To tell my cousin that she should wait to have a baby

(145 Posts)
AmadeusRocks Sun 23-Jun-13 17:40:35

I am well prepared to be told that it's none of my business/to keep my nose out but bear in mind she is like a sister to me and I only want the best for her.

My cousin is 21 and has been with her DP (22) for just over a year, she has just started out as a lawyer and he works in IT and they're both currently earning around 25k each - both have promising careers ahead, probably her more so than him. She rang me earlier today and told me that they are planning on getting engaged/married within the next 1-2 years and then immediately to start trying for a baby.

AIBU to have told her that I think she's too young and she should wait?

SilverOldie Sun 23-Jun-13 17:43:48

If she is old enough to be married, surely she's old enough to decide for herself. I'm sure you want the best for her but I do think you should mind your own business, sorry.

quoteunquote Sun 23-Jun-13 17:46:08

Yes you are totally unreasonable to put anyone off having a baby if they want to.

She's finished her education and has a good job, as does her partner. What's too young about that.

As an aside I thought becoming a lawyer took more than 3 years?

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 17:46:31


Why on Earth would you tell her that?

WTF?! She is planning to marry in the next couple of years and be about 25 when she starts trying.

How is that too young, or any business of yours?

If you told me that, or my daughter that, I'd tell you where to go, tbh.

And I'm 42.

Tee2072 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:47:13

Mind your own business. I would say that no matter who she is.

Yabu, I don't think she's too young, and why's it any of your business?

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sun 23-Jun-13 17:47:25

You shouldn't have rained on her parade - you should have been pleased/excited - then slowly worked on her! I agree with you, she's too damn young, with too much potential to be doing this - but how often does 'being told not to' work? You have to be much more subtle!!

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 17:47:30

You already told her?


Wait for what?

Too bad you won't call her back and apologise for being so completely out of line.

Aetae Sun 23-Jun-13 17:48:27

You're being a bit unreasonable. It's not like she's 14.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 17:49:14

Worked on her? How fucking manipulative. Someone that bright will hopefully see through that and cut such an unsupportive, negative, narrow-minded person out of their lives.

Nowt at ALL wrong with having a baby at 25 if you're ready.

It was too young for you because you were immature and silly.

Not all people are, thankfully.

I was.

I hope my kids aren't.

Nanny0gg Sun 23-Jun-13 17:49:47

Since you ask, yes you were.

coronalover Sun 23-Jun-13 17:51:05

Unless she asks for your opinion on this then YABU to say anything. In any case a lot will change for them over the next few years and they may well change their plans.

Lj8893 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:51:36

Too young?! In 1-2 years they are planning to get married and then try for a baby, meaning she is likely to be about 24 by the time she conceives.

I'm 25 and pregnant, am I too young?!

She also has a career and by the time she starts trying for a baby will have her feet firmly in the door meaning a break for maternity leave won't be an issue and between the two of them will be bringing in a nice healthy income for a family.

Nanny0gg Sun 23-Jun-13 17:52:02

I agree with you, she's too damn young, with too much potential to be doing this
For some reason, this comment has really pissed me off.

Too much potential? It's all downhill when married with children is it? Potential wasted?


I had just started my career at 22 and was newly married, had dc1 a year later, 4 dc's in all by my early 30's and now in my late 30's ploughing along in a newly chosen but excellent field. Having my DC's young was the bet thing I ever did.

McNewPants2013 Sun 23-Jun-13 17:52:52

Is there more to this than what you have posted.

livinginwonderland Sun 23-Jun-13 17:52:57

YABU, it's got nothing to do with you!

She's in a committed relationship with a loving DP. They both have good jobs and they're planning to get engaged and married before they start trying. Sounds very smart to me!

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 17:53:04


If they both have a steady income and want children why wait?

As an aside, how is she a fully qualified lawyer at 21? It's 4 years study and two years training after that. And the training is far from easy to come by.

noisytoys Sun 23-Jun-13 17:54:31

I was married at 18, first DD at 20, second at 23. Both me and DH WOH and have fulfilling lives. And we are very happy.

YABU. And patronising.

AmadeusRocks Sun 23-Jun-13 17:56:17

For those asking - she is not a fully qualified lawyer - she has just started her two years of training and IMO therein lies the problem.

I haven't been horrible to her and said "don't have a baby yet you moron", I suggested that it might be a better idea for her to wait maybe until she has finished her qualification and they have bought a house to give them some security.

Ashoething Sun 23-Jun-13 17:56:49

So a combined income of 50 grand a year is not enough to have a child then?hmm

Keep your beak out. I would love to know which area of law she practises in where she is fully qualified and earning 25 grand at the age of 21 though?...

juneybean Sun 23-Jun-13 17:56:59

YABU it's none of your fucking business.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:20

Did she ask you for your opinion?

ExcuseTypos Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:29


I've advised both my DDs to establish a career before having babies.

I had my first at 25 which meant after uni I only worked for 4 years. Not enough years IMO to establish yourself.

