'I had a perfectly good reason to delay childbearing, one that would seem familiar to many of my patients: I was focused on my career. My sister and I were the first in our family to graduate from high school and the first to go to college. I just kept going. My medical degree and specialty added 11 more years to my training, and I simply didn’t allow myself much time for meeting a partner. I convinced myself that my career would be enough; my career would be my child. That all changed when I was 38 years old and my now-husband walked into the room. I don’t regret my decisions, and I am grateful for a job I’m passionate about. I’m glad I waited to find my soul mate. I just never anticipated the sacrifice it would require.'
One of the issues that some women bring to me is “when is the ‘right time’ to have children – should they wait till a certain stage in their career?”. The blogger Grad Mommy addresses this issue in her blog entry on the 20 April 2008:
“There is so much consternation amongst graduate students about when the best time to start a family is. I’ve heard it everywhere along the grad student - tenure continuum: wait until after classes are done, no, wait until you’ve defended your proposal, no, wait until you’ve landed your first position, no, wait until after you’ve gotten tenure. I remember a professor back in my freshman year of college saying, 'There’s never a good time to get married or have children. Just do it.' I followed his advice.”
I agree with this advice. I can understand you might want to defer the decision to have children until you are in a better financial position or more secure in your job, but there is a danger you are waiting for an ideal situation that may never materialize
The reality is something does have to give when you are a working parent. We can all have a working life and a family life. But I’m not going to kid you. You’ll have to make a compromise somewhere along the line. I was speaking to a colleague who has pretty much decided not to have children, but she is interested in fostering. She asked me if I thought she would have to cut down on her weekend working (she is a trainer who trains often at weekend workshops). As much as I wanted to say “Hey, no, of course you’ll be able to foster and keep on working as you’d like.” I had to say yes, if you are going to be a foster parent, it is unlikely you’d be able to work every other weekend.