When's the prime time to have kids? We asked readers of our special report “BabyQuest: The modern pursuit of parenthood” to share their experiences and views.
“I think it is better to be a young parent,” writes Crystal from Kentucky, who explains that it’s easier to keep up with kids when parents are young themselves.
But for some, it’s not as simple as wanting to have enough energy to chase the little ones. “The cost of parenthood has skyrocketed. I have postponed parenthood for that reason. I would love to have a bundle of joy, but I am just not financially ready,” Talisa of St. Thomas, Va., writes.
Read on for more responses.
No mother should have a child after 40 — period! I speak from experience. My father was 46 when I was born and my mother was 43. I had no brothers or sisters who were my own age and there were very few children in our neighborhood. I had no grandparents. My parents often had to bring in kids for me to socialize with.
— Joel, West Des Moines, Iowa
We had to go through fertility treatment and I was only 24. I had twins in January thanks to the wonderful miracle of IUI. I wanted to wait longer, but I had a gut feeling something was going on. I believe pregnancy is beautiful at any age 24 or 64 . . . it doesn't matter what age you are — you are bringing a beautiful little one into this world!
— Kate, Indianapolis, Ind.
Our son was born right before my 20th birthday. Though it's been great, I wish we had waited until we were in our early to mid 20s. I think the older you are the more prepared you are for children (financially, emotionally, etc.), but at the same time you are just that — older. I could not imagine chasing a toddler in my 30s or 40s. I don't necessarily think there is a “best time” to have children. It's a personal choice that if you think hard enough about you can find pros/cons to at any stage or age in life.
— Jessica Reagen, Hampton, Va.
I worked on career first and was ready to start having children at 33. It took over three years to get pregnant. We used hormones and AI with no success. After we gave up is when it happened. I am now 37 and pregnant with my second child. Both pregnancies have been hard on my body, and I am attributing it to my age. I wish I had been younger when I started my family, but I am also thankful to be able to better provide for my children.
— Laurie, Madison, Wis.
I had my first child three weeks shy of my 22nd birthday, and my son 16 1/2 months later. Sure, I was young, but it was the best decision I have ever made. I am thankful that by the time my kids graduate from high school, I will still be young (early 40s) and be able to travel and have fun. I would much rather have all the hard work behind me and be able to look forward to the days ahead with my husband.
— Catherine, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
My wife and I met later in life and by the time we were ready to have children we ran into difficulties. After three failed IUIs and two failed IVFs we decided to adopt. We adopted our son from Russia two years ago and couldn't be happier.
— Jeff, Frisco, Texas
I have been trying to get pregnant since I was in my early 20s. I am now 45. It makes me angry seeing all of these movie stars getting pregnant by means of infertility treatments. I went through infertility treatments unsuccessfully. I would love to adopt a child, but cannot afford it or to have IVF.
— Karen, Clifton, N.J.
Never! What a selfish waste of our already dwindling resources. If I do decide that I need to parent, there are plenty of children who need loving homes. Adoption or fostering is the only reasonable choice for me.
My husband and I put off having kids for a while. We were married five years before having any children. I was 26 years old. I had to use fertility drugs for my first child. It took me another 10 years to have my second child. In that 10 years I was on many drugs and my husband and I both had to have surgery for infertility. If I had it to do over again I would start trying to have kids sooner. When they are all grown up and gone you can start having your fun. I will be almost 60 when my last child gets out of high school.
Amanda, Oil City, Pa.
It shouldn't be assumed that every woman even wants kids! There was never a right time for me, young, older or in-between. At age 62, I have never regretted for one second my decision to remain child-free. It's all about choices. Kids are not for everyone. For some reason, to even discuss or acknowledge that fact remains a societal taboo.
— Susan, Springfield, Ill.
People always tell me that I have “missed out” on life because I married at 18, had my first daughter at 19 and my second at 22. What exactly have I missed? Reckless partying, hangovers and shame-filled memories of spring break while wracking up mountains of student loan debt on a degree I probably won't use? No, thank you.
— Nikki, Port Hueneme, Calif.
There is no such thing as one perfect age for everyone. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to such a personal life decision.
— Kristin, Ind.