SantanaLopez Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:40

Don't expect an invite to the wedding. YABU.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 17:58:44

And so? She will be married and with dual income.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:02

Nearly all the doctors who treated me daughter began having children in their mid-20s after marriage and combined it all. Why on Earth would you tell her that?

I would be livid at you calling me a moron, too, tbh. What a horrible thing to say.

Ginderella Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:34

I agree with you OP. They are both too young to be thinking about marriage and babies.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:38


Well that's not so bad a piece of advice, given there is no real guarantee that the firm you train with will keep you on once you qualify. It's not like you were beating a drum shouting she was too young.

HolidayArmadillo Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:49

Yabu. Completely none of your business. Your cousin sounds very sensible. You sound like a nosy old bag.

CheeseStrawWars Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:56

She's just started a course that's 2 years long? And she's waiting 1-2 years before getting married and then TTC? Last time I checked babies took about 9 months to arrive after conception, so she should have finished the course before the baby arrives. I really don't get your problem, at all. If she's bright enough to be a lawyer, I'm sure she's bright enough to make her own decisions.

AmadeusRocks Sun 23-Jun-13 18:01:51

Yes she ASKED me what I thought about her plan. I said I thought she'd be better off getting fully qualified first and then getting a few years experience behind her.

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:02:26

As usual I agree with Chipping grin It does sound young given how you've described, but if she's 25 when she's considering trying, then that's not so young.

Re those offended by your 'too much potential' comment, I tend to agree with you - as wrong as it is, facts tend to show that women's progress career-wise is often negatively affected once they have children (usually because of the attitudes of others) so it's important to be in a strong position before having children. Good luck to her though & don't make her feel bad - let her enjoy the moment.

ExcuseTypos Sun 23-Jun-13 18:02:27

No Expact, I think the OP means, "I didn't call her a moron"

I hope so anyway!

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:02:56

'I agree with you OP. They are both too young to be thinking about marriage and babies.'

At 22? Highly sensible, IMO, and I say that as someone who had her first at 32. Right for me, but I wish I had started younger.

Not right for some at all. Some were and are far more mature than I was at 22.

These two have a plan, marriage in 1-2 years, marriage, and then babies.

I envy them that, tbh.

eurozammo Sun 23-Jun-13 18:03:26

I was puzzled by the qualification at 21 too - it takes a minimum of 5 years to become a barrister and 6 years to become a solicitor.

It's not an easy career to have with a baby, but it's not impossible. A small minority manage it. Most wait until they are a lot more senior and have more control over their own work.

AmadeusRocks Sun 23-Jun-13 18:03:30

expat where have I ever called anyone a moron confused

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:03:57

Facts? Tell that to the Xenias of this world. Like Xenia, this young woman has a plan.

Ashoething Sun 23-Jun-13 18:04:31

Actually am sure the op is voicing her concerns because she cares about her cousin but I still think yabu.

My mum spent all my life telling me never to have kids or wait until I was at least 40 to have them as kids ruin your lifehmm

Guess what-I was desperate to have a family from the age of 18! Your cousin will make her own choices in her own life. As she should.

Tee2072 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:04:45

Drip drip drip drip drip.

DoJo Sun 23-Jun-13 18:05:08

YABU - what a horrible thing to say to someone who is excited about planning their life. Being 'too young' is not a reason for someone in their 20s not to have children unless it is how you feel about yourself. If you had an objection beyond that, then it still would have been none of your business, but at least you could have given a reasoned comment and then left it to her to decide. As it is, you've used your position as 'like a sister' to be mean and bossy.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 18:05:25


She asked,you told her. Getting pregnant in the middle of a training contract isn't totally unheard of but can really cock things up regarding finishing it depending on how far into the training the woman is when going on maternity leave.

It would be sensible to get the training contract and at least one year newly qualified under her belt.

That would put her at 24/25. Which is a perfectly fine age to have children at.

Ginderella Sun 23-Jun-13 18:05:38

There is no need to call the OP an "nosy old bag". Where are your manners?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 23-Jun-13 18:06:07

oh well, fair enough then. If she actually asked you to give her your opinion on her plans then you did nothing at all wrong by doing so, did you?

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:06:18

Exactly, Tee, mid-20s, too young. LOL.

I think her timings are fine.

Having DC early on in my career was the best decision.

When I had them later, it was much more disruptive and had much more of a negative effect on my career than when I had DC earlier.

I'm 23 and I have a daughter, gosh, there goes all my potential. hmm

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:07:16

Let me start a thread about people my age (early 40s), being too old to try for a baby. That'll go over like a lead balloon.

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:07:28

Unfortunately Expat, the Xenias of this world are few & far between, therein the exception which proves the rule.

I wish it weren't so, but in my experience, it sadly is.

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:08:46

That's not what was said at all Craps - the Op was talking about her niece, not your personal circumstances.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:09:54

So that gives you the right to tell people when to have a baby, one? Who's to say she can't coordinate it? She sounds sensible and well, she will be in her mid-20s. She sounds like a planner. That's good.

