Choosing whether or not to have children is a pretty monumental decision. And if you do choose to become a parent, deciding when is arguably just as difficult. From combing over your finances to considering your career goals to establishing a solid relationship, feeling "ready" for parenthood is a subjective experience that looks different for different people. If you're considering starting your family as you edge closer to 30, there are things no one tells you about having a baby in your late 20s, if only because we, as a culture, have made the mistake of assuming having a baby is a relatively universal experience for everyone. I can assure you, it's not.
I had my first baby at 27. My daughter passed away as a result of premature birth, so my partner and I decided to try again and I had my second baby, my son, at 29. So it's safe to say that my late 20s were nothing like I had imagined they would be. In fact, I assumed that if I ever did have kids I would wait until I was at least 35. Obviously that didn't happen, and looking back I'm actually glad that my plans went out the proverbial window. I was able to enjoy the freedom of my early and mid 20s, but I was also able to settle into life as a parent before I reached 30.
Of course, from time to time, I can't help but wonder what life would be like if I had decided to become a mom in my early 20s or in my 30s, but I definitely don't have any regrets. And, in the end, the only person who really knew when it was the right time for me to start my family was, well, me. So with that in mind, here are a few things no one really tells you when you're planning to have a baby in your late 20s... but I will.
You’ll Have Some Hesitations
Because more and more people are choosing to have babies in their 30s and 40s, it's not uncommon to doubt your decision to have a child earlier. Watching your friends enjoy Taco Tuesday and boozy brunches, while you're at home changing diapers and running on an inhumane amount of sleep, can definitely leave you questioning your life decisions. And let's face it, having a kid in your late 20s is kind of the in-between age of having children, so it's just, you know, odd.
So if you're feeling a little uneasy about your decision, know that you're not alone and questioning your choice is OK. It doesn't make you a bad mom and it certainly doesn't mean you don't love your child.
Your Finances Won't Automatically Be In Order
There's this idea that when you're a "grown up" you're automatically financially stable. I can assure you, dear reader, that that's not entirely true. And in your late 20s you're likely dealing with student loans, car payments, house payments and/or rent, and a slew of other financial obligations.
A reported 57 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, according to CNBC, and 39 percent don't have a savings at all. So if you're staring at your bank account and feeling sick to your stomach, know that you're not alone.
People Will Expect More From You
In my experience, people automatically assume you have your sh*t together after you become a parent, especially if you're in your late 20s. The pressure is on, and it's frustrating to feel as if you have to live up to some arbitrary standard that is, more often than not, completely unrealistic.
When you're a mom, regardless of your age, you will need help and support. So don't be afraid to reach out to those around you and lean on your support system when necessary.
You Can Still Experience An Unplanned Pregnancy
According to BabyCenter, you have a 95 percent chance of conceiving within two years when you're in your late 20s. For all the sex I had between ages 20-27, I never once got pregnant. So the idea that unplanned pregnancies only happen to irresponsible 16-year-olds is straight fiction. In 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 45 percent of all pregnancies in the United States were unplanned, so talk to your doctor about birth control during your postpartum visit.
Your Friendships Will Suffer
Of course, you can say this about any mom at any age. Parenthood does a number on your interpersonal relationships, including your friendships, and it usually separates the long-term friends from the seasonal friends. And, of course, for a while you'll be so focused on your baby and trying to adjust to parenthood that you won't have the time, energy, or capacity to focus on your friendships, too. Just know that things will settle down, you'll get back to neutral, and when you do you'll realize who your friends are.
You Won't Have The Energy To Follow Through With Your Pregnancy Plans
Listen, we all have the best intentions when we’re pregnant. We have all these plans for how we’ll decorate a nursery or what our child’s first major holiday will be like, how we’ll cloth diaper and how we'll make all of their food from scratch. But by the time you’re in your late 20s chances are you're not going to have the energy to live up to your grandiose ideas. And hey, that’s OK! Your child will not be losing out because they don’t have super cute bento box lunches or heavily-themed birthday parties.
It'll Feel Like You're Aging Faster
According to a 2018 study highlighted by Newsweek, having children can age a woman by as much as 11 years. So if you feel like one year in mom life is 10 in non-mom life, you're not wrong. And when you're in your late 20s you can certainly feel much older than your age after a year or two of parenthood. Hey, at least you know there's a scientific reason why you feel so tapped out.
This Is Considered "The Best Time" To Have A Baby
According to a 2010 survey of women by ForbesWoman.com and TheBump.com, 75 percent of women believe your late 20s and early 30s is the best time to have kids. Of course, and again, you and only you can know when the "right time" to start your family actually is, but if you're feeling alone know that plenty of women think this time in your life is the most ideal time to hop on the motherhood express.