Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: What is the best age to have your first child?
America's Debate > Archive > Social Issues Archive > [A] Gender Issues > [A] Women's Issues
Google
hayleyanne
I am curious as to people's thoughts about what the best age is for a woman to have her first child. It seems these days that women are putting it off quite late and don't realize what a problem that is.

I had my first child at 32 (she is now 10 years old). I got married at 28. At the time, I had the sense that I both married late and started having children late. Most people I knew were getting married in their early 20s and having kids in their late 20s. These days I am shocked at how late women are waiting to have children. Waiting until "35" even, to have kids is problematic for several reasons. First, fertility rates drop dramatically once you are out of your 20s. In fact, I believe they usually recommend certain tests when the mom is 35 or older because of the increased risk of birth defects. Second, the older you are when you have kids-- the harder it is to keep up with those kids! It was difficult enough for me when I had an infant at 32! Plus, if you want more than one child-- getting just started at 35 is way too late! Also, I think when you have kids in your 20s-- you are more adaptable to the major life change that having kids presents. It is very difficult to go through such a radical change as raising kids when you have become established and acclimated in your career and the "child free" lifestyle. My recommendation to women would be to plan to have children in your late 20s.

Question for Debate:

What is the best age to have your first child?
Google
Victoria Silverwolf
Speaking just for myself, the only answer I can give is "never."

Of course, most normal people want to be parents, so I'll try to be objective here. I think you are on the right track about striking a balance between becoming a mother at too young an age and at too old an age. Sometime in the middle of the twenties sounds reasonable to me. (Of course, some people may be ready to be parents as teenagers, and some will never be ready to be parents.)

I think there is general agreement that it's a good idea to discourage pregnancy during the early to middle teens. I also think that the use of fertility drugs in cases like this is inappropriate:

Woman becomes mother at 66

An additional question which is not often raised is what is the best age for a man to become a father. I'd think that the same sort of limitations should apply -- not too young, not too old. Unfortunately, biology allows men who are quite old to become fathers, which can't be a good idea.
bucket
I think younger is best only because I did so smile.gif I was only 23 when I had my first child and yeah well um 24 for the next one. Why do I feel this is best well health reasons yes but you can always have other health issues with pregnancies regardless of age. Financial ...I always credit my kids for our current state of financial stability. I feel without them we would still have been very aimless..some people need a better incentive to commit to the 9-5 lifestyle other than just because society expects it of you.

Lastly because I turned 30 and I am now finding myself with two kids..not babies..who want to go to school and don't need mommy for every moment of their day anymore. I feel like I can now start my career..which I am in the state of doing..and I just feel good about how it all has progressed.
I was able to be home and be a mommy full time when my kids were young and needed me and never felt like I gave anything up because I felt being a mom was the best and by far the most rewarding thing I had ever done and probably will ever do. Not to mention I have done a lot of fun stuff with my family..a lot more fun than anything I ever did at work.
I also feel really ready and totally comfortable to do what I want to do career wise...I have no stress to be a wage earner or in any way support the family financially. Perhaps because my venture into the working world again is a family venture it makes it a much smoother transition to make because I know my family as a whole is involved but I do feel this was also easier because I put my family first from the start because I feel that set the trend for my life..family. No nagging questions.. am I doing the right thing because I always felt more comfortable making family my priority and work something that would eventually come later. Work to me is not something to define my life with.
I don't think I would be very happy working for someone else.. someone else's demands and schedule..I think working for myself (and family) is the only option I would consider. I am very family oriented...always have been.

Also my mother had me young..22 and she is a vivacious, very much involved and my kids will tell you a totally funcrazymad mimi (that's their name for grandma) I look forward to being just as much an involved grandparent too. I hope my girls don't wait too long to bless me with little grandbabies that I am young enough to not only involve myself with the babies for my own enjoyment but also so I can be there to help them with all the hard work raising kids is.

Of course this is all just my own personal preferences...I don't think there really is one thing that is right for everybody...free to be you and me smile.gif
CruisingRam
My wife and I had a long discussion about this recently- we have a 4 year old and a 19 month old. She was 20 and I was 34 when we had our first child. I am appreciative that I had the babies later, because I was in much better financial shape to enjoy more time with my children. She was happy to do it young when she had more energy and will be done with school about the time they are in school full time, and can get her career on track. For us, it worked out perfect for her to have them young and me a little older LOL thumbsup.gif
Gusten
It is very different from Nation to Nation, as in Sweden, i think the average is around 31, and in comparison, i think its around 20 in Iceland. But i should point out that they more or less need to pop them out, as they are only 290 thousand inhabitants.


I think a suitable time to have a child(ren) is when you feel like it.. And then we can only hope that the person in question is intelligent enought to know if they can afford it, are stable mentally, and so forth...


What i am trying to say is, it depends so much from culture too culture, so even if its ´normal´ to have to be married, be above 30, and have a good income, does not mean its the same in Sweden (for example). So i simple say, when you feel its right, when you think its a good idéa... Do It.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(Gusten @ Jan 31 2005, 06:13 AM)
It is very different from Nation to Nation, as in Sweden, i think the average is around 31, and in comparison, i think its around 20 in Iceland. But i should point out that they more or less need to pop them out, as they are only 290 thousand inhabitants.


I think a suitable time to have a child(ren) is when you feel like it.. And then we can only hope that the person in question is intelligent enought to know if they can afford it, are stable mentally, and so forth...


What i am trying to say is, it depends so much from culture too culture, so even if its ´normal´ to have to be married, be above 30, and have a good income, does not mean its the same in Sweden (for example). So i simple say, when you feel its right, when you think its a good idéa... Do It.
*



I understand your point Gusten and I think many people believe as you do. The problem is that I am not sure it ever really "feels" right -- the older you get. As you become established in your career and set in your ways, it becomes easier and easier to push off the time for having kids. I think alot of women wake up one day at 35 and realize it is too late. And just because it mentally "feels" right or you are economically ready that doesn't mean your body is ready. Having an infant is the single most difficult job that ANYONE can have. It is mentally and physically DRAINING. I have friends in their late 30s that are only now "feel" ready to have kids. All I can say is THANK GOD I am not going through having an infant at that age! Mine is old enough to be self sufficient to a certain extent-- and of course I still have the "teenage" nonsense to deal with. I could not imagine just starting out now.

Victoria Silverwolf posed an interestng question:

What about men? Should they be discouraged from having children later in life? I think this is a perfect example of how our "society's expectations" are different from the biological ones. We tend to think in society today that there should be equal sharing of parental responsibility in raising kids and that men and women are interchangeable to a certain extent. NOT THE CASE as far as biology sees it. Women are the primary caregivers and nature follows that (or is it vice verse?).
Gusten
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 31 2005, 01:37 PM)
QUOTE(Gusten @ Jan 31 2005, 06:13 AM)
It is very different from Nation to Nation, as in Sweden, i think the average is around 31, and in comparison, i think its around 20 in Iceland. But i should point out that they more or less need to pop them out, as they are only 290 thousand inhabitants.


