30-Something, Single, and Wanting a Baby
What does 30 years old look like to you? Many of the teens I teach assume that 30 marks a dark depressing, decent into obscurity complete with Colonial Penn life insurance premiums and AARP cards. But to my own younger self, 30 was always glamorous and sophisticated. I pictured myself well-established in my career inside my mini-mansion with the spiral staircase in the suburbs drinking mimosas with my clique reminiscent of the cast of Girlfriends. I also thought I would have at least one child and be working on my second. Perfect, right? Well all of us that subscribe to reality know that life is all the things that take place while you plan for it. It rarely flows according to plan.
Truthfully, I was never the girl who daydreamed of baby showers and baby booties. I fantasized about briefcases and boardrooms. The decision to become a parent is something I always wanted to make on my terms, and not on the expectations of others, and if I can decide when I can start a family after reaching these terms, even better. Your biological clock determines the flow of your hormones and the capacity of your body. If those same hormones could attract a healthy loving relationship and financial stability, maybe parenting wouldn’t appear as intimidating. Who am I kidding? Parenting is scary, exciting, incredible, stressful and rewarding regardless of your age or relationship status.
Statistics show that more and more women are postponing motherhood into later parts of their life either by choice or necessity. According to the National Center for Health Statistics one in thirteen first-time births are to women who are 35 years or older versus 1 in 700 in 1970. More women are pursuing various levels of education, and actually taking most of their twenties to build careers instead of families. So as I find that my FaceBook feed is filled less with pictures from Two Dollar Tuesdays and Thirsty Thursdays and more with sonograms and report cards, I ask, “when should I choose to start a family?” The answer: whenever I feel comfortable that I can provide a stable, healthy upbringing for a child, be completely selfless and put someone else’s needs above my own. In my opinion, it’s O.K. to be disgustingly utterly selfish in your twenties. It’s the one time in your life when your parents can probably still handle themselves, and if you don’t have kids the only person that suffers from your ill-informed decisions is you.
Your age does not have the ultimate say in your choice to become a mother, nor does your relationship status. Your ovaries don’t retire the day you turn 30 or choose to take time off until you are in a committed relationship. More and more women are choosing to become single mothers and many of them have passed the almighty threshold of thirty. Halle Berry, Salma Hayek and Brooke Shields are all women who gave birth after 30 both naturally and with a bit of help. But let’s be honest, infertility becomes more of a risk with age. Fertility hits its speak in most women during their mid-twenties. During the late twenties fertility starts to decrease, and after age 35 it decreases at a rapid pace making it more difficult to become pregnant. Chances for miscarriage and birth defects also increase with age. Fortunately, modern medicine has made it possible for women to become mothers, even if it isn’t the old-fashioned way. It’s your body; take a peek at some of options and the pro’s and con’s of becoming pregnant on your terms: