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I know I'm not BU (?), but WWYD? Babies vs career/husband.

(88 Posts)
JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 15:33:19

Well, I've just been to my brother's wedding, which was beautiful. His wife is pregnant with their first child, and looked absolutely lovely and so happy. Now, I'm pretty broody and have been for a while (hence the presence on MN), but now isn't a great time for me and DH. I'm guessing that everyone feels a little emotional/excited when a family member is pregnant.

DH and I are both quite young, he has a job that pays a little and I am a post-grad student. Once I've finished my post-grad and got a job, DH wants to do a post-grad too. So, for at least the next 3 years and potentially the next 6, we will (with luck) be solvent but the money will be tight. It's possible DH won't get funding for his postgrad, in which case we can just about cope but there will be no money spare at all, and we will probably need to take out loans.

If we have a baby in a couple of years, the pros are that DH thinks he'll be better able to look after a baby if he's studying, rather than working (this is probably true). And I will, with luck, be earning some money. I would probably have less time for the baby and more demands from work, but DH would feel happier about it.

The cons are that I will be trying to get my career off the ground and will have a small baby - and DH won't be able to do all the care (nor would I want him to). At the moment, I am studying but am well ahead with my work, so could probably afford more time now than I could later.

I don't think there's a 'right' answer, but I'd appreciate any advice you can give. I should also say, so that you know, that part of my broodiness comes from the fact that when I was 18 I was expecting a baby, and my parents insisted I have an abortion, which I was very sad about. I suspect I am partly reacting to that, as I was so happy to be pregnant then.

Would be very grateful for thoughts/advice/perspective.

JustDoMyLippyThenWeWillGo Thu 13-Jan-11 15:39:46

Well, my advice would be to crack on and have babies now! There is always a reason not to have a baby, no matter how old you are, but imo you are lucky enough to be young and in a position to have a family. You never know what will happen in the future. Also, it may well be easier to get your career off the ground and keep at it if you have kids now and then can concentrate on work when they are older than to take a career break and expect to get back at same level, etc. I had my first when 38, due to my circumstances and so wish had been able to do so earlier. Each to their own tho.

birthdaychick Thu 13-Jan-11 15:41:22

There is never a right time and you may wait for a perceived better time and you may struggle to conceive, relationship may have broken down, all sorts of things. You sound like you're ready and your dh is too (possibly). As someone who had their first child at 31, second at 35, I would advise the earlier the better to start.
I think about this a lot, what advice would I give to my girls and I honestly that younger is better.

winnybella Thu 13-Jan-11 15:44:26

Tbh there isn't a right time to have a baby. You're always studying or trying to get up the career ladder...Hmm, not sure if it's the right place to ask, but didn't you have some issues with your DH? Are you sure you want to have a baby with him? Sorry if I'm being inappropriate.

But,perhaps it would be better to have a baby now, while you're studying?

NicknameTaken Thu 13-Jan-11 15:45:13

How old are you?

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 15:45:17

Thanks justdo and birthday.

I think the problem is, how do I put my point across to DH without sounding as if I am pressurizing him? He has just turned 24 (I'm 26), so it is really pretty early for him.

I am really grateful for you advice - hoping also some people who had children at my age/younger will comment too and give us the other side of the story.

NinkyNonker Thu 13-Jan-11 15:46:12

Imo I too would crack on. Only cause I would rather fit work round family than the other way around. But it is very hard I know,took us a while to decide.

BluddyMoFo Thu 13-Jan-11 15:46:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 15:48:54

winny - it's fine here. I do have issues with DH some of the time, but they are (as far as I can see) issues that need resolving, rather than deal-break issues, if that makes sense?

nickname - I am 26; DH is 24. I think he feels very much too young for children, and it is quite likely that if we had children now, both he and I would be less successful. I'm not sure if that's a gamble I should take or not (bearing in mind I would like a career, I am not unambitious and I find it annoying to see how many women in my field aren't made able to have careers once they have children).