I think a suitable time to have a child(ren) is when you feel like it.. And then we can only hope that the person in question is intelligent enought to know if they can afford it, are stable mentally, and so forth...


What i am trying to say is, it depends so much from culture too culture, so even if its ´normal´ to have to be married, be above 30, and have a good income, does not mean its the same in Sweden (for example). So i simple say, when you feel its right, when you think its a good idéa... Do It.
*



I understand your point Gusten and I think many people believe as you do. The problem is that I am not sure it ever really "feels" right -- the older you get. As you become established in your career and set in your ways, it becomes easier and easier to push off the time for having kids. I think alot of women wake up one day at 35 and realize it is too late. And just because it mentally "feels" right or you are economically ready that doesn't mean your body is ready. Having an infant is the single most difficult job that ANYONE can have. It is mentally and physically DRAINING. I have friends in their late 30s that are only now "feel" ready to have kids. All I can say is THANK GOD I am not going through having an infant at that age! Mine is old enough to be self sufficient to a certain extent-- and of course I still have the "teenage" nonsense to deal with. I could not imagine just starting out now.

Victoria Silverwolf posed an interestng question:

What about men? Should they be discouraged from having children later in life? I think this is a perfect example of how our "society's expectations" are different from the biological ones. We tend to think in society today that there should be equal sharing of parental responsibility in raising kids and that men and women are interchangeable to a certain extent. NOT THE CASE as far as biology sees it. Women are the primary caregivers and nature follows that (or is it vice verse?).
*





When it comes to age, my personal view is that you can be ´to late´. After a certain age it might not be the best to have children, but this puts a timeline on birthing, and makes people even more worried about it. But personally after a certain age (i wont say which) i think its not very suitable, both pragmatic, and mentally.


And as i am a man, i presume i should say something about the other thing.
In Sweden we have a very extensive system concerning this, and i think the only one in the world whom have "daddy leave". So men not only get time off, similar to the woman, to take care of the child(ren), but also encourage to do so. Which i of course approve laugh.gif Personally i would have nothing against hildren in young age, but nothing against the later either.


But if you look at it naturalistic, Women are suppose to take care of the Children, yes, and Men are suppose to gather food and give protection. But the world look so different now, so if you say this, your a male chauvinist.
Mrs. Pigpen
I had my first when I was 28. I think that's a good age, but I had been married for several years by that time. I often wish I'd started sooner...and that pregnancy was a surprise. I don't know how long we would have waited if not for that 'oops'. I'm very glad we didn't. Now, I'm nearing the mid 30s and have two children (ages six and three). A part of me would love to have another (probably the biological clock part of me ), but it's so much harder as you get older. My body at 31 (when I had my second) was noticably different. I was more tired, didn't spring back as quickly after, ect. I can't imagine going through a pregnancy now (though it isn't out of the question completely).

I think people wait so long these days because it's so easy to put off until later, and there's NEVER a good time. Careers and personal finance will be impacted (though I agree with Bucket, children can make you more financially responsible as well). Physical appearance will suffer at least in the short term, and likely the long (the older the woman, the less resilient the body). And, there's the fact that, for better or worse, life after baby will never be the same. It's a scary decision.

I have friends I know from our college days. Back then, they already had names picked out for their children. It has been almost 15 years, and they haven't even started trying yet (both are 35). They haven't changed their minds on the names or desire for parenthood...They still insist they'll start trying "some day".

No one usually FEELS old until he/she is really old. I don't feel different today than I did when I was 20, but I know a pregnancy would be riskier, and I'd be a lot more tired caring for a baby at all hours! My dad is 20 years older than my mother (he was 46 when I was born). His age didn't effect his performance as a father...probably improved it, but he did about 5 percent of the work of caring for his kids. He doesn't have much energy left now for the grandkids, though, obviously.
Hobbes
I second Mrs P's statement...there really isn't a 'best' time. I had this conversation with a coworker shortly after getting married...sharing that we were going to wait before having kids. He told me that there never really was a 'good' time, and that financially, things seemed to work out ok whenever you had them. I think he really did have it figured out. The longer you wait, the more entrenched you become in your career. Sure, you're probably making more money, but you're probably working longer hours and under more pressure as well. So, I think its more of a 'maturity' thing than a financial one...are you really ready to have kids? If you're not...they will put a great strain on your relationship. If you are, you will be able to overcome any of the other limitations you might envision.

Also, can't help but inject that by far the best time to have kids is as a grandparent biggrin.gif .
doomed_planet
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Jan 31 2005, 06:42 AM)
I had my first when I was 28. I think that's a good age, but I had been married for several years by that time. I often wish I'd started sooner...and that pregnancy was a surprise. I don't know how long we would have waited if not for that 'oops'.  I'm very glad we didn't. Now, I'm nearing the mid 30s and have two children (ages six and three). A part of me would love to have another (probably the biological clock part of me  ), but it's so much harder as you get older.


My situation is quite similar to yours. I was 26 when I had my first one, and
28 when my second child was born. In retrospect, I'm happy I had them when
I did. Though, I must say, I had envisioned myself having a child around age
30. There is a bit of an age difference between me and my husband, so I
basically compromised and started our family a little earlier than I would have
wanted.

QUOTE
I think people wait so long these days because it's so easy to put off
until ater, and there's NEVER a good time.


That is definitely the case in southern California. Women are having kids
in the mid-to-late thirties. Most of the parents of my children's friends are
already in their 40's. They have established careers and most of them
work outside the home and have nanny's that care for their kids. unsure.gif

QUOTE(Hobbes @ Jan 31 2005, 08:10 AM)
Also, can't help but inject that by far the best time to have kids is as a grandparent 


Indeed! My mom is a much better grandparent than she was a parent.
Of course, she had me at 19 (my dad was 23), so we pretty much grew up
together. innocent.gif

As far as the best age to have a child. It varies depending on the individual.
If I had to put a number on it, I would say after the age of 25.
Prospective parents needs to be emotionally ready to live their life for
their kids, and all the decisions they make will revolve around the welfare of
their children. What 18 year-old is ready for that sacrifice?
Google
jenreiautter
I can only speak personally on this one. It's such a personal choice that I'm sure not everyone would agree with me.

My "life plan" that I made back when I was 20 or so I still feel is the best way to do it and would be my recommendation to any woman who was seeking my advice, although life didn't turn out that way for me.

