Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When is the Best Time to Have Kids?

I found this blog post that asks the question:

When is the best time to have kids?

By Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle Blog

You can raise them when you're young and energetic, or wait until you're older, wiser, and financially stable.

The author writes that she has realized that there are pros and cons to having your children when you are young, and also when you are old.  When you are young you are energetic and so are the grandparents. However, you are probably also still working on your career, and therefore have less money to spend on new babies and childcare. You are a more healthy candidate for pregnancy, though, with fewer potential risks than an older mom.

As an older parent, you are more financially stable, you probably own a home and you are wiser. You may have watched your friends raise kids and now you can benefit from their knowledge and mistakes. However, you are also older, which means your parents are older. Not everyone can move quite as fast as they used to, carry as much as they used to, and so forth. Also, if you start older and decide to have more kids, you are then even older for these new young ones!

These are just a few pros and cons for young vs. old child rearing. Of course it varies by person - you may be financially successful early in life, or an extremely fit older parent.

The author gets a great deal of comments on her blog post in response to her question "When is the best time to have kids? In your 20s? 30s? 40s?"

One commenter writes, "Have kids when one of partners can afford to stay home with them and give them the loving support they need."

Another writes, "NEVER. There are already too many people on the planet." And a couple other commenters agree.

There probably isn't a perfect time to have children - life has its hurdles at all ages and having kids may change your life in ways you don't expect. Sometimes plans go awry. Waiting until you are ready may never come, or you may have a child unexpectedly and find that you were ready after all!


I bring this up because I am curious what you all, the few readers of my humble blog, think about when the best time to have kids is, based on personal childrearing experience or simply planning for the future.

This thought crosses my mind a lot more lately than it used to. I'm now in my mid-twenties, my friends are moving across the country, everyone is either in graduate school or finding real-world jobs, and so forth. Some are getting married, which means children will soon be on the way.
I also blog about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding every day! So the question as to the right time to have children comes up frequently.

I've always held onto a desire to have my first child before I turn 30. I know this is because my mother was ~31 when she gave birth to me, the eldest, and my dad was older than that. I've always felt that I'd like to be a younger parent than my parents were when they had their first child. This does conflict somewhat with my world travel desires and the timing of getting a PhD, which may end up affecting my timing more than age. I'd also like to be in a location where I will definitely be living while I raise my children, which I haven't decided on yet. And I'd also like to be married first, which won't be for a few years yet.

So, those are my personal thoughts! How do you feel?

7 comments:

  1. We made the decision to have kids young. I was 24 when my first was born and 26 when my second was. The biggest reason was that I had a strong desire to have kids already, but part of our though process was wanting to have kids at a time when we weren't giving up comforts we were used to. We also didn't have the ability to travel and take extensive vacations when we were young, but will have the money and the time to do it when we're older and we didn't want little ones at home to prevent those trips later on.

    I agree though, there's really no right time to have kids, just the right time for you.

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  2. I'm days away from having my first, and I'm 23. I've always always known I wanted to have 2 or 3 by 30, and then possibly be done. A lot of what the author wrote is true: we don't own a house yet, I'm still working on my degree, and money is sometimes tight. I've had a great, easy pregnancy, and I'm also lucky enough to be able to stay home with my daughter for a while.

    I think I've wanted to be a mommy since I was 5. My mom once told me "if you wait until you can really AFFORD kids, you'll never have them". To me, fulfilling my dreams for a family is the most important. We can figure out all the logistics as we go along. =)

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  3. Great Thoughts! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. If only there WAS a perfect time. I had my first one week before my 28th birthday. We began trying to get pregnant when I was 25. I am happy with my age and stage of life. I am particularly pleased that the grandparents are relatively young, active and involved. However, I do sometimes wish that I could have gotten pregnant sooner because I would like to have a few children and I don't want back to back pregnancies but would like to be done having children by my early thirties.
    Financially life is tough sometimes and I do wish I had the option of staying home until my last child goes to school. The cost of daycare is outrageous and I want that precious time with my daughter.
    Life is full of challenges, the joy that a desperately wanted and much loved child brings inspires you to proceed with gratitude and grace no matter what!

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  5. the earlier the better as far as i'm concerned but i'm not married yet so talk to tal ;)

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  6. Very interesting topic. I personally loved having younger parents...but I myself would never want to be having kids this young (if at all!) My mom was pregnant with me when she was my age. I couldn't imagine that!

    There was also this article in the Washington Post today about how "More children are being born to women over 35 than to teens." I thought that it might be interesting in light of this discussion.

    -Allison

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  7. Having the first baby sooner rather than later greatly reduces breast cancer risk. While that may not matter to some, it may matter to others. Teens need to know while there is time for them to plan when they might want to have kids.

    Risk calculator,

    http://www.halls.md/breast/risk.htm

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