Career or Baby

Updated on April 10, 2014
T.K. asks from Marion, OH
32 answers

I'm 25 years old and getting ready to finish college. My husband is several years older than me and we've been together for 4 years. I know that I'm young, but I've had baby fever for a long time now. I also have a hormonal imbalance that has made me infertile since I was about 19. I haven't worried much about the infertility because I am young and in college and know that I haven't been ready even though my husband is. My question is this: I'm going to finish college soon with a degree in English education. My husband is working on finishing his degree as well in computer networking. Is it better to wait until after I have my career and we have an established life or start with a baby and develop a life around him or her?

(I'm also a first timer on here so please be gentle)

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H.D.

answers from Cleveland on

The best advice I got about having kids is don't wait until you have enough money, because you'll never have enough ~ meaning, you'll always have bills (loans, house payment, electric/gas, grocery, etc.). If you really want children, you'll make it work. Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

In my opinion I think children come first. If you work in education you know that substitutes can be called upon to take over for a teacher who has a baby and then the teacher comes back to work after their leave is up. Yes, you'll have to use child care, yes, it will be hard, but I think that millions of moms do just that every day.

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S.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

Finish your degree, get a year or two under your belt and then start your family. I believe it makes you a much more well rounded person and a better life partner to have something that "is your own" ... and that you could fall back on if you have to/ want to work after your child is born.

I worked for 20 years prior to having children (also had fertility issues) and I no longer work... but on several levels wish I had made a career choice that would have allowed me to work (even a little) and still be a mom (nurse, teacher, etc.) Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

L.L.

answers from Rochester on

You have to decide what kind of mother you want to be, first. Do you want to balance a career and a child? Some women do so successfully, and some don't, either because they can't or because they choose not to.

I've heard it said that no one is ever "ready" to have a baby...there will always be one more thing to accomplish. You have to decide if you are ready.

I just want to let you know that a child is the most consuming thing you will ever encounter...for so much good! Never before have you felt such love and devotion, and such a desire to do what is right for someone.

This decision is up to you and your husband. The two of you need to sit and "daydream" about what kind of family you see yourself having, and I think you will get your answer.

Some questions to ask yourself...

Are you a homemaker? Or do you do it together?
Is he prepared to be the sole provider, or will you share the burden?
Are you going to take traditional roles of husband and wife, mother and father, or will you be modern?
Will you be able to leave a six week old baby, who you are just getting to know and just starting to really love, with a stranger or family member to return to work? If so, will you be able to fully dedicate yourself to work, and fully dedicate yourself to home once you are there? Will you be able to leave work at work, and not use being exhausted as an excuse to do either a half-way job at work, or at home? Some people have enough energy to do it all...are you one of them?
Or do you see yourself curled up in a chair with your baby until they begin to crawl?
Do you want to nurse?
How important is your career to you?

These are just examples to think about when you are daydreaming. :) I know that may seem like a structured daydream, but these are ALL issues you will have to face once you have a child. It's best to know yourself and know the answers to these and so much more.

Ultimately, only you know what will be best for you, your husband, and your future children.

Praying for you!

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Try to trust your heart. It will work out either way, so decide what is more important to you right now.

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

If you get a satisfying answer to this question, please write the NY times so the debate can be settled once and for all!

Sorry to be a little snarky, but there is no "right" answer. Only a "right for you" answer. I'm not sure I'd trust anyone who says otherwise.

Good luck!

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J.T.

answers from Chicago on

This is like one of those "million dollar" question that really only you can answer. You really have to do some soul searching. Of course we all want to be established financially, mentally, emotionally before we start a family, but you could find yourself in a dream job and still feel something is missing or vice versus with a baby and maybe not fullfilled with that either. It is different for every woman. My kids are 8, 5, and 3 and in the years of being a mother there have been more times than not that things have not gone as planned, two job losses of my husbands ( one while I was pregnant), financial hardships, family issues. It's really a choice of your own, you never know what the future holds. Wishing you all the happiness life has to offer!

