How long of a career before having children? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 05-17-2011, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're waiting on TTC for a variety of reasons: finances and settling down being the main two. Well, I do want to get in shape and lose weight before getting pregnant.

 

I do want to be a SAHM with our kids. My question is...how long should I work before we TTC? I do want to use my degree for a little while at least. On the other hand, I'll be 30 next year and I'm afraid my fertility's going downhill already. Would we be crazy to wait until I'm 32 and we're settled and in a house (hopefully)?

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#2 of 11 Old 05-18-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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I'm not sure I have any helpful advice, but I really relate to your situation in several ways.  I had trouble finding fulfilling work in my field (psych) with just a bachelors degree, so I went back to school and finally graduated with 2 masters degrees when I was 28.  (My DH has been and is still slowly chipping away at his PhD part-time while he works fulltime).  Part of me really wanted to spend a few years working in my field and putting my degrees to use.  But I also had several close friends who were dealing with infertility, so I also felt nervous about putting off kids, as I hoped to have 3-4.  I think one tough thing about fertility is that you usually don't know if you will have difficulty conceiving until it happens.

 

After I graduated we decided to stop preventing and see... I ended up pregnant right away, and had my daughter at age 29.  Occasionally I questioned myself when I see my other grad school friends doing amazing things professionally, and I'll wonder if it was silly to spend so much time going to school and then barely use my degree before having a baby...but for me, holding my beautiful daughter has repeatedly confirmed to me that I'm so glad I'm a mom, and I'm glad to be a mom right now even if its not the most "sensible" timing.  

 

I definitely respect that every person is different, and that there are many different paths and timelines that work for different families.  If your finances are in really bad shape, it may be best to wait a bit.  But I don't really believe that there is necessarily a "perfect time" when everything is perfectly ready either...

 

Best wishes to you and your husband as you make decisions.

 


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#3 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for replying!

 

I don't know anyone with infertility, but almost everyone I know from college and high school and work are having babies or have two or more kids. Not that I want to be  like everyone else, but it makes you think, you know? DH and I are only planning on two kids, but I know anything could happen regarding that "plan".

 

Our finances...well, they're not too bad. We're doing better than some people I know who have kids. We'd be okay if I got pregnant right now. DH says he'd feel more comfortable if we both made money and I can see his point. We don't budget at all, but I know we're going to have start budgeting at some point and also put a bit more in savings and try to live on just his income because of me wanting to be a  SAHM.

 

Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it and it's reassuring to know that I wouldn't be crazy if I only used my degree for a little while. :)

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#4 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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The career/parenting question is such a difficult, individual one IMO. My mother is fond of telling me "you can have it all, but you can't have it all at once."  I battled with the question and finally decided (since I was facing 4+ more years of school and then establishing a professional career) that having children first was better for me (us). And I don't regret my decision, but sometimes I wish I had a career already launched.

 

I think part of the question comes down to what happens in your particular field if you're out of the loop for awhile, and when would you plan to go back? I want to be able to focus on my schooling (I already have a BA, and was going to do a DVM degree but now am planning to pursue midwifery), then go right into my field with that momentum and all the knowledge I've just acquired rather than letting it lay semi-dormant and having to do a bunch of re-learning to be ready to practice. So for me, since we started having our children relatively young (I was barely 25 when DS was born), and probably will have two (*maybe* three) children max, I'll be able to work more aggressively toward my career goals by my mid-30s with any luck.

 

You're absolutely not crazy whatever you decide--and I'm of the opinion that education is never wasted, even if you are using it solely to educate your own small children about the world around them. My background is chemistry and I'll sometimes explain ice crystal structure or hydrogen bonding to my DS. It's all what you make it.


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#5 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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Well I'm a tad bit biased because I had my kids at age 23 and 28, but I think it's better in most cases for women to have kids while they're younger and not wait for x, y, z...unless in an extreme situation. As women, our peak fertility is 18-25 (according to my MW) and after 30, well, things start declining pretty rapidly and as you know the health risks go up.  You will not regret it...

 

 


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#6 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying. smile.gif

 

I got married when I was 27. DH and I wanted to wait at least a few years before having kids. I started graduate school around the same time because I couldn't get a job as a reference librarian without an MLS.

 

I'm not sure how difficult it would be to get back into library work after being out of it for a while. I really don't have any examples. All the librarians I know never took a lot of time off when they have kids. There's always the possibility of working part-time, but I'm not sure how well that would work out. I'll never be completely away from the library, though because it's a wonderful place to take kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trauerweidchen View Post

The career/parenting question is such a difficult, individual one IMO. My mother is fond of telling me "you can have it all, but you can't have it all at once."  I battled with the question and finally decided (since I was facing 4+ more years of school and then establishing a professional career) that having children first was better for me (us). And I don't regret my decision, but sometimes I wish I had a career already launched.

