Although it’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, there’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 that’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. Don’t let your mom, or your friends who are having babies scare into thinking you’re running out of time, because you’re not. Since 1970, the birth rate among mothers between 35 and 39 has gone from 1% to 14.2%, so what’s the big rush? Well, there isn’t one.
Age aside, there are other reasons that should come into play when thinking about having a baby. If you’re completely baby crazy and can’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 haven’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 didn’t finish are 67% more likely to have a baby while unmarried.
This isn’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 reason…
- You haven’t found the right partner.
No one said finding true love was going to be easy, but what’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 who’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 ‘em.
- You’re not financially secure yet.
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 “25 percent of children under 6 are poor at the time of greatest brain development,” 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 you’re completely secure in your finances is definitely one of the best reasons to put off having a baby.
- You’re physically not ready yet.
While we’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.
“As an Ob/Gyn, when I counsel a patient to delay getting pregnant, it’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 it’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 it’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.”
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,” Dr. Didi told YouBeauty.
- You have a career you’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 you’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 you’ve gotten all that craziness out of your life. You have an “emotional readiness, and a “distinct ‘no regrets’ mentality,” because you’ve lived your life and are now ready to settle down. As one of the participants in the study put it: “I know that I’m way more self-aware than I was 20 years ago. I feel like I’m in a better position to communicate better with my child,” while other older parents agreed that life experience helped them to not “sweat the small stuff,” making parenting, perhaps, a bit less stressful than it is for younger parents.