Jump to content

Menu

Delaying Motherhood


Recommended Posts

Why More American Women are Delaying Motherhood in their 20s - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

I just saw this and thought it was interesting. 

Do you see this happening around you? 

Did you delay motherhood?

  If you did looking back are you content with that choice? 

If you did delay motherhood, was there a reason that you did? 

Do you see this turning around if the government does things to help?  For instance the CTC being expanded? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First kid at 35 here.  I spent my 20's and early thirties in school and establishing my career.   No regrets.

Almost all of my female colleagues have also delayed childbearing well into their 30's, so I don't really feel like and outlier.  

I think my kids have benefitted from having parents who are well established - both financially and maturity-wise.  

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not. I had DS when I was 24, after finishing college. Of my two best friends - one had her only child at age 38 and the other has no children.  I have no regrets about my choice. My friends have no regrets about theirs either. 

My mom went to college late and we (my dad, 1 year old DS and I) went to visit her at the open house for her first teaching job. I was directed to the "teen mom nursery" 3 times while walking through the halls. I thought that was mildly entertaining. 

I've never gotten a child tax credit and don't know if or how that might impact things.

Edited by hippymamato3
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I gave birth to my first child shortly before my 29th birthday. Does that count as delayed?
My pregnancy happened exactly when I planned it: after I had completed my PhD and a two-year postdoc in a foreign country.
I am very happy with that decision. I got to complete my education and travel before having family responsibilities.

I lived in a country with universal healthcare where I did not pay a penny for prenatal care or birth, extensive fully paid maternity leave, three years job guarantee with parental leave, subsidized childcare. That did not affect the timing of my pregnancy because I wanted to complete my education first. (The fact that I decided not to embark on a career that made full use of this education is not relevant)

There's a lot we, as a country, could do to make having children less of a financial risk for young mothers: paid maternity leave, universal healthcare, parental leave with job guarantee, child sick days, subsidized child care for low income families.... This won't get highly educated women to have children younger because it just takes a long time to get an advanced degree and doing so while mothering is very, very hard, but it would go a long way encouraging mothers who feel they cannot afford to get pregnant. Nobody should have to forgo having children because the cost of birth and the loss of postpartum income make that unaffordable.

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, wathe said:

Almost all of my female colleagues have also delayed childbearing well into their 30's, so I don't really feel like and outlier.  

Same here. I don't know any women in my field who had their kids while being in college, or in grad school, or while doing post docs on one- or two-year contracts being in long-distance relationships. 

Edited by regentrude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As the article discusses, middle class women have long been delaying motherhood for educational and economic reasons.  That some women who come from backgrounds where earlier childbirth is more common see this and emulate it to work on their own educational or career goals doesn’t seem like a problem to me.  People have the right to try and improve their lives.  On one side of my family, teen pregnancy is the norm (my grandmother had her first at 14, my aunt had her first at 14, my mom had her first at 20).  The other thing that is also part of that side of the family is deep, generational poverty.  
 

I intended to delay motherhood until my 30s but got pregnant on the pill when we’d been married less than 1 year.  I was just shy of 23 when my older son was born, which is highly unusual among college educated people in my city.  People thought I was a teen mom or the nanny because I looked so young.  Literally, I would get nanny job offers on the spot at the park because other parents, 15 years my senior, assumed I was a kickass nanny who played with her charges.  While we aren’t rich, my kids enjoy a level of security and comfort in their lives that I did not as a child.  Unlike me, they know what it is like to have all of their needs and a good portion of the wants met.  The main reason for this is because my husband and I earn far more than my parents ever did and we have enjoyed a marriage that is, on the balance, happy and stable. We have significantly more education than my brothers and their ex spouses.  My sons are quite advantaged compared to their cousins (though we do try the best we can to help provide for our nieces and nephews).
 

