Author Topic: Would you delay having kids until age 38 if it meant you were ‘set’?  (Read 31801 times)

madeup

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I’m an active forum member, but I’ve created a burner account for this question due to information about my job I do not wish to have tied to my regular username. Hope that’s ok.


I am 32. My husband and I think we would like kids, but not yet.

I work for a business that I helped to start. The business has a guaranteed workload until I turn 38 years old, at high profit levels. At that point the business will close, as we have fulfilled our obligations to our clients, and the boss wants to retire. (Nothing is ‘guaranteed’, I know, but I can only work with the very good facts I have at this time, so that’s what I’m doing).

If I stick it out until I am 38 I will have funded our retirement accounts such that we can retire comfortably at 55 without me having to ever work again.

There is a significant possibly of a payout for all the years I put into the business. Obviously it is not guaranteed, and I wouldn’t want to take it for granted, but the boss has always said he would ‘see us right’ at the end. I would guess around £100k (and it's an educated guess because I look after all the finances and have 10 year's experience dealing with this guy). I mention this because I would hate to leave to have kids at 37 and not get this ‘golden goodbye’.

Assuming I didn’t get a final payout, my husband would be 40 when I ‘retired’ and he would have to work until he was 55. This is based on his current salary, with no pay increases, which is unlikely, but I like to be cautious.

Should we get a payout, it would pay off our mortgage. This would give us a surplus yearly income of £10k, and we would be spending about £19k in retirement, so for each year two years he worked my husband could retire about a year earlier.

The issue with all of this is my biological clock. Having kids is never guaranteed, you can’t just order them up and 9 months later they appear. And, the later you leave it, the harder it may become. Also, there is increased risk of problems with the pregnancy or the health of the child.

Also, we would ideally like 2 kids. If all went perfectly to plan I suppose that would mean delivering one at age 38 the day after the company closes (ha!)  and one at age 39/40, which sounds very late to me. But, things like this rarely go as planned, and, of course, we have no data points as to how easy (or hard) we might find it to conceive. (Does family history have any bearing? If so, that would help, as we have parents, brothers and cousins who conceived LITERALLY on their first attempt).

Mustacians, with your collective experience, is it worth delaying kids so that 1) i never have to work again and 2) my husband can join me in retirement after 15 years (or 10 if I get a pay off)?

If I gave up work now to have kids we would have 8 years of retirement funded and my husband would have to work until he was 68 whilst finding some way to meet the shortfall of £4400 from age 68 until 8 years before death. Presumably that would mean me going back to work for much lower pay (I would not wish to be involved in starting another company during the heavy child-rearing years, plus I was in the right place at the right time with this one. The original idea and impetus was not mine).

Me going back to work is not ideal because while my husband really enjoys working, I hate it, plus my earnings at present are ridiculous for what I do, due to being involved in setting the company up. I would be very very lucky to earn half of what I do now, for twice the hours elsewhere, and that's without taking into account childcare, or a potential break in employment to wait until these (imaginary) kids are in school. Taking a career break and staying this involved (read: big salary + bonuses) in my current company isn't looking likely (and I don't want to debate the justice/injustice of that. This company has treated me amazingly).

Thanks for sharing your collective wisdom.

benjenn

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I don't want to answer your question from the perspective of your early retirement situation but from a mom's perspective instead.  I had my first at 28 and my second at 30... 10 years earlier than you're considering.  While I think there are some benefits in being an older parent (everyone in my family considered 28 to be an older parent!), there are some definite drawbacks.  Right now, I'm 50... so I have a 22 year old and a 20 year old.  I can't imagine having a 12 year old and a 10 year old at this age.  THOSE are the years with the most work in my opinion.

My mom was 37 when she had me and 39 when she had my brother.  She was always the oldest parent at any of our functions.  And she died when she was only 57... I was 19, brother was 17.

Everyone is different, of course, and there's no right or wrong time to have children really.  I just know that for me, I think having them closer to 30  is way better than waiting. 

Bob W

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You could delay.  Our last kid was at age 49 for me and 43 for wife.   We were definitely unset. 

Kids are very expensive and generally a roadblock to serious Mustachians.   Were I to do it over I would be very much more set before kiddos.  Remember though that the aging thing effects both men and women with the chances of several issues including Down Syndrome increasing significantly each year. 