Hardly a 14-year-old with no income and not in a stable relationship.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:11:14

I'm not trying to conceive, one. Far from it. My DH had a vasectomy years ago.

So let me start a thread, 'AIBU to tell people in their 40s they are too old to have a baby,' and make up a bunch of reasons. See how that goes.

I wasn't responding to the OP I was responding to Chipping who suggested that OP's cousin was too young and had too much potential to have a child. I have a good career and I'm 23 with a 4 month old. It's pretty damn offensive to suggest that I'm too young to have a child.

MrsDeVere Sun 23-Jun-13 18:11:49

Bloody hell, these women in there mid twenties with good jobs, steady relationships and incomes popping out babies.

What is the world coming to?

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:11:51

Yes, Craps, you are done for. Your potential is gone. You wrecked your life.

Lavenderhoney Sun 23-Jun-13 18:15:09

Bugger all to do with you, keep your beak out. Don't project onto her.

You won't get an invite to the wedding at this rate- you'll be at home all cats bum mouth with only yourself to blame.

Give her a call and apologise, and hope she lets you get away with it..

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:16:38

That's making it far too personal - Craps, it's fab you have it all sorted & are managing baby & career & continuing to progress. It unfortunately doesn't happen for many that way & often having a baby does have a negative impact on women's career progress - don't get me wrong, I dont agree with that & it makes me angry, but circumstances with friends & acquaintances have all too often proved that to be the case. I'm glad that's not your experience & hope that continues to be the case.

MrsHoarder Sun 23-Jun-13 18:18:45


She is planning to wait a couple of years. If you said she was 17, had just met a new bf and was ttc now then it would be reasonable, but they have jobs, they ar ethinking about it and would probably change their minds if the situation is worse than they expect.

Better than waiting until your 30s and risking difficulties with TTC IMO (not that either is wrong).

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 23-Jun-13 18:19:02

Whatever your age, circumstances, income or home is like, if you say to people you want a baby there are always some who find reasons why you shouldn't have one.

Obviously some times there are good reasons for that but most of the time there's no problem, just other people's perceptions.

Incidentally I am going to have a baby in far less conventional circumstances (am a lot older though) and all most people have said is 'good luck'.

That's making it far too personal.

How am I not meant to take that personally? She's saying people around MY age are too young to have children and I have a child!?

HotSoupDumpling Sun 23-Jun-13 18:20:04

Wot Ali said.

I don't think it's anyone's place to advise someone on their life plans unless specifically asked. Unless you happen to be very close and word your advice very carefully.

But if it's relevant: A few of my friends in my intake at our law firm had babies or were pregnant during our training contracts. It is really really difficult. Your cousin won't have a permanent job and can be ditched without much reason after the two year training is over. Means there is lots and lots of pressure to impress and go the extra mile and 'win' a qualification place. Which is difficult to do when you are exhausted or sick or whatever. It's generally less stressful (not 'best' or 'sensible' but definitely less stressful) to wait until the two years are over and she hopefully gains a qualification spot I.e. a permanent job with all the maternity rights that go with it.

ExcuseTypos Sun 23-Jun-13 18:21:34

Do people on here never give advice to close relatives about important decisions? confused

My family and friends do it all the time. No one needs to take the advice, but it's nice to have different opinions IMO.

MrsDeVere Sun 23-Jun-13 18:21:58


You can tell I had my first baby at 25 now can't you sad
It made my brain atrophy. Thats what happens if you have a baby before you are a fully qualified lawyer and at least 32.
Its a well known side affect sad

DontmindifIdo Sun 23-Jun-13 18:23:41

you know, this isn't as stupid as you think, she's going to wait until she's fully qualified and then start trying, so she'll be going off on mat leave at least 9 months after qualifying. This means she'll be entitled to any enhanced package her company has, she'll be junior enough that going part time for a couple of years will be a practical option for her employer, and she won't be under pressure to return to work in less than her full year. Her DC will be school age by the time she's early 30s.

She's not going to be able to do the stupid long hours a lot of contempories will, but I know so many solicitors who gave up work in their mid 30s after having DCs because they couldn't work parttime, it's not stupid to do it the other way round.

MrsDeVere Sun 23-Jun-13 18:23:55

You should start this thread on NMs. Over there they think having a baby after 35 is dicusting (sic) and selfish.
Apparently you have to have them young enough to be able to enjoy them and you can't do that if they are 10 and you are 45. Cos that is well old innit?

FreckledLeopard Sun 23-Jun-13 18:25:12

I am a solicitor.

The only thing I'd say is that it would be a good idea for her not to get pregnant during her training contract and to wait until she is employed post-qualification. At the moment, retention of newly-qualified solicitors is going down more and more and I know of firms that will use any excuse not to keep their trainees on.

