‘The Plan’: Why I Want To Wait Until 30 Before Having Children

September 26, 2012  |  

Source: Thinkstock.com

More than I care to admit, the topic of relationships, careers and children has been coming up a lot around my apartment these days. This Saturday night was no different. As my housemate and I sat in the kitchen talking, we somehow stumbled onto the topic of whether to have children in your 20s, or wait until your 30s.

She said if she finds a man she wants to marry before 30, no ifs, ands or buts about it— “I popping out dem babies in my 20’s.” I giggled at her Trinidad accent, completely objecting to the idea of having any children before the age of 30. Hell, I’ll even take 29 on the verge of turning 30, but before then— I’m not feeling the idea.

According to 2010 birth statistics completed by the U.S. Census Bureau, 42 percent of women ages 25 to 34 with at least one bachelor’s degree gave birth for the first time, compared to 76 percent for women ages 35 to 44.

Although I have no desire to wait until my late 30’s or 40’s, I can understand why so many women are choosing to.

Call me selfish, but there is too much I want to do before I am 30, and right now, while I am in my 20’s— I feel this is the best time to do them. I want to travel the world, maybe move a few more times. Challenge myself career wise and achieve accomplishments my family can truly be proud of. All these things become harder to do when you have a child who depends on you to provide for them.

Also, let’s face it; we all have had those conversations with one girlfriend who’s worried about her ticking biological clock. I want to let love naturally happen. You know, boy meets girl and they begin to date before getting married? Not, boy meets girl, and girl begins to plan when they’ll get married and what color the bridesmaids’ dresses will be, all before knowing what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  I don’t want to put a rush order on marriage for the sake of having children before reaching the fertility peaking age of 28.

Ninety percent of couples’ marital bliss declines within a year after the birth of their first child, according to a study done by the University of Denver. And 40 percent of children born to two parents can expect to live in a single-parent household by the time they are 18, as reported in 2009 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

My parents spent the majority of the ‘80s dating, and late in the decade, they were married. A few months after “I do,” my mother was pregnant with me. Now as a young woman, I realize my parents never had the chance to transition from dating, to husband and wife, before becoming mom and dad. As a child of divorced parents, who separated shortly after I started school, I want to spend a few years getting to know my husband— a man I’m no longer “just dating.”

Lastly, for obvious reasons, I want to be financially stable. The majority of your lifetime earning potential takes place in your 20s, says Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, estimating two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens during the first 10 years of your career.

As women, we are often made to feel that our 30’s are the end of the world. Like we have to accomplish and do all of these things before we find ourselves on the other side of our 20’s. With the average person living anywhere from 72 to 80 years, not factoring personal health or family genetics, is having a child in your 30’s really that bad? But what can I say? This is just a plan, and that’s the beautiful yet nerve racking thing about them— nothing ever seems to go quite according to “the plan.”


Jasmine Berry is a senior majoring in journalism at St. John’s University. Follow her on twitter @signedjas


Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Pingback: Do We Live In An Era Of Irrational Parenting?()

  • lotive

    Praise God for that dear. My parents got married at 25 and had me at 26. Dad was an engineer and mom and nutritionist. By the time I turned 15 years old my parents had 3 of us kids. My dad had 2 degrees and mom a Ph.D. Today all of us children are doing great. Today I’m 28 and parents have been happily married for almost 30 years. I just got married at 27, husband is a doctor and I’m a registered nurse. Yes we are ready!!

  • Dame

    I’m in a 14yr marriage and expecting my 3rd child in my late 30’s. It’s definitely doable if your body is in shape, but the reality is that you are more tired. There are pros and cons go everything as another poster mentioned. My husband and I both have master’s degrees, we both wanted to be financially stable before we had children, so we waited 5 yrs before we had our first. Having kids can be great if you think it through–setting up college funds, setting money aside for their extracurricular activities,etc. it’s more than just having babies– it’s about giving them a good quality of life. I applaud anyone’s decision to better themselves with traveling, obtaining more education, etc. it’s not as easy to do that with babies unless you have a strong support system.