One very positive upside is the correlation between age of last child and life extension.   It appears that having a child after 40 correlates with 5 years extra life in general.   

By the way,  I'll be 70 at my sons 21st birthday party!

I'm a red panda

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For me, 38 would be very late. 
In addition to the fertility problems that might delay your ability to get pregnant (and possible secondary infertility making having a 2nd difficult) as well as the potential health problems of the infant due to old eggs, I also worry about my energy levels to be able to parent, not only the children when they are infants, but when they are teens.   


I'm 33 and we are currently trying. A number of people in my family have "thought pregnant and got pregnant"- basically as soon as they stopped BC, but that has not been our experience, so I wouldn't say because others in your family easily got pregnant the same will happen for you, especially if you wait until 38. 

I am happy we are financially sound, and glad I didn't do this at 22, but I wish I had done it at 26 or 28... 

yandz

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When I am making decisions like this, I like to look at the "worst care scenario" and see how I feel about that.  You seem to be grappling with even the "if all goes according to plan" scenario.  Now let's say it doesn't.  Let's say you can't get pregnant when you retire - or that you have complications (a risk with any pregnancy, though). How does that make you feel? Is adoption an option for you? If you spend 2 years trying and now you are trying to adopt at 40, is that considered acceptable with agencies (I really don't know the answer to this)?

When you think through those situations, can you see the same level of contentment as if everything does go according to plan? Or do you start feeling sad about it?  I would say if you are not comfortable with these cases, you should not put it off.  If you ARE comfortable, than yeah, I am all for a "put in the work up front" approach.

This coming from someone who does not plan to have kids, so grain of salt, but in general, I try to look at my ability to deal with the less ideal scenario to make these decisions even if I hope for the ideal one.  Regrets stay minimal.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 08:38:01 AM by yandz »

madeup

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One very positive upside is the correlation between age of last child and life extension.   It appears that having a child after 40 correlates with 5 years extra life in general.   

By the way,  I'll be 70 at my sons 21st birthday party!

Oh no, I'd have to fund more years of retirement! Kidding. My parents had me later in life and they always act much younger and are fitter than my friends' parents, they think having us late kept them young. Certainly when I was teenager all parents were 'ancient' to me and I remember being surprised by a friend's mother turning 40 when mine were already in their 50s and I had assumed that she was too.

madeup

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I'm 33 and we are currently trying. A number of people in my family have "thought pregnant and got pregnant"- basically as soon as they stopped BC, but that has not been our experience, so I wouldn't say because others in your family easily got pregnant the same will happen for you, especially if you wait until 38. 

I am happy we are financially sound, and glad I didn't do this at 22, but I wish I had done it at 26 or 28...

So sorry to hear you are having trouble, I hope things work out for you soon.

I thought it likely the case that family history is more anecdotal than anything, thanks for chiming in.

madeup

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When I am making decisions like this, I like to look at the "worst care scenario" and see how I feel about that.  You seem to be grappling with even the "if all goes according to plan" scenario.  Now let's say it doesn't.  Let's say you can't get pregnant when you retire - or that you have complications (a risk with any pregnancy, though). How does that make you feel? Is adoption an option for you? If you spend 2 years trying and now you are trying to adopt at 40, is that considered acceptable with agencies (I really don't know the answer to this)?

When you think through those situations, can you see the same level of contentment as if everything does go according to plan? Or do you start feeling sad about it?  I would say if you are not comfortable with these cases, you should not put it off.  If you ARE comfortable, than yeah, I am all for a "put in the work up front" approach.

This coming from someone who does not plan to have kids, so grain of salt, but in general, I try to look at my ability to deal with the less ideal scenario to make these decisions even if I hope for the ideal one.  Regrets stay minimal.

This is a great exercise, thank you.

You might have noticed I said 'we think we want kids'. If I was absolutely of the 'I must have babies or my life is meaningless!' mindset, I wouldn't delay.

Honestly, if we couldn't have kids, but we were financially set, I'm sure there would be a period of mourning for what might have been. But I am confident I could live a happy and productive life. 

