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Unemployed? Perfect Time for Getting Pregnant

By Madeline Holler |

Is now a good time for getting pregnant?

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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About Madeline Holler


Madeline Holler

Madeline Holler is a writer, journalist, and blogger. She has written for Babble since the site launched in 2006. Her writing has appeared in various other publications both online and in print, including Salon and True/Slant (now Forbes). A native of the Midwest, Madeline lives, writes, and parents in Southern California, where she's raising two daughters and a son. Read bio and latest posts → Read Madeline's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Unemployed? Perfect Time for Getting Pregnant

  1. wami says:

    I am unemployed and pregnant. I actually didn’t really plan for it to happen this way — after taking a year off (involuntarily; my husband was laid off, we had to relocate and I couldn’t find a job in my profession in the new place) to take care of our first child, I planned to go back to work. Then found out I was pregnant. Figured I’d be better off just sitting it out for a little while longer than trying to find a job in a state with a 10 percent unemployment rate that would still grant me maternity leave.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I’d get pregnant while unemployed. Pretty big caveat though, I would not do so if my spouse and I were both unemployed. Sure, we’d have to cut spending a lot to live off of just my husband’s income, but it is certainly doable. In my opinion, if you have ZERO income, it is irresponsible to purposely get pregnant.

  3. jenn p says:

    i’ve been unable to work since february due to a work related injury to my wrist. i think this would be the prime time to have a child (i’ve been emotionally ready for five years), but for me, it isn’t as simple as just cutting “the goalie.” getting pregnant costs a lot more for my girlfriend and i, and she isn’t willing to do it until after she goes to and finishes grad school.

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