For many Americans, the phrase "young single mother" conjures up a picture of a teenage high-school dropout. But that image is out of date. Teen pregnancy rates have been declining for two decades now. Today's typical unmarried mother is a high-school graduate in her early 20s who may very well be living with her child's father.Despite her apparent advantages, however, she faces many of the same problems that we used to associate with her younger sisters. If 30 is the new 20, today's unmarried 20-somethings are the new teen moms. And the tragic consequences are much the same: children raised in homes that often put them at an enormous disadvantage from the very start of life. (more)
I have always made a point of having no regrets about the past. Wait, that makes it sound like I'm somehow choosing to not have regrets. Maybe I am choosing not to, maybe I'm lucky in that I have no reason for regrets.
Sometimes I've wondered: if age impacted my fertility, meaning I could not give birth to my own children, would I regret not having babies earlier? in my 20s for example (I was 31 before we even started trying.) As far as we know, we do not have female factor infertility. But if we found out we did...and if it turned out to be age-related, would I regret "putting off" childbearing until my 30s?
(Saying I "put off" childbearing makes it sound like there were dozens of eligible, attractive, healthy men chasing me around saying "PLEASE HAVE SEX WITH ME. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BE THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN." That was, I'm afraid, not the case at all. So "put off" is kind of an inaccurate term. A more accurate description of the decision would be "recognized that my life was not baby-friendly by any stretch of the imagination, and took steps to ensure there were no pregnancies, for my own good and that of everyone else potentially involved.")
I might have regrets about missing out on my fertile years, but I don't see what I could possibly have done differently. The truth is, I cannot at all imagine myself with children before 25. A pregnancy at that time would have been a disaster. After 25, the notion becomes slightly more palatable, but only slightly. The truth is, it's not until 2 years ago, give or take, that I felt realistically ready for a baby. Even in the months after marriage, I found myself reeling with worry about a possible unplanned pregnancy, because Mr. Turtle and I had not specifically discussed getting pregnant. I seriously considered using Plan B. I decided not to after we talked about it and agreed a pregnancy would not be the end of the world, after all. Oh the irony. Also, Plan B can make you throw up, and I really hate throwing up.
It's hard to sometimes remember that perspective, in the middle of baby- and pregnancy obsession. But I took the choice not to have a baby as seriously as the choice to have a baby.