In Sunday’s New York Times, med student and new mom Anna Jesus wrote about having a child in her 20s while still in graduate school. She thought she would wait until after her training to conceive, but a fertility problem appeared when she was in her mid-20s, so she and her husband decided to try for a child while they had age on their side. The takeaway from her piece is that sometimes it’s worth considering having a kid before your career is launched.
In response to Jesus’ piece, a woman wrote into the Times‘ parenting blog Motherlode about how she made a similar choice and was appalled by people’s lack of support. Even in a place where they were training obstetricians and midwives, the woman’s “program viewed my pregnancy as a personal issue I was having (I might say, ‘caused’ for myself) and that I shouldn’t expect any special accommodations.”
Let’s get out of the way that the lack of support for pregnant women in the United States is appalling (as I’ve gone on about before). And also let’s make the disclaimer that when you decide to have a child is deeply idiosyncratic, and there are so many factors that go into it—economic, romantic, emotional—not to mention the fact that you can’t just schedule in a baby like you schedule a vacation. No matter how old you are, you can’t assume you will conceive like clockwork.
All that said, I do think there’s something to Jesus’ argument that perhaps ambitious women in their 20s who also want kids should consider having them sooner rather than later.