I don’t think delaying childrearing is a bad thing (though I do know some who have long delayed and ended up unable to have kids) but if we want people to be able to choose to have kids at younger ages without impoverishing themselves, the best thing we can do is have robust and accessible childcare and other support for families.  

Edited by LucyStoner
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our first was born when I was a few weeks shy of 33. The second was born when I was almost 36. We would have had #1 a bit sooner but for fertility issues, but I would still have been over 30. Absolutely no regrets for us. I needed that time to be emotionally/psychologically mature enough to deal with kids, and we wouldn't have chosen to have kids before we were in a good place financially. Right now the majority of the 20 and 30 somethings I know aren't married or in serious relationships, so parenthood certainly isn't on their radar. One couple had a baby last year, both of them are in their early 30's. We do have one family member who is in her mid-20's (her DH is closer to late 20's) who I suspect will try for a baby in the next year or two. They are planning things out very carefully because of the issues @regentrudementioned. If I were young today I don't know that I'd choose to have kids. The U.S. currently isn't very family friendly.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was almost 28 when I had my first. I don't feel like it was delayed, but I had gotten my degree, gotten married, and been married for a little while before pregnancy. It seemed like the right time.

My high school friends (I went to a gifted academy, so a lot of professional women in my class) mostly had kids in their early 30s. My oldest child is the second oldest child of my high school group. Two of them still have toddlers/preschoolers in their mid-40s.

My mom had her first at 18. My aunts, well, the ones who had kids, had theirs starting age 17-23.  

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 20s were devoted to education and establishing a career (one which is not particularly kid-friendly, at that).  

I did have an older, teen foster son for a year after his mom/my friend passed, in my mid-20s.  Then I had the encouragement/almost insistence of docs, at 27, to hurry and get pregnant before having a hysterectomy.  I wasn’t ready for children, knew it, so opted for surgery.  No regrets about that choice, or postponing parenting. 

Adopted at 32 and 39.  Co-parented my bonus kid.

Most people I know delayed having children until after they finished their education and worked fora a bit.

My oldest kid (bonus) will not be having children at all, made that choice in his 20s.  
 

 


 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was 25 when my oldest was born.  28 when my twins were born.  

I was 100% often mistaken for a nanny!  

People thought I was a high-quality nanny 😉

I also had some really kind friends who had a lot of kids, and assumed I was going to end up having a lot of kids, because my first three were so close together.  Though -- I don't think they cared at all that I didn't go on to have a lot of kids, either. 

Anyway -- we could not afford quality daycare, and that impacted us a huge amount.

I did not realize the impact of the price of daycare, until my oldest was born.  

I think that impacted me in a huge way, but -- more in a way where I can understand why my peers who were more aware of that, would have waited to have kids, until they could pay those high daycare bills.

I didn't realize, and then it was a huge factor in my becoming a stay-at-home mom, because the daycare we could afford was just so substandard, but we could make it on my husband's salary.  

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got pregnant while on the pill with our first while working on my master's degree. I was 23. It was a bit of a shock since I had intended on waiting until I was 30 before having children. And I didn't finish my degree because I was a very, very sick pregnant woman, rough shape post-partum. I regret not finishing that degree, but I wouldn't trade her either. It is what it is. Even at 23 , I was older than the women in my family when they had their first children. 19 was very typical, marry out of high school, have a baby a year later. And among my female cousins, that was the norm.

I did not have more until I was 29. Our dd was 25 almost 26 with her first, so a bit older, and among her female cousins on her dad's side, the youngest to have a child. Her paternal cousins have all been in their 30's. On my side, she was still the oldest. My nieces and nephews have had children quite young.

Locally, first baby age is still 20-22. But, when I am visiting ds's college town, most of the moms seem to be late twenties to mid thirties.

I also know a lot of women who do not intend on having children, and will not settle with a partner that is not 100% certain he does not want to have children.

