The headline certainly draws you in: “Don’t Call Me Grandma: Births to ‘Older’ Moms on the Rise.” The report from NBC News highlights the growing trend of women over age 35 who are having their first baby.
Delaying pregnancy has become the new normal, and there are many reasons why this is so. First of all, men and women are both marrying at an older age. Another reason is many people – most markedly, women – are pursuing college or advanced degrees that pressure them to dedicate time to developing their careers instead of starting a family. The demands of their profession are even causing some women to freeze their eggs so they can “free their careers,” as a recent article in Business Week put it.
Things to consider when choosing to start a family
Where does this leave the Christian husband and wife who are weighing when to start trying for a baby? I know that, for my wife and me, we waited until we were a bit older before we started a family. When we look back on that decision now… perhaps we would’ve chosen to start earlier.
How about the single Christian woman? Maybe she’s someone who desires marriage and motherhood, but there’s no acceptable suitor in her life. What might she want to think through as she considers applying for graduate school?
For those grappling with this decision, there are three things worth contemplating.
- Scriptural principles
The Bible is silent on any direct mandate on when to start a family, but it does provide principles that help shape our thinking on the topic. We see again and again in Scripture that children are a blessing and, barring situations where a couple is unable to have children, procreation is a natural result of marriage.
- Biological reality
Changing family trends and financial concerns do little to modify human biology. Despite medical advancements, the fact remains that it’s harder for women over age 35 to get pregnant. As a piece for CNN.com “The ‘Big Lie’ in putting off pregnancy” explained, it’s a myth that women “can delay motherhood until they are emotionally and financially ready.” In other words, medicine and science may not be able to save the day.
- God’s specific leading
Our Heavenly Father loves us and cares deeply about our lives. No prayer request is too big or too small to bring to Him. As such, “let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,” like it says in Hebrews 4:16, and ask God to guide us and give us wisdom in our everyday lives and decisions.
Ultimately, when to start our families is largely a matter of Christian freedom – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask the Lord to guide our paths in such an important endeavor.
I’m interested in learning what you think.
Do you believe there are legitimate reasons for Christians, once married, to delay having babies?
I’d like to hear your story and how you and your spouse have approached this subject.