Because Biology Is Not Feminist, My Friends

What comes first? The baby or the career?

Mother playing with son |

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Let's rewrite that age-old adage shall we?

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes career, then comes the baby carriage.

Except it doesn't always go that way. For some of us, it may look a little something like this: first comes love, then comes the baby carriage, then marriage, then another baby carriage, then one more baby carriage and then, finally, the career.

Ducks in a row?

When I found out that I was pregnant at the age of 21, unmarried and still a senior in college, to say I panicked would be a bit of an understatement. I was terrified, ashamed and thought for sure that my life was officially over before it had even began.

I had precisely zero ducks in a row when it came to my life plan of traveling, enjoying newlywed bliss and building up a great career that I loved, but much to my great surprise, it all worked out better than I could have ever planned.

Climbing the career ladder

Contrary to what I thought, having a baby before I felt "ready" didn't hold me back from the career I dreamed of. Instead, having my daughter prompted me to pursue my dreams even more and knowing that I had another little person to depend on me only helped propel me forward to the life I always envisioned — as a full-time freelance writer. And the more I connected with other mothers who had babies before their careers, the more I realized that I was not alone. There were thousands of women, like me, who found that somehow, having the baby before the career was actually the smartest career move we ever made. Having our babies first allowed us to discern what we really wanted, not lose "momentum" in our field and have the ability to focus on reaching our goals as quickly as possible.

Mother Nature

And as it turns out, having babies earlier rather than later might make sense from a practical standpoint too, simply because fertility is generally higher when you're young. Like TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, who recently went on record saying that women should skip right to the baby-making and understand their fertility if having a family is important to them. We can't all be guaranteed to find a partner and be financially ready for a baby at 21, of course, but what if we are looking at our lives in terms of what makes sense for our bodies and our careers?

Maybe we need to rethink the placement of that baby carriage.

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Tags: career

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