All things considered, this country does a terrible job supporting motherhood, and our healthcare system is wretched, high infant/maternal mortality rate compared to many other not as developed nations. So I think that if the powers that be want to see the birthrate increase, they should take a look at the mess called healthcare, employment, and childcare. Financially, it is extremely difficult for millennials and GenZ to consider taking on the responsibility of children and loss of income when wages do not keep pace with inflation and housing costs.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first at 22 and second at 25. I have zero regrets. It’s nice that the dc are off at college now and dh and I get to be by ourselves again. Pretty much all of our friends have kids 10 years younger than ours but I’m glad I don’t have young ones anymore. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first child almost exactly one month after 21.  I was much too young.  My youngest was born a few days before I turned 36.  It was a completely different experience.  I don't know if I would recommend delaying motherhood to others, but it would've been better for me and my children.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I waited until 30, which seemed reasonable for us. We had been married for 8 years and had lots of time to play. We knew we wanted our ducks in a row before thinking about adding a kid and we found ourselves in a good place at that age.

We were both pretty ambivalent about having any kids at all, so if it didn’t happen that year I would have taken permanent methods to make sure I wouldn’t accidentally get pregnant when I was any older. No judgment on anyone else, I just didn’t want that for me (and again, having kids wasn’t a priority, though DS was planned).

Now at 48 we'll be empty nesters which I think is grand. 🙂 

Edited by MEmama
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had DD8 at 27. I basically got pregnant right after getting my Ph.D, which was good timing for me, anyway -- I wanted to stay at home with a kid and I knew at that point I didn't want an academic career, anyway. 

DH is 8 years older, though. So he did delay 😉 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is funny!  
 

I am 3 years older than my husband, so he was 22 and 25 when kids were born.

And one of my kids has special needs making us not know how long he will live at home — but we are happy to have him.  
 

It is really not what we would have planned or expected.  
 

I do think — if there were better daycare options, I doubt I would have been a stay at home mom. I’m not sorry for myself, but I think it would be good if daycare options and funding were much better.

I think things just happened to work out for us, more than that we planned then in a great way.  
 

And on principle I think it would be good if working were easier without the cost of daycare, even though I am totally happy with how things have worked out for us.  
 

Some of the substandard daycare I looked at was just — ugh, nobody should have to have it.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was 28 when my older son was born.  I don't know if that's considered delayed.  I do know that I was by far the first of my age cohort of friends and coworkers to have children.  I was also the only one who didn't have fertility issues which might have something to do with not waiting until after age 35.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first at 25 and my last child at 42. I had finished my undergrad degree but was still in school when I got pregnant with my first and had to quit due to bad morning sickness. I went back after child #2 and finished that degree when they were ages 2 and 4. So, I guess we were fairly young parents and fairly old parents and we won't finish parenting until we're in our 60's. There are good and bad to having kids in your 20's vs 40's and I think late 20's/early 30's is a good time to have kids because there's been time for education, but you're feeling so old when you still have kids at home. We have way less energy to do stuff with our youngest kids!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I was 41 and 43 when my two were born - well beyond the delayed ages in the article. I have no regrets, because it is not something I really had control over* (I didn't marry my permanent husband till I was 39), but it is not a strategy I would recommend to anyone. I love my kids and am happy I have them, but at 65 I am ready for the empty nest, and they have just graduated from college and are home figuring out their next steps. 

*Well, I could have had a child with my first husband, or had a child on my own, but neither of those options were right for me. 

I really think there is no universal best time to have children. Sure, I'd recommend my kids wait till they finished their education, became established in a career, had the income/money for one parent to stay home with babies (preferably mom because biology), had stable housing, etc., but those things are not always possible or even necessary in order to successfully raise children. Fertility does drop off at some points; when I saw a fertility specialist at 40 he said I had a 5% chance of conceiving naturally, less than that for carrying full term. I would not want a person to wait till conditions were so perfect that they ended up not able to have children at all.  (Of course fertility issues can come at any age; there are never guarantees.)