Once qualified and with a job though, then I know lots of solicitors who then get pregnant. In my view too, it's better to have a baby as a junior solicitor than as a senior associate. It won't necessarily damage your career in the same way it can when you're 5-6 years pqe.

Idrinksquash Sun 23-Jun-13 18:28:29


I'm a 23 year old mother with a degree and an established career. You know that you're supposed to have kids at this kind of age right?

Too many women leave it too late and are devastated that they took their fertility for granted. I've seen older family members go through the heartache of fertility treatment, and as a result I would never tell anyone to wait. Especially if that's what they want.

hippohugger Sun 23-Jun-13 18:28:46

YANBU to give her your opinion if she asked for it, or she was discussing it with you. I'd tell her to speak with some of the older women in her profession. Recently heard a prominent scientist (whose name I have shamefully forgotten) saying that she wished female scientists would have their babies EARLIER in their careers, as they can always come back and 'restart', but it's much harder when you're in your 30s and have more responsibility at work and more to lose if you take a few years off. So your cousin might be onto something here.

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 18:29:03

You'd think she was 16 planning on having a kid before GSCEs.

Do I give advice on personal stuff like this to relatives? NO. If they asked, NO. Because it is NOT.MY.BUSINESS. One is responsible for one's own decisions.

And mid-20s is not too young to have children.

therumoursaretrue Sun 23-Jun-13 18:30:30


You do know plenty of women in their early and mid 20's have families and it doesn't stunt their potential right!?

I'm surrounded by young, professional women with thriving careers and horror of horrors...children.

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:30:32

Craps, the Op is specifically talking about her niece though, not you. No one knows your circumstances & given your DC is here, no one would pass comment - her niece isn't there yet & asked the Op for her advice. Surely though, if you were secure I your choices, you wouldn't feel so defensive??

It's all relative I suppose. My MIL to be is telling me not to try for children after we're married as we are too young. We have good careers, own a house and I'll be 32 and DP 35 after the honeymoon.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 18:34:53


Established career as a solicitor?

At 23 most are lucky if they're in their second year of training to become qualified. Once qualified there is no guarantee the firm you trained with will give you a permanent position,as has been previously stated they actively look for reasons not to in the current economic climate.

It's great you have a career but not all careers are achieved in the same way.

OP has actually offered good advice based on her relatives career of choice.
She suggested she wait until she was qualified and had a permanent position. I wouldn't advise anybody any different if they wanted to be a solicitor.

Xenia had her first baby at that age and point in her career, and after a high-flying legal career and an additional four babies she's now earning (approximately) all the money in the world and owns her own private island. But then she did go back to work after two weeks each time.

24 here with 2 kids! Anything wrong with that?

Did I not say I was responding to Chipping not the OP? Pretty sure I did. Does Chipping have some intimate knowledge of OPs cousin that I'm missing that means she's able to tell whether she's too young to have children? Oh right, no, she's basing it on the fact she is 22, that's it.

So basically you're telling me that I'm not allowed to be upset or take an insult aimed directly at MY age group personally and if I do it just means that I'm not secure in my choices?


Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 18:37:04

TWO WEEKS?! shock

I'm off to insult people and then tell them they're not allowed to take it personally. Laters.

MissStrawberry Sun 23-Jun-13 18:39:14

She is talking about in the future FPS! She might change her own mind then.

YABU and it is none of your business and just because you say you only want the best for her does not give you carte blanche to stick your nose in. Butt out!

onedev Sun 23-Jun-13 18:40:20

What's ODFOD? You do seem very defensive though Craps & it does beg the question why?

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sun 23-Jun-13 18:40:32

I'm a lawyer. You can't be less than 22 when starting training contract, as you need 3 year law degree plus 1 year LPC at least. Did she go to university before she was 18? Skip a school year?

apostropheuse Sun 23-Jun-13 18:44:35

YABU. It's none of your business.

Mid twenties is when women are most likely to conceive. Biology isn't affected by a woman's career. Fertility drops after age 30 and reduces drastically after age 35, with the added complication of the increased likelihood of there being a problem with the baby.

It's a fairly modern phenomenon for woman to wait until later to ttc and when a woman decides to try in her twenties some people are aghast. Bizarre.

She is doing what is natural.

mrsjay Sun 23-Jun-13 18:47:09

should wait for what exactly ? so in the next 2 or 3 years she will be 23/4 she will be starting to try they seem to know what they want to dyou think a 24 yr old is too young to have a baby when is the right age you are sticking your nose in not everybody wants to have an established career and loads of savings to start a family, perhaps she wants a family early so she can go back to work while she is still in her 30s and years ahead of her,

Well she did ask, and you gave her your opinion so yanbu.
That said, I don't think they sound too young for children by any stretch of the imagination.

mrsjay Sun 23-Jun-13 18:47:56

t's a fairly modern phenomenon for woman to wait until later to ttc and when a woman decides to try in her twenties some people are aghast. Bizarre.

also people seem to think 22 yr olds are still young adults they are not

Xmasbaby11 Sun 23-Jun-13 18:48:53

I think your arguments are reasonable, and if you are close to your cousin, it's fine to tell her how you feel. YANBU.