Adoption probably wouldn't be for us, I would probably take it as permission to live a very selfish and extravagant (in a MMM way) life. But fostering would certainly be something I would consider, which would give me a sense of serving others and perhaps scratch a parenting itch. Fostering is fine at any age where I am.

So, yeah, if we couldn't have kids it wouldn't be the end of the world. I guess the variable is having a child with a severe disability, and although this can happen at any age, it is more likely the longer I leave it. I have no idea how I would feel about that, because I think it's something you have to experience to know your reaction.

GizmoTX

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It depends on how badly you want children. Family history helps, but only if they too produced a child at the age you are contemplating. As you noted, there's no guarantee.

We started at age 39 -- it then took 5 years of fertility treatments, ultimately IVF, & at least $50K for DS. There were some minor congenital problems that he needed surgery for, but fortunately nothing to impair his intelligence. We attempted a second child for 2 years & then gave up. I will say that having DS has been worth it far beyond our expectations, & he's 21 now. I would counsel my earlier self to begin sooner.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Expert parent here :)

Just a few things were going through my head when I see 'first' and '38'.  For whatever reason, 35 years of age sticks in my mind as the age where the female begins to move in to a danger zone in terms of likelihood of birth defects like down syndrome go up (You'll have to do more research on this, here's a start:  http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20140203/babies-born-to-moms-over-35-may-have-lower-risk-for-certain-birth-defects).  I can also vouch for the fact that most bodies seems a lot less able to bounce back at close to 40 vs. close to 30, and pregnancy can be serious business, but you have to be the judge on your health, genetics, etc.  Just trying to point out that there are things that may trump financial considerations, given that you seem to be in reasonable, non-hair-on-fire shape.  FI earlier is surely sweet, but there might be trade-offs.  Plenty of people have happy, healthy families later in life, but IMHO, I agree with others that it will be nice to send the kids off to college and be done with the physical and time-consuming side of parenting young children before 50 (we had ours at 29 and 31).

Just my 2 cents, and I'm definitely NOT an expert parent :)

SuperSecretName

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if you want kids, have kids.  you will never be fully prepared financially or emotionally.  but that is life, you just gotta roll with it.

teacherwithamustache

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I would talk to boss about telecommuting.   If it is a family atmosphere tell him you want to have a family and doing both with the job hours is not going to be possible. See if you can reach some sort of middle ground.
 Either you just started your path to FIRE or some other type of hardship but....  I dont see how this change is going to drastically change your FIRE situation.

fartface

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No, I would not delay.

I had my children at ages 27 - 28 - 29. Yep, all three before age 30.

I stayed home with them for six years (3 years of that maternity leave).

You can always find another job, and this job has to give you family leave benefits by law. 

In the end it didn't delay our FIRE plans all that much. DH FIRE'd at age 43. I'll go a little longer 47 - 49; however, it's still a very ER and well worth it to have had my children sooner rather than later. Also, this gives him about six years to be the "stay at home parent" and that's great for my three girls to see.

Good luck to you!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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No, absolutely not.

madeup

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I would talk to boss about telecommuting.   If it is a family atmosphere tell him you want to have a family and doing both with the job hours is not going to be possible. See if you can reach some sort of middle ground.
 Either you just started your path to FIRE or some other type of hardship but....  I dont see how this change is going to drastically change your FIRE situation.

It would drastically change my FIRE situation as I outlined above:

Having kids now = me going back to work for a lot less pay (this company will cease in 2020 regardless of my decision, so my high-earning years are limited), and simply funding a basic retirement for my husband and I from age 68.

Waiting = me never having to work again, and my husband retiring at 55 at the latest.

madeup

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I would counsel my earlier self to begin sooner.

Thank you. It seems this is recurring theme that I need to take to heart.

madeup

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No, I would not delay.

I had my children at ages 27 - 28 - 29. Yep, all three before age 30.

I stayed home with them for six years (3 years of that maternity leave).

You can always find another job, and this job has to give you family leave benefits by law. 

In the end it didn't delay our FIRE plans all that much. DH FIRE'd at age 43. I'll go a little longer 47 - 49; however, it's still a very ER and well worth it to have had my children sooner rather than later. Also, this gives him about six years to be the "stay at home parent" and that's great for my three girls to see.

Good luck to you!