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R.P.

answers from Youngstown on

I would think build your career around your family.. no matter wife or hubby... family is most important..

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T.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try this book: Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives by Lori Leibovich (Author)
I had my first at 29, so I waited. You may want to consult your doctor about the infertility worries. His/her answer may well be your answer if you really want children. (In other words, what your body tells your doctor may overrule any leanings you or your husband have.) See your doctor first.

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M.R.

answers from Rochester on

It is not better or worse either way! :) And congrats on your future careers and being almost out of school.

My husband and I got married our junior year in college and when we had been married over 2 years and I was at least halfway through graduate school (and he finally had full-time work and health insurance) we decided to start our family. I had no issues with being pregnant in grad school or having a baby and even though I had started out intending to pursue a PhD in English Literature, I'm very happy working full-time for a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency and expecting my third little boy. My husband just finished his BA in History, which he did put off because of employment conflicts, not because of kids, and we are probably just going to see where life takes us from here. I decided not to pursue a PhD because of the job market, not because of kids (I also haven't quite finished my MA, and that was just because my second child got very sick for almost a whole term, not a typical set-back).

I am 27 now and my husband just turned 29 if that helps. We still rent, he is still working part-time since he finished school and his company hasn't had full-time for him again, but we wouldn't trade being young parents for anything. It is a very personal choice, but I have come to look at my job as something that allows me to care for and enjoy my family. I love the Rochester area and would not want to move far from it, which we might have to do if we were really career-driven. For me, because "career" is never a guarantee, I was less inclined to focus on that over family. Honestly, the two can also grow simultaneously. I've also known women who waited very long and then struggled with fertility issues, so if you know it might be difficult for you, it couldn't hurt to try younger. If you aren't ready, you should wait, but if you're leaning in that direction, I think it is the most awesome thing in the world! :)

Good luck with your decision!

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R.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

I would start my career to get insurance etc.
I would then or at same time start looking into any fertility issues I might have.
The issue is you need experience under your belt for when you do want to go into the work force. .............unless you want to be a full time stay at home mother who will need to refresh her education years later. Both are fine
Best wishes!

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K.P.

answers from New York on

Just a couple of thoughts...
- If you are considering entering the teaching field, I would strongly suggest applying for teaching jobs as soon as possible. Believe it or not, the field is flooded right now and it may take you a while to find a position.
- You alluded to a fertility concern, so keep in mind that it may take you quite a while to get pregnant, so you should schedule and appointment with a fertility specialist and get a feel for the process and what it involves.
- There isn't really a "good time" to have a baby. There are certainly times that are better or worse, but once you find out you are pregnant, you have time to figure out the details.
- If you are teacher, you can "time" your pregnancy to some degree so that you have your baby in late May and be home for a long period of time w/o missing paychecks.

** If you both feel like this is the right time to take on raising a family, then do it. But, if you would rather get a feel for your jobs, the time commitment necessary and that actual "money" situation, then wait a year or so. You are 25 and have time.**

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O.D.

answers from Chattanooga on

Each woman must make this decision for herself. It will not matter which one you choose, there will always be moments in your life when you will think "What if.....?" Truth be told you could try a career first and see what it is like, then decide to have a child or children and if you please go back to work at a later date.

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E.W.

answers from Cleveland on

All I can say is not to make an emotional decision. There are a lot of people out there who did not finish college after they had kids. It is harder. I know of some moms who went back to college in their 40's to finish their college degrees. But I am one of those moms who hasn't and I regret it. I would finish your college degree first and then look for a job with benefits. What's nice about teaching there is more flexibility. You can do subbing at different districts to get experience and possibly a foot in the door. With a college degree you have more options.

