Today many women are waiting longer to have children, often so that they can finish their educations and start careers. In fact, the birth rate for mothers aged 35 to 39 has increased to 14.2 percent in 2009 from just 1 percent in 1970, according to The National Center for Health Statistics. Still, the majority of mothers having children are in their 20s, says Edward Holt, D.O., of Hendrick Medical Center in a ReporterNews.com article. Your decision to have kids early or later depends on your priorities and current life situation.
Fun and Career
If you wait to have kids, perhaps you'll have more time for general fun and to get your career started. You won't have to worry about scheduling babysitters or little hands tugging at you to interfere with work and social commitments. Staying late at the office won't bring guilt that you’re not home to play. You can go out on date nights whenever you want. However, if you wait to have kids, you lose out on the time and energy to do as you please as a pre-retiree. Some say that raising a child requires so much energy that you have no choice but to do it when you’re young.
Children of mothers who have a higher education are more likely to succeed in school, according to Michele Pridmore-Brown, scholar at the Office of History and Science at University of California Berkeley, in an article on Columbian.com. Their moms spend more time interacting with them and helping them to do well academically. It is difficult to go back to school when you’re older if you have your kids early in life, but know that you can. In fact, scholarships and grants are available to mothers who have not finished their college educations, such as those available from the Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation.
Couples may choose to wait to have children because they want to be out of debt, have the ability to pay for a good education and provide nice things for their family. Being in a more stable financial situation when you have kids can relieve some of the stress of wondering how you're going to pay for another box of diapers. Ambiguous standards of financial stability, however, may never be reached. If you wait until you’re on your feet financially, realize that you may never get there. If you decide to wait, specifically define what it means to you to be "ready." For example, if it is a goal to be able to live off one partner’s income so one parent can stay at home with the children, it makes sense to wait until you’ve practiced paring down your budget.
If you wait to have a baby, your body may not recover as quickly as if you had your first child in your 20s, according to Dr. Holt. You also have an increased risk of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities as an older mother, as well as an increased rate of miscarriage: 35 percent for mothers between 40 and 44 years old versus 10 percent for mothers in their 20s, according to the March of Dimes. However, older mothers are often in a more comfortable place emotionally and hormonally than younger mothers, which can make labor and delivery less stressful, points out experienced midwife Linda Kemp in the ReporterNews.com article.