Is There a "Right" Age to Have Children?

I dragged myself to class, just as I do every day. Sociology of African Americans wasn’t the cla...

black mother and baby
I dragged myself to class, just as I do every day.

Sociology of African Americans wasn’t the class I thought it would be. I could think of a million and one places I wanted to be besides in that classroom. On top of being completely and utterly over school, I forgot that my professor mentioned that we would be having a guest speaker.

If I would have remembered this a little earlier, this might have been the perfect day to skip. But I was already sitting in my usual seat, and I had my computer to keep me busy just in case I wanted to tune out our guest.

“Blacks…racism…white people.” This sounded just like 99% of the classes I had already taken at Howard, and I wasn’t seeing any reason why I should pay attention.

The moment that I did decide to look up, she was drawing a figure of the male genitalia on the chalkboard. She was a much older woman, and I genuinely just wanted to see where she was going with this.

The “she” I’m referring to is Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, author of The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors. Released in 1991, Dr. Wesling explores the ideals of White supremacy over the course of 18 years. Dr. Wesling has been studying racism for 40 years.

After hearing this older woman talk about “balls” it was clear that neither my class nor me were mature enough for her subject matter that day. She went on to enlighten us on the unconscious racial and sexual undertones in the world around us.

The gasps and mouths left ajar were proof that we were in disbelief. She broke down sports, homosexuality and even commercialized holidays that seemed to align with theories of White supremacy. Was this all a coincidence? We didn’t know what to believe and it wasn’t too long before the word “paranoid” started being thrown around the room.

One of her last points seemed to be a lot less cynical but thought provoking nonetheless. “If I could wave a magic wand, I wouldn’t allow Black people to reproduce any time other than the ages between 30 and 35.”

We were all curious as to why she thought Black people should wait that long. Her answer was simple. We needed more time for “self-development.”

Were we that lost? Has our history left us that displaced?

As a child I always had an ideal age of when I thought I wanted to be a mother, but the closer I get to that age the further away the thought of starting a family becomes. Mainly because there feels like so much more that I have to do before fully submitting myself to being someone's mother. So I suppose Dr. Welsing is correct about her self-development theory.

Her target age gives enough cushion to have a lucrative career and lifetime partner. By your 30s you would have had ample time to cross things off your bucket list. Still relatively young, you'd have the energy to keep up with your child from their younger years to their teens. At 18 when they're ready to go off to college, you can still enjoy your money at a decent age.

It's hard to say what the "best" age to have children is, especially when the term "best" is so abstract. Sociologist John Mirowsky conducted a study that pinpoints the "best" ages that apply to the different variables of motherhood. Biologically, the best time is a woman in her 20s. But although a woman in her 20s will be at better odds, a 32 year old has a better chance of having a healthier baby. Contrary to the notion that having a child older is completely dangerous, the longest life expectancy occurs with women who have had their children at 34.

From looking at the research it seems to me that it is more of a woman issue than a Black issue. Any race of woman who will be carrying a child should be considerably "developed."

There may not be a "right" age to have children. Development varies in everyone. The most important thing is to determine what is right for your family.

Related:

The Put Off: Can Love, Marriage and Family Wait?
He's Not Ready For Marriage & I'm Taking it Personal
Yes, Pregnancies Really Can Be Unplanned




Kristin Corry is a Print/Online major studying at Howard University.

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