it “will never happen.” The general consensus is that parents make their families work regardless of the obstacles presented to them. Am I being foolish by waiting until I feel financially secure before reproducing?

Ariel says…

Such a great question. I’ve got a slightly warped perspective on the matter, since it took me five years of trying to finally conceive — five years where we saved up and made sure we felt really financially ready to have a child.

I think back to when I first started wanting a baby at age 25, and I compare my earning potential then (I was making $500/month editing a rave magazine) vs. now (if I wanted to go back to corporate life, I’d be interviewing for Marketing Manager jobs at Micro$oft) and I feel like … maybe one silver lining of infertility was that it forced me to wait — and while I waited, I worked and saved.

But given the option, would I have had the baby in my mid-20s? YES. A million times yes. Not to get all OMG TICKING BIOLOGICAL CLOCK on you, but there’s no denying that conception and birth are usually easier in your 20s than your 30s.

Then again, as someone who’s worked on her career for over a decade, I also gotta say it’s really nice to have a solid foundation to support my family. Not that I couldn’t have gotten to this point if I’d had a child at 25, but any young working mother will tell you — it’s no walk in the park.

I’m not sure I have a clear answer — on a certain level I do agree with your parents. There’s no perfect time, and especially with the way Americans think about money … there’s NEVER enough. And the baby industrial complex looooooves to tell you that babies cost a freaking fortune, when the reality is that thanks to handmedowns and second-hands and ingenuity, you just don’t need 90% of the crap you worry about needing to save for. Then again, it’s nice to be putting money into my son’s college fund.

But! I’m just one perspective (mid-30s, infertility sufferer, middle class, etc). What about Stephanie, a mom in her 20s?

Stephanie says…

I love this question! While I totally understand your motivations to wait until you’re financially secure, in my experience, financial security isn’t always…quite so secure. As Ariel said, you quickly discover that babies don’t require NEARLY as much as the media and other parents make you think they do, and you can find some really awesome stuff second-hand or at thrift stores and estate sales. In fact, I’d say the first 12 months are pretty easy on the wallet–you’d be amazed by the deals you can find online! I think the toddler years will prove to be a bit more pricey, but that’s because of decisions we’re making for Jasper (putting him in Montessori, mostly) that aren’t decisions every parent chooses to make.

Sean and I conceived Jasper while still in college–intentionally. I got pregnant in August, and we graduated in December. Granted, we did think that it would take a little bit longer than our first try to make a baby, but we were thinking months, not years. My point: we had always discussed that IF we had children in the first place, we would have them young. This wasn’t something we spent weeks or months debating — it was kind of something we just knew. If it was going to happen, we wanted to do it now, and not later.

Pre-graduation, neither of us had a truly realistic idea of what the outside world would be like, job-wise. Both of us had worked part-time jobs for years (since age 15) and a variety of places (fast food, waiting tables, coffee shops, etc.), but we had never really tried to get full-time employment. Fast forward to graduation, a cross-country move, and discovering no one will hire a woman who is a fresh graduate (with a Sociology degree, no less) and 20 weeks pregnant in a recession, and BOOM. Instant “male has to get a job and FAST” scenario.

This didn’t exactly pan out the way we thought it would, and after moving BACK across the country, things got a little better. Neither of us are making tons of money (I work from home as a photographer & OBM editor, while Sean is a student and works part-time on-campus), but we’re also really great planners and savers.

We don’t spend money while out much (the baby really helps there, as well, and we tend to go to more free things than we used to), and we definitely don’t eat out–we cook and eat nearly all of our meals at home. On top of that, we’re very food-conscious, and don’t buy a lot of junk food when we’re at the store. Budgeting can be your BEST friend, and also allow you to still do really fun things and travel — you just have to stay aware of what you do and do not have.

And finally, I hate to echo what you’ve already heard, but I am a firm believer in the “no time is THE right time” philosophy of child-bearing — or maybe that should be “every time is THE right time,” since I like to keep it upbeat. I listened to my body, which was screaming “BABY. NOW. WOMAN.”, and Sean agreed, and that was the most thought we put into conceiving. This probably isn’t a path most people are comfortable with, but we’re not big schedulers or planners — just pretty decent budgeters.