If you have a July/August birthday you could easily finish your LPC before you turn 22.

though I went to university before 18 - it does happen

mrsjay Sun 23-Jun-13 18:51:02

she's too damn young, with too much potential to be doing this - but how often does 'being told not to' work? You have to be much more subtle!!

since when does babies hinder potential do you not like children or something are babies a bad thing or do you just think that people who chose to have babies young do not reach any potential, by the time this woman decides to have a child she could be 25 how is that too young

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sun 23-Jun-13 18:52:06

Yes Tolliver but still couldn't be a trainee at 21. Maybe for 1 day, if you started on 31 August!

I'm a solicitor. I wouldn't advise being pregnant/having a baby before finishing a TC and getting a year or so PQE. There are a lot of NQs out there at the moment without jobs, if she goes off on mat leave then sadly that will affect her chances of getting a permanent position.

scottishmummy Sun 23-Jun-13 18:52:32

I simply wouldn't comment
I'd hope they'd weighed up pro/con and impact on finance,career
best for her isn't necessarily you wading in.on this its a personal not family choice

megsmouse Sun 23-Jun-13 18:53:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mummydarkling Sun 23-Jun-13 18:55:08

Yes but biologically it is far easier to conceive mid 20s rather than mid 30s. Your wait until you are established advice may be very costly if she then needs assisted conception. I was expecting this cousin to be 16.

We will now be working until 68 plenty of time post kids.Yes I had mine in my 20s and I am a band 8a in the NHS but that is not my pride. smile

shufflehopstep Sun 23-Jun-13 18:59:29

If she's 21 now and planning on getting engaged, married and then starting to try for a baby, it could be a few of years before she actually has a baby, by which time she'll be 23 -24 when she has her first and then maybe a second one a couple of years later so she might be 25 or 26. That's not too young to have a baby. Plenty of my friends had children at that age. By the time she turns 40, her children will be teenagers and her and her husband can still enjoy a social life. Rather than people like me who had children late as it took me longer to find someone I wanted to have children with.

foreverondiet Sun 23-Jun-13 19:04:29

I think its ok to discuss this - rather than tell her.

I wouldn't do it over the phone, but rather face to face - and my angle would be:

a) see out your training contract before you start TTC
b) choose to qualify into a department with better work life balance
c) think carefully about when to TTC - might be better to wait until senior enough to i) go back part time and ii) to afford decent childcare (probably a nanny)

FWIW my sister in law ignored the advice, got pregnant on qualifying, took a year maternity leave, went back for a year working goodness knows what hours (often bringing work home and working until midnight at home), then had second baby (ie only back at work for one year), another year maternity leave, went back and only back for around 18 months before being make redundant at 7 months pregnant with her third - basically as they didn't see her as partner material as she just didn't / couldn't put in the hours - even though she put in 9-5.30 in office and 8-12 at home. As everyone else doing 9-12 (year 15 hours!) in the office! Magic circle firm though.

foreverondiet Sun 23-Jun-13 19:07:13

Meant also to say that once she starts work she might see that working as a lawyer early in career and having babies is a hard combo.

LST Sun 23-Jun-13 19:07:20

Anyone who thinks even 21 is too young to have a baby are being ridiculously unreasonable and patronising to boot.

Me and dp decided on trying for ds when I was 20. I fell pregnant straight away and had ds at 21. I am now pregnant with dc2 and I am shock horror only 23. I didn't realise that there was an age minimun to having children once you have the means to support them.

Isn't there an accelerated 7-month LPC available now? If so and you start that in August then you could potentially be in a training contract starting in March.

mrsjay Sun 23-Jun-13 19:17:11

I had dd1 at at nearly 22 I am now 42 <shrug>

Chunderella Sun 23-Jun-13 19:42:37

Is there a minimum age to start a training contract? I looked and couldn't find one. It is possible that the cousin went to uni a year early, lots of us do, and then did the LPC straight afterwards. My friend did the same and was only 21 and a half when she finished it as unlike me she did a law degree. Didn't go straight into work though. I would've thought it more unusual that someone is on 25k, high-ish for a trainee, at the sort of firm that allows people to start working straight after the LPC. Not impossible, just unusual. Typically, firms offering more generous trainee solicitor salaries tend to be larger commercial ones with quite a few in their intakes and not as much flexibility about when you can start and finish. They might have a choice of start dates but usually September or March after you finish, rather than straight away. Mind you, I started mine a few years back so I might be out of the loop now. I guess she could be paralegalling or whatever to get into the swing of things at the firm before her training contract starts.

