Social Question

Eggie's avatar

Is it ok to have children beyond your twenties?

Asked by Eggie (5159 points ) June 25th, 2012

People have been telling me lately that I should have children when I am young so that I can better take care of them in my youth. I personally believe that I should have children when I am ready. What do you all think of this?

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42 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

I say have them when you’re ready. I don’t know much about you, but chances are that you’ll be able to better take care of the children later on when you have a better source of financial security and whatnot.

mrlaconic's avatar

I think it really depends on this person. I am 30 now and I know that I didn’t want to have kids in my 20’s because I feel like that’s the part of my life when I finished school, started working, and really figuring my life out.

On the other hand, I had a friend who got married when he was 20… he is now 28 and has 3 daughters already. He felt like he was ready for that, but it came at the sacrifice of he and I (or he and any of the other guys he grew up with) not really spending any time together over the past 8 years.

I still don’t have any kids.. I haven’t met anybody that I want to have kids with.. and when I do meet that person I know for sure that I want to spend several years with them exploring our lives together before we do.

Health Wise I don’t think there is any problems with waiting until you are older.

Judi's avatar

The trend has been getting older and older. Many women are having children into their 40’s.
Since my first child was unplanned at 19 I just decided to have my fun when I was older. I LOVE Bering a young granny.

marinelife's avatar

I think that you should have children whenever you want assuming you take their feelings into account (don’t have them so old that you will die before they reach adulthood).

bkcunningham's avatar

@Eggie, are you a male or female?

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think you should have kids if/when you want them, and other people should STFU about what you should do with such a personal decision.

WestRiverrat's avatar

As long as you can support them, you can have all the children you want. As long as you and your partner are both legally consenting adults.

bkcunningham's avatar

Age does matter for a woman when it comes to having babies. If you wait until you are 35 to get pregnant, it is considered a high-risk pregnancy. Getting pregnant gets riskier as you get older and the chance for problems increases also.

Eggie's avatar

I am a man….

Sunny2's avatar

I feel like I had 2 decades of being in my 20’s because I didn’t get married or have kids until I was 30. One decade was exploring and doing anything I wanted and could finance. The second decade was settling down and being a wife and mother. Everyone in my baby sitting co-op was about 10 years younger than I was. Worked for me.

blueiiznh's avatar

Nobody aside from yourself and your SO can determine this. well maybe your Dr

JLeslie's avatar

I say if you know you want kids and you are married and feel secure it is a happy marriage, been married at least two years, and you are reasonably secure financially, have kids as young as possible. However, I would say not before the age of 23, probably better to wait until 25. But, nothing wrong with havng them later in life, 30’s and 40’s.

jonsblond's avatar

I was more patient with my daughter when I had her at the age of 33 than I was when I had my sons at the age of 21 and 23. They’ve all turned out fine, but my stress levels are much lower now that I’m 41 with an 8 year old. What many people don’t realize when they are younger is that being in your 30s and 40s doesn’t mean you are so goddamn old that you can’t do anything.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is something to think about, @Eggie. I’ve known people who had children when they were young, people who had children when they were older and people who had children when they were both young and older. It is a personal decision.

But unless you are talking about the difference in having children when you are in your 20s and when you are in your 50s or 60s, your ability to enjoy them as far as energy levels go isn’t that big a deal.

wundayatta's avatar

I think older folks make for kinder and more stable parents. Younger folks make for more active and exciting parents. I was 40 when my oldest was born. I’m not playing baseball with them, but I’m doing ok.

zenvelo's avatar

My son was born when I was 40, my daughter when I was 42. If anything, they’ve kept me young, it hasn’t been any kind of hindrance. The only daunting thing is I will be 65 when my daughter graduates from college, which means I’m not retiring early.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah, and if my daughter waits to have children until she is 40, as I was, I won’t be a grandparent until I’m 80. I hope I make it! In any case, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. If she wants to have kids young, but can’t afford them, I’ll help out, both with money and with parenting.

YARNLADY's avatar

I had one child when I was a teenager (19) and one child when I was labeled an elderly mother (36). I was much more prepared for the second one, but I was also married to a more mature person. We were married for 5 years before we had our son together.

