Why 40 Is The Best Age To Have Kids (If It Weren’t For Biology)
I often wonder if the powers at be—whoever that is—ever look at humans and think the whole women’s fertility declines in the thirties thing was a huge glitch in the design of the human body. Did you know that our fertility starts to decline as early as age 30? By age 42, our fertility drops desperately low, which is why you see so many women of that age turning to surrogates, fertility doctors, in vitro, egg donors, and other alternative methods of conception. So why do women wait so long? Because we were fortunate enough in the last few centuries to realize that we are destined to do more than just pump out babies in this lifetime. We still want babies, but we want to do other things first (build a career, travel, find the right partner not just the right now partner) and those things take some time. Unfortunately, our bodies didn’t get the message. Here is why 40 is actually the best time to have kids, if it weren’t for pesky biology.
You’re financially stable
In our twenties, we don’t realize we should be saving money. We’re making little as it is, and spending any extra on happy hour and clothes. In our thirties, we realize we should put a bit aside, and we do—but just enough for us, and not for a family. Only in our forties have we perhaps saved enough, invested well, and seen a few raises and could finally support a child.
You have clout at work
In your forties, you finally feel like you can go on maternity leave and not be replaceable. You have clout at work. You have the respect of your peers and you’re valuable. You cannot only go on maternity leave but you can enjoy maternity leave.
Your parents are retired
The longer you wait to have kids, the more likely it is that your parents are retired when you do. And you know what that means? Free childcare that’s almost always available!
You’re comfortable with your body
By your forties, you’re usually long over body issues. You’re ready to become a small planet while your belly houses a baby. You’ve embraced your body and do not require perfection out of it.
You have a handle on your marriage
Most first marriages that end do so within the first eight years. It can be nice to be over the eight year bump before doing something as massive as having a child with your partner. Plus, it can just be nice to enjoy some years when it’s just you and your partner.
You may own a house
People are waiting longer and longer to buy houses today. A lot of married couples are still renting in their thirties. But you’d probably like to have a house for your kids. And if you wait until your forties, you may just have one.
You’re comfortable with your house
Not only will you have a house for your family, but you’ll also be settled into it and used to the major task of managing/caring for a home. You don’t want to make that adjustment and have a baby at the same time.
You’ve grappled your parent issues
You may have some emotional issues relating to your parents and upbringing. It’s important to get over these—perhaps address them in therapy—before making your own family. If your feelings about the whole concept of family are still muddled in any way by your childhood, make sure to tackle that before bringing a kid into this world. That emotional work can take until our forties.
Your partner may feel more ready
Your partner may also feel far more ready in his forties (or even fifties) to have a child than he felt in his younger years. Men in particular have anxiety about anything distracting them from their careers, so it’s best if a man feels very settled in his work before building a family.
Get advice from the younger mamas
Here’s a nice perk of waiting a bit longer than your friends to have kids: you get all of their wisdom, knowledge, and hand-me-downs. They already know how to deal with every thing you’ll be facing for the first time. They know the best classes/doctors/baby products and more.
Your clan will be established
People move away in in their twenties and thirties for jobs or marriages, or simply because they don’t want to live in the town where they went to college or grew up any more. It’s an unstable time, as far as your friend group goes. By your forties, people tend to be settled into where they’ll live for a while, and your clan is established and stable. You need that clan to raise a child.
You are emotionally prepared
You’re generally more emotionally prepared for parenthood by your forties. You’ve found yourself. You know who you are, what you want out of life, and what being a mother would mean to you.
It can boost your longevity
Hey, if you have kids later, you may just live longer. Something about the need to stay alive longer to take care of your kid and see those grandbabies keeps a person kicking for a while.
Your kids could be safer
Studies have found that children born to older parents are less prone to accidental injury. Maybe older parents are calmer and more focused on their kids? The reasons are unclear but it’s an important piece of information.
You have stuff to do before!
In your twenties and thirties you want to travel, go out at night, take further education classes, date around, enjoy your marriage alone with your partner, find the right career path for you and then thrive in that career. Generally speaking, those are already hectic decades without throwing kids into the mix.