Why We Might Regret Delaying Parenthood
Feminist victory brings physical, financial hardship: Allison Benedikt
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 11, 2012 1:44 PM CST
Having kids later has some serious drawbacks, writes Allison Benedikt.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Having kids later may mark a feminist success, and it certainly gives young couples more freedom. But it carries a heavy price, writes Allison Benedikt for Slate. A New Republic cover story on aging parents has Benedikt reflecting on her own situation: She and her husband are 35 and almost 40, with a third child on the way. But with $5,000 a month gone to daycare, they can't afford a place with more than one bathroom—even though they are, "by the standards of most Americans, rich." If only, she says, "we had started popping out those kids, oh, say, five years earlier, maybe, by 40, my bedroom and my sons' bedroom wouldn't be separated by a fake wall."

And that's just the beginning. The New Republic piece, by Judith Shulevitz, points out the higher risk of genetic mutations in children of older men, not to mention this scary fact: "A mother who is 35 when her child is born is more likely than not to have died by the time that child is 46." Delayed parenthood is essentially "a vast empirical study upon an unthinkably large population" of multiple generations, Shulevitz writes. "Also," writes Benedikt, "remember how there was that one kid in your high school class whose parents were sooooo old that it was weird and creepy? That’s all of us now." Click through for her full column.

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Showing 3 of 84 comments
Liberal-Lib
Dec 25, 2012 6:51 AM CST
I became a father at the age of 32 and I don't regret it at all. At 22 I would have been terribly irresponsible as a parent because I wanted to have fun and play the field. Once I got this out of my system, I married at 29 and waited a few years for parenthood. I'm 49 now and am looking forward to my son's high school graduation this coming spring. He turns 18 in March and I'm happy with the way things came out. Next fall it's off to college fo him. Best of all, because I waited to get married and delayed having a child, my marriage is a successful one and we've been married now over twenty years. What if I'd married someone else ten years earlier and that one ended in divorce? Sure, my kid would be pushing 30 now and the health issues I'm now battling in middle age wouldn't be such an issue, but what about the quality of his upbringing? Doesn't that count? With common sense, exercise and medication I may have another twenty years to live. My wife another 30 or more. If I die when my son is nearly 40, with children of his own, I can say I made the right decision. No, wait... I don't have to wait that long. I know delaying a family was the right decision for me, and I think it is the right decision for a lot of people. Too many kids having too many kids is the problem today.
right2dave
Dec 14, 2012 4:35 AM CST
improvements in rubbers?
Sterdaddy
Dec 12, 2012 11:22 AM CST
I'm 25 and can't even imagine being a father yet, I don't think there is anything wrong with waiting until my 30's to have children. I would never want to bring a child into this world if I wasn't fully prepared to support my child both financially and emotionally. I hate when people put deadlines on things as important as bearing a child. I have several friends my age that have children and they struggle to support the child financially especially when the economy is in the state it's in, and to me that is irresponsible.