Family planning anxiety/IVF
I’d like to open up a discussion on family planning as being a baby boomer I’m concerned for the mental health of potential parents that decide to delay having children until around 38-40yo.
Such decisions is now commonplace. Prior to say 1995 we married under 25yo, had kids, then in our 40’s/early 50’s we toured the world ... now it’s the reverse.
My daughter 31yo highlighted this recently, her husband is just finishing his doctorate at uni and rather than get a high paying job they want to tour the world and rent rather than buy. They plan to have kids...”one day”.
My only solid concern with this new age plan is that we grew up knowing a/ the greater chance of complications giving birth late b/ the rush to get pregnant with much lower number of cycles left to do so/ the latter must add to anxiety.
There is other ramifications- you are much less likely to want to play with your kids when older (subjective), you’re not as close in age to your children and so on.
So what is the benefits of having kids later? Have you experienced anxiety and/or had to endure IVF? Do you have regrets in leaving the process too late? Did you have a safety plan for your anxiety and was it implemented?
Admittedly it isn’t logical in my eyes to leave the process late, but I do come from a different era so am wanting to be open minded.
Hi white knight,
What an interesting topic!
I have friends at uni who wait until later to have kids, and they say it's the best thing they ever did for their unique circumstance. I think that is what it comes down too- your life in context. The world is different now, more global pehaps; people are more empowered to consider thier individual needs/wants, for the most part. I also have friends who tried, with anguish, for ages to have a baby but couldn't until later in life, and they actually now appreciate that their baby came when it did- especially in times like this when they more equipped to deal with financial strain/job changes etc. So waiting was actually protective for thier mental health. That's just one perspective from observations I've made though.
Will be following this thread eagerly,
Inyeresting you have an example of the benefits to parents mental health with having children late.
It never occurred to me.
I still have some doubts however. The men steal cycles for having children range roughly from age 13 to 45... so getting serious about having children at say 38yo with only 84 or so cycles left could be a concern.
My school mate when he was 41yo and girlfriend was 37yo made a comment about that- “technology fixes everything nowadays”. I found that extraordinary. They went in to have two healthy children.
He made another comment 10 years ago. His children were then 11 and 9yo. “If we had our kids earlier we’d be touring Australia in our caravan”. He is 65yo now and his kids are in university- paying for much of those costs has foiled any plans of retirement next year.
This is something I have a bit of experience with. I have done nearly 10 years of IVF and my Mum had her youngest child at 41.
I don't think having children at an older age is a good idea if it is just because you want to wait. That is silly. There are too many risks associated with it and it means having less time with your children. However, I would guess that in the vast majority of cases it is not a choice. Today education is taking longer to finish and a 2 person working family is much more important than it used to be. The cost of living has vastly increased compared to wages. This is compounded by trying to get into the real estate market. Most people can not afford to have only 1 working parent. By the time most people today get their life set up and stable they are already at an older age.
In addition, many people struggle getting pregnant at young ages as well as older. Fertility treatments can take a long time and are arduous. This stretches the age of having children out as well. You also need to be in a financial position where you can afford the treatments as they are very expensive. This usually means being older.
It is also harder to find secure work. Much more of the younger workforce are forced into casual or temporary contracts. These roles often last years before employers are forced to consider permanent positions. Personally, both my husband and myself have struggled with this. Took my husband 10 years to get a permanent position instead of full time contracts all the time. I'm still casual after 8 years. We are both highly educated and good workers and work in the government sector.
Unfortunately life is not as straight forward as it used to be. Things change. I think having children later is better than not having any at all but that's my opinion. I also believe you can have children and still do the things you want.
The baby boomer generation is one of the luckiest in history. Many in this generation made lots of money without trying. Just owning your own house could make you a millionaire. Older generations often just kept having children until there bodies gave out because there was no contraception. They also very rarely 'retired' because there was no pension. The younger generations have new struggles that others did not. A lot of this is to do with an aging population in western countries and environmental pollution issues.
