Ok ok, obviously the time is different for everyone and from what I’ve hear you’re never really “ready,” but for the sake of my blog, humor me a little while I compare and contrast the perfect age to have a baby.
As of now I’m thinking I’ll be in my 20s when I have my first child, but that has fluctuated over my four years of marriage. I have no intentions of being in my 40s but early 30s could be a possibility. Here are some interesting tidbits I learned from a very long article about the perfect age to have a baby.
-“Physically, the 20s are the ideal time for pregnancy,” doctors say. Because your body is primed to handle the demands of carrying a baby.
-You’re less likely to have pregnancy complications or babies with Down Syndrome.
-You can also grow up with your child (I’m personally not a fan of that idea, I can’t imagine having a teenager before I’m 40… SCARY!!!
-Mentally: A lot of my (non-LDS) friends won’t have kids yet, and I may have to put my career/advanced education on hold for awhile.
-Also, still relatively new in a marriage, we’d have to make sure we plan more time for each other.
Carla (was 21)-The down side: Being a young mom means that it’s hard not to be selfish about my time. I used to sleep in, read, or watch TV whenever I wanted and go out with friends any night I pleased. All these freedoms go away when you’re a parent.
The good side: Bouncing back after pregnancies is easier when you’re younger. I’ve gotten down to my starting weight after each one. Two weeks after I had Aliza I was in a bridesmaid dress.
I’m happy that my kids have young grandparents — they’re all in their 50s — and seven great-grandparents. I’m always calling my mom and mother-in-law for advice
Samantha (was 25)– My career had been important to me — I was just starting out and was very ambitious. But during my maternity leave, I realized that motherhood was what life was about for me right now.
My friends hadn’t had kids yet. Some of my closest mom friends are women in their 30s and 40s whom I met in the neighborhood or at playgroups. They were eager to take me under their wing and share their wisdom.
There are times when Chris and I hear about all the wild things our single friends are doing and we’re envious. But then something magical happens at home with our boys and we’re reminded that we have such a full life to be thankful for.
-At higher risk of developing certain complications. But the majority of healthy women still have uneventful pregnancies at this age. At age 35 there’s 1/200 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome.
-More likely to have a C-section
-Mentally: I’ve had time for myself and my marriage, and I’ve accomplished some professional goals. This could give peace of mind if wanting to take a break to spend time with spawn.
-It’ll be easier to find a support group of pregnant friends and get advice.
Carol (was 30)– Good side: Financial stability — we own our own apartment now, and we’ve got some money saved for Emily’s education. It also meant that Emily doesn’t have to compete with my career. I put so much time and energy into my job in my 20s that I felt like I was able to step back a little once I had her. I found a new position within the company that allows me to work at home sometimes, so I can spend more time with her.
Because we waited to have kids, our parents are all retired or about to retire, which means I get a lot of help! My parents-in-law watch Emily every day while I’m at work.
(apparently she had no down sides)
Erica (was 36)– I’m glad that I had time to be spontaneous, go out with friends, and travel before having kids — it’s a lot harder to get out of the house and do things when you have a baby. And I feel like I’m a better person for having had the experiences I did before having Lena. I just hope that she’ll feel the same way and that she’ll keep me young.
-Having a baby in your 40s is common these days, and the majority of older mothers have totally normal pregnancies. Still, the risk of complications rises after age 40.
-This is crazy: If you’re physically fit, eat well, and don’t have preexisting health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, your overall risk of other pregnancy complications isn’t markedly higher than that of a woman in her 20s or 30s.
-The self-confidence and perspective you’ve picked up in your life may make you more patient in dealing with a demanding newborn.
Andrea (was 44)-Down sides: My friends’ children are now in college, so I’m completely out of sync! They went through all the sleepless nights and playdates and pediatrician appointments years ago — and I’m just starting. I honestly don’t feel my age at all, but I realize that as I get older it’s going to become more challenging.
It seemed as though being older would mean that I’d be more prepared for motherhood. I was centered, had traveled extensively, had eaten in all the best restaurants, and had bought all the clothes I wanted. But honestly, the experience of the two of them brings me to my knees. I wouldn’t have been more prepared at 144.
As of now I’m saying the perfect age to have a baby is… (Drumroll please) Not in 30s but 30. That’ll give me another 7 years to get where I want to be in my career, hopefully have a Master’s Degree, and I’ll have been married for *gasp* 12 years!!-Do I think that’ll happen? No, but as of today, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Ask me again tomorrow).
I’d love to hear your stories!! I’d love to see personal examples from people in 20s 30s and 40s! (Or opinions of why you’d prefer one over another).
-Also, if you’d like to read more about pregnancy in each age group here’s a few more articles.
January 2020 Update: Want to know what age I actually decided to get pregnant? Read my pregnancy announcement here.