My plan was this: learn and play and be young and and mostly responsibility free until age 25. At age 25, get married and have 5 years to bond with husband and become more mature and financially stable. Have first child at 30 and 2nd child at 34-- still young enough to be able to do a lot of things with my kids but old enough that I had plenty of time to do what I wanted to beforehand.

I did the learn and play and be young thing until 24 (college, friends, fun, exploring life) when I had an oops! and got pregnant -- I was not married. I decided to have the baby and she's now 10 years old.

I was a single parent for many years, and had trouble keeping relationships going --not too many men out there interested in staying in a relationship with a single mom.

Met a wonderful man at age 33 and then oops! again (you'd think I'd learn). Luck was with me this time, however. We had the baby just after I turned 34 and got married a few months later.

My husband was 39 when our daughter was born and had never had kids before -- and even though he's an older dad he's a wonderful, caring, nurturing, playful one -- much more mature and sensitive than many of my friends' husbands were when their kids were born. He also has a lot of life experience which I think will be a great asset in child rearing.

What I learned from my experiences:

While I did experience the increased fatigue and other bodily issues with my second child, I'm not sure it was bad enough to jump into motherhood years earlier. It was easier physically to be pregnant with my first at 24, but I was less mature, settled, patient, experienced, and mentally ready for the task of parenting.

About 13 months or so after my first daughter was born, I felt restless and tired of being tied down. I was still young and wanted to be doing young person things. I started to envy friends who hadn't tied themselves down. Going to classes to learn new things, or going to plays, concerts, films, out dancing and other events that I was aching to do was anywhere from very difficult to nearly impossible.

My second child is now 14 months old and I've had none of the angst I had when her older sister was that age. I still like to go out and lead a life outside my kids, but it's much more subdued. I'm at a point in my life where I'm much more content with domesticity.

To this day I'm glad I had those few young years (18 -23) to spend on me -- I see younger women with huge responsibilities and I'm glad my path was different. I think I would have been even happier if I'd had both my kids in my 30s rather than one in my 20s.
VDemosthenes
The best age for a woman to have a child may not even be a numerical age at all. It is most believable, instead, to be a state of mind. Why put a timer on your life from the day you are born until the day you decide to have children? The age is of little importance if you have accomplished everything you had wanted to accomplish prior to sharing your world with children. If women are happy with themselves and their surroundings and are prepared for the responsibility that is motherhood I believe that the time is right for a woman to seek children.
If a woman puts a mental clock on herself she shall feel obligated and taken under by too many stresses and complications to meet that age they thought would be perfect for children. Things would suffer for a woman to put an age tagged on the hopes of having children, it could be just as serious as depression or just as minor as losing sleep; but either one is still rendering harming effects to a woman or her self-esteem.
It is best, rather, to have goals set and then one day met. When a woman is prepared to have children, and when she is comfortable to have children that will be the age. No one can answer this question because the only person who knows the answer is the woman who is questioning children. I leave it to mothers and women who want children to answer this question; it is personal opinion that life should be lived to the maximum before you are willing to share it so you can start over to share your experiences with your child.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Jan 31 2005, 08:13 PM)
The best age for a woman to have a child may not even be a numerical age at all. It is most believable, instead, to be a state of mind. Why put a timer on your life from the day you are born until the day you decide to have children? The age is of little importance if you have accomplished everything you had wanted to accomplish prior to sharing your world with children. If women are happy with themselves and their surroundings and are prepared for the responsibility that is motherhood I believe that the time is right for a woman to seek children.
If a woman puts a mental clock on herself she shall feel obligated and taken under by too many stresses and complications to meet that age they thought would be perfect for children. Things would suffer for a woman to put an age tagged on the hopes of having children, it could be just as serious as depression or just as minor as losing sleep; but either one is still rendering harming effects to a woman or her self-esteem.
It is best, rather, to have goals set and then one day met. When a woman is prepared to have children, and when she is comfortable to have children that will be the age. No one can answer this question because the only person who knows the answer is the woman who is questioning children. I leave it to mothers and women who want children to answer this question; it is personal opinion that life should be lived to the maximum before you are willing to share it so you can start over to share your experiences with your child.
*



This may be a good philosophy except for the fact that women are faced with a very real biological clock. Trust me, the longer you wait until you "have lived to the maximum" and are "willing to share your experiences with your child"-- the harder it is to do. Having a child fundamentally shifts the entire focus of your life. I truly believe that we as human beings do not ever truly "grow up" until we have had children--- until we have had to put the needs and desires of another human being before our own. The biological clock certainly does cause stress to many women but unfortunately that is life. We can't ignore it. I think too many women have put child bearing on the back burner to career and wake up one day and realize that they either cannot have children or are unwilling to fundamentally change their lives to have children.

My sister and I always joke about how there are so many books out there to help prepare couples who are contemplating having children. We have decided to write another kind of book: Children: Don't!

Point being-- no one every really tells you how difficult it is. How fundamentally everything changes. I was once talking to someone who just had a baby. And she was saying how she was ready for the late night feedings and lack of sleep etc. But what she wasn't ready for was not ever having the time to blow dry her hair! I say all this because I think -- faced with such a life altering event as child birth -- many women push it off until it is either too late or it is very difficult to do. On the other hand, I don't think women in their early twenties should be popping out kids. Our society needs to come to a balance on this issue. It is moving in that direction. As more and more women have kids and leave the work force, it is becoming crystal clear that we need to expect that. That doesn't mean that once you have a kid you drop out of the work world for the rest of your life. It just means that society has learned that we all make contribution in different ways as we go through life.
sickz
the woman's age is insignificant, it's the male's age who she conceived the child w/ which has the true and most significant impact on that childs life.

(too lazy to elaborate into fine detail at the moment)
gatorgal
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 30 2005, 12:46 PM)
I am curious as to people's thoughts about what the best age is for a woman to have her first child.  It seems these days that women are putting it off quite late and don't realize what a problem that is.
Question for Debate:

What is the best age to have your first child?
*



I think the problem is today, is that too many women think they need to get their careers established or make something of themselves before having children. Funny thing is, that most of these people keep putting it off and putting it off until they get to the point where it is either improbable they get pregnant or dangerous because of their age. Too many people try to plan for the "perfect" time, but rarely is there ever a "perfect" time. If you want to have children, then do it. Everything will work out.

From my experience, I would say do it sooner than later. Much better to enjoy things when your kids are older and going to school when you are 50 then being stuck with teenagers at that age.

