Evaluating If You Want a Child

Choosing to have a child is a complicated decision, one women have been dealing with ever since they were able to control their fertility. Not all women are meant to be or want to become mothers. Sometimes it may seem that society simply expects you to have a child. You've probably dealt with relatives and friends asking when and if you'll have children. By the time you reach age 35, the questioning can get a bit old!

Deciding whether or you not want to become a mother is a personal decision and one that you must make on your own or with your partner, if you have one. What's right for other women may not be right for you, and you must make a choice that will help you shape your life the way you want it.

Tick, Tock

When you are over age 35, you may feel pressured to make a decision and make it quickly. After all, you think, that biological clock is steadily moving forward. However, this is a decision that can't be rushed and must be made in its own time. You need to look at your life as a whole and evaluate what you really want, what will truly make you happy, and what elements of your life are non-negotiable. While it is true that women have a limited window of fertility, it is also true that women are having children at later stages of life now more than ever. The last thing you want to do is rush into something without examining your true desires.

What to Consider

Having a baby is a momentous occurrence that will influence every single area of your life. It is truly a life-changing event, one that most women who choose to follow that path find changes things for the better. Becoming a mother alters who you are forever and reconfigures your life permanently. Sound scary? It is a bit, but becoming a mother also changes your life in such a way that you simply can't and wouldn't want to imagine life without your child.

At this stage in your life, though, this is a choice that you want to think through completely.

As a parent, you will experience changes in all aspects of your life, including these:

  • Finances

  • Career

  • Living arrangement/housing

  • Free time

  • Friendships

  • Family relationships

  • Long-term goals and plans

  • Energy

  • Emotions

  • Health

You need to weigh the considerable impact a child will have on these areas of your life and decide if these changes are ones you want to have in your life. It's okay if you decide that you don't want to live a life with the changes a child will bring; many women make that same choice and live a happy and completely fulfilled life. You must make a decision that is right for you.

Child-free living is a growing trend. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1975, about one in eleven women were living a child-free life by the age of 44. But by 1993, that number had risen to approximately one in six. At that time, 34.9 million American families were child free, and only 33.3 million families had a child under the age of 18.

Your Various Options

If you think you are interested in having a child, you have many, many options available to you. You can have a baby the traditional way, through a pregnancy with your partner. Traditional pregnancy doesn't work out for everyone, and you may decide you don't want to follow that route. There are other options available to you if you reach one of these conclusions. You can also adopt a baby, use insemination, use an egg donor, use a surrogate, or adopt an older child.

If you love children and want them to be a part of your life, there are other options and considerations. One choice is to become a foster parent. Foster parents provide loving homes for children who are removed from their parents' homes due to abuse or neglect. Foster parents care for the children until they are returned to their parents or until they are freed for adoption.

Learn more about foster parenting through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, online at www.davethomasfoundationforadoption.org or by phone at 800-275-3832. Get more information about Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America at their Web site www.bbbs.org and use their locator to find your local agency.

There are also Big Brother/Big Sister programs that pair adults with kids who need guidance and friendship. Many schools have mentoring programs where adults help kids read, assist with homework, teach the basics of business, or just provide support. You might also consider a career change so that you could become a teacher and work with children every day.

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