Anyway, there's a reason all the solicitors in this thread have said it's a bad idea to deliberately get pregnant during your training contract if it can be avoided, so OP yanbu on that specific point. I should think you're on stronger ground with that than you are with broad generalisations about what age people should ttc, which is at best ridiculous and at worst offensive. Having said that, you've had too much of a pasting on the fertility point- yes, 25 is around peak fertility age. But to listen to some people, one would think you'd suggested leaving it til she was 42 rather than just a couple of years more. Most women are still pretty fertile at 27!

specialsubject Sun 23-Jun-13 19:46:07

her call. Most people change wildly between 18 and 22 so they will be well past that by the time they get married.

no worse odds than anyone else. Also means they will be empty-nesters in their mid-forties, good timing!

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sun 23-Jun-13 19:49:30

Chunderella I don't think there is, but you have to have done LLB/GDL and LPC, so would be hard pushed not to be 22. That said, I was 26 when I started...

Yes re getting pregnant during training contract - not ideal at all and best really to be a few years qualified to avoid being labelled as a woman who does her TC then gets pregnant and goes part time. Sadly this is not viewed v well in the law.

I started on 25k as a trainee in regions but at a large outfit.

Chunderella Sun 23-Jun-13 19:58:47

You could be 21 if you went to uni a year early and/or had a summer birthday and started straight after finishing the LPC. With no gaps anywhere. Theoretically you could be 20 if both applied! I would think that's pretty rare though.

Large regional outfit is what I was thinking re 25k salary. Or maybe a smaller London firm, I don't know what they pay really. Everyone I know who trained in London was either on megabucks in corporate firms or legal minimum in legal aid practices. I don't really know anyone who isn't at one extreme or the other!

melika Sun 23-Jun-13 20:01:45

I think that she probably knows what she is doing, she must have thought it out. She would probably be mid twenties by that time and I don't think it is unreasonable to start a family with that income behind you. I would not interfere if I were you. (I have tried to read all the comments this time!)

She sounds like theyre in a good position to have children.
Just because some people are immature in their 20's doesn't mean all are.

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Sun 23-Jun-13 20:04:08

Chunderella yes true

And yes me too!! I know people at MC firms in London and people at legal aid firms. Think there are about 20 firms in my city which start trainees on 25-27k so is fairly standard for corporate/commercial region firms. That said, unless the OP's cousin is in London, if she is on 25k she is probably with a relatively large co who have funded her studies. Usually the trainees at these places are super ambitious. It's a long hard slog, being a trainee, and I wouldn't have wanted to take time out during it or right after it as you work so hard to get an NQ role and recognition.

SarahAndFuck Sun 23-Jun-13 20:05:02

Well, she asked, you answered.

What did she say to your reply? Did she think you made a good point or did she tell you to mind your own, once she was aware of your feelings on the subject?

What's made you ask us?

Thymeout Sun 23-Jun-13 20:17:12

This isn't a general thread about the best age to have children. It's specific to the career choice of OP's cousin. And from what posters in the legal profession have said, it would be better for her to wait a couple of years longer.

So no need at all for posters who had children young to feel under attack.


HighInterestRat Sun 23-Jun-13 20:20:32

I think it sounds sensible. Finish training, have few years off having children while young, fertile and healthy and have years ahead of you to establish career with no maternity leave(s) to balls it all up at the point where you are actually going to miss the money because you have a huge mortgage etc. More people should probably do it that way around.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 20:28:07

It was suggested to me at an open day by a member of the firm that as the tc's "worth having" weren't starting for a couple of years I might as well get having children out of the way beforehand.

What did he suggest that you do with the DCs after that Alis? 24hour nanny followed by boarding school grin?

I understand that at one big commercial firm trainees can sleep in the office and are discouraged from going home at all. They have a Dr and dentist on site. They almost appear to be cannon fodder.

It's probably not the best career option for her, but it's her choice and her business. Having had friends working in similar circumstances, I know most of them thought that having a baby in those times would basically ruin their chances, and a couple more years or so would be a lot better.

Madratlady Sun 23-Jun-13 20:41:43

Yabu, it's none of your business.

I met my dh aged 20, we married 18 months later and now after 2 years together I'm pregnant with our first dc. I'll be 23 when the baby is born.

I would be very offended if anyone felt it was their business to tell me that we shouldn't have got married or planned to have a baby just because I wasn't doing things the way they thought I should.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 23-Jun-13 20:43:01

MissBeehiving grin

I didn't follow his advice funnily enough! That was only the year before last,dread to think what kind of advice is being bandied around to unsuspecting Lpc students now!

rockybalboa Sun 23-Jun-13 20:46:05

Course YABU. Mind your own bloody business! If she's just started working as a lawyer then it's fair to assume that she has a fully functioning brain of her own. And even if she didn't it still would be absolutely none of your business. Oooh, your post has made me all prickly with rage!!

Hulababy Sun 23-Jun-13 20:50:48

Not sure where people are quoting this years to qualify stuff.

I read it as the cousin has now finished her degree and solicitors exams, and is starting her training contract - which is two years. So not another 6 years if reading right - just another 2 years, throughout which she will be working as a solicitor and earning a salary.