Funny thing is that I didn't become successful until I wanted to stay home with my kids and still make money. At that point, I decided to start my own business and now both myself and my husband are able to make money and stay home with our kids (and still have the kids out of the house by 50)...
overlandsailor
QUOTE(gatorgal @ Feb 20 2005, 12:20 AM)
I think the problem is today, is that too many women think they need to get their careers established or make something of themselves before having children.  Funny thing is, that most of these people keep putting it off and putting it off until they get to the point where it is either improbable they get pregnant or dangerous because of their age.  Too many people try to plan for the "perfect" time, but rarely is there ever a "perfect" time.  If you want to have children, then do it.  Everything will work out. 
*




I get your point, however I think that people need to invest some time in planning for their futures and ensuring that they can properly support a child before seeking to have one. It is one thing if someone is doing fine, has a child and then falls on hard times. It is quite another when someone who is already having a hard time making ends meet, chooses to have a child.

There may never be a perfect time, but personal responsibility is in order here. If you are not ready to settle down, not prepared to sacrifice a great deal of your freedom, or not financially able to support a child without assistance, then you should wait.

What is the right time and age is really an individual decision, but that individual should make that decision based on their ability to raise and support a child.
gatorgal
QUOTE(overlandsailor @ Feb 20 2005, 09:53 AM)
I get your point, however I think that people need to invest some time in planning for their futures and ensuring that they can properly support a child before seeking to have one.   It is one thing if someone is doing fine, has a child and then falls on hard times.  It is quite another when someone who is already having a hard time making ends meet, chooses to have a child.

There may never be a perfect time, but personal responsibility is in order here.  If you are not ready to settle down, not prepared to sacrifice a great deal of your freedom, or not financially able to support a child without assistance, then you should wait.

What is the right time and age is really an individual decision, but that individual should make that decision based on their ability to raise and support a child.
*



Then it really isn't a question of age... it is a question of their position, economically, emotionally, etc. Obviously, a person should be financially stable and emotionally ready to have a child, and this isn't something dictated by age.
AllysonKing
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Feb 1 2005, 08:40 AM)
I truly believe that we as human beings do not ever truly "grow up" until we have had children--- until we have had to put the needs and desires of another human being before our own.


I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. There are many reasons why women may chose not to have children, and this does not necessarily make them any less of an adult. There are those, like myself (as well as other women I have met), who have taken on various causes/volunteer work, that are kept busy, and they have not heard that biological clock ticking. I also helped raise my sisters due to issues within my home growing up, and feel as though I have undertaken childrearing, to an extent.

Giving birth and having a child in your home does not make you a true "grown up." There are several women with whom I have been acquainted that have children, and work well over 40 hours per week, sometimes until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. at night. They fly through the door in order to say good night to their children, and see them on the weekends. Where's the quality time? I find this quite selfish - what a lonely time it must be for kids, waiting nightly for their mothers and/or fathers to come home.

Those women who consciously decided to not have children because they work long hours in their careers, and women who do not think their lives are steady enough to bring a child into the world, have made a tough, mature decision. They shouldn't be chastised because they "haven't grown up" or they are "selfish." Personally, for those who put their careers first, I'm glad they haven't reproduced, as their children are only going to suffer.

I've spent long hours working predominantly on animal related causes, along with the elderly, and Habitat for Humanity. I gained nothing from undertaking any of these volunteer opportunities. Should I have a child, I want it to be at a time when I can work a limited time, so that my husband and I can raise the child. If this time never comes, or comes too late, then it is the gamble I've taken. Just as those who take a gamble and bring a child into the world - because you never know what kind of parent you'll be once the child arrives - and whether you are truly capable of making the sacrifice.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
Those women who consciously decided to not have children because they work long hours in their careers, and women who do not think their lives are steady enough to bring a child into the world, have made a tough, mature decision.  They shouldn't be chastised because they "haven't grown up" or they are "selfish."  Personally, for those who put their careers first, I'm glad they haven't reproduced, as their children are only going to suffer.


I think you misunderstood my point. I was not chastising women for not having children. My point was broader. First, it related to both men and women. Second, I believe that having kids takes people to the next level in terms of "growing up" in a way that nothing else can because it is pretty much the only situation you can put yourself in where the needs of another human being come before your own at all times. IMO it is the most difficult thing in the world. Many people are not ready for that particularly when they are teenagers or in their early twenties. So, I think there is a balance in terms of "age" that we need to strike. You don't want to have kids when you will be so resentful of the loss of freedom but on the other hand you don't want to wait until you physically either can't have them or have difficulty keeping up. Most people at 50 years old want their kids to either be out of the house or pretty darn close to it.
Artemise
QUOTE
I think too many women have put child bearing on the back burner to career and wake up one day and realize that they either cannot have children or are unwilling to fundamentally change their lives to have children.


And your point is?

QUOTE
Second, I believe that having kids takes people to the next level in terms of "growing up" in a way that nothing else can because it is pretty much the only situation you can put yourself in where the needs of another human being come before your own at all times. IMO it is the most difficult thing in the world.


IYO, its the hardest thing in the world, or that its the only time you put others lives before your own at all times. That is YOU, not everyone. I can appreciate your hardship but its not to make sweeping generalizations about other womens lives. As below:

QUOTE
This may be a good philosophy except for the fact that women are faced with a very real biological clock. Trust me, the longer you wait until you "have lived to the maximum" and are "willing to share your experiences with your child"-- the harder it is to do.


I dont know, Hayleyanne, all this opinion seems very subjective to me. Why do I feel like Im being fed some propaganda piece about womens need to have kids early? First of all, not all women feel the biological clock you speak of (lots of women would put off childbirth until 50 if it were advisable healthwise), secondly, not all women feel it 'hard' as you do. Most of my friends took to motherhood like fish in water, and my cousin is a daycare professional at 37y/o, taking care of 10+ infants/children all day, 5 days a week and has been for over 10 years, happy as can be, and may I add, unbelievably lucrative.
Many women have nannys and careers and dont consider it hard at all. Some just take to motherhood at any point and its totally fine. I know loads of single mothers that are older too.

I myself have put off having kids for a long time, quite sad about a recent miscarriage but am fully prepared for a possible pregnancy now at 43 or later, if it happens. Right now I am raising a 6 and 9 year old (boys who have had life difficulties) that are not my biological children, something I would have never taken on any younger.
I'll admit its not always easy, but I have a much clearer head than at any other time in my life. The boys and my 2 year old dog keep me fit, young and alert, and I am better parent than I ever would have been before. I took a long time to grow up, Im more involved now with a simpler life, and being solidly dedicated to it as a choice, not out of need. My values are better, my finances are better, my level of selfishness lesser. I have the time to dedicate now without thinking Im missing out on something. Its very rewarding now instead of a hardship.
I still may take the boys to live in Mexico next year, (with a recent good job offer) so my adventures have not ended, just become a bit more complicated in the planning.