It's funny though, because when I hear someone say (for example) that they had their first at 35, I don't think of that as very delayed at all. On the other hand, someone once told me that she planned her life so that she would be done having children by age 32 as she firmly believed that was the upper limit for proper/safe childbearing. And, believe it or not, she said it to me knowing how old my kids were and how old I was when they were born. 

 

Edited by marbel
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, regentrude said:

I gave birth to my first child shortly before my 29th birthday. Does that count as delayed?
My pregnancy happened exactly when I planned it: after I had completed my PhD and a two-year postdoc in a foreign country.
I am very happy with that decision. I got to complete my education and travel before having family responsibilities.

I lived in a country with universal healthcare where I did not pay a penny for prenatal care or birth, extensive fully paid maternity leave, three years job guarantee with parental leave, subsidized childcare. That did not affect the timing of my pregnancy because I wanted to complete my education first. (The fact that I decided not to embark on a career that made full use of this education is not relevant)

There's a lot we, as a country, could do to make having children less of a financial risk for young mothers: paid maternity leave, universal healthcare, parental leave with job guarantee, child sick days, subsidized child care for low income families.... This won't get highly educated women to have children younger because it just takes a long time to get an advanced degree and doing so while mothering is very, very hard, but it would go a long way encouraging mothers who feel they cannot afford to get pregnant. Nobody should have to forgo having children because the cost of birth and the loss of postpartum income make that unaffordable.

Universal healthcare here too.  Prenatal care and birth cost zero dollars out-of-pocket (other than the cost of parking!).  Maternity leave is less than what you describe, but not terrible (job guaranteed for up to 18 months combined pregnancy and parental leave, much of it paid).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first at 30 and 2nd at 34. My DH is 8 years older than me or we may have waited a bit longer.  Absolutely zero regrets.  We've had a lot of financial options we wouldn't have had sooner.   I did have an established professional career and owned my own home prior to marrying.   

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I delayed motherhood because my husband and I didn't think we wanted any children. Then, when we were ready to try to conceive, my endometriosis made it very difficult. We were only able to have one child. I was 34. Now I love having an only child, but there were some times of sadness.

I always think it's so odd when people say, "I'm going to do X, Y, and Z," and then I'll have children. Don't be too sure. It's easy for some people but not at all for others. 

***Don't quote please.***

Edited by MercyA
  • Like 7
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We adopted our first when I was 32, but I never made a decision to wait until that age for children. I married at 29, and then we had a time of figuring out what to do about infertility, and then a lengthy adoption process. It's just how life unfolded for me. I actually hoped to get married right out of college, and have kids earlier, but my college boyfriend and I broke up, so plan A went by the wayside.

My siblings both became grandparents in their mid to late 40s, and I am a little envious of that, because they get to spend loads of time with grandchildren while they are still young and have energy. But they didn't plan that, either. Both of them married people who already had teen daughters, so they skipped parenting little ones.

One of my nieces got married right out of college and had babies right away. The other got engaged soon after college but waited a couple of years to get married, then waited more years to have their first baby at age 30. I don't know if either would change their ways, if they had a do-over. The niece who waited to have her baby is more established in her career, while the one who had kids younger has had a harder time figuring out how to work with kids and what kinds of jobs to pursue.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first when I was 24 and still in school.  Took me until 29 to get an associates degree, then bachelors' degrees at 32 and 35.    It was much much harder to work full time, try to go to school and parent a child.   

My next two I was 36 and 38.  Things were definitely easier this time around.   Done with school, better financial position, I haven't had to work most of the time, was able to homeschool, able to start a business. 