Thanks fartface. I can always find another job, but not one with these benefits (without going through the whole risky start up thing again). I know what is required by law... but this job has always exceeded what was due to me in every way, and the type of business it is (built on personal relationship etc) would not be conducive to a long period of leave (and I would not want to take a maternity leave of less than, say, 6 months at a minimum). I would want to look after the company by handing over to someone new and permanent, the same way the company has always looked after me. I guess if I did that there may still be a chance of a 'golden goodbye'. But a traditional leave isn't something I'm considering as this has never been a traditional arrangement.

madeup

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if you want kids, have kids.  you will never be fully prepared financially or emotionally.  but that is life, you just gotta roll with it.

This makes perfect sense, except, I want kids, and I also want to be child-free. I'm the guy in the film who loves two women, you know?

SuperSecretName

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I have a doctor friend who was talking to some of my peers (early 30s).  beyond age 35, women are considered something like advanced maternal age or whatever.  There are many increased risks with pregnancy at that age.

you will no doubt love the kid when it comes.

life is what happens while you are making other plans.  go knock some boots.

dramaman

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We delayed trying to have kids until our early thirties and between some initial fertility problems and two miscarriages, it wasn't until our mid thirties that we finally succeeded. My daughters are 8 and 7 and my wife was able to 'retire' last fall. I'm hoping that we will be at full FI in about five more years.

If I had to do it over again, we'd have started trying to have a family a few years earlier. Fertility does decrease significantly from late twenties and beyond. I'd like to have another child, but our second daughter was a 26 week preemie and there is no way my wife is willing to even consider another pregnancy.

[edited - I meant to say fertility decreases, not increases]

RunHappy

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I'm 38 and pregnant.  So far the pregnancy is going well, but 38 is still considered "high risk".  With my age we were expecting to have to try for a long time before conceiving...NOPE!  first "try", so everyone is different.

There are pros and cons with having children at a later age.  My parents had my younger brother when they were 42 and never regretted it, said it "kept them young".

For kids I would say there is no real "right" time, have them in the time you want and enjoy them, but timing isn't something you can control.

While I knew I wanted kids, I also knew I was prepared to live a long and happy life child-free.  I would say based on what you are asking, worst case wouldn't be infertility, it would be getting pregnant right now.  Think about that and you would have answered your own question.

yandz

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if you want kids, have kids.  you will never be fully prepared financially or emotionally.  but that is life, you just gotta roll with it.

This makes perfect sense, except, I want kids, and I also want to be child-free. I'm the guy in the film who loves two women, you know?

A bit outside what you are asking for advice on, but when I was feeling 50/50 about kids, I read a book called "Two is Enough" and it really helped me work through thoughts and feelings on the matter.  Survey data and interviews with a load of couples who decided not to have kids for various reasons.  You will find yourself relating or not relating in ways that are very clarifying.  Just something to bring into your decision making process.

madeup

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I would say based on what you are asking, worst case wouldn't be infertility, it would be getting pregnant right now.  Think about that and you would have answered your own question.

RunHappy it's interesting you say this... So far the forum answers are very much, 'get on with it!'. Whilst I wrote the question thinking that I was open-minded about which response I got, I am having quite a strong 'No not yet!' reaction, which is very telling.

It's like in Friends when Phoebe tells Rachel she isn't pregnant to see if she's disappointed. The general consensus is to do it now, and I am (surprisingly) disappointed by this. So my question has been answered really. I definitely don't want to have kids I'm not absolutely sure I want to have, if you know what I mean.

Thank you for your input everyone, I love hearing everyone's experiences.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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You definitely don't want yourself in a situation where you strongly resent your child (though I think everybody has inklings of that sometimes). Those are by far the worst parents I know.

KCM5

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Have you considered taking a short maternity leave (in the UK I'm sure 3 months would be considered short) and your husband leaving work to take care of the child(ren) for a couple of years? Or would that be too much of an interruption as well?

I don't think delaying until 38 is a terrible idea since you're not completely set on having kids. And it's only 5 more years.

One thing to consider: is the 2020 timeline certain? Or could it be pushed back by a couple of years. That might change your caluclations - starting to try at 40 sounds more daunting than starting to try at 37/38.

sol

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We had a child when my wife was 40.  One perspectives I haven't seen mentioned yet...