Granted, I am not a person who cares much about if I have blown dry my hair, it helps to lay on the earthy side of life and have a maintenance free hairstyle. I have not experienced an infant and a career, I think that is quite a feat. I think thats why it might be better, later, if you are healthy and fit. Less to prove, better benefits, more time off, or who cares at that point? Your priorities are clear and youve got a great resume' to make something that suits. These days you can even find work that lets you bring a baby to work, thanks to liberals pushing for better work standards for women over the years.
hayleyanne
Artemise wrote:

QUOTE
I think too many women have put child bearing on the back burner to career and wake up one day and realize that they either cannot have children or are unwilling to fundamentally change their lives to have children.

And your point is?



My point is to get the message out to women that there is a downside to waiting to have kids. I think the message has been one sided of late. Encouraging women to have careers is a great thing and I of course fully support that message-- but women need to understand that there are trade offs. Personally, I wish someone had said this to me when I was in my twenties.

QUOTE
Second, I believe that having kids takes people to the next level in terms of "growing up" in a way that nothing else can because it is pretty much the only situation you can put yourself in where the needs of another human being come before your own at all times. IMO it is the most difficult thing in the world.

IYO, its the hardest thing in the world, or that its the only time you put others lives before your own at all times. That is YOU, not everyone. I can appreciate your hardship but its not to make sweeping generalizations about other womens lives.


Again, just getting a message out. Women can do what they will with the message. Digest it and understand it and know what they are in for. If some women find it easy to juggle an established career with raising a child-- more power to them. I am all for people doing what is best for THEM. Just as long as they are making an informed decision. Again, it harkens back to me wishing someone had sat me down to give me the real lowdown on how hard it would be. But like you say, some women may not find it so difficult and may find that it is invigorating or keeps them young. I can't imagine that -- but -all the better for them.


QUOTE
I dont know, Hayleyanne, all this opinion seems very subjective to me. Why do I feel like Im being fed some propaganda piece about womens need to have kids early? First of all, not all women feel the biological clock you speak of (lots of women would put off childbirth until 50 if it were advisable healthwise), secondly, not all women feel it 'hard' as you do. Most of my friends took to motherhood like fish in water, and my cousin is a daycare professional at 37y/o, taking care of 10+ infants/children all day, 5 days a week and has been for over 10 years, happy as can be, and may I add, unbelievably lucrative.
Many women have nannys and careers and dont consider it hard at all. Some just take to motherhood at any point and its totally fine. I know loads of single mothers that are older too.


Artemise-- all I can say is I am happy for them then. They have found a good balance. My point is simply that I know that is not the case for many women and the message that has been out there for the past couple decades has been: you can have it all; bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan; etc etc. Implication being-- Women do not have to face certain difficulties in having it all.

As far as the biological clock goes-- I am not implying that it is something all women feel. My point again, is it is a simple fact. The older you get the more difficult it is to conceive and for many women it is very wearing on them to raise the kids, to have an infant at 40 etc. If a woman does not want to have kids-- who cares? That is her choice. But we can't ignore the realities.

QUOTE
These days you can even find work that lets you bring a baby to work, thanks to liberals pushing for better work standards for women over the years.


On this point I have to say, that I don't think it necessarily breaks down along liberal conservative lines. Liberals may push for more institutionalized day care and day care on site. Conservatives push for other ways to juggle family and career. The best place I have ever seen for parents was at an EXTREMELY conservative work place. (don't want to say the specifics of where) Let me just say that bringing your kid with you to work was so commonplace that there were kids around all the time. And it wasn't just the peons either, it was the people pretty much running the place. It was wonderful.
Artemise
QUOTE
My point is to get the message out to women that there is a downside to waiting to have kids.


I agree. Actually there is a downside to having kids at any time. It doesnt matter when.

QUOTE
The older you get the more difficult it is to conceive and for many women it is very wearing on them to raise the kids, to have an infant at 40 etc.


Probably the biggest detriment to waiting is the difficulty of conception and the possibility of birth defects after 40. If a woman can bear with the testing and the dubious outcome (no tests are 100%) there is a good chance that she can have a healthy baby.

I see no unusual 'wearing' on a woman having an infant at 40 or over.
What is 40 anyway? Women are not old at 40 these days, but they are smarter and more solvent.
I dont think having a first child at 40 is the best thing, its most likely best in your 30's. Your eggs are still really good an you have matured more than in your 20's.

QUOTE
Just as long as they are making an informed decision. Again, it harkens back to me wishing someone had sat me down to give me the real lowdown on how hard it would be.


Im thinking that noone ever told you how hard it would be ever, no matter what age. We have various scenarios here, by what criteria are you basing your philosophy?
a.) have children very young, and possibly never achieve the career/life goals you imagined for yourself, nor play, love, live, make mistakes and make good and bad choices, or waylay them for years, possibly resent never having had a life from childhood to motherhood.
b.) have a child in the middle of your career; your fertility and energy levels are optimum, and still you are juggling both, with obvious career setbacks but worth while.
c.) have a child later, having achieved some career goals, conception is more difficult, risks are higher and energy levels are lower, stability and time spent is higher.

I think no matter what a woman chooses its plainly not going to be easy. It just IS what happened when women joined the workforce.

If you had your last child 10 years ago, at the age of 32, why is this of sudden concern to you now, to warn women on the dangers of waiting to have children?
Was there an article somewhere? How did you suddenly come upon this idea?
hayleyanne
Artemise

Actually, my daughter just turned 11. I am 42. Why is it of sudden concern? I guess because I have been getting the impression lately that women are waiting longer and longer to have kids. I heard a talk show recently that was talking about how women are waiting longer. Someone called in who was like 32 and talking about how she resents feeling any kind of pressure to have kids now instead of later. It just hit home with me. She can resent it all she wants but the facts are the facts. And I think framing the issue in terms of "societal pressure" is silly. As long as women full well understand what the problems are (whatever the age) then more power to them. You are right, there are difficult issues at each stage. But I take issue with those who try to present the "waiting" scenario as the optimal one. When I had my daughter I had been practicing law for about 5 years already. Enough to be fairly established but not have reached the top level by any means. I had to make some life altering decisions-- I chose to stay at home with my daughter and then later to take a job teaching where I had tons of flexibility. I was very lucky. In retrospect, I think my time frame was probably the best.

I guess this issue bleeds over into one of my other pet peeves: that feminist philosophy focuses on a woman's career and relegates child care to second class status. It seems to be all part of the same ball of wax. Career is most important-- so don't worry about waiting. Then once your child is born-- of course you ought not to quit work-- you need to "juggle" and "balance". I bought into all that -- until I had my daughter. Then I realized that the single most important "career" I would ever have is raising her. So, I guess my interest in this issue relates to my strong feelings that there needs to be a new message coming from feminism. Old style feminism that puts child rearing on the back burner or relegates it to second class status is just plain wrong. As women we need to rethink this message and form a new message to young women that comports better with both reality and the proper priorities.
Artemise
Right on HLA, I knew there was something more to this than what was being said.