I always told my oldest to wait to have kids until she finished school.  She just graduated with her Masters, is in a serious relationship but not engaged yet so I figure it will be a few more years for her.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All three kids in my 30s, though I was 17 when I first met my husband and 27 when we finally got around to actual matrimony.  We both wanted to be through college / grad school / kinda-sorta launched before we started a family. No regrets.  Nearly all of our friends from college and grad school, and siblings/cousins, were on that same basic timeframe; and my eldest, now 26, looks to be so as well.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I was 17 when D's was born but he didn't come to me until I was 24 and he was 7 1/2 years old.  Then I was 25 when older did was born and 26 when younger did was born.   All are adopted and I went from 0-3 kids in 15 months, all with special needs.   Add in another 100+ fosters and I have been the youngest mom in some situations and the oldest mom at 3rd grade open house.

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paywall cut me off.

I would have had kids in my early 20s if I had found the elusive Mr. Right.

As it turned out, I was 40 when my kids were born.

It has its pros and its cons.  Pros:  you're more mature and probably have more spending money.  Cons:  you get tired faster, and primitive camping hurts your back.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had mine aged 36 and 38. I think ideal would've been a few years earlier, like 33 and 35. I may have been able to fit in another baby or two then. But it took a lot longer than expected to have viable pregnancies. My sister started at 20 and her entire adult life has been child-rearing. She won't even get to finish up early as her kids have a lot of needs. Whereas my 20-30 years were study and world exploration. I really don't regret that wait (or being single for that time, living alone, travelling alone); I feel very lucky. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went ahead and had kids despite having no idea where I wanted to head, career wise. I’m mostly happy with the way that turned out for me, but a lot of dumb luck was involved. I don’t recommend doing it that way!

I hope my kids will wait until they have a solid plan and path… but I selfishly hope it’ll be while i still have some sort of energy to give, lol. 

I’m more exhausted than I believe I would have been with later/fewer kids. I was only 33.5 with my last baby, but had already been doing babies and toddlers for over 12 years at that point!

Edited by Carrie12345
Forgot how to do calendar math
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine were born when I was in my upper 30s, and dh in his mid 40s. Both of our sets of parents were also older (39 and 43) when we were born. On my side, the generation before that had a similar parental age.

The additive age effect is the only problem I have experienced: my dds had lost two grandparents by the time my second dd was born (they're two years apart), and the other two by the time they were nine and eleven. Every grandparent in the bunch made it into their mid-eighties, but there was a huge age and health gap between them and the kids. Along the way, the kids became intimately acquainted with dementia, sickness and death.

There's an incredulity when my kids' peers talk about young, healthy grandparents who do things like go camping or sailing with their grandkids, or great-grandparents who are still only eighty. There's also a lot of envy. My kids loved their grandparents-- the ones they got to know, anyway. They would have loved to get more time with them. Ditto for the grandparents themselves.

As a parent, looking after sick and dying elders while also looking after preschoolers or elementary schoolers was really tough.

But dh and I didn't meet until I was in my thirties, so our options were limited to late kids or no kids. Obviously I'm glad we have them.

I think it's no problem for one generation to push childbearing off to the thirties or beyond, but if multiple generations do so, there are significant consequences.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't in a hurry, but I didn't delay either.  First at 28, and fifth at a month short of 35.  In hind site, I'd delay until my 50's if I could!  I feel like I was so naive then and of course so much wiser now -- haha.  

I don't see any of my kids having babies until their 30's.  That's what I'm seeing all around me.

 

Edited by J-rap
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was 35 when I had my only child and Ideeply regret waiting so long although I will say it was not my choice.  
 

I was married at age 18.  I am glad I did not have a child at 18, but 35 was too old.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my oldest at 23 (married at 19).  I had fertility issues and was told to have kids young before my fertility got worse.  We went through infertility treatments to get pregnant for my first two pregnancies (twins when I was 26).  Then, 8 years after my twins were born...surprise!  Found out I was pregnant.  I would have done things differently if I knew then what I know now.  Our plan at the time was to have the kids early and then spend our 40s and 50s alone together since we were raising the kids in our 20s.  But you know how plans go...  no regrets since my kids wouldn't be here if we had done things differently, but still hard not to think about.  