 

I think part of the question comes down to what happens in your particular field if you're out of the loop for awhile, and when would you plan to go back? I want to be able to focus on my schooling (I already have a BA, and was going to do a DVM degree but now am planning to pursue midwifery), then go right into my field with that momentum and all the knowledge I've just acquired rather than letting it lay semi-dormant and having to do a bunch of re-learning to be ready to practice. So for me, since we started having our children relatively young (I was barely 25 when DS was born), and probably will have two (*maybe* three) children max, I'll be able to work more aggressively toward my career goals by my mid-30s with any luck.

 

You're absolutely not crazy whatever you decide--and I'm of the opinion that education is never wasted, even if you are using it solely to educate your own small children about the world around them. My background is chemistry and I'll sometimes explain ice crystal structure or hydrogen bonding to my DS. It's all what you make it.



 

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#7 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I try not to think about health risks too much, but I know it's a possibility. I didn't get married until I was 27 and DH and I decided to hold off on kids for a few years. I couldn't imagine having a baby at 23 and then I think of my mom who had three kids by the age of 27.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post

Well I'm a tad bit biased because I had my kids at age 23 and 28, but I think it's better in most cases for women to have kids while they're younger and not wait for x, y, z...unless in an extreme situation. As women, our peak fertility is 18-25 (according to my MW) and after 30, well, things start declining pretty rapidly and as you know the health risks go up.  You will not regret it...

 

 



 

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#8 of 11 Old 05-22-2011, 11:03 PM
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If you wait until the perfect time to have kids, you will never have kids.  

 

 

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#9 of 11 Old 05-23-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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It's a hard question. I'm 29, we've been married three years, I finished my masters and started a PhD (said goodbye to my salary), and we're trying. All the charting signs say I should be getting pregnant but I'm not, yet. And that's frustrating. I wish we had stopped preventing a long time ago, before we were really ready but would have welcomed a baby. Now that we are ready, I want them *now,* and I'm spending a lot of cognitive energy trying. I don't know how to *not* to obsess about it. 

 

It was hard to figure out when to start trying, because everything always seemed to be in the way. One more trip, one more salary increase, one more goal (e.g. losing weight, buy house). I finally realized that my *priority* for my life is to be a mother, and to make a home and family in a partnership with my husband. My second goal is to have a successful and fulfilling work life. Once that became clear in our minds, we realized it made no sense to wait any longer. I'd rather forego a career and all the luxuries money can bring than forego parenthood.

 

That being said, if you only want one kid, why not wait another year. I believe I want more than two, so we had to get crackin'!

 


Married to my favorite man in '07. Our firstborn came along in April 2012 (HBC), and our second is on the way, due sometime in May 2014 (planning an HBAC).
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#10 of 11 Old 05-23-2011, 01:12 PM
 
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Hm.  I echo everyone else who said this is a highly individual decision.

 

That said, it is true that there is a biologically limited window for having babies, and there is *not* a biologically limited window for working on your career. (There are other kinds of time-window limitations depending on your career, but they are more flexible than age-related infertility is.)

 

If I were in your position - and especially since you say your priority is a family, not your career - I would probably just start doing the baby thing, and let the career thing work itself out.  Since you plan to be out of the work force for some years, I really doubt 1-2 years' experience is going to make a huge difference for if/when you start trying to get back in.  (If you do ultimately want to return to work, your best bet is probably to keep a toe in the water by doing some part-time or volunteer work, either way.)

 

On the other hand, if you do happen to run into infertility or other problems like repeated losses, 1-2 years could be very important.

 

Even if you don't run into infertility, waiting till 32 to TTC your first puts some pressure on your child spacing.  Eg if you deliver your first at 33, you may feel pressured to have a smaller spacing than you are comfortable with in order to avoid delivering in your late 30s.  You may feel just fine with a 1-2 year spacing but OTOH you may find yourself with a 1 year old thinking you REALLY are not ready to TTC again.  Or you may be just fine having 2 kids in 2 years but then realize you really really want a third, and you have a very limited window left for that.  You don't really know how it will be until you get there.


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#11 of 11 Old 06-10-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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I was in a similar situation, although I was never sure I wanted kids before I got married to my DH.  He talked me into it, and I had my first when I was 30.  I love being a mother, and knew right away that I wanted more.  Because I did child-led weaning, I had a three year spacing between my 1st and my 2nd.  Now my 2nd is >2 years old, and I am again thinking one more would be nice.  But it scares me to think about the risks now that I'm 36.  Anyways, my advice to you is not to put it off any longer.

 

A bit more about me:  I have a master's degree too and an awesome career.  I worked reduced hours for a while, but now I'm back to full time.  There are ways to make a career and motherhood work at the same time.  Best of luck to you!


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