MumNWLondon Thu 13-Jan-11 15:48:56

How old are you?

We were 20 when we met and 22 when we got married but waited until our careers were sorted/we'd saved some money. DD was born the month I turned 29 and I'm glad we waited, has made everything so much easier.

We'd bought a house, I had a job I could do part-time, DH was well paid, we had savings etc etc.

charliesmommy Thu 13-Jan-11 15:49:27

how long have you been together?

NicknameTaken Thu 13-Jan-11 15:50:12

If your DH is any way reluctant, I'd be inclined to give him a bit more time, tbh.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 13-Jan-11 15:51:20

I think you should look into the funding conditions of your PhD with regards maternity, I wish I had had a baby during my PhD as towards the very end (less than 6 months to go) you will not be able to have a baby without a large gap between PhD and first job and no maternity pay options. I think it is easier (practically) to have baby mid way, go back and finish PhD then straight to job. You are more employable as considered current, you will not have to worry about taking maternity from job before 6 months work has elapsed.

The people I know who had babies during their PhDs also finished on deadline, as they were able to do a bit or work here and there during maternity. You should write down a five year plan and assume that somewhere you are going to have a year off to make it six and then figure the best place to have that year. That is a better way to look at it than looking at the problems of doing it now.

On a side note, I don't think your DH should consider post grad without funding, it isn't just the lack of a stipend, the fees are enormous and the employment potential for unfunded PhDs is lower as only the student really thought it worth doing. He should at least wait a year or two and keep applying if he doesn't get it straight away, the difference it would make is enormous.

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 15:52:09

Bluddy, that's pretty much how I'd feel, except he is quite young and I do understand him not wanting them yet.

I'm also thinking (and I bet you all know what this is like, so please comment): I think I want a baby. I was pregnant and had that hormonal feeling that everything was wonderful and I very much wanted this baby, so I may be reacting to that. But, I don't know how you tell whether just wanting a baby is enough - or if, if I had a baby, I might not think I'd made the wrong choice and resent him/her?

My mum (who was very much against me having a baby, and still is), had us and didn't have a career: she regrets it very much. I don't want to repeat that pattern.

NicknameTaken Thu 13-Jan-11 15:54:32

It depends a bit on the field, though, Runner. In some areas, unfunded PhDs are the norm.

Snuppeline Thu 13-Jan-11 15:55:19

How old are you exactly? Speaking as a part-time student and full-time employee with a young dd, I would much prefer just working to being a student and having a child. If child is ill you can get sickdays, its not that feasible to change exam times and other deadlines and its a lot harder studying with a child around than you think, particularly a baby/toddler/pre-schooler. A child will change your life for ever but I've yet to meet someone who hasn't been able to deal with challenges they face with regards to work/studies/child care or whatever. We all just get on with it. I would if your young though reconsider waiting a couple of years (basically doing the second option; you in a job, dh doing degree) though depending on your age I would perhaps, if I were you, wait until dh had done his degree and got a job too. I understand its hard to deal with abortion though. If your a student there's normally student coucillors on campus you can speak too, might do you some good.

NicknameTaken Thu 13-Jan-11 15:55:56

You might want to have a look on the "student parents" section too.

ChessyEvans Thu 13-Jan-11 15:58:05

Agree with Nickname, it's such a huge decision and you would both need to be behind the idea to prevent any resentments in future. I am 28 (nearly 29) and just pregnant with my 1st - we waited so that I am settled in a career where I will get maternity benefits and will be able to return to work after the baby (rather than have to start looking for a 1st job having had a year out).

Agree with others though, there never is a 'right' time. It will work out fine whatever happens - and mother nature may have her own ideas about how long you will need to wait anyway!

I thought I would be quite an old mum but I think the most recent stats are that 29 is the average age for pregnancy. So you have a few years yet if you want them! smile

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 16:00:20

charliesmommy - we've been together for 2 and half years; married in August last year. Not long!

runner - I believe my PhD gives you (unpaid, of course) maternity leave. At the moment, however, I am well ahead with my work (I have written drafts of all but one chapter, and am in my second year), so could take the time to have a baby - but it's not just my decision and I do not quite trust my instincts.