As a result, I currently have three adult grandchildren from my first son, and two preschool grandchildren from my second son. I love it!

I’m looking forward to a great grandchild sometime in the next two or three years.

cookieman's avatar

@jonsblond & @wundayatta bring up great points about “older” parents bringing a different skill-set to the table than parents in their twenties.

I became a father to a one-year-old when I was thirty-one. Now, as a forty-year-old dad to a nine-year-old, I feel I am much more patient, kind, and wise than I ever would have been at twenty.

I’m not a patient person by nature – immaturity would not have helped the situation.

SuperMouse's avatar

I know I was a much better parent by beginning in my 30’s then I would have been had I had kids in my 20’s. I echo all of those who said that maturity, in my case at least, made for a much calmer and more wise parent. I also agree with everyone who says that you should have a family when you are ready and not according to someone else’s timeline.

wildpotato's avatar

I think it is ok. My mom had me when she was 33 and my brother when she was 38. My dad was 35 and 40. They got to establish themselves in their careers before they had us, and that was very important to them. The only physical problem was that she injured one of her arms holding my brother when he was a baby, and suffered from persistent weakness in that arm for several years. We did lots of energetic stuff like hiking and skiing, though you can hardly avoid these activities if you grow up in Colorado.

I have not found that parenting at an older age is associated with more patient, kind, and stable parenting. This was not my experience, and has not been the experience of many of my friends who were born to or were adopted by older parents.

jca's avatar

My child was born when I was in my early 40’s. I am now 46. I wanted to travel and sow my wild oats when I was young. I wanted to party and do all kinds of fun stuff, and I did. Now I’m stable financially and happy and grateful to have a child. I say having a child is a personal decision and you do it when it’s best for you, and never mind what other people say.

Blackberry's avatar

I think it’s ridiculous you’re even asking the question. No offense to you, but think about how irrational that would be: a bunch of people in their early and mid twenties having kids now “just to get it over with.”

cazzie's avatar

Crazy to give advice to other people when you think they should have kids. How utterly ridiculous. If any one starts at you to hurry up and have a baby, you tell them to mind their own business.

ucme's avatar

When a couple are in mutual agreement that the time is right for them to start a family, then that’s no one’s fucking business apart from their’s.

bolwerk's avatar

If you ask me, having children in your twenties is what doesn’t make much sense. Maybe the peak years are over, maybe they’re not, but women can be very fertile into their thirties, so the clock is ticking argument doesn’t hold much water. At least enjoy a decade adult exploration. Find some financial security. See what kinds of relationships work for you. Hopefully you’ll be older and wiser, but at least you should be better established.

Plus, you do your kids another favor by having them later: they can get an inheritance when they’re younger rather than older. In some cultures, this even gives them an opportunity to step out on their own sooner.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk The clock is ticking holds a lot of water, because if you findnout in your thirties you have fertility trouble, and I am talking about trouble you would have had in your twenties too, not age related, the woman has fewer fertile years to deal with whatever is causing the infertility. Also, some illness leave a person infertile after treatment, and God forbid a person is in an accident and it affects their fertility. The longer you wait, the more chance something can happen to negativiely impact fertility, plus a woman’s chance at pregnancy goes down, plus birth defects go up, plus a woman has more chance of complications during pregnancy as she gets older.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: if that happens, it happens. I would guess it’s wise to see what screening is available and act according to your values and wishes if a problem is detected, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it if the last ditch way to test your fertility is to be inseminated to see how easily you get pregnant. Some people will be disappointed no matter what – some because of a pregnancy they don’t want, some because of a pregnancy they don’t get.

