The people of the world are largely divided into two groups. The planners and the non-planners. While most of you would like to think that you are the planner, always ready for what comes next and gently guiding the sails of your boat through life very few of us actually are. In fact, life happens when we quit planning and decide that the thrills of adventure await us on the wings of uncertainty and spontaneity. However, when it comes to having children many people try to plan, research and decipher the codes to indicate when the best time to have children is. And sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.
The problem is that deciding when to have children works with several unknown factors. The first being fertility. Should you wait and risk the ripeness of egg and sperm that normally graces the young? Are you ready for the risks associated with pregnancy in older women? Not to mention the fact that raising children takes a lot of time and energy both of which seem to be zapped as we age? And is it better for children to grow up with young parents or those that will tapping social security before they even reach college? What about your career, is it better to pursue it fresh out of college or wait until you have raised your brood to rediscover your fiscal and employment dreams? Suffice it to say that planning only goes so far.
When is the right time to have children? Perhaps the best way to decide is to divide up the pros and cons of having them now or waiting a couple of years. Remember however that the future whether you have children or not, remains a great unknown and quite often the best-laid plans don’t work out.
Having Children Young Pros & Cons
There are definitely some bonuses to having children young. For one thing, you will have more energy to coach their ball teams and play in the yard. You will be able to remember what it was like being a kid, because not long ago you were. Now obviously, this isn’t to say that you should have children at 18 years of age. However, waiting until your mid 20’s means that you had plenty of legal drinking age time, as well as time to date plenty of people meaning you should know what you want and have it by now. Most people in their mid 20’s also have some sort of regular income coming in and are becoming to see just how right their parents were about everything. Yet you are still full of that hopeful objectivity that seems to indicate your invincibility and never fail attitude.
Another benefit to having children young is that you are more fertile in your 20’s than you are in your 40’s. This is true for both men and women. There are also a great deal less risks associated with pregnancy in your early to mid 20’s or 30’s than there are should you reach the big 4-0! Many of these risks are fetal abnormalities which heighten your chance of having a child with a disability. Plus, if you do have fertility issue they will likely be milder and more easily reversed.
Another definite pro to having children young is that by the time they reach college and you are forced to experience empty nest syndrome, you will still be able to live a few dreams of your own. You might just even enjoy your grandchildren, undoing all your child-raising mistakes by doing right by them. You will likely still be working, more financially secure and still have ample time to donate to your 401K or other retirement accounts. And, you have plenty of time to start living that new life, with tons of life experience under your belt. Sure, you might be 80 before you get promoted to a company VP, but your work life will still be satisfying.
Now you are asking, what are the cons of having children young? Most younger, newly married people are idealistic and naive. They haven’t quite figured out the marriage thing and jump right into the parenting thing meaning there is twice as much turmoil to sift through with double the costs. Suddenly, you cannot just leave your spouse because they drive you nuts without breaking the heart of your children. Plus, the naivety lends to living paycheck to paycheck with no real idea just how much raising children will cost. You won’t be the first couple strapped to the hilt because you decided to have a family.
Having Children Older
On the flip side of the cookie, if you decide to wait, you might likely find that you and your spouse have worked out all those silly idiosyncrasies that make couples incompatible. This means you will be better, more supportive parents who know the importance of putting each other first. Additionally, you should have more money, be more set in your career, have a definitely idea of what is meaningful in life, have enough savings to coast through a rainy day and be more mature and ready to settle into the life that children will bring you. In other words, you have lived and learned, plus you realize the importance of family and will be less likely to take it for granted.
The cons are mostly the unknown factors. It has been proven that your fertility changes as you get older. If you wait, you may risk having problems conceiving that are not easily reversed. Statistics indicate that most couples waiting until they are older to have children; will likely have an only child, meaning your child will not have the benefit of siblings, as they grow older. Additionally, your children may not be able to share their grandchildren with you (depending on how long you wait) and may be forced to care for you or lose you far earlier in their life.
The reality is this. It sounds great to plan when you have children. It is also wise to research the facts behind when the best time to have children is. But that’s as far as it goes. You also need to live a little for today and implement a bit of the non-planner in you when it comes to raising children. With too much thought, the sheer thought of bringing life into this world can seem unwise and selfish. You can also become so affixed to a certain way, style or method of living that you don’t have any room left for children. If you know you want children, but are unsure about when to have them, you should leave yourself a little wiggle room and remain flexible realizing that the unknown of the future has the potential to warp your dream completely. In most families, children come at just the right time whether planned or not. Just when you thought you didn’t need them or want them, you here the two little words that will change your life for the good forever, ‘I’m pregnant!’ Welcome it.