It’s an established fact that the average age of first-time mothers has been on a steady incline. In the year 1970, the mean age of new mothers stood at 24.6. Today, the average age for first-time mothers has risen to 28. Researchers attribute this shift to factors like increased education and the growing autonomy of women to determine the timing of motherhood. Women pursuing higher education often prioritize building careers before embracing parenthood, while the availability of dependable birth control methods empowers women and their partners to delay childbearing until they feel prepared.
But how can you gauge when the opportune moment has arrived for you? Numerous considerations come into play when contemplating parenthood. The accompanying infographic, “Deciding the Ideal Time to Begin Your Family,” provides a comprehensive array of questions to ponder when determining if you and your partner are ready to step into parenthood.
From a medical perspective, conceiving a baby generally proves easier for women in their 20s as opposed to their 30s. However, many women opt to wait due to less-than-optimal circumstances during their younger years. What might lead to this decision to postpone parenthood? A significant factor is the absence of an appropriate life partner. Present-day trends indicate that people are marrying later than in the past. While the median age of marriage in 1970 was 23.2 for men and 20.8 for women, these figures surged to 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women by 2018. Being in a committed partnership remains a pivotal factor in the choice to start a family.
Beyond fostering a strong partnership and the ability to collaborate effectively, personal life considerations such as career trajectories and travel aspirations play a role. Financial stability is equally crucial, with the infographic furnishing insights into the substantial costs associated with raising a family—indeed, parenthood comes with a hefty price tag.
A robust support network encompassing family and friends in close proximity is another facet to deliberate. If this network is lacking, you must decide whether you’re open to forging connections with other parents for mutual support. Your neighborhood’s suitability for child-rearing is also pertinent; assessing whether it’s conducive for children or necessitates a potential relocation is vital. Evidently, the adage “It takes a village to raise a child” holds true.
Health emerges as a paramount concern in this context. Being in optimal physical shape and maintaining an ideal weight facilitates conception, pregnancy, and parenting. Good health, however, may not always translate to effortless conception. Factors like maternal age or other underlying issues, including genetic and reproductive challenges, can come into play. For those committed to parenthood despite biological constraints, genetic testing for both partners, as well as prenatal health assessments for the baby, are recommended. In scenarios of recurring miscarriages, exploring answers and considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) could enhance the prospects of conception and childbirth.
Our best wishes to you as you navigate this significant decision, and we fervently hope for the arrival of a healthy baby—whenever you and your partner choose to embark on the journey of parenthood.
Infographic provided by Natera, experts on ctDNA breast cancer