5am Thoughts: The Best Time to Have a Baby

By Sarah Aterrado - January 13, 2023

I don't remember the last time I wrote something serious.  And I think this post will be serious. And long. And unrelatable. And boring. 

And... anyway. 

Let me start this with our daily scuffle: 

I wake up before 5AM and I only have ten minutes to finish a freshly brewed coffee before Isabel wakes up. But I usually finish a cup down to the last drop at around 5PM. It's obviously cold and more bitter by then. During those sips, I give myself time to think.

Today's thought is kind of bittersweet, just like how I want to enjoy my coffee. And it goes...

Once you give life in this world, you cannot expect to keep yours.

As a mom of three, this rings true to me, and in two different ways. 

The Young Mom

The first time I became a mom was an accident. I was twenty-four years young, wild, and free. I was far too irresponsible. I have not achieved nor proven anything. I had a low-paying, unstable job. I was in a toxic relationship and didn't know it. I was unprepared, emotionally and financially.

But giving birth to my first-born, as cliché as it sounds, certainly turned my life around—which also meant putting my dreams on hold and letting go of the life I had before. A life that was so full of adventure and freedom.

I took the risk of getting a job that is completely unrelated to my college degree just so I can do more. I worked two jobs (Writer and a Virtual Assistant) while having a side hustle by selling baby stuff online. I went out of my comfort zone and learned new skills to advance my career. Juggling all these eventually killed my social life. But I only did what I had to do to give my son a good life.

It was not easy. It was mentally destructive, to say the least. But I survived and it did pay off.


Fast forward to many years, my first-born grew up and so did I. I learned how to love myself and walked away from a toxic relationship. I sashayed my way to a totally different career that I never thought I would enjoy, not to mention, get a better pay. I learned how to overcome challenges with grace.

My life started to become somehow relaxed. I raised a good, polite, obedient, and semi-independent son. Plus, I have a village with me. So single-parenting was fairly a breeze. I gained back a bit of my freedom too. And with that, I learned a few new sports, joined social events, made new friends, tried new things, and even committed myself to someone in a new relationship. I relived the life I lost after becoming a young mom. 

Rhett's very first international vacay.

I achieved most of my goals, took those mini breaks by traveling to new places, and did most of the things on my bucket list. Inarguably, they were some of the best years of my life. I maximized the short season I became "single" again without, of course, putting my motherhood duties back seat.

The A-Little-Bit-Older Mom

The second time I became a mom was entirely different. At this time, I already feel complete and content. I reached a degree of financial stability. And on top of that, I married the best husband a wife could possibly have.


I realized no one can ever be fully prepared for this because I was confronted with another challenge. For someone who is already approaching her forties, I no longer have the same energy I had in my youth. Sure, luck was on our side because we were still able to conceive. But then, pregnancy is risky and parenting tiny humans, even though I'm sharing the responsibility with Jan, is more difficult at this age. Back pain is inevitable, fatigue is real, and burnout becomes more common than ever—something I have not experienced with my first-born despite being a hands-on mom who worked sixty to seventy hours a week back then.

Rhett, 13. Chris, 2. Isabel, 10 months. Look at those tired eyes. But seeing these beautiful faces makes it all worthwhile.
And come to think of it, I will be forty-one when I drop Isabel off on her first day of kindergarten. And when she graduates in college, I will already be at least sixty. That is currently the age of my mama who is retired and just enjoying her pension and all her apos. I hope I will not be mistaken as my children's lola when the time comes. 😅

My mama and Chris.

I may be faced with different challenges now, but one thing remained constant: I had to let go of my old life. This time, I had to sacrifice a career I painstakingly built over the years. And to tell you honestly, it's driving me crazy.

But I don't, not even for one second, regret any of it—even though I know that we will never have that much freedom again to learn and try new things, work, and travel until the kids are grown. Hopefully when that happens, our knees are not yet wobbly and we are still strong enough to explore the world.

So when is the best time? 

I came across these two posts on Facebook today. Some people tell you to have children when you're still young and able (young ha like young adult, NOT teen). While others tell you to do it when you're content and stable. I've done both. I pulled through becoming a young mother, a single one at that. And I am surviving motherhood now.

I say, there is no right or best timing to have a baby. Do it young, you will be burdened with financial issues. Do it later, you will have a hard time conceiving and you will be dealing with health issues you didn't know existed. Some things are certain though: being a parent is difficult and exhausting, it will ruin your body, and YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME regardless of your age and financial status. You will be faced with different challenges but it's how you handle and take full responsibility after having a baby that matters most. After all, wanting to have a baby is, honestly, a hundred percent selfish. The least we can do is make life worth living and experiencing for our children.

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