Re. my DH's postgrad: at the moment, he doesn't want to do one as he is a non-EU student and would get higher fees. Of course, as we are married he will soon change status and will be allowed to apply for lower fees. He won't do the postgrad until then. In his and my area (Arts), it is quite common to do an unfunded MA on the expectation that you will do a funded PhD. I did this myself, as I only got a high 2:1, not a first - but because I got a distinction in my MA, I have PhD funding. As we do Arts subjects, funding is not easy to come by. As I understand it, it is better to do the MA at a good university unfunded, than to do one at a poor university with funding - because the PhD is more expensive, and you're more likely to get funding if your MA was from a prestigious place.

Does that make sense? If we are wrong I would be really grateful if you'd give some advice about it, as we'd love to do this as cheaply as possible.

Wirlies Thu 13-Jan-11 16:00:31

I had my first (of 4) at 24 (nearly 25), husband was (and is!) two years older. 15 years on I'm delighted to have had them all when I was young - even though I actually struggled at the time as all my 'mum' friends were at least 30, so felt quite young.
But now they're all jealous that I'm only 39!

I've not got a full blown career in the same way that I might have done if I'd waited longer, but I have done various courses and trained as a counsellor over the years, which works really well with school etc, so for me its worked out really well and it didn't matter that we didn't have loads of money ( and still don't!)

Hope that helps.

iskra Thu 13-Jan-11 16:04:37

I had mine at 24, my partner was 26. I'm only 27 now & she's only 2.5, so I don't feel yet that I can look back & say whether it was a good decision or not (the pregnancy was unplanned). However, I certainly have felt very out of kilter with my cohort. For me & my peers, having a baby now has been very unusual. I do sometimes feel very conscious of the fact that all my friends are getting ahead in their careers & I have an intimate knowledge of the local playgroups instead. But that is of course also as a result of choices I have made to spend more time at home. Concern over my career has definitely felt like the biggest downside to having a baby first, but in 10 years time hopefully I won't feel like that!

PiggyMad Thu 13-Jan-11 16:05:08

I'm 26 and currently doing a PhD. We're getting married in March and will be ttc straight away.
My reasoning is that I will get maternity leave with the funding so will be fine financially and I would like to have something to go back to - rather than waiting until finishing the PhD, then having a baby and then getting a job. I also think it will be easier to do the PhD part-time as I know where I am with it and am pretty much on target to finish just after the funded period.
Good luck in what you decide!

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 16:07:28

Thanks snuppe. If you want exact ages, I am 26 and 3 months, and DH is 24 and a few days!

We would not have exam deadlines, so that is not a problem. We would have deadlines for handing in work, but these would be more gradual - it'd be possible to hand an essay in a week or so earlier if that worked better, and extensions are often allowed too.

The thing is, if we waited until both I and DH were finished with degrees, I would be at least 31/32, and perhaps older - and also, we would be at a stage when taking maternity leave would be the kiss of death for my career, so I'd have to either postpone further, or be very sure DH could do the childcare.

Thanks so much for your thoughts, it is really good to get a sense of what the pressures are.

Just to clarify: I am not pregnant now! We are just thinking things through.

Nickname - yes, I sometimes look at student parents, but they seem almost all to be at different stages from me, unfortunately.

chessy - thanks, that's encouraging! smile

JaneS Thu 13-Jan-11 16:09:45

* - sorry, not to imply 31/32 is old (!), but only that if I or DH then wanted to take 5 years or so establishing a career, I worry that the window might close ...

yama Thu 13-Jan-11 16:15:03

For me, the fact that I had/have a job (I love) to go back to has allowed me to enjoy my maternity leaves. I was 29 when I had dc1.

Not sure what to advise as you would be older than this when your career is established.

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