So it happened. I turned 29 without much fanfare and now I’m already nearly a month into my last year before my 30s. Time just disappears, and I imagine I’ll be 40 in the blink of an eye.
What is really starting to bother me lately is how I’m at prime child bearing age right now, and I’m not even married. I’ve always wanted to save up and have $250k in the bank before procreating (and ideally have a husband who had saved at least half of that) but here I am, nearing 30, with $200k in the bank and a potential husband with nothing saved. That said, how many people have kids with less than $200k saved up, or who have loads of debt? Many people do. In fact it’s the people who don’t have money that often have a lot of kids early. Those of us with good salaries wait until our biological clock has run out.
The New Republic author Judith Shulevitz published a cover story on “The Greyest Generation” this past week, which highlights this problem with society.
“American first-time mothers have aged about four years since 1970—as of 2010, they were 25.4 as opposed to 21.5. That average, of course, obscures a lot of regional, ethnic, and educational variation. The average new mother from Massachusetts, for instance, was 28; the Mississippian was 22.9. The Asian American first-time mother was 29.1; the African American 23.1. A college-educated woman had a better than one-in-three chance of having her first child at 30 or older; the odds that a woman with less education would wait that long were no better than one in ten.”
So the more white you are, the later you are going to have kids. But the scary part is the average child bearing age, on the high end, is 29. That’s my age. So no matter what I’ll be pulling up the average at this point. Apparently Advanced Material Age starts at 35. It doesn’t help that I have PCOS and my eggs are already defective. Who knows if I could have kids now even if I tried… and waiting more years is just going to reduce the possibilities. Sure, I could adopt, and maybe I’ll change my mind on this when the time comes, but I really want my own kids, or no kids at all. I guess I’m just selfish like that.
Right now, many of my friends are pregnant or already have had at least one kid. Some of these friends are younger than me by a year or two. This is no longer the batch of friends who gave birth in their early 20s because their entire life goal was to have children and they were content refraining from a serious professional mission prior to procreating. This is the group of friends who are having kids at the “normal age” to have a first kid, 28-32. But I’ll be lucky if I’m married at 31.
There are days when I wonder if I even want children. After all, the freedom of being able to work late and early in order to ensure my professional success is something I take for granted now, but I wouldn’t be able to do that with kids. I’d certainly feel responsible for giving my children a life as least as good as the one I had growing up (which will be a challenge if I were to work since my mother was a full time housewife.)
I’m just terrified of what happens when I hit 33, 34 or 35 and my then husband and I start trying to have a kid. What if I can’t? What if the doctor looks at me and says point blank “it would have been possible when you were 29. I’m sorry, but your eggs are all broken now.”
I’m not being overly dramatic. This can happen to a woman with PCOS even at 35. So I’ve thought about freezing my eggs now, but that process seems challenging when you have a full time job, not to mention expensive. And who knows if that will work. If I start trying to have kids at 33, maybe this isn’t that big of a deal. But what if my future husband and I don’t get around to it until 35 or later? And how about having more than one kid (I want 2 or 3. I think it’s important for kids to have siblings. Plus I like the idea of a mid-sized family.)
I was joking with my boyfriend the other day that I’m going to go to a sperm bank and attempt to have a kid now. Well, I was mostly joking. It’s tempting to think about taking matters into my own hands. Of course, he was not ok with that plan. He does want to have kids with me and get married. He’s definitely the father type. I just am so scared that by the time we get around to trying, we’ll face a painful journey of nothing but failure.