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I was just looking for some sincere advice and thought that this was a great place to come for some (I've been a lurker on the boards for some time).
I am 21 years old and in my senior year of college. I've been a great student, have had great job and internship experiences and am setting up a big internship for my last semester. I have some prospects for when I graduate and would love to move across the country for a few years before coming back to the Northeast and settling down for good.
I have been with a wonderful man for the past two years and we have been living together for the past year and a half. We have plans to get engaged soon and simply cannot wait to get married. We even have to cats and wish that our current landlords would let us have a dog haha.
Only thing is, once deciding that this is the man that I want to be with for the rest of my life, I just wish desperatly that we could start a family. A part of me tries to remain sensible and stick to my well thought out plan of cranking out 2-3 kids between the ages of 26 and 30.... but on the other hand, my heart yearns to start building our family on the sooner side.
I realize this has been a longer post but I appreciate you all for taking the time to read it and answer with some thoughts, advice or insight. Any and all is appreciated!
All I will say is that if you wait until things are perfect, you will never have a baby. Sometimes, the best laid plans go wrong, and sometimes things come along unexpectedly and change your whole life around. I say to go with your gut. A baby is a permanent, life changing thing but they don't end your life. You can still pursue a career, get married and live life, it just makes it all a little more challenging.
I, personally, am a young mom. I had my first at 20, my second at 22 and I am yearning to get pregnant again now, at 24. I figure, I can always get a career later on, I can travel when my kids are grown. Not everybody likes to do those things first and by the time my kids are grown, all of those people who wanted to wait are just going to be starting out. Not that there is anything wrong with that, either.
I got pregnant at 26, which I think was the perfect age for me. With that said, like Babybear4 said, best laid plans can and will go wrong. I graduated college in 2010 with a degree in nursing. I got pregnant 9 months later but since then and now, I have not been able to even get an interview (and who said there was a shortage of nurses?).
But I have also adopted a new philosophy - I can be a professional any time of my life, as I will always have this degree. Being a mom to my kid, who is growing up right before my eyes, only happens once. If I don't stay home now, I won't get to see him as he is now and enjoy him. So, there's that side of the coin.
I really think it's hard to give good advice on this topic, it really just depends on you weighing out the pros and cons of having a child earlier vs later on. For me personally I wanted them because things were just so uneventful. I can can see waiting if you are really motivated to do other things, party, travel, etc. If that is what you want then definitely get it over with first. I had my first at 23. I was done with parties, didn't really want to travel at the time, was in a stable relationship with DH and what I really wanted was a baby. All I did was work full time, come home and do whatever lol so why not have a baby!? I had my second at 26. I like starting earlier too because it gives you the option of longer spacing between children too. Which I believe can be a positive thing.
I had my first a couple weeks before I turned 25. My second a month and a few weeks after I turned 28. This last one I'll either be 30, or 31 depending if I wait and extra year or not. I enjoy the spacing between my kids, and I hope to enjoy being done in my early 30's. In all honesty, I wish maybe I had started a little earlier, but I enjoyed my time without kids. I don't feel I missed on anything. My overall opinion is there is no real correct time, and like mentioned above, too much planning and you might miss out on something. Having kids now doesn't mean you can't have a career later. I had a career, I stopped working when I got pregnant with my first, haven't really worked full time since. When my last baby starts school, I intend on going back to school myself, for something new. New career after babies. Why not?
I think the best thing you can do is make a list of the pros and cons of each age group, use that as a guide. Everyone is going to be different on when is the best. I was 21 when our first was born and my husband was just shy of turning 20. We now have 3 children 6 years later, I would not change it for anything.