Many of the concerns mentioned above about the health of the child can be mitigated now.  Genetic testing has come a loooong way in the past 10 years, and virtually all of the age-related potential complications can now be tested for early in the first trimester.  Most of the time when these tests find a problem the pregnancy is doomed all by itself and you'll miscarry.  Some of the time the problem will result in a live birth but with a life expectancy measured in days.  And some of the time, like with Down's Syndrome, the problem will result in a viable live birth but will require lifelong care that you will not always be able to provide, and usually that person ends up in some kind of assisted living facility or group home, at considerable expense.

You should probably think about what decisions you would make if you were notified of any of those types of problems in your first trimester.  Nobody wants to have an abortion, but if it were my body I would probably opt to abort a fetus that I knew would suffer horribly and then die young, because that horrible decision might allow you to raise a healthy child instead.  A healthy child that you might not be able to have if you devote two more years of your biological clock time to a pregnancy and then traumatic death of a child with serious medical problems.  And don't even get me started on the emotional trauma.

In our case it wasn't an issue because our daughter turned out perfectly, but we spent a lot of time reading about the possible diagnoses from our genetic testing, and then talking about what we thought we would do if the news was bad.  At least be aware that these tests do exist now, so it's not like you'd be going into this thing totally blind.

madeup

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Have you considered taking a short maternity leave (in the UK I'm sure 3 months would be considered short) and your husband leaving work to take care of the child(ren) for a couple of years? Or would that be too much of an interruption as well?

I don't think delaying until 38 is a terrible idea since you're not completely set on having kids. And it's only 5 more years.

One thing to consider: is the 2020 timeline certain? Or could it be pushed back by a couple of years. That might change your caluclations - starting to try at 40 sounds more daunting than starting to try at 37/38.

I have considered that - I'm in the UK too and it is possible to 'give' my husband some of my leave. It just seems silly for me to go back when I dislike working, and him to not work when he likes working.

I'm very much an 'all or nothing' character. If I decide to become a mother I would prefer to stay at home and immerse myself in that full-time (and I'm not saying that that is better than going back to work, it is just that that is what I would like).

2020 is definite, as far as the future ever can be.

Alchemilla

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I had mine at 31, 35 and 39.

Had I started ten years earlier I should probably have four or even five.

I would not delay because once you start trying, it can become an all consuming issue ifit doesn't happen easily.

madeup

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We had a child when my wife was 40.  One perspectives I haven't seen mentioned yet...


Thanks for the perspective Sol. I have considered these decisions, and my husband and I are happy that we agree on what we do if given news early on in a pregnancy. I have also read more and about fertility rate data being rather out of date. One thing I read (and I haven't looked it up, but I must) is that the study on fertility rates rapidly decreasing after 35 is based on French data from before contraception (really, that's what I read! As I said, I have not verified), and that contraception obviously makes a huge difference. 100 years ago, if you had not conceived by 35 you likely were not sexually active, or infertile. I have not conceived by age 32, but I have been actively preventing pregnancy the whole time. So that data may be kind of self-selecting - if before contraception you hadn't had a child by 35, after the age of 35 you were unlikely to be successful.

More research is needed, I will get on it.

scrubbyfish

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I would neither delay til I'm set nor start parenting when I'm poor. I would go for a hybrid of these: starting to parent while "reasonably set up". To me, that means: emergency savings, income from passive or super flexible/part time sources, excellent habits of frugality/living on less than income/financial wisdom, and a couple of spare relatives or else enough income to pay for parenting help. None of those is specific to FIRE.

I was gearing up to adopt locally, so had lots of my ducks in a row when I became pregnant -surprise!- in my early 30s. Parenting has had a funny impact on my finances -inspiring me in advance to get them together, then costing me lots when he had disabilities, then making me money, then costing me again, and so on.

I'm very glad I waited til early 30s because I (personally) needed the extra time to mature, heal, develop before I could parent somewhat well. But it was only parenting that told/showed me what else I needed to do to keep up with this vocation, so I'm really glad I went for it before I and my life became "perfect".

Anyway, I think it's really cool that the theme in the responses is giving you the information YOU need :)

dramaman

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I would say based on what you are asking, worst case wouldn't be infertility, it would be getting pregnant right now.  Think about that and you would have answered your own question.

