In 1970, the average age of first-time mothers was 24.6 years old. Today, the average new mother is 28. Higher education and more women deciding when to have children are main reasons for this trend. Women who are in college want to establish themselves in their careers before trying to conceive, and access to reliable birth control gives women and their spouses the option to wait to become parents.
When can you tell when the time is right? There are many things to consider before deciding if parenthood is in your future. The accompanying guide, When Is the Right Time to Start Your Family?, offers a succinct list of questions to ask yourself before deciding if you and your partner are ready for a child.
Statistically speaking, conception is easier for women in their 20s rather than in their 30s. However, many women choose to wait because they are not able to be a mother when they are younger. One major reason women are putting off parenthood nowadays is because they haven’t found the right partner. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of marriage in 1970 was 23.2 for men and 20.8 for women. In 2018, the ages were 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women. Being in a committed relationship is one of, if not the biggest determinants in deciding to have a baby.
In addition to a strong relationship and a connecting bond, it’s important to consider personal goals such as travel and achievements. Your finances are an important thing to consider, too; the infographic provides figures on the costs of raising a family.
Another thing to consider is whether you have a strong support network of family and friends around you, and if you don’t, decide if you want to join with other parents in finding a solution. Is your neighborhood kid-friendly, or will you have to move again? The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is not just a cute saying.
Finally, we come to health. Conception, pregnancy, and parenthood become much easier if you are in optimal health. You may be fairly healthy, but still have problems conceiving, perhaps due to the mother’s age, weight, or genetic problems. If you are serious about parenthood despite these issues, we recommend being open to genetic testing of you and your partner as well as testing the baby’s health in utero. If you suffer multiple miscarriages, you may want to seek answers and consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) to improve your chances of conception and a healthy birth.
We wish you the best of luck in making your decision, and hope a happy and healthy baby is in your future — whenever you decide to begin your family.
Guide created by Natera