Post # 1
I’ve been married for 2.5 years and I have been asked: “When do you want to have babies?” followed by “soon?” 1,345,234 times. They say that there is no perfect timing for you to have a baby, but there is a wrong time (I believe).
I have met innumerable gals who say that they want to have a baby by___ (insert number from 27-34 here). Truth to be told, there is enough scientific evidence to prove that biologically, there is a better time to have kids and then there is the not-so-good time borderline wrong time to have one. However, 99.9% of these gals who have set a deadline for themselves, have done so because of social reasons ranging from wanting to be young moms, to wanting to take time off work only after having worked a number of years prior.
I think that the social pressure (at least for middle class couples) to have a house and 2.5 kids before 35 drives people to marry the wrong person and to have kids at the wrong time in their lives. My sister had to deal with the pressure and stigma that came with not having kids by the time she was 30 (she’s 35 now). She has been TTC for 8 years but has learned to accept that babies will come (if they come) when the timing is right and has learned to ignore these deadlines.
No one knows what they will be doing in 4 or 5 years from now, so why do we need to set these unrealistic goals? Having kids is not a matter of being socially ready for kids. I have yet to hear a couple say that they want to have kids when they feel that they have laid a solid foundation of love and trust in their marriage to welcome another person in their lives.
Post # 3
I think that’s a good point, and the timing should be based on where you are in your life, not your age or what other people think. I got married at 26, have a good job and a house, and after a little less than two years we started TTC. It was important to me to have stability and a partner who felt the same way. On the other hand, we both work a lot, make okay money but not fabulous, and we’ll certainly have more stressors than many new parents. If we waited a couple more years, some of those things would’ve been easier, but we just wanted to start now and felt like things were good enough.
I think it’s a really personal decision, and should be based on individual circumstances. Rushing into marriage or parenthood without good support would’ve been impossibly stressful for me. Then again, I know plenty of less traditional families that seem happy and loving, so to each his/her own.
Post # 4
There is no social pressure to have babies before age 40 where I live (at least in my greater circle). It’s more “normal” here to not have kids at all, or to have them very late. It’s kind of the reverse pressue, in a way – people would think it’s really weird….almost irresponsible…to have kids before age 30. It’s kind of viewed as giving away your freedom and the precious time we all have to find ourselves and accomplish something wonderful before it becomes “about the kids”. i’ll be 30 this year and am not ready for kids. It’s nice to live someplace where that’s ok and it isn’t questioned. I bet it sucks to be a young mom here, though, because you’d definitely be odd man out, and nobody would be able to relate to your stage of life.
Post # 5
If I could have chosen my own timeline, I would have preferred to have met the right man when I was much younger and would have wanted to have children while I was in my 20s and early 30s.
However, my plans did not turn out to be God’s plans for me. Although I could have married any one of several different gentlemen whom I dated who indicated their desire to marry me, and although I was even engaged once before I met my now-DH but eventually ended that other relationship, I did not meet and marry my DH until I was in my mid 40s.
I always wanted to be a mother, and I am very blessed to now be a stepmother to four children (two are now teens; and two are now adults, both of whom are married, and the older one has a child.)
Despite our older ages, my DH and I would welcome a baby together. However, at this stage of our lives, we have chosen NOT to pursue any extraordinary measures to try to make it happen.
Post # 6
Society isn’t driving me to want to have children soon. It’s totally accepted in my area to not have children for whatever reason.
For us, it’s biological. Ideally, I’d love to be married for a few years before having kids. But I’ll be 35.5 years old when we’re married and we want two kids. Time isn’t on our side! I suppose we could wait a few years, but I’d hate to chance it.
We’ve talked about TTC 6 months after our wedding, but I have a feeling we’ll bump it up to immediately. Who knows how long it will take?