And so, there are two perspectives — one from a 30-something mom who waited (albeit against her choice) and one from a 20-something mom who didn’t. Offbeat Mamas, what say you? Is there a RIGHT time to have a child?

Comments on When is the right time to have a child?

  1. I’m about to be 24, been married almost a year and am starting to get the baby crazies. My husband, on the other hand, is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I know we’re young, but my parents had me young, so I think I just have that in my head to be a young(ish) parent… His parents had his brother and sister very young, but were in their early 30s when they had him. They’ve always tried to instill in him to wait. His brother is 34 and just had his first child.
    It almost seems like my husband is having a mid-life crisis early. He just got an office job after working retail since high school and seems to be wanting to save up, move across the country and open our own business. He wants to travel to a million places and do all these things before we get pregnant. I try to tell him that having a baby isn’t the end of our lives, but he seems to think it is.
    I’m willing to wait because I know we’re still young, I just don’t want to wait until I’m 30…

    • The first time I was TTC, I was 20 and engaged. My partner was 25 and mid way through his undergrad. We both brought home enough money that our very basic needs were taken care of. We were living in a part of the country that is very expensive, away from all of our family, so we knew we’d move back asap after his graduation. We didn’t have a lot of money,or a house, or family to help- but what we did have was time and love. When I was 20, I wasn’t knee deep in a career, and having to struggle with taking time off (and being penalized professionally) to spend with my child. I’d be able to give my child all my attention and not have any of the guilt.

      Now, there’s more money, a house, a different husband, different worries. I worry that if we wait, it’ll be even harder to conceive. I want to travel, eat unpasturized cheese and sushi and drink liberally. I want use my season lift tickets. I like having a flat stomach and sleeping late. And I don’t think I’ll stop liking those things at any point.

      But I also want a baby. I want a baby now! But as far as actively trying, I don’t know. I can’t quite take the plunge. I think a lot of it is fear, since I’ve lost a baby and I’m afraid of being hurt again. We’ve decided that any baby that comes our way we’re keeping. And I can see how much my partner wants a baby. But how can anyone ever know when the right time is?

  2. I have a 3 y/old daughter from a previous relationship (who my Danny actually now considers his own 🙂 ) but Dan and I are very keen to have more children. Our reason for waiting is, well, me. I would be at high risk of gestational diabetes, Pre- eclampsia and a raft of other obesity related issues. It is really hard for us to stick to it because babies are all around us at the moment reminding us of what we could have (not to mention the small girl’s desperation for a sister!) but I feel I have to stick to my guns because the possible risks to our child are not ones I’m willing to take.

    • my future husband and i have made it a requirement to ourselves that we wait until we’re both in good physical condition before we have children. this is great in two ways: first, that by the time the kid is around we’d have healthy eating habits and the ability to chase after them without getting easily exhausted and second, it’s going to be a long time until we actually reach that point. i hate going to the gym and if a baby is my reward than i think i’ll be able to put up with it willingly.

  3. As echoed, I think there is no “right” time to have a baby…it’s really based on each individual experience. We’re all in different places financially, emotionally, relationship-wise, at different ages… Some of my friends in their 30’s and 40’s regret not having kids sooner, some are glad they waited. I had two abortions (age 20 and 21) before getting pregnant again at 23 and having that baby. All three pregnancies were with my (now) husband…the difference in my decision wasn’t based on my age but where I was in my life. After some enormous growing pains and shift if my attitude, at age 23, I knew I could handle having a baby no matter what our financial situation was. After my daughter was born, we purposely decided to have another child only 18 months after my daughter was born because we wanted to get out of the SAHM “baby-phase” more quickly so I could finish my last year of college and build a career once they are both in school. No right way to go about it. This is just what worked out well for us…

  4. OMG, I’m feeling serious guilt here…

    I’m 27, my husband is 29 and we’ve been together for 4 years now. I always said that I wouldn’t turn 30 without a baby/pregnancy, and that was my limit. We moved in together in the summer of 2008, right before it all went boom. My husband secured a very basic salary for our country, and I was trying to make it as a freelance… which is not going great bc my field has not recovered at all. Still, he insists that I keep trying to work on my work-from-home freelance career while he brings a regular paycheck home. We make it work, we even go on camping trips a couple times a year, but that’s about it. We changed my “mommy-deadline” to “when we own a place or when I turn 29”, whichever came first.

