Here is the thing, there is never a perfect time to have kids because there is always something happening in your life. Ask anyone around you- they will mention other factors affecting that decision; either they are too young or too old, they aren’t financially stable enough or ready, or still have ten more countries they want to travel to.
Honestly, no one else but the woman can decide when it is the right time for her to have kids but sometimes telling a woman that there’s never a right time may end up in potentially having kids at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. Almost all of us know someone who decided to have a baby to save their marriage or their relationship. Other not so right reasons- if she is lonely after a breakup and feels the baby’s company will add to her life, or if she wants financial help from the state.
“Women are born with a certain number of eggs and as women age, it is harder for women to conceive due to decrease in the number considerably. Also, women may have a certain percentage of ‘abnormal’ eggs that when fertilized may result in miscarriages. It is possible for a young mother to give birth to a baby with Down Syndrome, but it is much more likely in case of older mothers according to statistics. It does become difficult for women to conceive after the age of 35, not saying that it is impossible or hopeless- but the probability of having a successful pregnancy is much higher at 25 or 30 compared to 35 or 40.” –Dr. Sujan Rajbhandari Joshi, Pediatrician.
Biologically speaking there is a small window when a woman is ‘physically’ healthiest to bear children and that is from her late teens to her early 20s (not encouraging teen pregnancies here).
Timing isn’t everything but biologically, timing is important. Fertility depends on age and genetics, so the sooner a woman can make a decision that she wants (or doesn’t want) kids- she can work towards it by learning more about her options for the future such as preserving her fertility, or learning if she has any health issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis or genetic history of reproductive issues, which may affect her ability to get pregnant later.
According to modern medicine, if you know you want children for sure, but you do not know when, freezing your eggs as early as possible is smart. Also, the women need to know that there are ways of having children in their 30s and 40s, but it may be more expensive and difficult because fertility treatments and IVF may not always be successful. Another factor is if you have a male partner, his age will also affect his fertility and that may affect whether you can have kids.
“While the exact causes of autism are still unknown, research is increasingly finding links between advanced paternal age and autism. One study found that fathers over the age of 40 had a 28% higher chance of having a child with autism when compared with fathers under the age of 30.” -Erin Moran, PhD Candidate at UCL Institute of Education.
Some women may be trying to conceive without telling their family and friends, they may have suffered miscarriage/s, or their IVF treatments may not have been successful so telling them there is no right time- would be cruel and hurtful, without us even knowing. We can only plan and control so much about having a baby, then the rest is up to fate or chance.
Another problem with saying ‘there’s never a right time’ to have kids is that not being financially secure is not the right time. Babies are expensive, and families who plan do put a significant amount of money aside to give the baby the best life possible. Daycares, strollers, toys, diapers, and doctor’s visits; they all add up.
Also, you must know if you want to have and raise a baby- is it important to you to have a supportive partner? Single moms can raise their kids but there are some people who want a significant other- so you must consider if they want to be a parent too. The help and support of family does affect a woman’s ability to raise a child because affluent families have more resources to raise kids compared to someone from a low socioeconomic background.
There is no wrong choice, whether you do or do not want to have a baby, it is your life and it is your choice. There are sacrifices and losses on both sides. Are you willing to give up your spontaneous life without a curfew to wake up in the middle of the night for a baby? Are you willing to give up the joys of being a mother to having a successful and happy career? Understanding the cost of loss might help a woman decide what loss she is more willing to grieve.
Most people do not think about how much their everyday life will change and how much they will have to sacrifice. Your social life will definitely change- if you have children early on, you may not be able to hang out with your friends like you used to and if you choose not to have children, they might be busy raising their children to hang out with you later.
However, if you did not want children for years and suddenly decide at 60 or 70 that you want to be a mother; you may be able to adopt a baby, but you must think- is it in the best interest of the child? How old will the mother be when the child is graduating high school? It is not just important to want to be a mother, it is more important to be a good mother to a child. I see men in their 60s and 70s having kids, but they are usually with significantly younger women.
Every decision made whether to have a baby now or later has consequences (now or later) that the woman will have to deal with.
So, is there really a right time to have a baby? Yes and no, because it depends on so many factors- your age and fertility, financial stability with or without the help of a partner, job or family, your ambitions and how much are you willing to give up for what you want. This big life decision causes a lot of confusion and anxiety, with all of life’s other expectations.
It may sound stressful and overwhelming, but It is extremely important for women to get all the appropriate information they need ‘if’ they do want to have children in the future, so they know what their options are. In this case, waiting too long to make that decision may lead to very limited choices in what can be done.
It is very easy to allow the society, your parents, or your own biological clock to tell you that time is running out, but you have to be honest and truthful with yourself and know if this is something you want, though it is very easy to feel guilt and shame for not wanting what a woman ‘should’ want, according to others.
There may not be a right time to have kids but there are certainly times that are not right. What other people say or what you read will influence your thoughts and views, but this is a serious decision- so you have to take the time to listen to your inner voice and do what you know is right, not just what feels right for you only.