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Wanting a child at 19!(44 Posts)
Me (19) and my partner (24) want to try for a child, BUT, I keep hearing from left, right and centre that I am too young. However, we both feel we can provide for a child, and with my career that I want to pursue, it's never really going to be a "right time". While I am in university, I am on a course which will have a maximum of 14 contact hours a week (currently I only have 4) so I will have more time than other students to complete work, and I will have the support of my partner and my mother who has agreed to help me out with childcare.
As a couple, we could both financially and emotionally support a baby, and we have live together for nearly a year. I chose to live in halls for this year, but we will be getting on the property ladder next year (regardless of a child). I completely understand that it will be demanding and testing, but some mothers 30+ have to work 9-5, 5 days a week when they have children yet they still do a great job at being mothers!
I don't have a desire to travel, it just doesn't appeal to me. And I don't have a desire to go out partying, it just doesn't interest me even being at uni.
Am I being foolish for wanting a child so early? Does anyone have any advice or experience they could share with me?!
It wouldn't be an age thing for me, it would be an issue because you are still at uni. How can you provide financially for a child while studying?
Is it wide to have a baby while still in this type of education? What about time off you will need, at least to give birth plus hospital appointments? What if you have a terrible pregnancy and are unable to attend uni?
How can your partner do childcare if he will be working?
IMO it doesn't seem the best time to plan to have a baby. Especially as you have your whole life ahead of you.
Hi! Thank you for your reply , I do understand the issues you have raised and it probably isn't the wisest to have a baby whilst at uni, but having said that, but my university does allow for time off for hospital appointments, and we would be planning for a summer baby so I have time to get myself together before the start of next year. My partner makes enough for us to be able to afford rent, bills, a child and then some left over and that's not including my student loan.
If I do have a terrible pregnancy I am lucky that all my lectures are recorded and put online as well as all the power points for me to access, but my course mainly involves me reading, and learning the material myself. My partner can help out with childcare when he comes home from work and he is more than willing to help out with nights etc. Like I said however, I would get help with childcare from my mum when I need to be in university.
I think it will be a shock for you quite how much work babies and small children are. You do realise a young baby needs feeding every three hours around the clock. It's hard to read a book with a crawling baby getting up to mischief. Little babies don't stay small for long.
I suggest you put off trying for a baby until you have finished your degree. You still have time on your hands. You have about twenty years of being fertile.
What do you want to do for a career?
I think you have to be prepared that you might have to have a year out from uni if you had a baby. It depends a lot on the baby to some extent -some will sit in bouncy chair content in day and sleep at night so your plan would be manageable. Some need lots of cuddles/walks and don't sleep (like mine!) In which case you would struggle with the amount of work needed in addition to your contact hours. If your mum can provide childcare for more than time in lectures to let you get studying done every day that could work but you may feel you are missing out on your baby when they are tiny?
Please consider getting married before the birth, to protect yourself in the event of a split.
Also, you say you will be getting on the property ladder next year - so assuming that your partner has a very well paid job and savings - will you be named on the deeds and mortgage?
Finally(!) I am also rather worried that you say your partner is "willing to help out" with childcare - how very big of him. Has that phrase come from you or from him? A child is not something that is your responsibility and he merely "helps out". Does he also consider him doing the housework, cleaning, food shopping, cooking, washing as "helping out" too?
Sorry - too many huge alarm bells here - I know it's not what you want to hear, and I know you think that you will be different (we all did at 19!) but please - listen to us wise old folk on here.
Dh and started trying when I but 19- But a planned and inevitable health implication meant our fertility was rapidly decking. Last chance saloon if you will . I had her at 21.
If there had been any option I would have waited. The first year was easy. Once I went back to uni, the minefield of childcare, study, sleep deprivation etc really hit home. Despite not being a party girl beforehand I then felt entirely isolated from my peers. Socially you WILL be judged. I am still judged 9 years on, and it still hurts. My choice to have dd young gas odd implications I never considered- i don't fit into the mums groups at school- fewer play dates for dd. I'll be a very young grandmother- still in my working life soy relationship with any potential gdc will
Be compromised, as unlike my parents who are slowing down at 55-65, I can't see that 40-50 year olds in my generation will be working less than full whack. I've changed indescribably over the years- honestly at 19, married, mortgaged and living eith do- having lived alone for three years paid bills etc- I thought I was an adult. I wasn't. There's a maturing period through your early twenties that makes so many changes, to who you are, your outlook on life. It's been as train on dp and I - I am not the woman he met ( though thankfully he loves more and I him)
My career is impacted. Employers aren't allowed to discriminate, but a twenty something graduate with childcare constraints and commitments is not as desirable as one who can put their life into their job without compromise to home. I have a great job and career but it wasn't as easy for me as it would have been without dd.
Without real immediate physical reasons to try now- I would wait until after uni. If I could choose the perfect age for me it would have been after uni, after year1 of career progress.
I would also be concerned about the uni thing. Before I had my DS I had no idea how much the sleepless nights would floor me. I naively thought I'd have an excellent sleeper and be able to get loads done. I only realised how bad it was when my manager asked of he could send some documents over to get my perspective on and it took me hours to read them when it should have taken one at most! No way could I have done as well in the type of essays I had to do in my final year if I had been a parent to a baby then. Waiting a couple of years will be well worth it IMHO but that is only my opinion
Dh and I, decreasing not decking- and I give up correcting the rest- my predictive text coupled with vomiting child is too strong an opponent to fight
I teach at a Uni and I would say that pregnancy complications or the aftermath of a newborn are the main reasons given for dropping out/ deferring. You might get lucky and have a dream baby, but you might not. I would wait until at least your final yr before getting pregnant because then at least you can finish your degree.
