WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HAVE A BABY? Sorting through expert advice by Hampton Rhodes

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HAVE A BABY?
Sorting through expert advice

Let’s face it – a lot of families don’t start off with a plan – especially the part about when to start having children. The act of starting a family doesn’t have to be an accident. And no, this conversation is not about birth control or marriage rights; right-to-life or right-to-choose.

Instead, this conversation is about determining when is the best age for a woman to start a family by having a baby – best for the mother, best for the child, best for the child’s siblings and best for the whole family. And here’s the thing that makes it so hard to determine the right time – the experts do not agree!

Drawing from the experience of other mothers can be the foremost authority when it comes to determining when to have your baby.

Parents Magazine recently ran interviews with women who become mothers at various ages ranging from their 20s through their 50s. Important assurances, lessons and lookouts are shared for each of these ages with standardized questions of size of family, why the timing was right, maternity benefits and drawbacks for each age.

What’s the Best Age to Have a Baby? Moms Reveal Pros and Cons of Starting a Family in 20s, 30s, 40s and Beyond – Parents Magazine

Each mother’s story and their advice is different – but then so are the experts’ advice. Last year, the Telegraph of London ran a story about crazy conflicting advice about when women should have children. This article talks not only about when is the best time to have a baby, it also speaks to educating women about family planning and education at a very early age – recommending 9 years as the age to start the education process.

Citing 18 various and opposing authorities from around the globe, the best age to have a baby, according to these experts, ranges in age from 19 to 44 – and a lot of the timing depends on just how many children a woman wants to have, and goes into recommendations of when to have them.

The Crazy, Conflicting Advice About When Women Should Have Children – The Telegraph

Another consideration is what is meant by the term ‘best age.” Some of the articles refer to the best age of the mother in terms of the baby, some refer to the best age of the mother in terms of the mother’s health, and yet others refer to the best age in terms of the entire family.

In 2012, the huffingtonpost.com segmented these “best ages” in terms of biological for the baby and the mother, sociological for both the baby and the mother, and even financial advantages to different ages, citing some of the same research the other articles used.

What’s the Best Age to Have a Baby? (It’s Older than you Think) – huffingtonpost.com

But perhaps the most definitive measure of the right time to have a baby is the financial considerations. Having babies is expensive!

In May of 2017, Yahoo.com reporter and senior producer Jeanie Ahn wrote an interesting article for Yahoo’s financial section explaining exactly how much it cost during her baby’s first year – to the tune of about $15,000. Very few 20-year olds have such firm financial footing to have that amount of discretionary income and some 30-year olds may still be struggling with this. But a couple in their 40s hopefully have planned and have saved for this.

Interestingly, if you think that you can save that much on having your second child by having all the basic materials paid for during the time you had your first child – think again. Changing regulations, medical recommendations and technology changes so rapidly that many times what you used for caring for your first child may be obsolete at the time you have your second child.

Here’s How Much I Spent On My Baby’s First Year – Yahoo Finance

So what is the best age to have a baby, and does age really matter? According to writer Leslie Goldman in fitpregnancy.com, “Those who give birth in their early 20s benefit from seemingly boundless energy and uber-resilient bodies; the 30-something new mom is grateful to have established herself in her career before taking maternity leave; the woman in her early 40s delivers with a strong sense of self and few qualms about being able to afford diapers.”

Goldman continues, “But for every decade-related advantage, drawbacks exist. While age is a continuum – your eggs don’t instantaneously shrivel the instant you extinguish the candles on your 35th birthday cake, for example – experts have a strong sense of which broad age groups are likely to confront specific physical, emotional, financial and relationship concerns when they become mothers.”

Goldman goes on to list considerations for age groups – addressing such issues as your body, the baby, your maturity level, your career and finances, and your relationships – for ages 20 to 25, 26 to 34, 35 to 40, and 40 and above – all to be carefully thought out and planned for so that there are minimal surprises.

Information
Links
What’s the Best Age to Have a Baby? Moms Reveal Pros and Cons of Starting a Family in 20s, 30s, 40s and Beyond – Parents Magazine
The Crazy, Conflicting Advice About When Women Should Have Children – The Telegraph
What’s the Best Age to Have a Baby? (It’s Older than you Think) – huffingtonpost.com
Here’s How Much I Spent On My Baby’s First Year – Yahoo Finance
Does Age Really Matter? – fitpregnancy.com


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