I don't see my kids having kids of their own until they are in their 30s.  My oldest is 30 now and my twins are almost 27.  Two are in long-term relationships, but haven't even gotten engaged yet.  

Edited by Kassia
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Why More American Women are Delaying Motherhood in their 20s - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

I just saw this and thought it was interesting. 

Do you see this happening around you? 

Did you delay motherhood?

  If you did looking back are you content with that choice? 

If you did delay motherhood, was there a reason that you did? 

Do you see this turning around if the government does things to help?  For instance the CTC being expanded? 

I was 19 when I had DD. I admit we struggled financially but DH finished college and went on to graduate degrees. 🤷🏼‍♀️ It can be done. My oldest daughter got married at 21. She finished her undergrad but is holding off on her Masters for a while.  They’ve had three babies with a fourth on the way in four years. I suspect they will stop at four or five? We’ll see.  My second daughter just got married at nineteen. She’ll have her RN before she’s 21.  They are talking about delaying children until she’s done, but that’s obviously still very young. 
 

i think the obvious message they got from me was that I LOVED being a young mom. And I did. 😉 is totally repeat it. I went back to college and graduated last year. I was far more prepared to succeed. That said... so easy for me to say. My husband was four years older. He was committed to succeeding at his education and career which made my life easier. 
 

But I’ve been a young mom and an old mom... I was better as a young mom. Obviously disease has a lot to do with it, but I think I had a lot of energy into my thirties  I honestly feel very sorry for my youngest three. They have more patients and wiser parents but less fun. Knowing what I know? I’m so glad I had them, they’re such beautiful and joyful children, but I wish they had the 30 year old me. Sigh  


I’m in the Midwest. DD #2 does have friends already married. DS (22) has several friends from his group married and married and expecting. But... “around me” means homeschoolers. We might not accurately represent the larger society. 😂 

Edited by BlsdMama
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Technically I guess any time someone uses contraceptives before their first child they are delaying motherhood so yes, although I was only 23 so it wasn’t a huge delay.  Culturally I come from a background where motherhood over career is emphasised and work was seen as a short term thing to become financially established.  Obviously this has its drawbacks but it also has some strong points as well.  Working early instead of studying did mean for us buying a house and paying off a fair chunk of a mortgage before the crazy house price escalation.  Having kids earlier definitely has some pros in terms of more energy etc.  however on the other side now I’m looking at retraining to help the budget and have something to do post home schooling.

I think socially the solution lies in more flexible and family friendly ways to work and study and in more respect for parenthood generally.  
 

falling fertility rates are probably a plus for planet earth but obviously have social ramifications in terms of a smaller workforce caring for an aging population etc.  australia did do a baby bonus thing for a while and managed to induce a bit of a baby bubble but long term I suspect those people won’t have more children they might have just adjusted the timing to take advantage.  I think it’s pretty hard to make people have babies they don’t want to have and raise.  (Well I guess birth control could be banned but that’s a whole human rights issue that won’t fly in a democratic country).  
 

Interestingly China seem to be having similar issues with them now raising the number of babies allowed to three however the campaign is being met with a lot of resistance with people saying they can’t afford to have even one child let alone three.

I guess the other issue with delaying parenthood is the increase in particular genetic disorders with older parents but hopefully technology can help us prevent or work around that.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few posters have alluded to family culture, and I think there is something to that.  My parents and DH's parents were very near to 30 before their first kid, and my grandparents were 25 for one set and 34 for the other at age of first kid.  All my cousins who've had kids were also in their 30's at the time of first kid.  And fewer than 50% of my cousins had kids at all.  Neither DH nor my sibs have kids, and aren't terribly likely to now (late 40's) - though DH's aunt and uncle adopted his cousin when they were just shy of 50, so still possible, of course.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We didn't come from families that could afford to pay for our college educations, so we needed several years to pay off our school loans. Then we saved up for a down payment for a house. (I'm glad we bought, as prices have risen dramatically since then.) Then it took a year to conceive; DS was born shortly after I turned 30. And while we'd been open-minded originally about having a second a few years later, we decided against it.