One of my best friends had her first child at university and her experience sounds like Cookings. I met her when out dc started school and we both had younger dc. However she is almost a decade younger than me and the rest of our group. But at 23 and the mother of a school age child and a sturdy toddler she had nothing much in common with her former friends.
The baby was planned and she was (and is) married but she says looking back that their biggest regret is not doing anything before they had dc. Her dh has never left the country for example. They seem to spend their time now (the dd are 12 and 9) sort of tying to escape from them. They each go out on a week night every week and do quite ordinary things. Like go round to a friends and they take turns to go out to breakfast on a Saturday. Stuff they missed out on.
The problem is that babies are not babies for very long. Soon they are small dc criticising your driving and refusing to eat penne pasta because they only like bow ties.
We started trying when I was 19, I was still training but we knew I had fertility issues and time was limited. We had been married a year and owned our home. DS was born when I was 23.
To be honest fertility issues or not I would have had my family in my early to mid 20s, I am 32 now have been back at work nearly two years have recently been promoted. Delaying a career has not been a problem, my friends who have very young children after working for 10 years for the most part feel their careers have stalled.
Oh, in the nicest way possible, dont do it. I had ds at 19, hardest thing I've ever done. I'd have waited if I could and had more time for us as a couple. Get uni out of the way too as you'll find it harder afterwards. He is 3 now, best and hardest thing I've ever done.
That seems harsh, sorry, id write more but i hate this phone and i have to get ds ready for nursery!
What are you studying? It does seem a total waste of money if you have no intention of pursuing a career afterwards.
I think you both have very unrealistic expectations of having a baby and parenthood, and the fact that you're going to be very heavily reliant on your partner for everything rings alarm bells.
Why the rush?
If you are absolutely sure this is what you both want, and you are a mature person, do it if you want to. You seem aware of the challenges and you have good family support. But it does depend on your being a mature 19 who really knows what she wants, not a lost soul looking for security. We can't know that, only you can. And you and your partner should both be sure you're staying together and very secure together.
I always feel that having a baby young is something that mumsnetters feel is never a good thing-but it can be a perfectly reasonable thing. The fact that you feel you need to ask is a mark against it though.
You do that 14hrs contact time means that the rest of the time pretty much you are supposed to be reading around /study /completing work don't you? First year is generally " a doss" and then the independent study expectations ramp up fast.
Finish uni. and I agree with the get married first bit as well. Give your self as much legal protection as you can in event of a split, and if you aren't going to split then being married is clearly the ideal too isn't it?
Why the rush? Personally I think it's daft. And I had a child (unplanned) at 19.
You WILL have to drop out of uni. I had to do my degree at 22 when my DD was 2 as that was the earliest realistic time I could commit to it, and it still took me a year longer than it should have. The final year was absolute hell, juggling work, kids and uni. The upside is that I do now have a successful career, but if you drop out and don't pick the degree back up (which is a very real possibility) your career prospects will be limited for life. And what if you split from your DP? It's very difficult to know at that age whether the relationship will last and you could find yourself single and without a decent career to provide for yourself.
Please wait until you've finished your degree.
Everyone has made very valid points. I just want to add, I thought I was a grown up/in a solid relationship/ too mature to go out etc at 19. 11 years later (and only now thinking about dcs), I look back and smile at my naive self. That said I all now married to my then boyfriend! though I can say with some certainty that this would unlikely be the case now if we had rushed marriage and children - it would have been too much too young. Please take your time - once you go ahead, you can never go back and the stresses will be huge. You don't want to be in a position where you ever resent your children. Good luck.
I think planning for a summer baby is naive. It could take months or a year to conceive.
Also, is the thought of studying whilst looking after a baby. Do you really know how much time they take up? My first was a Velcro baby, hated being put down and had reflux and colic. Evenings were spent between us pacing around the floor with him, newborns tend to feed every 2 hours all day and all night. The exhaustion is shocking. Yes women go out to work (me included), but my dc are in nursery. When I'm at home I'm playing, clearing up (this is constant) and trying to juggle chores. It's non stop. Oh, and babies grow up. Before you know it you have an active toddler who doesn't nap and you're in the middle of potty training and temper tantrums. DC are amazing but they take up all your time.
IMO I don't understand what the rush is, why not finish uni first.
I had DD not long after I turned 22 (planned, no health issues etc, we just wanted her) and it's been the best thing I've ever done. I love her utterly and wouldn't change her for the world.
I started an access course just after she turned 1. Smashed it, sailed through easily with distinctions across the board. Started uni just after she turned 2, lasted 9 months and then took an interruption that I won't be returning from. Admittedly I was a student midwife which is VERY intense and had limited support but I suspect it's the same story for most degrees. The juggling and the constant guilt nearly drove me insane. There were other factors in my decision but a big part of it was the impossibility of doing anything right. I felt like I was doing half a job of everything (uni, placement, motherhood, keeping a decent house etc) and it was unsustainable. I wish I had sorted out uni, career etc etc first. Having a child has made everything a million times more difficult and I will never have the luxury of being able to sacrifice stability for opportunities.
I was actually pregnant at 19 (ended in MMC) and while it would have been fine had the pregnancy carried to term and I would have done a good enough job, I am a thousand times better mother to DD than I would have been to the first lost baby. I was in a good relationship (then-BF, now DH), financially stable, etc etc but the amount of growing up I did just in those few years in between was unbelievable.
I would definitely say wait, at least until you're in your final year and will be qualified by the time you give birth. You really don't need to rush! I know what it's like, I've wanted to be a mum since forever, but it worked out for the best that it happened when it did.
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