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Health & Spirit

Single-mother-to-be should not delay pregnancy

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Recently you gave advice about how it's "never the perfect time to have a baby," and that's true, but does the calculation change any if you're planning to be a single mom?

I'm 36 and a year ago I broke up with a guy who still needed more time to decide about marriage/children. Since then I've been preparing to have a baby on my own. I've saved money and vacation time, arranged to work at home two days a week, interviewed nannies, picked out a donor.

Now just when I'm ready for the procedure, my mom had a stroke and she and my dad are asking me to hold off. Mom is home, getting physical therapy and not exactly an invalid, but she needs a lot of help for daily tasks. My parents are recently retired and live a few blocks away so they were part of my extended support plan, but I wasn't depending on them for any day-to-day help.

Should I wait? I'm at the age where my fertility is declining rapidly, and having a child, maybe two if things work out, is very important to me. I'm an only child and my parents have always supported me in everything. Should I hold off on my dream a little bit to support them? Of course, that's the problem -- this "little bit of time" is so undefined that it scares me. I'm so torn, it seems like no matter what I do, I'm going to be doing the wrong thing.

 

-- Maybe Baby?

I'm going to do what I really don't like doing, and give you a "do this" answer instead of the usual only-you-know-what's-right-for-you-so-here-are-400-different-variables-to-think-about answer.

Do not wait. I wouldn't if I were you, not at age 36.

Between the getting-pregnant part and the months of being pregnant, you can expect to have the better part of a year before you're caring for a child. That can be enough for you to help your parents quite a bit through this immediate crisis and for their routine to stabilize.

...continued

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