Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wait Until You're Married, But Not Too Long

From my favorite woman on the web, Penelope Trunk:
one of the most dramatic issues facing Generation X is infertility. No generation of women has had more trouble with fertility than this generation, who received the terrible baby boomer advice, "Wait. You have time. Focus on your career first."
When I tell people my wife and I are thinking about kids in the next couple of years I rarely get a positive reaction. I'm not saying kids are for everyone, but if you want them, timing is something to think about:
There is plenty of evidence to show that the quality of your eggs takes a nose dive at age 35. And about 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, which means you have almost a 50 percent chance of having to go through three pregnancies to have two children. And it's recommended that you breast feed, which decreases your ability to get pregnant, at least while you're breast feeding. So be realistic: You can't count on getting pregnant three times in three years. You can't control fertility. Waiting until your midthirties to start a family, if you want to carry the babies yourself, is a risky endeavor. Which means, of course, you probably want to find a partner by the time you're 30.
I've been surprised that so many of my married and unmarried peers have no imminent plans for children. This worries me for two reasons, societal problems and personal benefits. With most of the industrialized world under replacement and the rest of the world industrializing I see underpopulation as a future problem. However my main fear is people not realizing the personal benefits for having kids (or selfish reasons as stated by Bryan Caplan). Although children probably have a short term (20 years) negative effect on happiness for parents, the long term benefits are most likely positive. A 2003 Gallup study finds that 2/3 of childless people over 40 wish they had kids. I bet people with children don't regret their decisions that much.

If you don't want children then don't feel pressured into having them. People who don't want to have children know their own preferences much better than I do. However, if you do want children, especially multiple children, there is a time table. Careers can happen when you're 50, children cannot. And remember there are ways to make the hardships of parenting less hard. Finally, let me say that I cannot imagine the heartbreak of struggling to have children. It is because of those stories that I want to encourage those of us that can and want to, to have kids.

1 comment:

  1. Hey man, I'm trying my darndest. It's just that all the women I feel sparks with either:

    1) Are not Christians; or,
    2) Aren't into me.

    I def agree with your stance on this. If it was up to me, I'd be having kids in the next couple years too.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.