Starting Young

In 1970, the average age of first-time American birth mothers was 21. Today, it’s 26 as many women delay childbirth to pursue career.

To enjoy the same access to education and professional advancement as men, young women often feel pressured to delay motherhood.

Some women are bucking the trend.

Racheal Cook, MBA, Intuitive Business Strategist, founder of The Yogipreneur, and mother of three, remembers accepting a position with a financial planning company, and a devastating meeting with her boss shortly after getting married.

“He was asking about my personal and professional goals for the next few years,” she tells PINK. “I told him I planned to start my family by the time I was 26.”

He looked straight into my eyes and said, “‘You’d be better to wait until you’re 35 to start thinking about kids.'”

“Friends, family, strangers – they all give you looks and ask questions, as if you’re somehow ruining your life,” adds Claudia Jeffcoat, managing editor of a digital magazine, also a mother of three.

“No one likes to hear that and it was definitely discouraging. The thing is, no one is ever really ‘ready’ for kids.”

They agree starting a family during your twenties doesn’t have to mean career suicide.

Cook and Jeffcoat negotiated flexible work arrangements and worked in the corporate world during their pregnancies. Both also moved forward professionally after the birth of their children.

Jeffcoat insists, “When we start speaking up and negotiating for what we really want, I think we will see more reform in the workplace for upwardly mobile moms.”

Bonus PINK Link: Controversy looms as Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer bans work from home.

Have you put off children to advance your career?

By Alison Richter

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” Eda J. Le Shan

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