It feels like the very second after you walk down the aisle and take your relationship to the next level with a verbal I DO and a kiss on the lips at your wedding, people will start asking you the “when will you have kids?” question.
For some couples, having kids is an obvious fast-tracked next step, while others want to throw their hands in the air, and live life alone with their partners for a while before expanding the family.
If we’re going off the standard in this country, couples usually wait about three years after getting married to have their first child. But if we’re looking at the most popular age to settle down and start a family, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control, American women are an average age of 26 when they get married and 29 when they have their first child.
But according to relationship and marriage experts, there are some factors that go into deciding how long you should be married before you bring a child into the mix.
Licensed clinical professional counselor, Julienne Derichs, LCPC, has over 22 years of experience working with couples and says that post-marriage, there are a few factors for couples to consider before getting pregnant.
“Number one is how old they are and number two is how stable they are in their relationship,” says Derichs. “The younger they are the longer they can wait. So if a couple is 18 to 21 years of age, waiting 4-6 years gives them an opportunity to get to know each other and create some financial and relational stability in order to handle the major life transition children bring. If couples are 22-27, they would benefit from waiting 2-3 years in order to get to know one another as a couple and create the safety, security and stability that is required to raise healthy children. After 30 years of age, men and women may begin running into age-related fertility issues which can also inform how long to wait and actually in those cases couples may want start trying to getting pregnant earlier rather then later.”
Putting age aside, Derichs says another important factor for how long two people should wait until they have kids is how mature they and their relationship are.
“How long that takes depends on the individual strengths and weaknesses every unique couple brings to the table,” says Derichs. “There is no harm in waiting and giving your own relationship time to grow before you decide to have children.”
Marriage and life coach, Shellie R. Warren, seconds the idea that your relationship should be at a good place before deciding to have kids.
“If possible, try and have your marriage the same age as a child going to kindergarten or the first grade,” says Warren. “Otherwise, you'll be raising "twins" and could send yourself through tons of unnecessary stress.”
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