The stats are in: Not only are less young women having babies than ever before (with 1 in 5 U.S. women having their first baby after the age of 35), but less women are having babies — period.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the national birth rate is down for the third year in a row, and experts agree that it's because of our economy. 20-something women don't feel that they have the financial security to start a family, which is also stopping other women from growing their families. Another possible reason? Having one child is becoming the new norm., especially when parents start stressing over exorbitant college tuitions — heck, preschool tuitions — and the lack of job flexibility. Most families can't survive on one income, leaving the woman to make some pretty serious life choices.
This is something that I can very much relate to, considering my hesitations about expanding my own family. Yet although (a large part of me) is probably compensating for my previous unpreparedness — I need to be ready! secure! sure! — the rational part of me knows that's never really possible. The better part of me recognizes how immeasurably better my life has become, personally and professionally, since becoming an early mom.
But I still find myself looking to our income + budget when considering another child. I still weigh childcare costs and savings accounts. I still get scared about making this very big choice.
How much did you consider finances before having a baby? How important are finances in your family planning? Did anyone else have trouble going from one to two? Or two to three?
Read two sides of the argument (one being mine) over at Being Pregnant.