But dont you think that reflection is that of a mature woman?

I dont know about 'proper priorities'. I mean noone, and that is NOONE is asking men to give up their careers to raise children. I think its a very personal problem between couples. Most families need two salaries, single mothers obviously need to work.

There are many options these days. That was the beauty of feminism. We got status, we have options. I dont think anyone today looks down on stay at home moms or dads, and so many children are even home schooled now, probably more than in the 50's before feminism.

I dont think a woman has to give up her career either. Children in good homes do well regardless.
I dont think feminism is influencing many womens lives today, as the war has been won, just some battles are still being waged to hold ground.
English Horn
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Feb 25 2005, 08:27 AM)
I guess this issue bleeds over into one of my other pet peeves: that feminist philosophy focuses on a woman's career and relegates child care to second class status.  It seems to be all part of the same ball of wax.  Career is most important-- so don't worry about waiting.  Then once your child is born-- of course you ought not to quit work-- you need to "juggle" and "balance".  I bought into all that -- until I had my daughter.  Then I realized that the single most important "career" I would ever have is raising her.  So, I guess my interest in this issue relates to my strong feelings that there needs to be a new message coming from feminism.  Old style feminism that puts child rearing on the back burner or relegates it to second class status is just plain wrong.  As women we need to rethink this message and form a new message to young women that comports better with both reality and the proper priorities.
*



I don't know if I should even be allowed to post on this thread... smile.gif since I am a male and I won't directly face the set of problems and issues discussed here. However, the mindset of some men and women totally baffles me. They postpone having kids - for what? To reach some other career milestone. As hayleyanne noted, when she had her daughter, she was fairly established, but hasn't reached the top level. What is it on that top level that could be so alluring? More money? Higher social status? I just think that some women (and men) totally lose perspective when it comes to their careers. After all, it's just a job - something that provides means for living. What's the point of reaching success and financial might in life if there's nobody to pass those riches to? Does it really worth making 40K per year more at the expense of risking your child's welfare? I am not talking about situations when there's no other choice such as single mothers, etc.
My parents had me when they were in early 20s. Now I am 31 and they're in their early fifties. It is great to have fairly young parents, and it's been great throughout my school and college years. When they had me they were nowhere near their respective career peaks - so what? So we had a small black-and-white TV in the house instead of the color one, and we didn't have a car. I had to reuse some clothing items after my cousins and I didn't have nearly as much pocket cash as some other kids. Despite that I still feel that my folks did a tremendous job raising me. You dodn't need a whole lot of money to raise a child well.
Now, me and my wife are going to have our first baby soon. When we talked about whether she's going back to work or not she said "Our daughter is going to be a baby only once - and I don't want to miss it". To me this argument beat any considerations of money - I would rather sell our house and downsize than let our child be raised by child care centers.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
I don't know if I should even be allowed to post on this thread...  smile.gif  since I am a male and I won't face the set of problems and issues discussed here. However, the mindset of some men and women totally baffles me. They postpone having kids - for what? To reach some other career milestone. As hayleyanne noted, when she had her daughter, she was fairly established, but hasn't reached the top level. What is it on that top level that could be so alluring? More money? Higher social status? I just think that some women (and men) totally lose perspective when it comes to their careers. After all, it's just a job - something that provides means for living. What's the point of reaching success and financial might in life if there's nobody to pass those riches to? Does it really worth making 40K per year more at the expense of risking your child's welfare? I am not talking about situations when there's no other choice such as single mothers, etc.
My parents had me when they were in early 20s. Now I am 31 and they're in their early fifties. It is great to have fairly young parents, and it's been great throughout my school and college years. When they had me they were nowhere near their respective career peaks - so what? So we had a small black-and-white TV in the house instead of the color one, and we didn't have a car. I had to reuse some clothing items after my cousins and I didn't have nearly as much pocket cash as some other kids. Despite that I still feel that my folks did a tremendous job raising me. You dodn't need a whole lot of money to raise a child well.
Now, me and my wife are going to have our first baby soon. When we talked about whether she's going back to work or not she said "Our daughter is going to be a baby only once - and I don't want to miss it". To me this argument beat any considerations of money - I would rather sell our house and downsize than let our child be raised by child care centers.


Well said English Horn! And of course you can post in this thread! I could not agree more with what you said. People seem to have this view that happiness is just around the corner with that raise or promotion or whatever. They forget that -- how does that famous quote go? That life is what happens while you are trying to get to that next level. (something like that). I promise you that neither you nor your wife will regret the decision to have her home raising your child. You can never get that time back. I always hate to hear the argument that we need two incomes to survive. In most cases, that is not true. I myself am a single mom (widowed) and I know as a fact that you can live on one income. I also know that you can also choose career paths/schedules etc that fit around your child. I am able to be home when my daughter is home. Never is she coming home to an empty house or to a sitter. There is always some way to work around it. Where there is a will there is a way.

Kudos to your decision and congratulations on having your first child!
Just Leave me Alone!
thumbsup.gif This is a great topic. My wife and I had planned to start "trying"(or stop not trying) to have our first this year and this has offered some great insight.
[quote=sickz,Feb 15 2005, 05:42 AM]
the woman's age is insignificant, it's the male's age who she conceived the child w/ which has the true and most significant impact on that childs life.

(too lazy to elaborate into fine detail at the moment)
*

[/quote]
laugh.gif

[quote=Artemise,Feb 25 2005, 08:04 AM]
[quote]
Im thinking that noone ever told you how hard it would be ever, no matter what age. We have various scenarios here, by what criteria are you basing your philosophy?
a.) have children very young, and possibly never achieve the career/life goals you imagined for yourself, nor play, love, live, make mistakes and make good and bad choices, or waylay them for years, possibly resent never having had a life from childhood to motherhood.
b.) have a child in the middle of your career; your fertility and energy levels are optimum, and still you are juggling both, with obvious career setbacks but worth while.
c.) have a child later, having achieved some career goals, conception is more difficult, risks are higher and energy levels are lower, stability and time spent is higher.

I think no matter what a woman chooses its plainly not going to be easy. It just IS what happened when women joined the workforce.
*

[/quote]
You forgot option d) Have Dad stay home. I'm not sure what my wife will choose, but the deal that I have always made with her is that someone is going to stay home, if she would prefer to keep working, then I'll stay home. There you have it ladies! Career and children! flowers.gif
Altari
Very interesting topic...

My (bias) opinion on the matter. Have 'em young. I am 20 years old. I have a soon-to-be three year old, a 7 month old, and another on the way (highly unexpected, despite our consistent precautions, I guess birth control does fail). My husband is currently attending college and will be finished when our oldest is 6. We share a house with my parents and my grandmother.

