What Age Should You Start Having Kids?

I’m 25, and I feel like time is running out. Yeah, 25 is the new 15 or whatever, but try telling that to my biological clock, won’t you? Maybe it’s my quarter-life crisis, but my 30th birthday, and in turn the significant decrease of my fertile, baby-makin’ eggs, seems creepily close. I’m sure you’re already shaking your heads, thinking that there is no real deadline to have children in the newfangled “you-can-have-it-all” world we’re living in. However, since not all of us have that invincible Adonis DNA and Tiger Blood (ahem, Charlie Sheen), I’m not so sure if we can really, er, win against nature’s will.

How many women are actually able to have babies naturally, easily in their mid-to-late 30s and beyond? A story in the March 2011 issue of Marie Claire chronicled three different women, one who first conceived at 21, another who had a baby via In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at 38 and one who got pregnant after years of waiting at age 39. The stories of the two older women further scared me—both had gotten too busy with other aspects of their lives and suddenly found themselves, at a less-than-ideal age, trying to get pregnant. As someone with that similar go-go-go mentality, I fear that the same could happen to me. Yes, I may make it to my dream editing/writing job, but what if the “family” part of my future falls to the wayside?

Another unrealistic expectation is set by all the older celebrities having children. While some of the pregnancies are natural, many use IVF, which can cost around $50,000. That’s lunch money to Celine Dion, but I don’t have the set of pipes for her kind of paycheck. Even if you’re not enduring expensive fertility treatments, there’s all that dough you’ll shell out for acupuncture, the kooky “natural” stuff and specialists if you can’t get knocked up.

Money aside, and love for all the older active moms, but I also don’t want to be the elderly matron in the PTA, the granny-mom picking her kids up on the playground. I’d rather have my kids young when I have the energy and chutzpah to deal with a few little critters. And, since I lost most of my grandparents very young, I’d like to be around for my grandbabies as long as possible. Plus, if there’s a problem with me having kids, I want to know early so I can fix it ASAP; not find out when I’m older and the figures are less in my favor.

But forget fertility and biological clocks, here’s what scares me most of all: If I want to have my dream two boys and one girl about two years apart each, I should probably start around age 30. Which means I’ll have to get engaged, married and pregnant in the next five years. Gulp. Considering my current lifestyle of career-obsession during the week, plus weekend nights that turn into 6am mornings and eating imitation pop tarts because I’ve just bought a new dress, that’s a tall order. But I want to ask you, our readers: What age did you start having children? Do you think there is any “ideal” age to start a family? Share your thoughts and opinions to (hopefully!) ease my worries.

-Cait Rohan

GIRL TALK TIME: What age did you start having kids at? If you haven’t had children yet, what age do you think you’ll start? Do you think there is any “ideal” age?

93 Comments

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  • Desi:

    I don’t have any children yet and I am 29 yrs old, just turned 29. Within the past 10 yrs of my life I have done a lot of travelling worked different jobs from within the entertainment industry and even the hospitality industry. I am an artist still working on getting my finances straight and have yet to pick a long-term career goal. Yeah the clock is ticking but I don’t look a day over 23 and sometimes mistaken for a teen. I look at it as there is no real time to have kids, I just figure as long as you have them before 40 yrs old you should be ok. Ideally I think 30-35 is a good age range to start having children if you haven’t had them yet, but all women are not the same. I know some women in my family who had children while in their 30′s without any treatments so I think fear of infertility really depends on genetics, as I also knew a young woman who went through menopause in her early 20′s! Personally I will not have children until I am ready and whatever age I am at the time will be younger than 40 and really not a burden as I get to enjoy my child-free lifestyle while most of my homegirls are working extra hard to raise their young children. people ask me when im gonna have a baby and my answer is : after I get married. until then the stork can drop babies off elsewhere.

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  • JA:

    I always thought I’d be married by 25, buy a house and have 4 to 5 kids. Well, life definitely took me in a different direction. I enjoyed high school and college, having only one serious relationship my senior year of college. I studied abroad, worked, interned at a radio station, traveled through Europe, graduated college (at 22), worked for a year in NY, moved to Miami (at 23), bought an apartment (at 24), went to law school and got my MBA ( at 26), interned at the UN (26), passed the bar, got licensed in FL and DC (27), traveled some more- the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and now at 29 (omg I can’t believe I’m 29) I have a stable, yet flexible job and the lifestyle to settle down. My bf of 5 years and I are thinking of getting married sometime this year and we’re finally ready to start having kids. Of course, I could’ve talked myself into waiting some more because I’d love more money, a bigger house, ect…but I’ve made the executive decision I CANNOT have it all at 29. I am more than okay with the fact that building your life and your family is a journey and you just have to want to take the first step….with hard work, love, and commitment, the rest will surely follow!

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  • OohLaLovie:

    I feel old. :0( I hope its not too late from me. I”m stuck in relationship purgatory and it seems hopeless right now.

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  • avatar
    firegirl099:

    Im 30 and will be turning 31 next month. Not married and no kids. If I had it my way I would like to be married and have a baby right about now. It doesnt seem that its going to happen anytime soon. Either it will happen when it happens or not happen at all and Im ok with that.

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  • teemonayy:

    I’m 21, and we’re planning one soon after we get married.

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  • Rae:

    Good luck trying to find a responsible dad! I waited until almost age 36 to get married, and we did IVF to have a baby. I’m due with my first, just a month before my 38th birthday. I wish Mr. Right was there years ago, as I want more than just one child. But it is what it is.