Another interesting topic. As a 38 year old (childless) female I would like to provide my perspective 🙂 I haven’t had children (mostly for health reasons) and don’t think I will, but if I was I was planning on having only one child and later in life (around now). The main (and often underappreciated) reason for this was property prices. The typical pathway for couples is rent, marriage, house, dog, baby. There’s a reason for this, with couples maturing with each step and facing the associated challenges until ready for a baby. However, I grew up in Sydney and have only just been able to buy my first house now. Women are biologically programmed to want security before having a baby and we ideally don’t want to be trying to keep a baby quiet in an apartment block. This notion that women are too busy having careers is also frequently touted, and while I do have a career I have never been too attached to it to let it get in the way of something important to me. I am committed to it mostly because it pays the mortgage. I also feel more emotionally mature and settled to provide for a child now, I have my career sorted so have the flexibility to leave and come back without it affecting my progression, and I am still quite fit so can run after a child. I also have the financial resources now to provide for them more adequately. Some people place emphasis on being free later in life to tour the world when the kids have left home but I feel blessed to have been free to do that in my 20s rather than when I’m 65 and the rigors of traveling are particularly taxing. Especially now that the retirement age has been pushed back to now around 70. There are pros and cons to both approaches, I just wish that people now had a choice where it is often a decision of necessity, which I think is a shame.
A slight digression, I've been listening to some adults say in their 20's with a negative view of their chances of owning, I.e mortgage, of their own home. Some are anti baby boomers for having investment properties and material items.
Case 1. A friend had a GF 10 years ago when they were 22yo. Both expressed a desire for many kids. The guy however likes 4x4 cars and spent much money on them. Fast forward 10 years and they have 5 sons the latest baby born 8 weeks ago. The guy still spends money on cars and they've survived financially on one wage. Yes he whines about not being able to buy their own home. BTW he's a high school teacher.
Case 2, friend 26yo has only had cashier work part time. Whines that she'll never be able to buy her own home. Doesn't have a BF and is fit and healthy. I suggested she join the armed forces- adult wages, cheap meals and board, free dental, medical, travel , eventual home loan etc. Her reply "but I'll miss my friends".
At 17 years znd 4 days I joined the RAAF. At 20yo I was discharged and had qualified for a defence force home loan (now 6+ years). At 29yo I utilised that loan to buy our first home. From there on I sold when prices were high and purchased opposite. Also 12 hour shift work for many years sometimes 6 days a week.
In life you have to create opportunities, sacrifice and work hard. Some suggest inheritance helps, yes it does but most people benefit after 55yo with that.
Then there is the flip side you mentioned and society is based on 2 incomes now to achieve what one income gave pre 1980. It is indeed a good discussion but my friend that has only ever worked part time...might have her friends but that isn't much of a plan and planning is essential.
I hope I've explained it OK.
Yeah, I agree there are people managing to make it work. However, one of the reasons for this is the high levels of debt. I wonder how many of the cars you mentioned were paid for with cash or debt.
To be fair, there were also difficulties for the baby boomer generation. When interest rates went up to 17 percent in the late 80's my Dad had to work 3 jobs to pay his 3 mortgages. He had his house, an investment one and an empty block of land. My Mum wasn't working as she had little kids. He managed to pay his mortages until the rates went down and he could sell one of the houses. If this happened now, there is no way people could still pay three mortages. Too much debt vs. Wages to achieve the same type of life style. My Dad also managed to come back with 2 houses paid for in full after loosing nearly everything in a divorce and paying child support. This would not be possible now. It takes to long to save a deposit.
This is a very interesting thread. I also had a thought about your suggestion for the young women to go into the army.
I imagine this would severely limit this women's ability to get married and pregnant. Being deployed for long stretches would make it impossible to maintain a home life with young children. It would also restrict her ability to find a marriage partner.
It's also interesting that you acknowledged without realising the change in our society. That this women has to get a full time wage instead of finding a husband so she can make babies. This is exactly what makes women have babies later.