Updated

All I can say is not to make an emotional decision. There are a lot of people out there who did not finish college after they had kids. It is harder. I know of some moms who went back to college in their 40's to finish their college degrees. But I am one of those moms who hasn't and I regret it. I would finish your college degree first and then look for a job with benefits. What's nice about teaching there is more flexibility. You can do subbing at different districts to get experience and possibly a foot in the door. With a college degree you have more options.

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F.W.

answers from Cumberland on

Consider first what is causing your baby fever: Is it just the desire to start a family? Is it possible that you are apprehensive about starting a teaching career? Do you plan to teach after you have children? The only reason I ask is so that you will consider what your motivation is before deciding when to start your family. If you have a child and stay at home will part of you regret not using your degree immediately? Tough questions to ask oneself but necessary because a baby, no matter how well loved and wanted, is not a substitute for finding your own way. While a few ladies talked about starting their families relatively later in their lives 35 +--given your health status waiting that long may not even be feasible. While I gave us teaching in the public school system to work from home, I knew myself well enough that I knew I had to work from home. I'm a family provider and teach classes on occasion to other providers. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. Other SAHM find additional fulfillment in other ways. Seems like you have lots to think about. Best wishes !

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H.L.

answers from New York on

There are pros and cons to both - being a young parent means you have more energy etc. Being an older parent usually means you have more money. Needing to borrow more when you're younger to finance the incredible expense of having children means you spend more on interest expense over the years rather than being able to save and have your money earn interest over the years. I am an older mom and super glad. We are set financially and it's partly bc we were able to save for years. My job has also been very flexible with me because I worked hard in the early years and earned the flexibility. A new employer has nothing invested in you. In addition, I'm glad I had those years to be about me. Having children is all about self sacrifice every single day 365 days a year so at least I can look back and say I had my time. But everyone is different and no approach is wrong or right...

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R.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

You have to decide what is important to you. Not only is baby or career important to you, but when you do start a family do you want to be a SAHM, or is being a working mom is ok. You need to look at the ups and downs of both aspects and work out what is most important to you.

If being a working mom is ok with you, then starting a family at the same time as getting your career going probably is not a big deal. You'll just have to remember, as you start your career there are often personal sacrifices you have to make (if you are into climbing that ladder) and your family will not be given top billing. Know what I mean? Is this ok with you? If not, then you probably want to wait to start the family ... get a few years of career under your belt and then work at it.

As far as age and fertility, for women without fertility issues, fertility doesn't tend to become an issue until after 35... that's when you're considered "Advanced Maternal Age". However, if you know you have fertility issues you may want to see a fertility specialist and have a discussion to determine exactly what your issues are and what hurdles you may have to overcome.

Making an informed decision is the best thing for you.

Keep in mind, if having a biological child is less likely or not possible, adoption is a great option. I know a few families who have adopted children (both US born and foreign born) and it has enriched their lives in ways they never could have imagined. There are a lot of children out there who do not have a loving family to care for them.

You ARE young. You have a lot of life ahead of you. If you aren't sure if starting a family right now is the right thing to do ... you're probably not ready. No, there is no "perfect" time to have children...but when you're ready ... you know it. Nothing else matters, and you are willing to make the changes/sacrifices you need to make to care for that child.

Good luck.

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

I have a slightly different take on this, so I figured I'd reply. I have 3 kids, that I had very young,, and very accidentally. They are half grown now and I'm not even 30. After having them so young and giving up so much I figured if I ever wanted more kids i should do so much later. Well much later came and it turns out that my fertility isn't as good as we had thought and i had two miscarriages before we figured out the problem. All the while devastated because I wanted nothing in life as much as I wanted another baby. things happen, your body changes, and you never ever know what is going to happen. You could have another 15 years to have a baby, or you could get one shot and one shot only. I still want more kids, but it could just be the sleep deprivation talking, because with the right medications i did finally get my number 4, although I still haven't come to terms with the fact that he could very well be it, simply because I'm not sure the same medications will work again, or that my body will cooperate.

