When Do You Let Baby “Bump” Your Career?

When my BFF heard the news about Beyonce’s pregnancy, she instantly got excited.

But not really for Beyonce.  No, she got excited…for ME.


She explained her logic by saying that this gave her hope that one day I might put a baby on my priority list. Something akin to me seeing the ultimate career chick (Beyonce) breaking out her baby bump might inspire me to think that I, too, can be very focused on my career without ignoring the fact that I’m getting into my prime baby-making years.


Damn, I can’t believe I just wrote “prime baby-making years”

But it’s true. As women we have this freaky, scary knowledge that we have a major deadline in our lives that all of the career advancement and technology can’t change.

If you want a child, you can’t wait forever to do it.  But if you want to build a fab career, you can’t wait forever to do that either. Which one becomes top priority? Which one wins?

Beyonce has had a ton of success before the age of 30. She could decide she never wants to make another song again, and retire on top. I doubt she will do that, but the rest of us, the chicks who don’t have any gold records (yet), have to think about how far we want to go in the career game before we put it on a pregnant pause.

Sure, there are a ton examples out there of women who have the families, the careers, all seemingly fabulous. And maybe we can have it all, we sure as hell like to strive for it, but I  am not convinced it can be equal. At some point you have to put something first. We are afraid to find out that “balance” just might be a myth.

I remember back in the day when 27 seemed like the perfect age to get married. I thought married by 27, and kids by 28. It seemed like the natural order of things. You do this. Then you do that. The “that” usually comes with a diaper.

But something changed for me around 22. I graduated from college, I started working, I started enjoying life on an adult level. Marriage at 27 started to seem a bit young to me. That’s a whole lot of commitment to make.  A baby before 30 seemed like crazy talk, and sometimes my friends and I start to whisper the thing a lot of women still don’t really talk about:

“What if I don’t really want kids?”

We are the generation that grew up with the Sex and the City reruns that made it seem like the single, career life is the THING to do.  Those chicks were always clamoring after two things:  career advancement and a man.  Charlotte was the only one of the girls who clamored for a baby.  And we all remember the episode when Miranda, who worked 70 hour weeks, desperate not to have her son forget her, plastered her face on his mobile.

Yikes. And hell, she had a nanny.

Judging from the Twitter reactions last night, a lot of Gen Y women are excited for Beyonce’s growing little B. Maybe it’s because since 1999 she has been in our lives in some form or another. Dancing, singing, running the world. She’s become a sister in our heads. And maybe, just maybe, part of our excitement was because now we wonder if we can do it too. If we can work our ass off to develop our careers, and then take that pregnant pause while we still have the bodies that are ready and willing to support it.

I didn’t tell my BFF, but I thought about it too.

I know there are some women out there who do not want kids. And there are some out there who know that is the next step for them.  Then there are the women that are like me. The “on the fence” girls. The “sometimes I want one, sometimes I don’t” girls. The girls who look at the childless career women in their lives and wonder if they ever want more? Wonder what they will do when they are old, gray, and not working anymore? The girls who look at the women juggling it all and wonder if they ever wish they had less?

I was there when my BFF had her third child. I saw this beautiful little baby come into the world. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I promised her that I would be there. And for 9 months I stressed out about how I could possibly make it on time from New York to Tennessee. I took two weeks off from work in anticipation of when it would happen. But of course, the BFF’s contractions kicked in a week before my perfectly planned vacay time. I jumped on a last minute flight, called out sick to work, and hoped like hell that the baby would come sometime between Saturday(the day I got there) and Tuesday (the day I was scheduled to fly back to the city). Madyson was born that Sunday. And thinking about that moment when I saw her little body emerge into the world still brings tears to my eyes, even though it’s almost 2 years later.

That moment was perfect. It was beauty and love. I didn’t have a care in the world. For the first time ever, I was able to see what is truly important in my life.

Do I want a moment like that of my own?  A moment that is naturally created without the aid of technology because I stopped my own grind long enough to let it happen?

I still don’t know. But Beyonce in her usual, oddly inspiring way, let me know that if I want to go for it, there is nothing wrong with doing it while you are at the top. Somewhere between achieving a lot, and achieving a lot more, maybe it’s possible to stop, and let another definition of success into your life.


****Would love to hear your thoughts.And as usual, if you liked this post, pass it on to your peeps. Also, check out the blog on Wednesday for a guest post by a reader who had to reformat her career plan when her baby bump came along and changed her game.