  • Pingback: Should You Wait Before Having a Child? | Techyville()

  • Pingback: Career - Why Waiting to Have a Child Isn’t a Bad Idea()

  • Pingback: Why Waiting To Have Kids Isn't A Bad Idea [Column]()

  • While I respect your plan, it seems like people make it seems as if you cannot travel the world and do all that you want when you’re in your late 40’s or 50’s. My mom had told me that one of my aunts was complaining that she had had children in her 20’s and her friends were moving up in their careers while she had to raise her three kids. But now, her friends are just now having their children and all of her kids are grown and she now can travel with her job.

    Personally, I do want to have kids when I’m younger because I know that I will be able to keep up with them and their activities. Maybe I just think this way because one of my middle school basketball teammates parents looked like her grandparents. I never want to be that old still raising kids.

  • Adrina

    Be honest with yourself when it comes to having children in your 20s….CAN YOU AFFORD IT? I don’t just mean financially, but can you afford to tie yourself down? Can you afford to make ultimate sacrifices? A lot of ppl (like myself) want to travel, start businesses, or whatever…once you have children, you won’t get to do that without dropping the kid off to someone’s house. Especially if you and your husband want that romantic get away.

  • I couldn’t have said this better myself, this is exactly how I feel. Now a days we as women have many options that were not offered to before, children are a beautiful thing to happen to any women and when that time comes for me I want to enjoy every step of the way, as for now i have to pave the road for my future children, and that is to better myself, as a recent college graduate I have a lot to learn!

  • southerncurl21

    I believe that everyone is different and that’s what makes life amazing. I had an unexpected pregnancy and this amazing little girl when I was 22. I was just beginning my dream career and ready to travel the world. She made me grow up and get the focus in my life that I needed b/c I was a bratty party girl, lol! She helped me to settle down 🙂 I was ok getting married at 25 and having my other girls at the age of 25 and again at 29 and still had a wonderful career and fulfilling life. Now I’m 32 with Multiple Sclerosis. If I didn’t have my beautiful girls when I did or even get married, I can’t be sure I would have after getting this diagnosis, because this disease can be so selfish and cruel. I believe you have got to be true to yourself and live your life how you want to. Don’t worry about what others think, it’s your life 🙂 God bless and be happy 🙂

  • I would like to wait until I’m 40, if possible. Once they’re here, there’s no turning back and I want to make sure that I’m prepared both emotionally and financially.

    • lnyce

      your eggs are gona be shriveled up by then hahahhahaha

  • JustSayin

    I think it depends on your maturity level and not your age bracket. I had my Master’s degree at age 24 and on my way up in my career. I have a great support group so I am able to travel, party and do whatever else. Not everyone has to have those one-night stands and/or the random woes of being broke. I have always been responsible, I still shop and do everything else my 20 something year old friends do. If not more. But; I do think it just depends. I am 25 and I am perfectly fine with my 3 year old. I see it as this… by the time that i have a good retirement plan, a nice little savings… I can go on a real vacation with some real money and party hard while my friends are still struggling with college and prom woes.

    • YouRockJustSayin!

      Thank you for giving a fellow Go Getter like Me hope with testimonies like this. Those 5 “unlikes” are just from miserable, embitterned women who, like Eggy; are forced to realize how Short they sold and/or continue to sell themselves. I applaud you and the way you’re managing your life. Baby or no baby; every female contains the innate capability to create whatever they want for their lives. A lot of them don’t know that. “5” of them just admitted it.

      • ooops

        meant to say about Eggy; “like they also are hatin on Eggy in her comments above”. oops. By no means; to I wish to insinuate I’m mad at a darn thang ladies like these say!

  • Doll Kennedy

    I completely agree.

  • Hello_Kitty81

    That’s good, wait til you’re financially, emotionally and mentally ready and find the right man to have a family with.

  • kate

    I see the pros and cons of waiting. My mom waited waited and had me in her LATE 30’s…Life was good, I lived a good stable life whatever. whatever. I on the other hand knew I wanted children in my 20’s. I wanted to be married by 26 and a kid by 27 and not a day later. I just wanted a different dynamic of the relationship me and my mom had. Don’t get me wrong I had and have the best life, best mom, best mother and daughter relationship, the utmost respect but I want different and a different experience !