    Last week, however, we started talking. We really want kids. We want maybe 3. And we don’t want to wait until we’re 40.

    We have no guarantee that we’ll be in a better situation in 2 or even 5 years. We know we can provide our children with everything they may need – we have very supportive families who would provide if we needed it, but also enjoy 100% free healthcare, 100% free education and with me working from home, everything would be easier… Granted, we may not be able to buy 200 toys, the baby would have to share his/her nursery with my office… but we both know we can make it work. My aunt has already packed my little cousin’s stroller, car seat, sling, everything for us!

    So, when we realised we have no “real” reason to wait, I went to the doc, got my folic acid and planned the farewell to the pill. It should happen at the end of August. Then, we’d wait a month -doctor’s suggestion- and then go for it. And the more I think about it, the more I start coming up with “but we wanted to get a scooter to go downtown… we won’t be able to do that anymore” “but we wanted to do a round-Europe rail trip!” “but we wanted to move to Germany for a while -my in-laws have a place there, but no space for 3, barely for 2-” “but we live far from our families now, we wanted to wait until we were closer to them” “but I don’t want to lose our scrabble evenings” “but…” “but…” “but…” I actually think is my I-can’t-deal-with-change mind making up silly excuses, but I can’t stop it! I really, really want children. And soon. But once we take that step, there’s no way out, and I’m so bad with change! I cried the night before we bought new sofas for our place because I couldn’t part with the ones we had had for the previous 12 months… ¬¬

  5. Wow, the comments are still going on this! My hubby and I have been married for about seven years, I’m 26 and he’s 30. The whole time we’ve known each other we said we wouldn’t want a kid, but now we are starting to think it could be a possibility in the future. If we do decide to have a kid, I’d like to do it in my 40s. I have SO much more life I want to live before having a kid, but I also don’t think I would want to leave this world without being a mom. I’m sure I will get loads of crap about being old, but I’m used to getting “advice” about everything (goth, pagan, raw vegans usually do).

    This whole thinking of a possibility of a kid is so weird and foreign to me. Are there any moms out there who had their first kiddo in their 40s?

    • I have two girls; one was a happy surprise (single at 20) and one was planned (married at 26). There were a lot of challenges at both points in my life, but I found a way to make it work. It’s really amazing how things fall into place sometimes 🙂

      There’s a lady at work who is 38 and pregnant with her first child. She jokes about how she feels so old and can’t believe that when I’m her age I’ll have an 18 year old (AHHH!). It’s working out for her and she and her husband couldn’t be happier.

  6. I think this has a different answer for each future mom and each couple. Sorry, dad’s, but I personally think it is the woman who should have most control over timing when to have children, because it is her body! My career is very important to me, and I felt like my choices were to either have a child before it really got off the ground (i.e. while still finishing my PhD), or wait until after I had tenure somewhere (which would mean waiting until my late 30s or early 40s). I chose to have them early. By the time I’m 46, my youngest will be 18 and on their way out of their house to start their own adult life – I like that! I feel that having children slows your career momentum, whenever you have them. If I waited until I was really building my reputation, I think it would have felt like an interruption and I would have felt resentful. Instead, now I see my children getting older, and I’m getting my momentum back. Having kids in my mid twenties was the right choice for me. (PS I did not stay home with my kids…even if you keep working, having children means you have new priorities in your life, and I think this is, or at least should be, true for dads as well as moms)

  7. I have 2 sons and I am nearing 21. Both of my sons were created in a very loving and committed relationship and even though I had them young I don’t feel as if they have ever gone without. BUT not everyone is good with going with the flow. We are just really easy going people and so it was completely cool that our children came out of nowhere and that I was hardly an adult when my eldest was born. You have to ask yourself how much you need to be in control of every situation and decide from there.