Post # 7
@amoret11: I agree with you but then I also see why they would want to be “young moms.” My grandmother talked to me about this as she was both a “young mom” and had children in her mid-late 30s. She explained it as “When you’re young you have the energy to keep up with your children but you don’t have the patience for them, when you’re older you have the patience for them but not the energy.” I definitely want to have my first child at/by 30 because I want want to have at least 2 who are a few years apart. I want to have the energy to play outside, run around, take them hiking, spend days at playgrounds and museums like my extremely young parents did for me. I also want to be there to experience grandchildren and hopefully great-grand children. Those are necessarily “social” reasons nor would I consider them wholly “biological” but they are the reasons I’ve implemented a deadline for myself. It’s funny because in highschool they had us write where we wanted to be in 20 years, I set my wedding at 21/22 and kids at 25 – I turn 26 at the end of the month so things could certainly change by the time I’m 30 but I doubt it.
Post # 8
I just assumed that most women on here had been misinformed about how long they were going to be fertile (until menopause, basically), and that all mutations except for Down’s actually come from the sperm.
But, I think you’re right, the “social deadline” must be a big part of the sense of urgency I tend to see on these boards (in my real life women tend to get married around their early 30s and have children in their mid-to-late-30s). I notice that when they say things like they think they’ll be “too tired” to be a good parent unless they start so early. I can’t imagine so many girls are really predicting such ill health at such young age! I also notice they don’t tend to put much focus into avoiding toxins, which objectively matters much more than numerical age, yet feel the need to rush, so, that seems a little off. I think it comes from somewhere else – yes, social pressures. Since I’m not exposed to the same social pressures, I don’t really know what it’s like. But it seems to be very strong.
Post # 9
This is a good point, but I also think people are less likely to tell others that they are waiting because of their relationship– it can make it sound like you are having marriage problems to an outsidr. So more people than you think might really be waiting until the right “relationship time”, but just give other reasons for waiting (or for their timeline). DH and I are both 29, been together for almost ten years and married for 2, and are still waiting a year or two more to TTC. It’s due to a lot of factors, but one of them for me is definitely that I want to improve our communication and the foundation of our relationship before we add a kid to the mix. We don’t have major problems, per se, but I think we can get better. If someone asks why we’re not TTC though, I’m not likely to tell them this. I’m likely to tell them we’re waiting until we pay off student loans, DH moves to a new job, etc. Those are easier to talk about and people easily understand them. I like to keep my relationship issues fairly private IRL, because I’ve had bad experiences in the past after sharing even slight relationship challenges with friends, so I’m just not going to go into depth about relatiopship goals when people ask me about TTC.
Likewise, with setting a timeline– I’m a type A planner. I really like to have an idea in my head of when things will happen so I can better set goals and plan around it. So yes, I have a rough TTC timeline, and I might share that with some friends. But if it gets to be that time and I still think we have issues to work in, I’m not going to start TTC. From the outset, if you hear my timeline and reasons that I openly share for it, you might think I’m basing it on societal pressures, but that’s a small part of the real picture.
Anyway, that ended up way longer than I planned 🙂 Bust just wanted to say I totally agree that people should wait for the right time in their relationship, but I also wouldn’t assume people aren’t factoring that into decisions just because they don’t outright mention it.
Post # 10
Yes, it is really super annoying when people ask you these questions, and you should not have a baby before YOU and HUBBY are 100% ready.
However, I do think that for biological reasons it is wise to time babies before 35 if possible and if you feel ready, since you could have TTC issues and the risk of complications increases after that.
But no one should ask, pressure or judge you for this personal decision.
Post # 11
Oh my god I love your post! I agree 100% with everything OP said. I think it is horrible when people expect to have kids or be married at a certain time, just because society “dictates” it. People should NEVER have children or get married because they are expected to or overdue etc. The ones, who do that are often the ones, who are not happy being married or a parent and feel not prepared enough. They also tend to be the ones letting their kids “run loose” everywhere. It is a personal decision, and after all WE are responsible for raising children and being a good spouse-not the people asking about it!
Post # 12
It’s always interesting to me how much this varies across regions and/or social circles. In my circle, pretty much nobody has kids in their early and mid 20s. Even late 20s is still “early” because the 20-somethings are busy pursuing their educations and advancing their careers. Not that parents can’t do those things, too, but it’s harder, I’m sure.