  • KeepinItReal

    Dear Ms. Berry; AMEN!
    I was in Lamaze class with my 2nd child at 26 (in 2006)—and was the YOUNGEST unmarried 2nd-time mom in the room! ALL the other participants were 1. over 30 2. happily married with bejeweled hands holding their husbands’ 3. clearly financially stable (you coulda seen summa dem rocks from across the parking lot, I tell ya!)
    I ‘bounced back’ from all the (you DONT want it!!!) drama that ensued taking the unconventional route I traversed upon, and now tell every sista who’ll listen to DO IT YOUR WAY!!!!!
    The Black Family’s already under attack. Let’s us as Guardians of the Uterus take a proactive role in improving the negative stereotypes. As long as we keep our bodies well-nourished with Folic Acid; we need not worry about the (previous) medical risks associated with giving birth after a certain age. #ThisArticleIsGREAT#

  • Stephanie Ferguson-Williams

    Not one day of life is promised so I think you should make the best of everyday, if that includes having a baby before 30 thank God for the blessing and rock on

  • Merriegirl

    In a perfect world, I’d rather wait until my 30’s to be emotionally and financially ready. However, I want to be a young enough to have the energy to raise with my children. I have seen a lot of women and men in their 50’s be to tired to continue raising their high-school age children. And though your mind may not be ready in your 20’s your body is extremely fertile.

    • Smarterthanyou

      Unfortunately, that is a very common misconception about having energy to raise a child. The reality is, if you have a child by 32 or 33, you will turn 50 as they are leaving the house. Your energy won’t fall of that much between 45-50.

  • IllyPhilly

    I agree with any person trying to bring another human in this world giving good thought to it.


    Everybody’s life and experiences are different….hence ppl get married and hv kids at differenct ages….This is what makes each of us unique….it’s no biggie!

    • IllyPhilly

      Agree very much!

    • Merriegirl

      Well said.

    • AwCmonAlready

      Therapy would be a better sounding board from the guilt your prior abortion[s] have rendered you. This article is not to tell any female what to do with her uterus; when, or how. It’s a fine commentary on how the author is livin HER life.

  • Eggy

    I just turned 30. Have an amazing fiancee and look forward to having children in the near future. But I am very happy that I didn’t get married in my twenties. Instead I spent my time struggling to become a doctor, travelled the world, and really developed myself. I think the sacrifice was worth it and I’ll make a great mom.

    • Nikki

      Good for you! Although, I don’t know why people are rating you down…

      • TRUTH IS

        Because it’s all about her….it might not be the same for the other person….me me me…what works for her might not for the other person

        • Eggy

          @Truth Is… Absolutely do what works for you. No need for the negativity. Some people are mature enough to have a child at 18 or 25. I was not. Having a child after age 30 for me (yes me me me!!) means that my children will have access to better schools, better neighborhoods, and better life experiences than my parents were able to afford for me and my siblings. I am so glad that I waited until I was emotionally and financially capable to bring a baby into this world and I wish more people would wait a little bit before doing the most important job one can do.

          • TRUTH IS

            Whats so negative in saying what works for you wont neccesarily work for Jane Doe?!? *confused look* Some ppl have a career by 25 cus there degree/certification didnt take 7 yrs….#Thatsall

            • Eggy

              …I think we’re saying the same thing. I think you just feel like arguing with someone today. Fortunately it won’t be me. Have a blessed day.

              • TRUTH IS

                Since making a point turn into an argument…..strupes

        • Nikki

          All she did was share the positives in her life. And it sounds like you’re bringing her down… You’re coming off as negative when you said, “it’s all about her”. Of course, it’s all about her-it’s HER life.

        • KeepinItReal

          “Truth Is”, if you take `but a moment to take your Green-eyed Monster Mask off; you’ll realize that Eggy didn’t use one single keystroke to suggest how all females should individually live their lives. If you can’t see where prioritizing one’s goals and ambition, practicing discipline and selectiveness, and maintaining some standards about oneself when selecting from (ONLY!) amongs the MOST-suitable of ‘eligible bachelors’—–then the “Truth Is”; you don’t need Madame Noire. You need therapy!

          • ;)

            oops. misspelled ‘amongst.’ 🙂

      • KeepinItReal

        Because they envy her ambition and accomplishments, my dear sista. Many females (STILL!!!) subscribe to a ‘keep a ^!66a baby’ misconception, and are bitterly processing their rude awakenings over applications for public assistance and child support that ain’t comin `this side of Jesus’ 2nd coming! They even FURTHER envy her having found a suitable mate to take the proper steps before impregnating her. For all those hatin; learn somethin from Eggy: “If he liked it, then he shoulda put a ring on it!” – Beyonce –