Do you have a question or dilemma about life as a parent? Our experienced life coach Joanne Mallon is here to help. Send your questions using this form and say if you'd like your name changed.
You can even write in if you're not a parent - like Helen, who asks:
Hope it's OK to write to you as I'm not actually a parent yet! But I would like to be, and that's why I'm writing. I've just turned 30 and am wondering when would be a good time to have a baby. My boyfriend is a few years younger, and he thinks we should wait a few years, go travelling etc. I think he's a bit worried about how we would cope with the sleepless nights, extra costs, lost freedom etc. How do you know when is the best time to have a baby?
Here's our life coach's advice:
So you want to know exactly the right time to have a baby? No problem, I will tell you:
Never. It doesn't exist.
Hope this helps, all the best
PS Oh sorry, did you think there was more to it than that? Well, maybe just a little.
At any point in your life, there will always be more holidays to have, more steps to advance in your career, more money to earn. As to the sleepless nights, I won't pretend that they're great, but they don't last forever. The great thing about being pregnant and raising a child is that you find out that you are capable of much, much more than you ever thought you would be. Some people say they are too selfish to be a parent, and to them I say - wouldn't you like the opportunity to become less selfish? Wouldn't you like to have more love in your life? Because ultimately that's what children give you. Before we have children, it's easy to see it in terms of the things you will lose - the freedom, the lie ins, the chance to do exactly as you please. But once you have a child, then you feel it in terms of the things you have gained. Life is richer.
As a woman, you don't need me to tell you that your fertility is already in decline. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority says that: "At 35 you're half as fertile as when you were at 25; at 40 you're half as fertile as when you were 35". So from a purely biological point of view, the sooner the better. But from an emotional point of view? That's up to you. The really is no best time to have a baby, there are positives and negatives at all ages. Once you have a baby, then that becomes your best age. It's different for every person, but you'll only know what it is when it happens.
More parenting advice here in the Ask Joanne section