RunHappy it's interesting you say this... So far the forum answers are very much, 'get on with it!'. Whilst I wrote the question thinking that I was open-minded about which response I got, I am having quite a strong 'No not yet!' reaction, which is very telling.

It's like in Friends when Phoebe tells Rachel she isn't pregnant to see if she's disappointed. The general consensus is to do it now, and I am (surprisingly) disappointed by this. So my question has been answered really. I definitely don't want to have kids I'm not absolutely sure I want to have, if you know what I mean.

Thank you for your input everyone, I love hearing everyone's experiences.

I already shared my experiences. I would just dispel any illusion that this is a decision in which you have control over the outcome. You could decide to have children sooner and find you have fertility issues that take years to resolve. Or you could get easily pregnant and find a baby to be an unbearable financial and personal burden. Or not. You could decide to wait and find that you and your husband easily get all the children you want. Or none at all.

SilveradoBojangles

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I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Also, thinking about the "best of both worlds" -- what if you had a kid in a few years (but before 38), took a short maternity leave, and went back to work for this same company? They wouldn't fire you, i assume? I know it may not be ideal, but you would know that after 38 you would get to be home with your kid (if that is what you want). Is that a possibility?

dramaman

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I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Yes, the more you know up front the better and then discuss the options with your doctor, whose medical opinion I'd trust way more than any of our anecdotal stories.

ltt

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I would not delay.  Statistically speaking, fertility starts declining rapidly at age 35.  There is a very small chance of getting pregnant in any given month by the time you are 40.   I know, I know, there are women that do it, but again, we talking about statistics.  Also, the risk for a miscarriage and the risk of birth defects is higher as you get older.  We have several children--bio and adopted.  I had my first at age 34; one of our bio children does have a disability.  If you are on birth control pills, it may take a while for the pill to come out of your system--that will take time; it may take time to get pregnant.  All of that should be figured in.  If you have any type of fertility treatment, the doctor will tell you if you have enough eggs.   

charis

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I have no perspective on the now or later -- I am 33 and dealing with a similar (though less stark) issue, so I don't know what is right. But my advice is to go get a full fertility work up. Knowing your hormone levels and egg reserves will allow you to make a more informed decision on whether your fertility is likely to take a nose dive at 35 (or sooner), or whether you can probably wait.

Also, thinking about the "best of both worlds" -- what if you had a kid in a few years (but before 38), took a short maternity leave, and went back to work for this same company? They wouldn't fire you, i assume? I know it may not be ideal, but you would know that after 38 you would get to be home with your kid (if that is what you want). Is that a possibility?

Can you get a full fertility work up covered by insurance without demonstrated infertility? Not in the US.  That could be very expensive.

I'd say that your question is very all or nothing because you are saying that you have to drop out of the workforce once you have a baby.

My one question:  Are you ok with ending up with no business payout and no children?

If you and your husband are both on the fence about kids to begin with,  I would probably wait, but be comfortable with the worst case scenario, whatever that is for you.

HazelStone

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Also, we would ideally like 2 kids. If all went perfectly to plan I suppose that would mean delivering one at age 38 the day after the company closes (ha!)  and one at age 39/40, which sounds very late to me. But, things like this rarely go as planned, and, of course, we have no data points as to how easy (or hard) we might find it to conceive. (Does family history have any bearing? If so, that would help, as we have parents, brothers and cousins who conceived LITERALLY on their first attempt).

I am from a "small Catholic family." My female relatives, their husbands so much as have a dirty thought, they get pregnant. Me, I get to pay for the gyno's new Benz. I'll spare you the specifics there. I am 34, I went off birth control last winter, and we are still trying. I've gone through evaluation at a fertility clinic. There are still a couple of things to check out with me still, but Sweetie's side of it tests out as fine. Your family might not have problems, but YOU might. I have aunts who had babies in their 40's, but those were happy surprises, not specifically attempted. Most women in their late 30's, the odds just aren't that great. It's also harder bouncing back from a pregnancy when you're older.

The attitude I've gotten from the fertility clinic is basically, "We don't want you to worry yet, but we're very glad to see you here now rather than at 36-37-38+."

