Although itâ€™s a fact that after the age of 30, your chances of getting pregnant start to decrease, then drop even more rapidly after you reach 40, thereâ€™s still no reason to jump the gun on the process. As with any other super power, with the great power of motherhood comes great responsibility, and thatâ€™s something not only worth thinking about, but really dwelling on until you know for certain that having a baby is the right choice for you. Donâ€™t let your mom, or your friends who are having babies scare into thinking youâ€™re running out of time, because youâ€™re not. Since 1970, the birth rate among mothers between 35 and 39 has gone from 1% to 14.2%, so whatâ€™s the big rush? Well, there isnâ€™t one.
Age aside, there are other reasons that should come into play when thinking about having a baby. If youâ€™re completely baby crazy and canâ€™t conjure up even one reason as to why you should wait, then keep reading. Here are six reasons as to why waiting to have a baby is actually far more beneficial than you may have considered in the past.
You havenâ€™t finished your education.
Statistically, those who put their education first are less likely to have a baby while unmarried. According to a recent study by the Population Association of America, 87% of high school dropouts have at least one baby before the age of 31, and 71% of women who finished high school, but never went to college have a baby by that age as well. In keeping with the theme that education almost acts as a sort of birth control, those who started college but didnâ€™t finish are 67% more likely to have a baby while unmarried.
This isnâ€™t to suggest that one should have to be married to have a child, but to have a baby with a partner is a bit easier, and more education can lead you in that direction. Which brings us to another reasonâ€¦
You havenâ€™t found the right partner.
No one said finding true love was going to be easy, but whatâ€™s even more important than true love is finding a life partner with whom you can raise a family before you even think about having a child. With divorce rates lingering between 40 and 50% according to the American Psychological Association, finding a partner whoâ€™s in it to win and wants to be an equal part of the child rearing process is essential, and boy, does it take time to find â€˜em.
Youâ€™re not financially secure yet.
According to the Childrenâ€™s Defense Fund, almost 3,000 babies are born into poverty every single day and almost 15 million children live below the official poverty line.
As of September 2014, the number of children living in poverty dropped between 2012 and 2013, with Hispanic, White, and Asian children seeing a slight decrease in numbers. However, black children still have the highest rate of poverty in the United States, with 40% of them falling below the poverty level in 20 states. In 21 states, more than â€œ25 percent of children under 6 are poor at the time of greatest brain development,â€ which will lead to both mental and emotional issues later on in life.
With children making up the poorest age group in the United States (one out of five are poor), not contributing to the epidemic of child poverty and waiting until youâ€™re completely secure in your finances is definitely one of the best reasons to put off having a baby.
Youâ€™re physically not ready yet.
While weâ€™re always quick to think about the financial and emotional end of a pregnancy, sometimes the physical aspect is overlooked. I spoke to Dr. Didi Saint Louis about how necessary it is to have your body in tiptop shape before you even think about getting pregnant.
â€œAs an Ob/Gyn, when I counsel a patient to delay getting pregnant, itâ€™s usually related to making sure that she is in the best physical shape for pregnancy, because pregnancy is probably the biggest stress test you can your body through. So for instance, if the person has any chronic medical illnesses such as hypertension or diabetes, then itâ€™s important to get their illness under the best possible control in order for them to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. If the person is overweight or obese, then itâ€™s a great opportunity to find the motivation to lose weight prior to conceiving. All pre-existing medical conditions can affect both the outcome as well as the ease with which a woman can conceive.â€
So as a physician, discussing with a patient about delaying pregnancy is related to helping them be physically ready to have the healthiest pregnancy and a healthy baby,â€ Dr. Didi said.
You have a career youâ€™d like to see flourish.
While the idea of being able to have it all does work for women who are able to balance both a family and a career, a 2013 study by Pew Research Center found that 51% of women said that being a working parent made advancement in their career difficult. The same study also found that women were more likely to have to deal with family-related interruptions in their career than men, with 42% of working mothers having to reduce their hours on the job at some point.
If youâ€™ve gone to school with a dream and gotten the education, it would be pretty foolish to throw in the towel so early in the game. Making strides and advancement in ones career should be fairly high up there on the list of importance.
You still have some living to do.
According to a 2012 study by the Institute for Health and Aging at UCSF, one of the biggest pluses to waiting to have a child is that youâ€™ve gotten all that craziness out of your life. You have an â€œemotional readiness, and a â€œdistinct â€˜no regretsâ€™ mentality,â€ because youâ€™ve lived your life and are now ready to settle down. As one of the participants in the study put it: â€œI know that Iâ€™m way more self-aware than I was 20 years ago. I feel like Iâ€™m in a better position to communicate better with my child,â€ while other older parents agreed that life experience helped them to not â€œsweat the small stuff,â€ making parenting, perhaps, a bit less stressful than it is for younger parents.