  8. We’ve decided to start trying this month (my ovulation is coming up in less than a week!). Where we are: house is almost paid off, mortgage is low. I work for an ob/gyn practice and my husband is getting unemployment and going to school. We have a HUGE support system in our friends and family. Could we both have full time jobs? Sure. Could we have a bigger savings? Always. Are we mentally ready to raise a human life and prepared for it to be occasionally difficult? Absolutely.

    We had a miscarriage in January. That was a suprise pregnancy, but we felt as though we had found our calling, like the pieces finally fit. That was bad timing – it was my first ovulation after getting off the IUD, I had sustained an injury that I was on numerous painkillers and steroids for (there was talk of surgery). I was kinda bummed, so I wasn’t careful with food and I spent most of my time in bed. Now, my periods have been regular, and I’m going that extra step with eating very healthy and exercising. It’s easier to conceive (not to mention much better for baby when you do) if you’re healthy.

    Guess my point is: if you’re healthy and mentally prepared, go for it 🙂

  9. I think you know when the right time is (if you are planning a pregnancy). I was 19 and had been married for a year when I just knew that I wanted a baby and I could handle it if we conceived. My husband was going into the Air Force so we said, if I get pregnant before he leaves, good. If I don’t, that’s fine too. Well I did! He missed the entire pregnancy, which sucked, but he was there for our daughter’s birth. After she was born, I finished my first degree, moved to where my husband was stationed, and got my second degree. I couldn’t be more thankful that I had my daughter when I did. She gave me motivation and allowed me to focus in a way I wasn’t before getting pregnant. Looking back on it (she is 4 1/2 years old) it probably wasn’t when most people would plan to have a child, usually people are accidentally pregnant at 19 or married young and plan to stay at home. It just seemed like when I thought of parenting, I knew I could handle it. It worked for our family and we are still making it work. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  10. As a 25 year old getting ready to have my 3rd child I say, if it’s something you and your partner know you want, go for it! I met hubby when I was 18 and after 3 months of dating we had the kids/family/future talk. Shortly after (to the horror of my very Catholic family) we moved in together and shortly before my 20th birthday we were pregnant and getting married. No one had high expectations for us (I dropped out of college to have babies and hubby had no idea what career path he wanted) but here we are, paying the mortgage each month on hubby’s lineman apprentice salary and watching our happy, healthy family grow. If a family is something you truly want you will find a way to make it work no matter when it happens. That’s the beauty of being a woman- we adapt!

  11. My husband is 25, and I turn 25 next month. This September will make 5 years that my husband and I have been together and 2 years that we have been married…and my biological clock has been screaming babies for at least a year already. We both graduated from a university in 2009 with grand ideas that we would work within our chosen fields right away. Unfortunately, both of our chosen fields are government run/funded/public service kind of fields, and there aren’t so many of those kinds of jobs out there right now. We both have gone through a period of disenchantment and bitterness about working at way-less-than-ideal-jobs. For almost the last year, my husband and I made a deal that before we have kids we both have to feel at least kind of secure in our jobs, and I want to be healthy and in good shape. Now, we have both recently been promoted, and are doing jobs that are at least tolerable if not likely sustainable from an interest/growth perspective, and I have worked out at least 3x a week for the last 15 weeks. So, based on that things are looking good right?! Now we are talking about starting to try to have a baby around our anniversary in a couple of months. We shall see!

  12. After moving across the country and hooking up with an old friend (now baby daddy, and future husband)at 23, I was having the time of my life. We worked hard (trying to save so I could go back and complete school), and partied harder. We lived 30 yards from the best live music/ bar in town and we loved our crappy CHEAP apartment with ivy growing through the walls. Then Dec. 1st I peed on the stick. Then I peed on another stick, and started crying. Through a lot of tears and encouraging words from my partner we decided to have our baby. Sure I was an unwed, waitress, college drop out, not to mention I was on the COMPLETELY opposite side of the country to any family, but I new we could do it. And the fist thing my zen master Dad told me when I shared the news was “there is no right time”. He was right, my son is the best thing that ever happened to me! Sure it is frustrating struggling because we did everything backwards but I have faith in us.