I just had my first baby at 30 and I’ve never felt like an “old” mom or worried about having enough energy to chase my son around the playground (I mean… really? People are worried about being too creaky and decrepit in their 30s to keep up with a small child??? Yikes.)
I get the perfectly valid biological reasons for not waiting too much past age 35, but putting social pressures on women in their 20s to start popping out babies as soon as they get married is both ridiculous and offensive because there are other things for young married women to be doing.
Post # 13
I Lie to people all the time **tsktsk i hate that word* when they ask me when I am going to have kids…because being a latin woman over the age of 25 with no children is aparently a sin…
I tell them i want to have kids MAYBE in 3-5 years. After I get my masters, we move and/or buy a home. In reality we aren’t sure if we want them.
I have accepted that if I get pregnant then it is ment to be and I will love that kid with every drop of blood, sweat and tears in me.
Post # 14
I have yet to hear a couple say that they want to have kids when they feel that they have laid a solid foundation of love and trust in their marriage to welcome another person in their lives.
Why would I say that, when to me, it is obvious? Perhaps it is obvious to these couples too. I have been with DH 5 years, I’m 33, he’s 38. I would not have married him if I didn’t feel that there was love and trust in the marriage. (Also it’d be super awkward to say that and then have people wonder about your relationship, no? I certainly wouldn’t want to wrongly invite speculation.)
For me, it’s not any one reason why I want to have kids now such as it can be boiled down to just medical or social.
- As I age, my fertility decreases. This becomes more marked after 35.
- As I age, the chances of miscarriage or developmental issue rises.
- As I age, the chances of having twins naturally rises (35-40).
- My sister has had fertility issues.
- I have been told I might have PCOS.
- I want two kids, this fertility issue means that I already would (at best) be trying to get pregnant with #2 at age 37. (I’m almost 34, DH doesn’t want to try for another year.)
- DH 4 years older.
- DH already claims he has no energy for kids. Waiting longer seems bad.
- I’m wary of putting this down for it being picked apart and judged, but it’s nice to be in the same general time frame as friends such that you all have roughly school aged kids together. (Not a reason to rush to kids of course – or we’d have already procreated because we’re behind, but it’s one more little thing that confirms it for me.)
- I’m at a good spot with my job where I can leave work at 5PM for daycare etc or for problems. I want to switch jobs in a bit, at which point it might be for a busier job where I have more of an issue leaving work early.
- We have plenty of savings for a family.
Post # 15
I have heard young women say things like “my goal is to be married by 25, kids by 30″….and I agree it’s kinda silly to set goals, based on what is socially ideal…
But let’s face it…we have these limitations on our abilities to be fertile, have healthy babies…I certaintly wouldn’t be quick to judge someone who is 32 and panicking because they have no prospective spouse, and no children and they really wanted to be a mother.
Post # 16
I don’t think it’s right to determine when you have children based on a social deadline; you should have kids when you want them, simply for the fact that you just want them. And of course you are able to support yourself financially, etc etc.
I guess a biological deadline would be more reasonable to go by if anything as there are generally more health risks involved for mother and baby the later you leave it. If you are fortunate enough to conceive and deliver at age 40+ then good for you, there’s no problem with it at all as long as it’s what you and your partner truly want.
As for me, I do want to have kids when I am still in my 20s – not because of what is socially ideal – but because I want to “grow up” with my kids… if that makes sense. I don’t want to be too old to enjoy and participate in the parts of their life that I’m so fortunate to have my own parents be part of (they had me in their early 20s). I think I just feel that being younger parents (not too young obviously!!!) we will give our kids better memories of us from their childhood/youth because we are more physically able (and perhaps more mentally willing!) – “Hey remember that time we went snowboarding with Dad/raced Mum down that huge waterslide in Bali/when we did a skydive with Dad for Father’s Day….?”
Just my two cents 🙂