The point of this ramble is that when my husband is done with school and after he enters the work force, my two eldest will be in school and this one on the way will either be in pre-school or at home with her grandmothers. I am then free to return to school and finish my degree and have an uninterrupted career afterwards. I won't be the bitter housewife who is upset that she gaveup her job.

My life plan had been go to college, get my master's, get married at 30 and have 2 kids 3 years apart. Yet...I'd have to give up my carreer. I would be going to school...to work for 4 years...to have children and stop working? In the midst of this chaos I've started to wonder why society is pushing women to wait until after they begin their carreer to have children. It's financially difficult, but it's doable. There won't be the toys and the pony rides and the expensive family vacations, but there will be kids who grow up knowing how to accept 'no', that if the cable goes out (because we couldn't pay it) it's not the end of the world, and that tickle-me-elmo doesn't bring the greatest happiness in the world.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
You forgot option d) Have Dad stay home.  I'm not sure what my wife will choose, but the deal that I have always made with her is that someone is going to stay home, if she would prefer to keep working, then I'll stay home.  There you have it ladies!  Career and children!


Most women will not choose option D. cool.gif It would be an interesting debate as to why this is the case. Socialization? Inborn maternal instinct. In my case, probably both.


QUOTE
The point of this ramble is that when my husband is done with school and after he enters the work force, my two eldest will be in school and this one on the way will either be in pre-school or at home with her grandmothers. I am then free to return to school and finish my degree and have an uninterrupted career afterwards. I won't be the bitter housewife who is upset that she gaveup her job.


I do agree that women should have children much earlier. But I do not believe that women are "bitter" when they choose to give up a career to stay home with their kids. I made the decision to be home with my daughter when she was born and never regretted it or felt "bitter" in any way. It felt like a natural decision. I have since been able to go back to work in a very flexible schedule teaching where I am always home when my daughter is home and I do not work summers when she is off.
Altari
QUOTE
I do agree that women should have children much earlier.  But I do not believe that women are "bitter" when they choose to give up a career to stay home with their kids.  I made the decision to be home with my daughter when she was born and never regretted it or felt "bitter" in any way.  It felt like a natural decision.  I have since been able to go back to work in a very flexible schedule teaching where I am always home when my daughter is home and I do not work summers when she is off.
*


I'm basing that statement on my experience with my aquaintances who went to college, got their degree, and decided to have kids at 30. I know many many of them were bitter (not towards their children) that they had to give up their hard fought career to stay home, while hubby got to keep going to work. With many, it seems to bring about the idea of 'Will I ever get to go back?'

In either case, it's wonderful that your situation worked out so well for you and your daughter. biggrin.gif
CruisingRam
Funny, my wife and I talked about this at some length today over our weekly no-kids dinner date (a quirk of our schedules, only started this January- when we are there, I still tend to act like I have kids with me- wierd)

My wife is now 26, a boy about to turn 2 and a little girl about to turn 5. I am 40. She is now the CFO of a middle sized business (28 employees) and just started her "career" this last January. I had arranged my work schedule so I could watch the kids while she went toschool for the last 2 years.

She says everyday how happy she is that she timed"her life just right" (inside joke, because we didn't plan on any of it LOL) - just as she is really ready to hit the workforce, in a very satisfying job for her (her work provided free on-site daycare) her kids are old enough to go to school or dacycare, without the guilt associated with having someone else raise your babies for you!

I don't know if I would have worked quite as hard to be as succesful as I have become in such a short time without the motivation of the children. We were fairly comfortable with our little hovel we called a home at the time my wife got pregnent, so it was definately a "kick start" for me!
hayleyanne
QUOTE
I don't know if I would have worked quite as hard to be as succesful as I have become in such a short time without the motivation of the children. We were fairly comfortable with our little hovel we called a home at the time my wife got pregnent, so it was definately a "kick start" for me!


Isn't this the truth! thumbsup.gif

When you all of a sudden have another little being that is completely dependent on you-- you really have to step up to the plate. And it is pretty hard. I sometimes wonder how it can be that these little beings who do nothing but make the greatest demands on us can end up being who we love the most in our lives.

I do believe that they need a presence from us all the way through till they go off to college. Kids get into trouble during that time when there is no parent in the house. I am firm believer in always being home when my daughter is home.
deerjerkydave
Great topic.

I think that deciding upon the best age rests upon two main issues. First, take into account that there are physical laws we can't change. In other words, women are more fertile in their twenties and early thirties. Statistically, fertility tapers off after 35 and birth defects increase significantly. This is because the eggs are getting old and don't work like they used to. And second is a stable parental relationship. If mom and dad work well together, they will probably work well together with the challenges of raising a child/children. If the relationship is on the rocks, having a child probably won't fix it and the child may end up in a broken home.
BecomingHuman
Ugh, so much emphasis on having children is quite disturbing to me, personally. I would definitely consider myself an odd person, but I cannot understand the need to have a child. Furthermore, I thinks its ultimately social pressure that makes many people feel they need to have offspring in order to fulfill some aspect of their life. Thus, the debate on when women should have children seems utterly superficial to me. To think that some women out there are worried about their biological clocks suggests a type of conformity with traditional values. You shouldn't have to worry if your lifes complete because you decide to have a kid or not. A kid should be more of a personal choice, not a necessary one.

This pretty much sums it up: The case against Babies
hayleyanne
QUOTE(BecomingHuman @ Apr 21 2005, 10:05 PM)
Ugh, so much emphasis on having children is quite disturbing to me, personally.  I would definitely consider myself an odd person, but I cannot understand the need to have a child.  Furthermore, I thinks its ultimately social pressure that makes many people feel they need to have offspring in order to fulfill some aspect of their life.  Thus, the debate on when women should have children seems utterly superficial to me.  To think that some women out there are worried about their biological clocks suggests a type of conformity with traditional values.  You shouldn't have to worry if your lifes complete because you decide to have a kid or not.  A kid should be more of a personal choice, not a necessary one. 

This pretty much sums it up: The case against Babies
*



Maybe you don't get it cuz you are a guy! You have no biological time clock. I don't know how old you are-- if you are young, things will likely change and if you are older-- things still might change because you don't have a biological time clock! I think it is a natural human need to, at some point, think about having children. It just so happens women are faced with a window of time where they can and so it highlights the issue all the more. As far as conformity with traditional values goes-- there is nothing like having a kid to get you more into the whole "traditional" values mind set. When it is just you or you and a signficant other, you don't (at least I didn't) feel any compelling need to stick to tradition or care so much about values of society. Once you have kids you want them growing up in a safe world where everything is not in a free fall. Traditional values safeguard the world for your kids.
Victoria Silverwolf
QUOTE
I think it is a natural human need to, at some point, think about having children.