If you want kids, and you aren't worrying about where your next mortgage payment is coming from, I advise *against* waiting. My SIL planned her first when she was still in residency. There's rarely any "easy" or "convenient" time to have them. Having kids will always involve tradeoffs on other things. Bear in mind that while you think you might be "set" a few years from now, you might not be after all.

We did the genetic screenings, and a comprehensive screen cost us $100/person. Since we are of ethnicities known for a couple of the nastier genetic disorders, we took the precaution.  We found ourselves both carriers for some little-known mild condition easily treatable...nothing on the order of Tay-Sachs or CF.  There's no reason NOT to do the screening these days.

"Now you know! And knowing is half the battle!"
"Thanks, Duke!"

merula

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Here's what I don't understand. You're 32 now, and presumably your husband is a similar age or you probably would have mentioned it. If you didn't have your job, your husband would be working until 68, which means 36 working years. Assuming that you have no savings right now, that translates to saving about 20% of your income. Is there any way you can increase that to get both? Have kids when it's less likely to be a major issue and keep working for this job?

I would like to second the suggestion to consider a stay-at-home dad. My maternity leaves were 6 weeks with my first and 8ish with my second. (With the second I did midday half days for 2 weeks after I came back, 10-3, it worked really well to ease back into working.) This is short even by US standards (at least at my company), but it didn't feel like it was that big of a deal because I missed work and I didn't worry about the kids because they were with Dad.

But, also, if you're not totally and completely sure you want children, I would probably wait or not have them at all. I was super 100% sure I wanted kids, and most days they're great, but there are still tough days. It's impossible to describe how thoroughly your life will change.

DecD

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I didn't choose to wait- I had my kids at age 30 and 34.  Part of the reason we started when we did was that my sister had a hysterectomy at age 32.  I was worried about waiting too long.

However, I'm now 37.  I can in fact picture having another kid now.  We don't plan to.  But it's not an outrageous idea.  I don't feel ancient!  It's something we haven't completely closed the door on (though that door is nearly ready to be shut!)

With my second child, I thought I wanted to take an extended (1-year) maternity leave.  Three months in, I was ready to start working again.  I got a quarter-time position, which was perfect for us.  I went back full time when he was a year.  So that's a possible compromise- what if you have kids in 3 or 4 years time and go to part-time with your job?  It might be a good compromise.

It sounds like you are not yet ready to have kids in any case.  Luckily, you don't have to make the decision today.  You can simply point out "I am not ready to have kids this year.  Let's revisit this question a year or two from now" and then re-assess.  Maybe you'll be ready in 3 years.  If you are, go for it.  If not, keep on stashing the salary.

Good luck and enjoy that good position you've got!

ysette9

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You have received a lot of advice, but ultimately I think it comes down to some soul-searching on what your regrets might be later on in life. We struggled with fertility (two 2nd trimester losses in a row and then trouble getting pregnant the third time) and what drove me through all of it was not wanting to look back later in life with regret. I knew that we could live a happy and fulfilled life just the two of us, but I never wanted to spend my time thinking "if only". I'd advise thinking long and hard about that. If the business doesn't work out, how will you feel? If it does work out and you don't end up having (or being able to have) kids, how will you feel?

For my own part, we started as soon as I turned 30 and it wasn't until almost 33 that my lovely daughter arrived. My mother had no problem getting pregnant. Her younger sister had my cousin at 37. I had no worries and got pregnant pretty quickly. Then things went seriously downhill. I ended up giving birth to a low birth weight preemie who is now thankfully very strong and healthy. My point is: never count on things like fertility. We are mostly all of the personality type to plan and chart and track and otherwise get most things in life in our control. Having kids is just not like that. It was a big lesson for me in letting go of the things I could not control. Mother Nature can be surprisingly fickle at times!

forummm

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I wouldn't wait until I was 'set'. Life is complicated, so you'll have to make your own decisions. But it gets harder the longer you wait. You're already on a good trajectory. You can work with kids too. It's not easy, but millions of people do it.

