7 months ago
Why I’m Glad I Started a Family Later In Life (and Something I’ve Never Admitted)
I always knew that I wanted to be a mom, but things didn’t line up until my mid 30s. Some would argue that thirty-five isn’t late and I would agree, but science and doctors tell us otherwise. There are things we have to consider, like declining fertility and egg quality. But don’t we also have to consider our careers, finances, finding the right partner, and our mental health? Growing my career and meeting the right person happened “later” for me, and I had some living to do, too. Today, I want to talk about why I’m glad I started a family later in life and the benefits of becoming a parent in your mid-late thirties.
Why I’m Glad I Started a Family “Later” In Life
I had life experience
It wasn’t until 28 that I moved from Los Angeles to Chicago, and ended a long-term and very unhealthy relationship. Shortly thereafter, I launched a new business that I would grow over the next decade. I started traveling right after my 31st birthday and was able to see some incredible places over the next few years. Experiencing living alone felt so important, and having a roommate (didn’t go well) came with some life lessons, too. I went to therapy, learned to set real boundaries, stayed out way too late, and learned a lot about myself. That life experience prepared me for the huge shift that would take place when these tiny people would become my first priority. There were zero regrets because I had done a lot before it was time to slow down and shift my focus on my family.
I grew my career and was financially stable
I spent the first half of my 30s growing a business, and sold that same business in my late 30s. All those years that I sat at the computer working until 3AM paid off. My circumstances were wildly different in my early 30s when I was designing blogs full-time to pay the bills while growing a website (unpaid) for the better half of two years, just hoping things would work out.
I met the right guy
Had I married and had kids with the as*hole I dated in my 20s, I’d be a single mom or in a horrible relationship with a verbally abusive sociopath. Single moms are amazing, by the way. There’s just no way things would have worked out, and my kids would have had a horrible dad like I did. I left the jerk I dated in my 20s, dated for a few years (there were some great guys who just weren’t right in the end) and found a wonderful husband and a man that I know will always put his family first.
I was ready to start a family
In spite of the fact that I wasn’t really ready, I was still ready. Or more ready than I would have been even a year prior. Things had lined up personally and professionally, and when I look at what we’ve gone through over the last few years, my age (and privilege) allowed me to get through it. I was able to take a real maternity leave. To walk away from (and sell) my company when my daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. You’re never ready for something like that, but I recognize how things lined up to make the experience at least somewhat manageable, and know that our reality is not the reality of most families in treatment.
And finally, the thing I’ve never admitted
*Trigger warning for anyone who has struggled to conceive*
At 35, I was newly married and medically labeled “geriatric” 😒 (so wrong) and because of that label, we started trying to conceive right away. I was sure it would take six months to a year and I let those worries push me to do something I wasn’t ready for. Three weeks to the day after our wedding, I found out I was pregnant. I know how lucky I was to conceive right away and I wouldn’t trade Margot for anything, but assuming all roads lead to Margot, I would have enjoyed a year of marriage before trying.
I’m glad I started a family later in life, but…
We missed out the experience of being carefree newlyweds because I was too afraid to wait. The reality is that you won’t know until you try. I conceived two more times (both times on the first try) at 36 (miscarried at 6 weeks) and 37 the following month. My story is not “typical” but, it’s worth sharing.
Before making any decisions, talk to your doctor and find out what your options are. I had my AMH level tested (it was extremely high which I suppose makes sense now) before our wedding. Wait until you’ve lived. Grow your career, travel, meet the right person or make the decision to do it on your own. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something before you’re ready.
The biggest lesson? We all have our own timelines. I did not start my family late – it happened exactly when it was supposed to.
Wedding and family photo by Katie Kett