I’m approaching my 30th birthday this year. And like many women, I’ve heard friends and family mention the “biological clock” that starts ticking more quickly in your 30s. Those of us who had kids before 30 are often asked if it makes a difference. In fact, I have felt the weight of an invisible timer counting down the days. And I have wondered if I’ve done enough before I hit the 30-year milestone.
While I may worry about doing enough with my career, salary, or even creativity in my life, I’ve never second guessed how important it was for me to have all of my children before 30. Here’s why and what I’ve learned being a younger mom.
1. I knew what my body could and couldn’t handle
Fertility often peaks in your 20s. Additionally, it’s often easier on your body to physically bear a child during this time, to heal postpartum, and then manage the constant demand of parenting. From late-night feedings to activities for kids, it can feel endless. It could be easier for younger parents to keep up with the demands. While there are some health benefits, there are, of course, plenty of people who are not ready for children at 30. Thanks to medical advances, there is less of a need to feel pressured by a biological clock.
Personally, I know that if I’d waited to have children, I probably wouldn’t have been able to without extensive fertility treatments. I have had problems with my reproductive organs since puberty. Over the years, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis. This often makes it extremely difficult to have a baby. After a six-hour operation and a very difficult recovery, I was told that if I waited to have children later in life, it would most likely not happen.
2. Money isn’t everything
One huge factor when it comes to having children is finances. People are often worried about saving enough money before having kids so they will never have to worry about how to support their child. And while yes, extra savings, good insurance, a home, and reliable transportation are much easier when you have a stable income, you can never truly prepare for all expenses involved in child-rearing. They will inevitably fluctuate—from the early basics like diapers and wipes to expenses later on like braces, sports, and medical emergencies.
Raising a child is expensive, but many families live on modest budgets and have a wonderful time raising their children. We need to remember that when you are in your twenties and are just building your career, you learn to be really flexible. And although advertising and social media make it seem important to have top-of-the-line designer baby gear, in the grand scheme of things, babies and infants do not need a lot to keep them healthy and happy.
3. Younger parents = younger grandparents
Having children in your 20s often equates with a younger generation of grandparents who help create a wonderful support network. When my parents had me, they were in their mid-to-late 30s. This meant my grandparents were entering their 70s and could not keep up with energetic grandchildren. I remember my experience as a child, so I factored in my own parents’ age and health. Having children before 30 has allowed my kids to have so many more special moments with their grandparents they wouldn’t have had if we had waited.
4. It will never be the perfect time to have children
There is never a perfect moment to have a child. Of course, there are more ideal times, like when you have maternity leave benefits at work or solid savings. But a perfect moment doesn’t exist. Even the most prepared parents’ plans can be upended by sleep deprivation, postpartum depression or anxiety, or the identity shift that happens when bringing home a baby.
Being in my 20s made me more adaptable to big life changes. My husband and I were able to shift our priorities more easily. So even if there’s no “perfect” time to have children, having mine before 30 was the right choice for my family.