Either way, early to mid 30s seems like the sweet part for men and women alike. Statistically, fertility for women doesn’t tend to nosedive until ~35, so if you wait until your 30 to start trying you’re more than likely in a good position.

bkcunningham's avatar

Actually, @bolwerk, according to a report published in Human Reproduction, a woman’s fertility starts declining at around age 27.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=study-shows-fertility-dec

I think what @JLeslie is saying is this. If you wait until you are say 30 to try and get pregnant for the first time, even if you are perfectly healthy and fertile, you don’t get pregnant instantly. It could take a year of trying to conceive to get pregnant. You are then 31 and pregnant for the first time. Suppose you miscarry that baby at four months along for no apparent reason, which happens. You have to wait about three months to even try to get pregnant again until your body heals. (Not to mention healing mentally.) So now you are approaching 32 years of age and you are trying to get pregnant. It could take two miscarriages before someone says you may have a problem that needs to be checked.

It is a cycle that, to IMHO, should be discussed more openly and honestly between young women and their physicians.

bolwerk's avatar

@bkcunningham: yes, it starts declining in the late 20s, but nosedives after 35. And I agree, there probably just should be better reproductive health screening in general – starting in your 20s, and regardless of whether you wish to have children.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk What I object to is a general feeling in the media that it is no big deal to wait until you are 42 like all these actresses we see do. There is a good chance a lot of them got pregnant with someone else’s eggs, or at minimum had expensive fertility treatments. I personally know women who became pregnant in their early 40’s naturally, most are accidents, so I am not saying it is impossible, but there isn’t enough truth and information about pregnancy out there in my opinion, everything is glossed over in the glow of new baby born. @bkcunningham gave a good example of what can happen. Takes a little longer than expected to get pregnant, then a miscarriage, etc. That is a relatively good scenerio describing fertility troubles. It can be she doesn’t get pregnant without fertility treatments, although the majority of people trying will be able to get pregnant in their 30’s. Still, if you are part of the 10% not getting pregnant it sucks.

I am not pushing for people to have babies before they are ready, just pushing for people to go ahead and do it when they are ready and not wait too long. For people to be better informed. People don’t realize that after age 40 the risk of having a down syndrome child for instance is about 1 in 100. That is just one genetic disease. It’s 1 in 400 I think between the ages of 35–40. Pregnancies over 35 mean the mother will likely need to go through more testing while pregnant. There are risks that come with the testing. And, I failed to mention that I truly believe some fertility treatments have some mal affects. Huge doses of hormones, or one of the partners might need surgery, all sorts of procedures that carry its own risks.

jca's avatar

(raises hand as someone who got pregnant naturally at age 40, and had a perfectly healthy baby, delivered naturally!)

I had asked the doctor when I was in my late 30’s about my chances of getting pregnant. He said as long as you have your period, you can get pregnant. I said well, we read all these articles about women who have trouble getting pregnant in their late 30’s and early 40’s. He said when they get pregnant without a problem, there’s no story. It’s the ones who have problems that make a story. When I was pregnant, and they gave me these scary-sounding stats on potential problems, he said (based upon the stats I told him), “OK, so they say there’s a 2% chance of a problem (or whatever the stats were at the time). What does that really mean? That means there’s a 98% chance that everything will be fine.” And it was. My mom also conceived my sister naturally and had her at age 43.

I know many people who conceived and had children in their late 30’s and early 40’s.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca The majority of people have no problem. But, the minority is a large enough number that it matters.

Getting pregnant easily has no statistical significance to a baby being down syndrome. Look at Sarah Palin.

bkcunningham's avatar

@jca, you had your first pregnancy at 40? Wow, I’m impressed and very, very happy that you didn’t have any problems and that you have a healthy child!

Judi's avatar

@JLeslie , I have a niece who is in that exact position. She actually had an abortion in her 20’s and is now devastated because she cant get pregnant in her late 30’s. She has been through a couple of rounds of in vitro. It’s really sad.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: waiting until you’re in your 40s to try seems like the opposite extreme of what I mentioned. Not to say it’s always unreasonable to have children in your 20s or 40s, but it still seems to me that early 30s hits the right balance between health, fertility, and probable level of maturity and financial independence, at least for women. It would be great for women if the window were a bit wider, like it is for men.