Other women in my family show a pattern of later or no kids than the previous couple of generations. My mom had her 1st child at 21, aunts around the same age except one not until a second marriage. MIL did college so was 26. Grandmothers: both 18, I believe.

My sisters and SIL (40, 34, 32, 19): no kids, and Ms. 34 is the only one married & who might have intent in the near future. One of my cousins (not a college-goer) had her 1st of 2 at maybe 24? Another (greatest number of years of education) has no kids. Another had her only in I think her early 30s. Among male relatives, again, a bit later especially for the more educated, and fewer in number (maximum of 3 so far, and some with none). Likewise in DH's family--later and fewer, with more than 2 unusual, while if you went back to those in the 1950s/60s, you see more comfort with starting at 18-22 and having more like 4.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so glad we waited. We got married at 23/25.  We had our kids at 29/31, 31/33, and 36/38.   When we had our first kid, we were exactly like all of our peers. They all had them in their late twenties/early thirties.  Then we moved to our current town when I was pregnant with the middle one and oldest was 1 1/2 years old.  They do Sunday Schools by age.  Everyone in our age bracket had kids ages 10-15.  Almost everyone our age has grandchildren. Their children got married early as well and had kids. 

I am glad we waited. We have been financially comfortable because of waiting. Our kids don't even have any girlfriends/boyfriends. I have a feeling they will wait as well.  I mean the oldest two are already older than 25 with no girl in sight, so who knows when/if they will have kids.  That bums out my husband.  He is all about family and grandchildren.  Plus, his sister now has two married children and one grandchild. ( Her boys are 25 and 27...the 25yo had the baby.)I really don't care. 

Edited by TexasProud
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my kids at 29, 31, and 33. We waited eight years after we got married to have our first, which gave us time to build our business and become financially secure enough that I could stay home with the kids. 

My Catholic in-laws were shocked that we waited, because everyone else in the family had kids immediately after marriage. After we passed our one year anniversary with no baby in sight, I think they were all convinced that we had fertility problems.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Technically I guess any time someone uses contraceptives before their first child they are delaying motherhood so yes, although I was only 23 so it wasn’t a huge delay.  Culturally I come from a background where motherhood over career is emphasised and work was seen as a short term thing to become financially established.  Obviously this has its drawbacks but it also has some strong points as well.  Working early instead of studying did mean for us buying a house and paying off a fair chunk of a mortgage before the crazy house price escalation.  Having kids earlier definitely has some pros in terms of more energy etc.  however on the other side now I’m looking at retraining to help the budget and have something to do post home schooling.

I think socially the solution lies in more flexible and family friendly ways to work and study and in more respect for parenthood generally.  
 

falling fertility rates are probably a plus for planet earth but obviously have social ramifications in terms of a smaller workforce caring for an aging population etc.  australia did do a baby bonus thing for a while and managed to induce a bit of a baby bubble but long term I suspect those people won’t have more children they might have just adjusted the timing to take advantage.  I think it’s pretty hard to make people have babies they don’t want to have and raise.  (Well I guess birth control could be banned but that’s a whole human rights issue that won’t fly in a democratic country).  
 

Interestingly China seem to be having similar issues with them now raising the number of babies allowed to three however the campaign is being met with a lot of resistance with people saying they can’t afford to have even one child let alone three.

I guess the other issue with delaying parenthood is the increase in particular genetic disorders with older parents but hopefully technology can help us prevent or work around that.

Agreed. And of course medical technology and working conditions being better, more food, etc. means that people are living longer which puts a lot of pressure on the younger generations. I am thankful that all my kids are adults now because of elder care issues. But my dad was dying of cancer and putting massive amounts of pressure and care giving on me while the boys were in high school and I was still homeschooling. It was brutal. I see so many people caught in the sandwich, and because people can live while very sick and disabled for many more years, the sandwich goes on and on. 

