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Bucking the trend: Having kids in our 20’s

My name is Olga and my husband’s name is Andrei. There’s been so much in the news these days about people waiting to have kids until they’re in their 30s and 40s. We did it differently and want to share our story. Andrei and I grew up in the same mid-sized city and we went to the same high school but our paths didn’t cross until we were 17 and I ended up volunteering to walk abandoned dogs for the animal shelter. It turns out Andrei worked part-time at the animal shelter and was as crazy about dogs as I was. As we got to know each other a bit more, it turned out we had a lot in common. Andrei’s parents and mine both came from Eastern Europe and immigrated when they were in their early 20’s. We also liked the same music and a lot of the same sports. It sounds like a total cliché but I fell in love with Andrei pretty quickly. We had the same values and seemed to want the same things in life.

When we graduated from high school, Andrei apprenticed to become an electrician. I took some University transfer courses at a local college and worked part-time in a daycare as well as other odd jobs. After Andrei was a year into his apprenticeship, he proposed. We were married about 8 months later on a gorgeous and sunny day in July. We were both 22. Our wedding gifts to each other was a puppy from a litter of dogs that had been abandoned at the animal shelter! We weren’t parents to the dog for too long before our discussions turned to having kids. We had already talked about children, and knew we wanted at least 2 kids. But by that time I also knew I wanted to go to nursing school, which would take at least 4 years of full-time study for me. We wondered if we should wait to have kids until after I finished school and Andrei finished his apprenticeship and was making more money. We saw how great it was to have younger parents with lots of energy to spare. We also wanted our parents to enjoy being grandparents while they were still young and active. We both remembered growing up without some of the luxuries that other kids had, since both of our parents moved here with very little, but overall, our best childhood memories were of being surrounded by family and friends even if we were in our brothers’ or sistsers’ hand-me downs. We weighed out all the pros and cons and talked to our family for some outside guidance and support. Our parents were thrilled with the idea of becoming grandparents because they firmly believe family is the most important thing in life.

Finally, we made a decision – we would try to get pregnant, and I would wait until later to go to nursing school. Sure, with this scenario, I wouldn’t have a paid maternity leave, but I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving my job, or being passed up for promotions because I had to go on maternity leave. Sure, I’d be pursuing my education later, but by then our kids would be in school and I’d have more time to study and go to class during the day. And we wouldn’t have the costs or hassle of daycare.

We started trying to get pregnant soon after we made our decision and were excited to learn that I was pregnant after only 4 months of trying. On November 1st, 2011 we welcomed our beautiful daughter Savana into the world and into our hearts. Sometimes it’s exhausting but we’re having a blast being parents. Andrei is a fabulous dad. He can’t wait to pick her up and spend time with her when he gets home from work. He doesn’t even mind getting up in the middle of the night to comfort her if she’s had a bad dream. And now, a year and a half later, I just found out that I am pregnant with our second! I think Andrei is secretly hoping this one will be a boy but I don’t care – I just want a healthy baby!

You might wonder what it’s like not to have our freedom or the kind of money so many of our childless friends have. Honestly, it’s just fine. We’ve learned how to budget and don’t feel like we’re losing out on anything. There will be plenty of time when our kids are grown to travel and explore the world. We both have the time and energy now, to devote to being parents and we’re happy not to have to rely on other people to raise our kids. Our decision to have kids when we’re younger might not fit for other people, but it definitely has been the right decision for us. 

Share your thoughts on Olga and Andrei’s story in the comments section below, or submit your own fertility story here.

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