Regardless of that I think she'd be better to wait a couple of years first tbh. If she wants to get a decent place after her training contract she needs to be in a position to work hard, long hours, be flexible, etc. in order to get herself known, and her position in a firm more fixed. Taking maternity leave so early in her career could well be a big barrier for her, especially in this this field where there is a lot of competition.

Hulababy Sun 23-Jun-13 20:53:16

I assume the cousin must be about to turn 22y tbh though to have finished a degree and done the LPC. DH was 21y when he finished his, but turned 22y that summer.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 23-Jun-13 21:05:27

I'm having my first at 30, if I could go back in time I would have took the plunge years ago.

A couple of years into her career is a good time to have a baby. It is a long term plan, good for her.

TiredFeet Sun 23-Jun-13 21:05:45

yabu. It sounds like she has thought things through, and maybe her priority is babies not her career. It is true that she would be wise to wait until she has qualified as you are more secure with even a little qualification experience under your belt, but I took two years out when I was only one year qualified at it didn't do me any harm at all (in my opinion!), in fact it was the best decision now as the career I have is family friendly so I have interesting work but it is part time and my manager is supportive of having a family (no hassle if ds is ill, for instance). She knows her priorities, and maybe that isn't the glittering career you think she should have, but just because you have 'potential' it doesn't mean you have to fulfil it in the way people expect. I am sure I could be earning £££££ in the city if I wanted to (I certainly had the academic qualifications to open those doors) but it wasn't what I wanted from life, I always knew I wanted to start a family when I was still (relatively young) and I have accepted the 'compromises' in my career that come it with that.

sarahtigh Sun 23-Jun-13 21:09:01

also it is perfectly possible to be in university early by taking a levels early etc

it used to be a requirement in medicine that you could not graduate and register with GMC before 21/22 years old so you could not start medical school at 15/16 even though you might see a 14-16 year old at oxford doing maths at that age but it is highly unusual but starting uni at 17ish is not that rare

expatinscotland Sun 23-Jun-13 21:24:37

She is planning to marry in '1-2 years time'.

I still don't see the issue. In 2 years she will have completed the training and be 24.

He is working on a good wage and will be her husband.

I don't see this as 'too young'.

Too young isn't mid-20s, married, good qualifications and jobs.


Balaboosta Sun 23-Jun-13 21:35:59

Haven't read all the thread but YANBU. There are ways of giving this kind of advice and perspective tactfully. Having a baby is a huge life change and young women are often naive about what's involved. I think it's valid for older women to gently introduce feminist perspectives about childbearing vs. career. I do give this kind advice but qualify it by saying that I personally have struggled with parenthood so I may not be the "best person" to talk to but... Followed by a dose of reality! But I can understand that some people feel yabu. It's not a clear situation but it depends on the relationship you have with the cousin.

Chunderella Sun 23-Jun-13 22:59:12

Two years is fine, but cousin said 1-2 years not two minimum. If they ttc in one or even in 18 months, that potentially leaves the cousin pregnant or on ML when her TC finishes and decisions are being made about whether to keep her on. That's very far from ideal, given the reality of discrimination in the workplace and the current economy. Obviously it may take a while to get upduffed, but at 22 the odds of a quick conception are good!

Annunziata Sun 23-Jun-13 23:02:04

I genuinely can't understand why you would think it's a bad idea. What more do you want them to have?!

Loa Sun 23-Jun-13 23:16:54

IL were teenagers when they had DH.

They told us we were too 'young' to have our first DC - DH was 30 - me only few years younger and we'd been together over 10 years at that point and married a couple of years.

I think finishing the training sound like a good plan but 1-2 year to marry and then trying - likely they'll be mid 20 by then so not that young.

I so wonder if its more about your perception of her as being 'young' rather than her actually being in her mid 20 before they have DC.

HeffalumpTheFlump Sun 23-Jun-13 23:18:23

I'll be 23 when my baby is born and will have been with DH for 5 years. Nice to know i'm wasting all my potential and basically ruining my life. And by the way I'm not naive about the responsibilities of parenthood thanks.

And I'm also quite puzzled as to how the cousin is earning £25k as a lawyer at 21. My brother is 25, went straight to university from school, has reduced his training time by 6months by gaining additional experience and is only just in a paid position. He hasn't taken any breaks from training and still has 18 months left until he qualifies as a fully trained lawyer. I really didn't think it was possible to have come that far by 21. confused She must have gone to uni really young!!

absentmindeddooooodles Sun 23-Jun-13 23:21:41

I had a baby at 21. Yes he was a surprise, but I don't think I was too young at all. She and her partner have good jobs, plan to get married and then have a baby. Sounds like she's got it perfect to be honest. 25 too young????!!! I genuinely don't see how anyone could possibly think that. If she was 16,17 then fine, but really?

lisianthus Sun 23-Jun-13 23:30:16

Annunziata, read Chunderella's posts and the posts of other lawyers on the threads. Unfortunately, the reality at the moment for young lawyers is that if you get pregnant during your training contract, you are unlikely to secure a job at the end of it. If she waits until she (hopefully) gets a job and then her right to maternity leave kicks in, she is less likely to wind up without a job and a corresponding 50% drop in family income.