A little off-topic, but I feel compelled to offer some reply to this. (For no other reason that to add to the evidence that there is little, if anything, that is truly "natural" in human behavior.)

There are LOTS of women who NEVER had any desire to have children. Here's a group which is full of them (the majority of the members are women):


No Kidding!

I'm a member of this group myself. I have joined in this discussion board, and the vast majority of the members have always been absolutely 100% sure that they did not ever want children.

My only point is that it may be true that MOST people consider having children, but that SOME people never do.

As far as the other point made here goes, all I can say is that I don't particularly care very much for many of the so-called "traditional" values (many of which have only existed since the 1950's.) If I had to raise a child (Goddess forbid) I would want it to live in a culture with values MUCH different than most of the ones now called "traditional."
Lesly
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Apr 22 2005, 06:19 AM)
Maybe you don't get it cuz you are a guy!  You have no biological time clock.
*


Maybe I've been a guy since I was 14, when rocking in my grandmother's stained wood and wicker chair I decided I didn't want kids and preemptively silenced my biological clock from ever sounding a tick-tock. wink.gif

What is the best age to have your first child?

When you want to have one and can afford to raise the child without too much trouble should the father die, become unable to work, or decides to move on to greener pastures. Same advice goes for would-be fathers.

I may be "selfish" for not wanting to share my time raising a child but I've seen one too many mothers with the same streak fall for idea that they're supposed to have kids only to realize too late you can't ignore them the same way you can hang a dress in the closet. They wind up regretting their choice, live through 18 years with a detached disinterest in child rearing and the kids suffer for it. Then there are women who suffer financially for refusing to prepare for the possibility that present accommodations and compromises may change.

If I do get pregnant I doubt fostering a safe place for my children would entice me to jump on the "traditional values" wagon. That shouldn't come as a surprise.
jenreiautter
I'm glad that BecomingHuman, Victoria Silverwolf, and Lesly brought this up, because it's been an aspect of the argument that's been nagging me since I first replied to this topic.

I also feel it's relevant to the topic because the societal pressure to have children may effect the age a woman chooses to have a child.

Not all women are meant to be parents. Victoria posted about a bunch of women that were 100% sure that they never wanted kids, and I would be willing to bet that there are many more women out there that don't want kids or just want them a little and don't realize it because the of this societal pressure about what is "normal".

I am anecdotal evidence of this -- I love my children and want what's best for them -- but I've come to realize that I'm not all that into mothering and being a mom -- and it took having the kids to really realize this. The times I enjoy best with my kids are when I'm doing activities that I could have done with neices and nephews, friends' children, or as part of a "Big Brother, Big Sister" program. I like children in small doses.

Don't get me wrong -- I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and I would never trade my kids for a different lifestyle now that they exist. But I grew up thinking from (direct and indirect teaching) that having kids was an experience that every woman should and does want. I find that the day to day mothering interferes with a lot of things that come more naturally to me and that I'd rather be doing -- such as studying, writing, adult interaction, my own pursuits and interests. If I hadn't had children, I would have likely gone into filmmaking and I'd be pursuing other career goals.

Where are the examples in our society of happy, fulfilled, childless women? You almost never see in them in movies or tv, or other popular culture medium -- women are almost always depicted as either sex objects, or mothers/grandmothers and sometimes both, or occasionally a woman will be depicted as someone who wants children but can't have them. I've been in conversations with otherwise feminist women who have speculated on how sad that so and so or so and so doesn't have any children. It's considered unwomanly to not want or like kids.

I think a lot of this has to do with some kind of evolutionary principle, as at one time in history humans wouldn't have survived as a species if women hadn't had a lot of kids to keep them going. But we're at a stage where we don't need to all be having kids and in fact we are outstripping the earth's ability to sustain all of us.

We are influenced to have children in many ways -- and not all of us are really cut out for mothering. I would even argue that the world would be a better place if women that didn't want children didn't feel the internal and external pressure to have them.

So now to my point (finally) -- if a woman feels very strongly about pursuing career or other life goals, that may be a sign that she may not really want the mothering role -- but after a certain age with all the presures mentioned above along with family, friends and strangers questioning her childlessness, she may feel pressured into having kids. That doesn't mean that ALL women who pursue careers first don't want children wholeheartedly, but I would argue that there would be a big chunk of them that wouldn't really if they could cut through the conditioning and look at their feelings honestly.

Having kids at a younger age won't help these women, and it may, in some cases create more hidden and/or open resentment over lost youth, time and opportunities.
deerjerkydave
My last answer was the dictionary answer. Here's my personal answer:

I had my first child about 1.5 years ago (I was 27). To be honest I was in denial when my wife told me she was expecting. I had no idea what to think. I was pretty nervous about having to give up my lifestyle to change diapers and give bottles. However, once our son was born I was blown away by the amount of joy and happiness of being a parent. For some reason, the work of caring for my son was and is very fulfilling and worth it. There's no doubt, the love I get from my son is one of the greatest joys in my life. My wife and I are now expecting another child, but this time around I can't wait. mrsparkle.gif

The point to my personal answer is that if you have a stable relationship, you shouldn't postpone having children because you don't know what you're missing!
hayleyanne
I would have to say that I am sure that many women have children in large part because of the societal pressure to have children. I don't think the societal pressure reaches only women though-- it extends to men too. I know in my case, if I had not felt the pressure I very likely may not have had a child. Moreover, if someone told me what I was in for with having a kid, and how much it takes out of you (and without knowing my own child), I would have definitely decided against it. The fact is that it is really, really hard to raise a kid. But as deerjerky says -- however strange as it seems -- you wind up loving the kid more than anyone in the world. I really don't get that and I think it is just nature's way of having you bond so that you take care of the child. cool.gif

So ultimately, I do agree with Victoria, jennrie, and lesly. Many women do not have this inborn desire to have a child. Societal pressure plays a great role. In some ways it has to because we can't ALL not have kids. There has to be some difficult soul searching. I don't think it can be simply: whether you have a driving inborn desire for children because I am not sure all that many women or men have that. Some people have kids because of pressure, some people have kids because of that inborn desire, some people have kids because they want to extend their family. The reasons go on and on.
ralou

What is the best age to have your first child?


After your PhD and ten or twelve years of employment at a place that values you so much you can leave for five years and come right back where you were. After you've been married at least ten years without a single affair from either of you. After you have 100,000 in the bank and everything paid off (and a prenup to make sure he can't touch it if he ever does get stupid and you have to divorce him!).

Sure, by then you might have to adopt, but hey, it's better than having your own unprepared!

wink2.gif
This is a simplified version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.