That said, I’d be curious to see how the current generation of 20somethings deals with this. A lot of them are still depending on their parents, and they’re not going to want to have kids as soon as they’re out of the nest I expect.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Definitely wait to have children until you are ready for them. I had my first at 20, my second at 29, and I’ll be 31 when my third arrives. Energy wise, I don’t feel like I had more energy when I was 20 compared to 30 when it comes to taking care of baby. Financially, I’m definitely better prepared now (in my 30s) than I was in my 20s. I even had a tubal ligation and then a tubal reversal done (between my first and second) because I thought I was done after one child.

Since you are a male, you have less to worry about when it comes to fertility issues from your end of things. Women do have a more limited time frame for when they are able to get pregnant, but there are a lot more options for couples that have fertility issues these days (if that were something you ever had to face). I don’t think it’s a good idea to rush having children out of fear there may be fertility issues down the road.

Leanne1986's avatar

The only people who have the right to decide when you start a family are you and your partner but I do agree with @marinelife to take your child into consideration. The younger you are the more chance you have to be around well into their adult years. My best friend’s dad was in his early 50s when she was born and she worries about him not being around for as long as her friends dad’s may be.

cazzie's avatar

I tried hard to get pregnant in my early 30’s and never did. Then, suddenly, at 38, bingo.

My parents were both in their 40’s when I was born. Basically, my mother never stopped having babies, for 20 years. Sure, I lost both parents before my 45th birthday, and my mother never met my son, but I benefitted GREATLY from having an older mother. She taught me stuff and had more time for me than I think other kids’ parents that worked and travelled and went out with friends all the time.

I don’t think people should have the fear of infertility shoved in their face to pressure them into a decision they aren’t ready for. I also don’t think people should have their mortality held over their heads like a sicle when it comes to procreation. I used to ask my dad if he worried about being a dad so late but he would tell us, ‘If we ain’t raised you all right by the time you were 12, it’s too late anyway.’ and if we went to him with a problem as a grown up, he would answer us, ‘You are more than 7 times 3. You don’t need me to tell you want to do.’ No body knows when they are going to die and NOBODY likes to think of losing their parents, or dying and leaving your kids behind, regardless of what age you or your children are, so that is a completely moot argument. No matter how old your parents are, you are NEVER ready to lose them.

But, I will say this about raising kids. My dad was right. You raise children to be as independent and free thinking as possible. I don’t want to have to keep ‘raising’ my son. I expect, by the time he is 12, if I haven’t done right by him, there will be nothing I can do, and if I have done right by him, there is nothing much more for me TO do. I would love to live to 200 so I can watch him be a man and so I can see his children grow up, that is not how evolutionary biology works. I’ll be little good to anyone past my 90th birthday and, if I am not gone by then, I should just be put on a ship, set on the outgoing tide.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I think early thiries is fine. The first time I became pregnant I was 27, and I wish it had all worked out. i would have been very happy to have had my kids in my late twenties and early thirties. I do think as we get older we have a better understanding and perspective of life, and a better financial situation than when I was first married, but not drastically different. I think mid thirties and forties we are much more aware of ourseves, what we want, more self assured, and I think that is a great example for children. Here’s the thing, if you have the kids in your late twenties and early thirties, by the time the children are really learning the lessons of life, the parents are in their mid-late thirties and forties. So, we are in agreement more or less.

However, there is something fantastic about getting the children done with early, and having the rest of your life to enjoy life while still very young. The other extreme is enjoying and travelling and then having them later. I think mid thirties and early forties for many people is a peak time of financial security, freedom, and health, so young kids might feel very restrictive at that time. It really depends on the person obviously. I am not trying to say this is some sort of words to live by, just more of an observation. Just thinking out loud.

It really is so individual though, it is impossible for one person to tell another when they should have a baby.

Also, kind of along the lines of @blackberry’s comment, I think the question is a little odd, in that what American does not see many children being born to 30 and 40 year old parents? I think the OP is American? Americans start families at all sorts of ages now. I can see asking people for their opinion on being a young parent vs. an older one, but to say he is being told he can better take care of them in his youth? Better how? We are wiser and more financially secure usually as we get older the only thing we might be better at is having more energy to play sports with them, and likely living longer for them.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Egads, no!

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