See your doctor, it could take you awhile to get pregnant, or to stay pregnant, and you can always start a career and go back, but you need to know just what obstacles may be standing in your way before you just put it off.

M.L.

answers from Houston on

Wherever you feel your heart pulls you. There will never be a right time to have a child. My friend had an English degree without a career, had 4 children, then easily jumped into teaching after she got a quick teaching license, got her masters online and then became a librarian and is very fulfilled, taking the time out didn't hurt her career at all.

You can start a career, have kids, then pause your career and go back, but you still will have that pause on your resume. You can still be active in the community and volunteer to fill out the gaps in your resume if you need.

I choose to postpone education (I'm halfway done with my degree) when I had children. For me, it was the right thing to do. I sometimes wished I had finished college (I still plan on it), but I am so happy to have my boys and don't regret that. It's really such a deep, personal decision.

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R.G.

answers from Boston on

I had fertility issues and was married 8 years before getting pregnant (never prevented - just took that long to get the right meds and have everything work out) so I had a steady career before having my son. sometimes it is a choice and sometimes the choice is made for you. think about what you want, talk to the Dr. to see what would be involved in fertility treatments for you and then make your decision. it may be that it will take some time even with treatment in which case you would not want to put career on hold while trying to have a child.

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B.R.

answers from Columbus on

The older you get the more likely you are to have trouble conceiving.

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D.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Depends upon a lot of things. I went to four years of professional school before starting my career. A good number of women (and a number of men) in my class had their kids while we were all in school and it worked great for them (yes, I am sure it was not easy and not a single one stopped school or delayed graduation to do it). Most of the other women in the class (me included) worked for a number of years before having children. I found it much easier to be established in my career, own a house, have savings and health insurance first. I have continued to work full time.

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M.L.

answers from Detroit on

Hi T.,

There may be an opportunity for you to have both. Please contact me @ [email protected]____.com. I currently work partime doing an at home business and it is working out great for me. However, you could do it full time if you like.

If you become busy with your family, you could take some time off from the at home business then start it up again.

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J.R.

answers from Toledo on

Having had fertility issues myself (all four of my kids are Clomid babies), and having first baby at age 27, I would consult a fertility specialist and get blood workups, consultation, etc...Maybe also get a second opinion. Do you know the cause of your infertility? Is it full-blown infertility, or "sub" infertility (like me)? They can investigate your egg quality, hormones, etc. This might help you feel better about waiting if you are leaning that way. However, it can be expensive, so consider that as well. On the other hand, you may choose not to use birth control and see what happens.

I hope everything works out for you!

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L.M.

answers from New York on

I'm confused. If you're infertile, how are you planning on having a baby?

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi T.,
You say you are "getting ready to finish college" so I assume you had been planning on some sort of career, yes?

Al I can say, because this is a personal decision that every woman makes, is that I had/have a nice career and I had my baby at 39.
Now I work PT and it's perfect for me. I wouldn't change a thing.
You're in no rush. What's the hurry? You've got a LOT of wiggle room! Good luck to you!

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J.C.

answers from New York on

I suffer from infertility as well and I just have to say that because of this we needed to have a PLAN when we were ready to have a baby. The PLANNING included visiting a reproductive endocronologist (fertility doctor).

Couples dealing with infertility probably spend more time PLANNING their pregnancy than couples who are fortunate enough to not have to deal with this issue.

That being said, this is something that you and your husband will have to spend some serious time discussing. My husband and I tried for two years before admitting and discovering that there was a problem and that we needed to seek help. I was 34 by the time I had my son. He is now 3 1/2 and I am 38. I do wish that we had decided to try earlier than we did. There are many reasons why I feel this way, but I can't turn back time.

This is a rough question, but I am sure that you and your husband will make the right decision for the both of you.