ABC123

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I had my kids at 31 and 33.  I'm 37 now.  For me, having a baby now would be tough.  And in a few years, even tougher.  But everyone is different.  When it comes to kids, there are no absolutes.  You could get pregnant right away.  You could not get pregnant at all.  You could get pregnant and have a child with issues that cause a lot of extra work for you.  It's incredibly hard to try to make plans for something that is so hard to plan for.  I don't know how much you are having to put into your job right now.  Is it something where you are working 80 hours a week, traveling the globe, and getting emails in the middle of the night?  If so, yeah I wouldn't want to add a baby to that.  But if it is your more typical job, I would probably go ahead and start the baby process within the next few years. You could have one earlier on, short mat. leave, and then be a working mom.  And then you could wait till later to try for number 2 and do the whole SAHM thing.

KCM5

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One more thing to consider: if after thinking about it you're sure you want children in the future, you could freeze some eggs now as a backup plan in case you do have issues. Sounds like the payout in 2020 would more than cover this sort of procedure.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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On the testing - it's worth noting that those abnormality tests do have false positives. We did the math on my wife's pregnancy at 25 and decided it made no sense to get tested, because a false positive seemed more likely than a true positive.

On the other hand, my mother was 39 when pregnant with me and got a full amniocentesis, which also makes sense to me. Math and personal feelings have a big impact here.

jrhampt

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Absolutely I would wait.  I was very ambivalent about whether or not to have kids, as you seem to be also.  In my early thirties, I realized that by my late thirties (I am now 37), we would be in a really good position financially if we did decide to have kids.  And if we didn't, I really love our life just as it is.  We still love our life just as it is, so I am still in no rush to have kids now, if ever.  Financially we are in great shape now, probably closing in on FI within the next two years, and physically I am in great shape as well and don't think (aside from waning fertility) that I would have trouble going through a pregnancy and raising a child if we did decide to go that way.  And regarding birth defects, I would absolutely go through the genetic testing and decide to terminate the pregnancy if it came to that.

boarder42

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isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?

jeromedawg

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We're expecting our first in August. I'm 34 and wish I would have started much earlier. My wife is 28 and we married about 5 years ago; at 23 there were a lot of experiences and travel she wanted so that's kinda what we did (Tahiti for honeymoon, Maui, Europe, Asia) - she never really got to vacation growing up with her family so she was pretty sad about this. To expose her more we did all that and more and I think in the past half-year she finally felt "settled" The other part of it was just spending those years to figure each other out and get to know each other better (we had only known each other and dated for about a year and a half before getting married so a lot of stuff to figure out). I guess for the guys it's not as *big* of a deal to wait as much as it is for the ladies... as others have mentioned, there are certain risks of birth defects and complications the older you get. I'd say 38 is borderline pushing it. The earlier you can start the better, it seems... but that's a whole different topic and discussion (how "early" is good to start having kids). I think there has to be a balance but if you wait too long you can't get those years back, and with the increase of complications/defects, it's just too risky to keep pushing it back. The other thing is, for many people it can take longer to conceive than expected (or some who are less fortunate may never be able to conceive) - it's never a good thing to presume that you will have a child at "age X" only to find out that it took over a year or longer to finally conceive.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 11:41:57 AM by jplee3 »

charis

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isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?

"it"?

tweezers

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I had my children at 35 and 37 with a miscarriage in between.  I was/am healthy, and so are they.  If I could have had them earlier I would have because I would love a third child (we got married when I was 34).  I was ambivalent about children until I met my husband, and they are the best thing I've ever accomplished.  It sounds like you're uncertain....the essay below is a nice perspective on kids/no kids.  I also found it helpful not think about what my life would look like now with or without children, but what my family looks like in 20 years.  Good luck.

http://therumpus.net/2011/04/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-71-the-ghost-ship-that-didnt-carry-us/

I'm a red panda

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isnt 35 the year it starts to become unhealthy ?

35 is the year that is generally marked as the dividing line of high risk.
It is when infertility of the woman becomes much more likely and also when the risk of birth defects is higher for the baby.

However, women have had healthy babies very late in life, so it is really just a matter of statistics.  Whether "it" is carrying a baby, having one, or the actual baby- it could be healthy or unhealthy at any age.

Midwest

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We had our first at 29 and the 2nd at 34.  No way I'd wait until 40.  Wish we'd had #1 &#2 sooner, if so we'd probably have 3.  I wansn't sure even wanted kids.  I was wrong.  Early retirement isn't everything.

Midwest