  13. i’d always thought i’d do the “responsible” thing — finish schooling, establish myself in a job so i can return to it, be settled somewhere for a while.

    only, i’m in medical school and getting a master’s degree, which is 5 years, then 3-4 more for residency, then maybe 1 more for fellowship, and looking at the lifestyle after all of that, we decided to start trying NOW, in school, when i still have the flexibility to take a year off and stay home with the kid, wean them, all that.

    not telling that to too many people who know me in real life, though…people would just think we’re nuts. =/

    • Actually, we’re not telling anyone either. We know we’d get MANY “you’re crazy” “That’s just irresponsible” but I work as a freelance translator and proofreader from home, which means my clients have thousands of freelancers just a Google search away. If I am to take a few months leave, I’d rather take it now that I don’t have that many clients than wait until the business is back on full swing and potentially lose many clients and a lot more money. Also, having 100% free healthcare and childcare sure helps deciding, too 🙂

      Katie, I’m so glad to have read your comment about not telling… I’m already thinking about ways to admit “no, this wasn’t really an accident” once the deed is done.

  14. I have to say that I love this post and it’s pretty comforting because my desire to have a baby has felt a little overwhelming. I mean, my husband and I just had a really rough summer financially with a roommate bailing into the wilderness (literally) and leaving us witha mound of unpaid bills and still it’s like my body is screaming ZOMG I MUST FILL MY WOMB!!! This feeling hasn’t gone away in several months so as much as I want to just attribute it to a weird month of too many hormones or something, I think it’s here to stay.

  15. I went through a period of intense “OMG I NEED A BABY NOW” feelings, but those have subsided now and I feel ready. My husband feels ready, too. I think my argument that no time is THE right time finally clicked with him. We are both 25, have been together for 5 years and married for 2, and I have one week of birth control left before we start trying to conceive.

    I know my in-laws would like to see us wait and go to grad school before we have a baby, and my parents just want to see us do whatever we think is best for us- whatever that means. I know there are a lot of things we don’t have figured out yet, but for every single thing we don’t have an answer to, there is something else that we are confident and sure about. So, here we go!

  16. i am a sophomore in college at age 27. ( cant make up my mind what i want to do. i just know i don’t want to do what i am doing forever ). but i desperately want a child. we are on month 5 and still no go. i know I’ll never have what the average American has. i just know what i want. and i know I’ll get it one day.

  17. I am in a situation of “should I?” right now. Although, my life seems to be much more all over the place than most. I am currently separated (for a year now), working on the divorce soon. I have a 2.5 year old son (planned) with my soon-to-be ex. I have a wonderful boyfriend, whom I’ve known since I was 13. And last night, I found out I am pregnant, and by accident. I don’t know what the right choice is. I know my family and his will be disappointed. Not mad, but not happy. We aren’t set financially. And with the cost of daycare, I’m not sure we would make it. But I’m 28, and I don’t know if I can give the baby up either. I’m between “No, we can’t handle a baby” and “We’ll figure out a way”. I actually have an appointment at the abortion clinic, and I have an application in for Medicaid. (I can’t afford my work’s insurance.) I don’t know if there’s a right answer. But I have a lot to think about.

  18. I’m looming on 23, and yes it honestly feels like ‘looming’. We had an ‘unplanned’ turn to ‘miscarriage’ 3 weeks ago. Our ‘unplanning’ is ‘not actively charting cycles’ though, because although my health insurance for pregnancy doesn’t kick in for another 10 months, a happy accident is honestly what I am praying for. I’ll be eligible for maternity leave in 6 months, and in Australia I can go through the public system at little cost if need be. My body is literally shrieking at me to have babies, and I really, really want to be a young mum. Hubby is nearly 27, and it quite happy to have kids when I want, but doesn’t have NOW NOW NOW screaming at him from his manly bits. Is it just me, or are womanly bits a heck of a lot more chatty? GAH!

  19. For me, if you are in love with your guy… there is no wrong time to have a baby. Money, status, house, career… none of those things matter because you can have it “all” and end up with a nightmare of a kid or you can have “nothing” and end up with a gem.