Seriously, law firms can be really dreadful in the way they treat women having children. I also note (given people are referring to Xenia's rather impressive record of career + lots of children) that Xenia had all her children almost 20 years ago in a different economic climate and I don't know whether she was still at her firm after the fist child or had gone solo by then.

lisianthus Sun 23-Jun-13 23:31:55

That should be Annunziata. It's not her youth that's the issue, it's unfortunately the industry in which she works.

foodtech Sun 23-Jun-13 23:43:19

I got married at 23 and started TTC at 25. Still waiting 5 years later. So no not too young as who knows what life will throw at you.

lisianthus Sun 23-Jun-13 23:43:30

absentminded, the problem is that the cousin doesn't have a good job yet. She has a training contract. A training contract is a contract just for the two years of a young lawyer's mandatory training to become a qualified lawyer. It also functions in most firms as a ferocious competition at the end of which some, not all, of the trainees will be awarded actual jobs.

Getting pregnant can count heavily against getting a job at the end of a TC either because the firm makes the decision that you are not "showing commitment" because you have chosen to get pregnant, (stupid, but happens a lot) or because tiredness, morning sickness, etc make it harder for you to compete with the other trainees who may be regularly working until the early morning (or all night) on deals with short deadlines.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 23-Jun-13 23:58:10

I don't think you were unreasonable, OP. I don't really understand why some posters project their own circumstances onto the scenario you've posted. Everybody makes their own decisions, who else cares what they are? <shrugs>

I think family members should be able to talk to each other and there are some really useful pieces of information on this thread relevant to your cousin's training.

Elquota Mon 24-Jun-13 00:01:16

YABU. She's an adult and can make her own decisions.

louee93 Mon 24-Jun-13 00:02:50

I think its kind of a shame youre posting a thread asking if its okay to judge someones life decisions on a website where women of all ages and walks of life come for support.

sashh Mon 24-Jun-13 06:49:07

Re those offended by your 'too much potential' comment, I tend to agree with you - as wrong as it is, facts tend to show that women's progress career-wise is often negatively affected once they have children (usually because of the attitudes of others) so it's important to be in a strong position before having children.

I disagree. There is a lot to be said for having children early in your career when you have the energy to juggle them with employment.

It's women in their 30s whose career stalls. By the time she is mid 30s her children will be fairly self sufficient, and most people in the work place will forget she actually has them.

Nanny0gg Mon 24-Jun-13 08:58:52

Is there a chance that she started out on a career path she wanted, and had the 'potential' to succeed in, but now her priorities have changed?

raisah Mon 24-Jun-13 09:06:51

I think you are overthinking and she is overplanning tbh. There are no guarantees that any of this will happen as lots of factors can change & influence her decision. You have just gone & put a dampner on her dreams when you should have just smiled and nodded.

Its good that she is planning her personal life because lots of women are delaying it only to experience difficulties conceiving later on. I am sure she isnt going to sideline her career in the process, rather wait to see which one happens first.

Triumphoveradversity Mon 24-Jun-13 09:16:48

I wonder how op's life plan is going? Could there be jealousy?

I was ancient having a child at 35. My sisters had finished all their pregnancies by the time they were 26.

The cousin does not sound irresponsible at all.

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 24-Jun-13 09:20:12

I was going to say yabu until I read that they'd been together for a year.

It's probably going to be controversial on here, but that point alone IMO means yanbu.

I don't think that a year old relationship is long enough to start planning to create another person tbh. You still don't really know a person after a year, so she is bu, regardless of her age.

Feminine Mon 24-Jun-13 09:39:27

A strange thread indeed!

So much anger at what I thought was quite an innocent question.

op shouldn't say it to her cousin , but surely its alright to come here and wonder confused

Actually all you young mums getting worked up , proves that yes, you were not too young to conceive...However maturing as an adult takes a few more years it appears wink

hamilton75 Mon 24-Jun-13 10:20:50

You can't be a qualified lawyer at 21 as others have said. She would be mad to get pregnant during a training contract or soon after imo. She's lucky to have one these days.

I gave up when my eldest was about 18 months, I just couldn't give the long hours any longer and part-time wasn't the done thing. I take my hat off to her if she makes a real go of it with young kids.

mrsjay Mon 24-Jun-13 10:28:14

I dont think this is about the womans career at all the OP says she is too young and should wait and it turned into oh but her career she wont get x yz I honestly think this is to do with the young womans age

MrsHoarder Mon 24-Jun-13 11:38:18

Prettykitty there us nothing wrong with planning after a year. When is it acceptable to discuss yourt life plans with a partner to decide if a life together is compatible?

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