Even if you decide that you want to wait for a while it couldn't hurt to visit your OBG and have them do a thorough examination to determine what type of help you might need to conceive in the future.

Good luck. I wish you the best. It's very emotional and often stressful when dealing with infertility.

Peace.

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N.S.

answers from Portland on

hi there... i want to share with you what i've heard on the radio from a few woman who faced the exact decision that you have described, who put career and other finance goal ahead of having children (which am not saying is wrong at all) buying a house, paying off a car,etc. However, once they made the decision they were ready to have a baby they had a difficulty conceiving. Now am not saying you should wait but everything happens for a reason. You will be happy having kids and they will fill your life even though you might be going to school later, people do that all the time, i dont think that should stop you. Its hard persuing your career while having kids, i did that as well... it wasnt easy but totally doable. good luck. :)

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

Why not have both? I do. I opened my own business for the very reason of wanting to have a baby & a career. This is the easiest business you will find. We don't need everyone on our team, and we don't want everyone on our team, but we want those who are finally ready to respond to that burning desire to make a change in their lives. I work for a direct sales company that allows IR's to build and expand their business selling products & services like Dish Network, Clearwire, Embarq, Earthlink, HughesNet, Frontier, True Essentials, Envy Organics, Digital Landing, & thousands of others. I don't handle shipping, purchases, inventory, & I use inbound marketing (free) to sell. Inbound marketing brings people to you, who are wanting to but what you are selling... it's ingenious! Although I am excited to share my business with you, I am also excited for you to have a baby & be a stay at home mom. This will be the most rewarding job ever as your baby grows, you can maintain with a business like this.

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K.F.

answers from New York on

The choice is yours or life will play itself out just as it was meant to be.

I was 28 and a college graduate when I found myself pregnant with my son. I just got married in 2009 at 43. Hubby and I are trying to make a baby.

Truth is you can have it all but not necessarily when you want it. I still work and have two teen in the home, my son and step son. You don't know and can't guess what the future holds but I love life and sharing love and life. We are working on buying a house and when we do we will become foster parents because we just love pouring into the lives of children.

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

In the end, the decision is up to you and your husband and what you guys are willing/capable of dealing with but in this economy, it's hard to get a job period. And if you're both starting your new careers, it's going to be even more difficult IMO. I got unexpectedly pregnant while I was getting my MBA and my son was born a month after graduation. I had my degree but I couldn't look for a job right away b/c of my son and by the time I was ready to go back to work (about 6 months later), I couldn't find a job for the life of me due to a) the economy and b) the fact that I missed that important window of securing a job as a recent graduate. I was still "recent" but had to do a lot more work to find a job due to my lack of relevant work experience and with a new baby, that just was not feasible for me. So I'm still working at a dead-end job while I look for a new more long term one (my son is 20 months old now). All of this wouldn't be terrible if my husband at least had a secure job but he was medically retired as a police officer before our baby was born and he has been studying to get into network engineering as a new career but with a new baby, he was delayed again and again in terms of his studying so the he has only recently passed his first certificaiton test and is now studying for his 2nd. Our son is the best thing that has happened to us but it has been HARD. So if you can choose, I'd choose to get your career going first and THEN have a baby. Good luck!

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P.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

My sense of the way you asked the question (which just may be my own bias in reading it) is that you sound like you are ready to start a family, and you are just wondering if you are making a mistake by not working on your career first. I think what Renee H. said is pretty good regarding deciding if you want to make the sacrifice. I was nearly 40 when I had my first child, and we are having trouble conceiving our second. I also think that physically, it would have been much easier to be a mom younger. Emotionally, I wasn't ready to even think about it till I was in my mid-30s. As for the job consideration, unless you plan to be a working mom, I don't think that having experience under your belt will really make a difference. By the time you go back, say five years later, you will be so out of touch with what is happening, that it will be like starting over. You will have to keep your toes in the water somehow...(I just thought of something and will PM you with an idea!) Good luck!

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