    My husband and I have been together since highschool. We had 4 kids by the time we were 26. We have lived in big houses and small, had tons of money and had none…. but we raised 4 awesome kids. Our daughter is 18 and out on her own… she is here often and we have had some amazing talks about her reflections on growing up. My sons all work with their dad in our Blacksmith shop and each of them is such an individual… from my 16 yr old, that rides a street bike to school everyday, all year long in Wisconsin, to my 13 yr old guitar player with blond hair down to his butt, to my 12 yr old “farm boy” who works in the field all summer with a farmer’s market grower.

    And, as I have recently had my IUD removed after 12 years…. They are all having super fun helping me pick names for the twin girls we are working on conceiving! Wish us luck!

  20. My husband and I are 27 and 28 (married for 3 years). About 2-3 years ago in grad school, I started having baby fever but my husband was not ready yet because we were not financially or emotionally ready to support our same lifestyle with a baby (he is also a musician, but we’ve given up on that paying the bills). Now that I’m done with grad school, we own our home, have amazing health insurance, and both have a career in technology on the fast track of breaking $100k by the time we’re 30, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem like the right time even though my husband is now “ready whenever I am.”

    I eventually want kids no doubt, but at what point does a woman take the plunge if they have successful career? Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, says that we need to “lean in” to our careers and not “leave before we leave.” Meaning that women so often stop trying to get promoted the second after they start thinking about having a baby.

    I’m currently focusing on “leaning in” and once I get the next promotion, perhaps I’ll think it’s time. But by then, I will have likely added additional things to my to do list before having a baby, like traveling, buying a bigger house, and being ready to give up our wine bars, fine dining and live music scene.

    On the other hand, I have 3 older friends in their mid thirties who wish they would have done it in their 20s. Two of them have serious fertility issues and are likely not going to be able to conceive at all. The other has a husband who just isn’t ready and doesn’t understand that the biological timeclock of a 36 year old woman is ticking fast!

    In a way, I envy those of you who happened to get pregnant by accident in your 20s before your career took off. Now I have the stress of planning and trying to figure out what really is the perfect time.

    Ugh. Why can’t we have it all? 🙂

    • I think that “leave before you leave” isn’t a definite. If anything, I’ve been more focused on my career since getting pregnant (I was awesome at my job prior to being knocked up, I’ve been awesome while knocked up – despite the many pregnancy symptoms that have plagued me – and I will be every bit as awesome once I’m back from maternity leave). Being pregnant, knowing I will be going on maternity leave, hasn’t hurt my ability to get promoted.

      Maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones, but I think we can have it all 🙂

      • Shelly, that is awesome to hear! Very encouraging. Just wondering, how many weeks are you taking off for maternity leave? As you likely know, in the US, you are only legally allowed 6 weeks of time where your employer cannot fire you. Lucky for me, I work for a European company that offers extended maternity leave by allowing you to use your saved up vacation time. Is 12 weeks enough? I don’t see how most working women in America do it in 6 weeks.

        • FMLA allows 12 weeks when you’ve been with your employer for one year. I think less than a year entitles you to just 6 weeks, but some employers have a more generous policy.

          I took 10 weeks with my son. I had 5 weeks paid through short term disability at 75% of my regular salary, 3 weeks paid with saved PTO, and then took two weeks unpaid.

        • I work for an OB/GYN practice, so again, might just be lucky. I’m thinking between 8 and 12 weeks for maternity leave – I’ll have four weeks saved PTO when my daughter is due, then we’ll see on FMLA… but we don’t desperately need my income thanks to my husband (who wants to take at least 4 weeks paternity leave), so it’s pretty much up to my discretion how long I want to take. A girl who works with my practice recently had an uncomplicated birth/pregnancy and is taking four months maternity leave, just to give you an idea of how accommodating my employer is.

  21. I am a firm believer in “no time is the right time” or “anytime is the right time”. There will ALWAYS be something else to strive for – getting “settled” will turn into wanting X amount of money in the bank, and then being a homeowner, and then being high up the ladder in your career, and then, and then and then.

