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Health & Pregnancy

What's the Best Age to Have a Baby?

Whether your clock started ticking early or you're feeling a time crunch at 40, deciding when to have a baby is never simple.
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There's a pivotal scene in the movie Sex and the City 2 where Carrie and Big decide to remain childless. "It's me and you, just us two," says Carrie. Jeremy and I adopted that sentiment, growing comfortable in our fabulous lifestyle. With Jeremy working at The New York Times, we were commuting back and forth between New York and Washington, D.C. every weekend, and the time apart felt exciting and romantic.

But soon, coming home to an empty house every night and cooking dinner for one felt lonely. Work seemed less exciting. We decided I'd move to New York, get off birth control, and see what happened.

Three years later, I still wasn't pregnant. I was kicking myself for not having babies earlier, but I couldn't even consider IVF. I figured if I can't get pregnant on my own, I should listen to my body and accept the fact that motherhood wasn't in the cards for me. I didn't want to fight Mother Nature or shell out thousands for scientific methods. We tried to stay positive in the face of the increased risks - autism, Down syndrome, miscarriage. Yet my doctor assured me I was healthy, and I felt the possible rewards outweighed the risks. Finally, at 39, I got pregnant.

In my 20s and 30s the notion of kids triggered a mini panic attack: Will I ruin my body? Will I ever get promoted? How can we afford it? But I knew I was ready to be a mom at 40 because the thought of kids made me feel calm. And because both Jeremy and I were successful, we didn't have too many financial worries.

I look at my friends in their early 30s who don't have time to read a book for an hour because they're chasing after a toddler. But I've had a few decades to be totally selfish, so I'm OK with the fact that I don't have time to myself. We can't suddenly jet off to Hawaii, but what we have now is so much better.

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