A lot of women who hope to someday become mothers ask themselves when they should start having kids. Before they’ve established their careers? After? Skip the career altogether (skip motherhood altogether?)? There are good arguments to be made for each of those options and no real data to back up one over the other.
But one thing is for certain, right? No matter where you are in the whole process, this recession, now is not the right time to be getting pregnant. Especially, especially, if you’re currently unemployed.
Wrong. At least that’s what Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, thinks.
Trunk is no back-to-the-kitchen, kids above all else cheerleader either. She famously Tweeted her miscarriage — and her relief of its occurrence — to the outrage of many.
She’s also not hoping your partners will stay home with the kids after you give birth (her ex- did that and it ruined them.) She’s not hawking baby products or services, so I say we should at least give her unconventional family planning advice a listen.
Here’s her argument:
1. If you’re debating between graduate school (or travel) and having a baby, definitely have the baby. The baby also costs money but you’ll get the pregnancy and baby years out of the way and (my words) live like a Swede (without the supplemental income, of course). Also? Graduate school rarely pays off.
2. Having a baby decreases women’s earnings more than men’s. It’s just a fact. So nothing from nothing leaves? Well, NOT leaving the workforce once you’re back in (because you got the pregnancy and time-off-tempting baby years out of the way) your earnings take less of a hit.
3. You’re only getting older and your biological clock doesn’t stop ticking when the pink slip shows up. Get pregnant while your eggs are still good! Here Trunk quotes a friend about losing baby weight after her first kid: don’t bother until your second child is born. In other words, don’t go through unemployment barren only to get a job and start/re-start a career and a year later ask for maternity leave.
Huh. So maybe reasons for this new baby bust — following an unexpected tide of little baby boomers — is ignoring the reality of kids, timing and careers. Sure, there’s the small matter of healthcare — if you’re not working, you might not be enjoying health insurance coverage. And if she doesn’t want you to go into debt for graduate school, she couldn’t possibly argue you should pay for an epidural out of pocket either.
Her argument is based on the assumption that, eventually, you will be employed. For non-risk-takers, that’s a tough bet to double-down on. But if future employment and career advancement seems like, is in your nature, is something you’re decently prepared for, I say what the heck. Pull the goalie and see what happens.
What do you think? Good advice? Would you have a baby while you’re unemployed?
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