We need more social supports. Most families need two incomes, and no one can stay home and NOT work in order to provide elder care. It is an issue that keeps getting kicked down the road like a game of kick the can. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had my first at 27, when I was in a PhD program. I was the youngest in my cohort to have children by far. I'm 38 now, and many of my friends/ classmates have just had their first or had one a couple of years ago and then another very quickly. 

Like anything it had plusses and minuses. In some ways, I wish I could start over with my greater maturity and financial stability, but a lot of that maturity came from having kids, so ...

There are ways that social or government policies could make childbearing easier, but I don't think any country ever has been able to raise its birthrate through tax credits or payments. For me, although I'd have liked to have more children (I have two) in a different world, parenting has become so exhausting that some parts of it--the parts that don't relate to spending time with and enjoying my children--are almost unbearable. The car seats, the judgment, the other parents, the endless new rules and recommendations and things that you're being told you're doing wrong, having to watch your children every second of the day or risk having someone call CPS on you, and OMG children's birthday parties--it's completely miserable. 

I know this is cultural and it's not like that everywhere, but for the most part that's the culture I live in. I don't think a government can do much to change that. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We waited to have children till I had finished my education and worked in a satisfying career for 8 years. I was older than some moms, roughly the same age as others. We waited because I did not believe I was mature/patient enough/unselfish enough/ready to have children.  When we did have children, we were financially stable and ready to try to do the best for our kids.  We had made a conscious decision to live on just one salary the entire time I worked so we would be used to it and could save my salary.  It worked out well for us and our kids. 

I see tradeoffs both ways. I'll be an old grandmother if my kids wait as long as I did to have children! But if my kids have children, I want them to have them when they are ready for them.  On the con side, I have been mistaken for the grandmother of my kids before (my hair went gray early) by much older women - who were used to women having their babies early and not waiting till their 30s. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got married at 20, husband was 26. (He's older GenX born in 67 and I'm younger Gen X born in 73.) He was a software engineer and owned a house, 401K, car, after a full ride scholarship-very financially stable from age 22 on. We started trying right away and thank God we did.  It took us 12 years and tens of thousands of dollars to get our 3 kids.  No regrets. Is early marriage and motherhood for everyone? Certainly not, but it's a legitimate option that should be seriously considered.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Faith-manor said:

Agreed. And of course medical technology and working conditions being better, more food, etc. means that people are living longer which puts a lot of pressure on the younger generations. I am thankful that all my kids are adults now because of elder care issues. But my dad was dying of cancer and putting massive amounts of pressure and care giving on me while the boys were in high school and I was still homeschooling. It was brutal. I see so many people caught in the sandwich, and because people can live while very sick and disabled for many more years, the sandwich goes on and on. 

We need more social supports. Most families need two incomes, and no one can stay home and NOT work in order to provide elder care. It is an issue that keeps getting kicked down the road like a game of kick the can. 

Yup...

and mostly it feels like women and kids are the can 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We waited because we weren't sure we wanted children. Ds wasn't a planned pregnancy, but we weren't trying to avoid it by that time. I was 30 when ds was born, exdh was 37, so we were generally the older parents in any play group. I had cancer tx when I was 26, which included radiation and abdominal surgery. Scarring threw me into early labor with ds and the doctor recommended I not have more children. We weren't too upset, we were happy with one child. Ds is quite happy being an only as well. Financially and emotionally one child was right for us. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in an area where it's pretty typical for people to wait to start families until they're in their mid-late 30's to 40's. I've seen a LOT more infertility, miscarriage, and fetal demise here than any other place I've lived. For those who don't have bad outcomes, people seem pretty happy with the choice. The hard part is that everyone assumes they will be in the latter group and not the former.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...