Let's start with the truth: There is no perfect time to have a baby. There will almost always be something that’s out of sync with your biological yearnings: your career, your age, your relationship (or lack thereof), your financial status, your tiny apartment – the list of potential barriers goes on.
Further, biology and our culture are currently at odds. Medical experts typically agree that, for most women, you are most fertile in and around your late teens and early 20s.* For many women, however, that’s the time of life at which they’re just starting out on their own, going to college, grad school, establishing careers, and relationships. Having a child is an expensive endeavor, and if you don’t have the financial resources you need, the road ahead as a young mother can be a bumpy one. Often, women don’t feel they have the stability in their lives required for raising a family until much later – into their 30s and beyond.
So, is there a right time to have a baby?
Yes, but it all depends on you.
Timing a pregnancy requires a complex calculation – fertility (your age) plus your relationship status, multiplied by your financial health and stability, divided by your career goals and ambitions equals your personal time frame for starting a family.
If having a baby is your priority, then you may decide any associated sacrifices (career and financial top among them) you have to make are worth it. But if you’re on the fast track to a top job, you might decide to hedge your bets against Mother Nature and put off procreating for a few years.
Neither choice is wrong.
And while there are some things we can plan for and control, it is helpful to remember that so much of what it takes to start a family is beyond our control.
Whether you time your pregnancy or you are surprised by it won’t affect the love you feel for your child.
Timing, in fact, isn’t everything.
Still wondering whether you’re ready for baby? Take this Woman’s Day quiz for some insight. And then share your decision-making factors below in our comments section.