    And also, it truly makes me ACHE inside to hear so many people say they would choose abortion if they got pregnant when they weren’t ready. Why oh why is adoption not utilized more?? I have been in the position of not being ready for a child – I got pregnant at 19 which was totally unplanned, and I made the choice to utilize adoption. Later, when I got married, our first daughter was an “oops” but things just work out. Our 2nd daughter was absolutely planned and they are both incredibly loved and wanted. Now, I am in the process of trying to have another baby with my new fiance, and at 32 it’s definitely a different ball game.

    • I got pregnant at 20 and chose the adoption route. It was tough, but ultimately one of the best experiences of my life. It is frustrating how few people see adoption as an option.

  22. This is such an interesting question to consider, because, much to my amazement, it actually applies to me now!
    I always wanted to be a young mother. I figured I’d start having kids around the age of 25. I’ll be 24 in five months. And that doesn’t seem to be what’s gonna happen.
    There are a lot of factors, for us. Given our currently staggering amount of student loan debt, we both have to work. We’re doing okay, but throw a baby in the picture and childcare would be a nightmare. We don’t have “built in childcare” like some people I know do, with parents who can and are willing to watch the kids during the workday. My mom and my in-laws work full time and my dad wouldn’t do it (and has told me as much). Paying for childcare would be prohibitively expensive, and frankly, I personally would not feel comfortable having someone else have that large a hand in raising my children.
    I’m also working toward starting my own business, which, as Ariel has pointed out, would be much more difficult to negotiate with a baby.
    For better or worse, I think it’s going to be another few years before we start trying to get pregnant.

  23. I’m 33 and never did get any sort of career going. I have a reasonably marketable job skill I’ve learned that keeps me employed which, as everybody says, is good enough these days. My husband has a Masters and more of a career but with the economy the way it is his career is not as marketable or as lucrative as he had hoped when he got his degree. We have only been married four months and I plan on enjoying our first year of marriage to the fullest: movies, trips, needless expenditures! I’ve never really wanted kids, but the minute my boy slapped that ring on my finger I got almost baby crazy. Which surprised me, and him! Maybe because I saw my brother support his wife and child on his not-so-big income I know that where there’s a will there’s a way. My hubby would like every T crossed and every i dotted, but my biological clock isn’t going to wait for that! Plus, here I am looking at this person that makes me want to make a baby. We’re so good together, so good for each other, and we wouldn’t be the best parents but we’d try, and we’d love. Just a few years ago I would’ve had an abortion if I’d gotten pregnant. I guess a lot can change in a few years!

  24. I’m new to this website and I love it! Thank you for all of your Offbeat ways. I’m 25 and am wanting to start researching the whole baby thing now as I decide when/how/where I will bring a child into the world.
    I recently started a ‘career’ as a licensed massage therapist and I practice energy healing and herbalism as well, so you can imagine that the prosperity of my business is largely up to me…and since I’m still new in town It’s going to take me a while to get to a “solid” financial state….HOWEVER…this isn’t what largely determines for me when I feel I will be ready.
    For me, I will know I am ready based upon how my body feels, my intuition, how my partner feels, and also my level of health.
    I am in the process of cleaning house, so to speak. Eating a diet free of refined foods, sugars, and allergens so that I may cut back on my body’s level of toxicity having grown up primarily on the standard american faire we all know so well. I desire to be at my optimal weight (another 20-30lbs to go), have high energy levels, a clean colon and balanced hormones.
    I want to pass down health to my child, not toxicity (although some level of toxicity probably cannot be avoided due to the nature of how we live)
    I trust I will feel when my body is ready to nurture another being instead of just struggling to truly nourish itself.
    Thank you all for this space to share.

  25. I am 34 and divorced for about a year. I have been dating someone since I left my marriage and I can’t imagine trusting anyone else like I trust him– not just with being faithful, but with taking care of me and being a good partner and potential dad.
    I feel like it’s almost time for now or never with my biological clock, but one major issue I have is the insecurity of leaving my job to be a stay-at-home mom or letting someone else raise my child in childcare…? I wish I had relatives living closer who could help with childcare but they don’t. Also, I am a teacher and I don’t see a lot of good part-time positions out there….

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