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  • Ms Vee:

    Omggggg Im 25 now!!! The pressure is on. I want all of that too but yikes! what about my body I cant lose this!! Oh gosh I dont wanna think about it I still consider myself young

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  • avatar
    Julie Nichols:

    I started having children when I was 20. Now my kids are 12, 9, and 4. Each pregnancy, new born baby time, toddler time, elementary school, and now middle school time has been facinating in it’s own way. Having children in your 20s, 30s or 40s each provides different challenges but so many benefits.

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  • marcy777:

    Wow… I’m 27 with no man in my life and no children. I feel the same way but i want to be married for about two years before I have any children… But I wanted to be married at age 25 didn’t happenso ill be waiting.

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  • CJ:

    I am 27, going on 28 in July and I’m also getting married in June, both me and my hubby want kids but we haven’t really discussed when we want to start having them, I’m thinking by 30 I should have one, but to go off the topic of age, I think 23 and up is a good age to start having babies, so I guess I’m 4yrs behind, NOT, theres really no right age, everyone is different and you kind of need a man to have one, unless you take other routes.

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  • Anna:

    I had my son at 21. I wanted children at an early age because it is much easier to raise them when you are young. You have more stamina and are more agile to keep up with them. You have more patience to deal with everyday baby or child dramas. Not everyone is able to do this because of financial or emotional stability. Children need loving parents in a caring home. This will help them to become well rounded adults. I wish I had more but could never get pregnant again. My son is considered a godsend because I got pregnant right after my baby brother died in a drowning accident. I am now 48 with a 27 year old fantastic adult son.

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  • Danielle Grondin:

    I had my first child when I was 20. My second at 29. I am 32 now. I am thinking one more, and then I am done!

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  • Joy:

    Everyone is different.

    I take a bit of offense about the writers comment of not wanting to be the granny mom picking up their kid. There are lots of older moms these days.

    Shecky’s should have edited that part out. It’s an immature statement.

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  • Patricia Miller:

    I was 18 going on 19 when I had my one and only child. I am now 34, soon to be 35 and it sounds to me from Doctors, that I better hurry up or else!! I never intended my daughter to be an only child. However I have loved it! It is one thing to find a babysitter for one child, but two or three, child please!! The thing is I am married now to my longtime boyfriend and he wants babies!! What do I do? Everyone tells me to give him one! But I am so comfortable. My daughter is 16, I am too settled to start over in a big way like that! But whateva, someone get me a Onesie Stat!!

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  • patricejef:

    I Had my first child when I was 18 and my second when I was 20 it wasn’t very hard for me because I had a lot of help from family but I am so glad I had them young I am now 36 and my kids are now 16 and 18 and i’m loving it I think having kids past 30 is not a good idea unless your still working on your financial stability.

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  • avatar
    dianasaurus:

    i am hitting the big 30 next week and have not had kids. nor, do i want to start having them. i do sometimes think about getting older and the complications that come pregnancy after 35, but i’m just not ready. ideal age for me…well, i know when i get there!

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  • Cynthial:

    I have three children – my first came along when I was 26, the 2nd when I was 29 and final little gift when I was 36! All three pregnancies were relatively easy and enjoyable. The benefit of having kids at different ages is that as a parent, you grow and develop along with them and each new experience enhances who you are as a parent. I am glad we started our family in our 20′s which had been our plan – going into round 3 in my mid-30′s was never the plan! but has been one of the absolute greatest experiences of my life…….I am more relaxed and really know to enjoy every minute.

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  • Amy Gruber:

    I had my first child a month before I turned 30. I have 3 boys who are 3.5 years apart each. I had a few miscarriages between my first and second, and dealt with gestational diabetes with my second and third, but for the most part….all is good!!! My third was born about 11 months ago @ age 37. I’d like one more, but I don’t know that it’s in the cards ;)

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  • Tesha:

    I am 38 years old, and have struggled with Fibroids and endometriosis and ovarian cysts since I was 17. Being single I had toyed with the notion of artificial insemination, but I wanted to wait until I was ready. after 2 surgeries, one myomectomy and one emergency surgery to remove a grapefruit sized cyst from my ovary, my fibroids returned with a vengence. I made a decision at the age of 33 to have a hysterectomy and end my suffereing. 4 years ago I finally met my fiance and I am now unable to have children. But we have decided to adopt. We are getting married this fall and although I know I will be 40 by the time we actually adopt it dodesn’t scare me at all. age is nothing but a number and it diesn’t stop you from being a good parent!

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  • cEE:

    i had my first child at 19, not planned…it was hard, but luckily my mom was supportive and did a lot for us..

    that being said, I ment my husband and married and bought our house (in a good neighborhood) at 23, I am not 26 with 2 more children (ages 2 and 1)…And we are dont having kids…I always wanted to have kids before 30..at times its hard, yes..but really I love our life…we dont get to come and go freely, but I dont feel like we are missing out..We still get a sitter and go out twice a month, etc…I wanted my children early, so I could do things with them, and then adventually get to spend time with their children and enjoy being a grandparent…

    That being said, I think ideally you should wait until you are settled into your career and found the person you want to start a family with..

    For those older women who want a family – dont let a man stop you from having your dream…get a sperm donor or adpoted…my aunt waited and waited and didnt find the “right” man until she was 50, so even though they both really want children, its not going to happen for them…its really a shame..motherhood is so exciting, and rewarding.

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