  1. Yogi says:

    when I was 18 (many moons ago) my plan was to be engaged by 28, married by 30, first child by 32….and I wanted 2-4kids…well that has def. changed. Sometimes the more I’m around other people’s kids the less I want kids of my own. 38 sounded like a good time to think about having babies simply because, #1 I am just getting my career off the ground (late bloomer) #2 I want marriage before the baby carriage, & #3 I want to be married a few years before kids…well my bf & I have been doing the marriage/baby talk & he wants to be a “young” dad so he’s expecting kids soon like in the next 3-4yrs…so its like something to really think about, I didn’t really have baby (nor a hubby) in my 5yr plan it was all about me and my career. actually the thought of motherhood scares me I’m not sure if i’m cut out to be a mom, my patience is very thin ha! But also the possibility of having kids in the next few years is another “push” to get my business up and running successfully so that I can quit my 9-5 & be a work at home mom!!! Women are superhumans we are equipped to handle some of the toughest things in life and still manage to walk away with a smile so I believe that you can have it all but it won’t be easy, peasy!!

  2. Amanda G. says:

    As Jessalyn asked, are you reading my diary?? Until about a month ago I thought I wanted kids, not now but eventually, maybe around 30 or so my husband and I would start a family but I admit sometimes the Baby Fever kicked in. Then a month ago I babysat a toddler and I HATED it. The toddler was cute and adorible but the whole time I watched her I felt like I was in a prison, like I was trapped. I was shocked by these feelings and of course my mother reassured me that it’s different when it’s your own, but still I kept thinking “this is NOT what I want now, and I don’t know if I’ll ever want this” but for now I’m just trying to focus on doing the things I want to do and if the baby fever comes back the hubbie and I will have that baby discussion again then. Thanks for the wonderful post.

    • Amber J. says:

      LOL! I must admit, babies have been getting cuter to me. But I saw a really cute puppy the other day and got waaay more excited. I was like, “Well, I know what kind of kid I am ready for!”

  3. GG says:

    Great topic. I’m almost 34 and didn’t even realize what I wanted to do with my life until I was on my second child. Now I have three and I struggle to find the time for everything I want to do. Raising a family, paying bills, investing time in developing myself in ways that I wasn’t….enlightened enough to do before I had kids… It can all be very overwhelming. I don’t have the answers, but I can say that everything happens for a reason and that I truly believe that it ALL can be done. As women, we really can do everything we dream to do, we just can’t do it all at once, all in one day like sometimes we’d like. I believe that my kids helped me to grow up and find myself. Now, they’ll get a front row seat to seeing mommy accomplish all the things she wants in life. sometimes I wish that I’d gotten all this “me” stuff out of the way first…but if it was meant to happen that way, then it would have. So, I just roll with it. That’s all any of us can do!

    • Amber J. says:

      Love it! Thank you for dropping that inspiration GG! I’m sure your little ones are as cute as can be. And I’m sure they will be inspired by your striving. Get it girl!

  4. Jessalyn says:

    First of all, are you reading my diary? Actually I don’t have a diary but it’s like you typed up a copy of my thoughts.

    Like you, like a lot of us, I go back and forth on the baby issue. Do I want kids at all? Usually, the answer is “No…at least not right now, though I reserve the right to change my mind.” I see some parents doing it all wrong (in my opinion), raising little monsters and I cringe at the thought of babies.

    Then I see someone like Beyonce or Michelle Williams or other non-famous cool people who I respect that DO have babies AND lives and think, “Oh, you don’t have to give up on life to have a child. Maybe I could do that.” And for half a second I picture my husband carrying a baby and I have to ignore my ovaries’ screams, lol.

    I am very aware of the fact that we’re in our “prime baby-making years” and I do believe that having it all is impossible. You can have most of it – not all of it but THAT’S OK. Finding out what you want most is part of the journey. (Listen to me…you’d think I knew what I wanted. I don’t.)

    Besides career concerns, I just don’t feel like a mom yet. Mom seems like a title for someone much older than me. I don’t feel like I’m at that stage in my life emotionally. Maybe one day I will and my concerns about career and age and all of that won’t be concerns anymore. Maybe that day will never come. All I know is, it’s not today.

    I leave you with an article I totally stumbled upon a while ago and have kept in my proverbial back pocket ever since:
    Joanna Moorhead: Boost your career chances, and have those babies first. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/joanna-moorhead-boost-your-career-chances-and-have-those-babies-first-1986802.html

    P.S. Your babies would be adorable. Just sayin’. 😛

    • Amber J. says:

      I have this discussion all of the time with one of my good friends, and we talk about all of the ways we think babies would change our lives, our careers, us, and a lot of times we are like “No, no no” and my BFF is all “Yes, yes, Yes” because she wants godbabies! LOL! I picture you popping out some little artists 😛 He he!
      Checking out this article now!

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