Some of us are what Kate Chopin (author of “The Awakening”) might have called “mother-women” while others of us may not be. Regardless of the reasons why a woman feels like having a baby, having one is a major life-changing decision. I can remember thinking about having my first baby when I was as young as 13 — a precious little bundle of ruffly pink clothes was my ideal. Of course she never cried, pooped or said embarrassing things in public. Not my daughter. Those who know my actual children (and especially my daughter) will laugh at the previous statement because my kids have no filter. Most kids don’t have a filter. But the point is, many of us just go through this desire to have a child.
But when is the right time? Are you ever really, truly “ready” to have a child? I personally don’t think so, but that is up for debate. Today I want to talk about one question that I have been asked by different young women at my college:
“What do you think about deciding to have a baby while still in college?”
A very legitimate question. I have found myself trying to remain democratic in my responses by not simply saying “NO” in huge capitals but rather opening up the table and finding out more in each scenario. Instead, I am going to ask a series of questions:
1) Why do you feel this way? Is there an actual explanation for this desire? Do you feel like you are getting “old” or running out of time? Are your friends having babies? Does your significant other want a child?
If you said yes to any of these questions: Did you know that the average age that a woman is having her first child has moved closer to the 30’s? That’s right. If you are 25, enjoy it…once you have a child you lose a significant amount of “me” time. For those whose partner wants to have a child, I recommend that you wait. If you are married or will be marrying, spend about 5 years together just enjoying each other.
2) How do you feel about your schedule? Are you able to literally drop everything on a dime? If you stop working for an undisclosed number of weeks/months, would you still be able to pay your expenses?
If you already have a busy schedule with school, work and extracurricular activities, you may want to wait to have a baby. When it comes to having a child there will be times that you have to drop classes or miss class sessions. This can be incredibly stressful if you are in college AND working.
Obviously I can’t tell you to have or not have children. What I can tell you is that if you talk to moms who are in college they will likely tell you it’s difficult to be a student and a mother, and not to put yourself in the position if you don’t have to. Yes, we are moms who have gone to college, but speaking for myself I much rather would have attended college BEFORE kids. Regardless if you are a freshman who is 20 or 25 or a junior who is 21 or 30, you won’t be in college forever! You will graduate soon and when you do there will be a HUGE chunk of time that will open up. Don’t feel pressured by people around you to have a child — children are wonderful, but require all of your time and they deserve all of your time. Be at a place in your life where you can truly be an active parent! Oh, and enjoy being young …please, enjoy it!