That's Brazen-- and wrong-- advice

Penelope Trunk [The Brazen Careerist, April 20: "Get married: Leave career for later"] argues that in order to beat their biological clock and have advantageously spaced children, women should have their babies before they have a career.

She assumes that a woman will be raising her children with a husbands income (current divorce rates are at about 50 percent), and she fails to take into consideration the length of time it takes to establish a strong career.

UVA economist Amalia Millers most recent study, The Effects of Motherhood Timing on Career Path, concludes that not only is it advantageous for women to start a career first, but if they really want to be successful, women should put off childbirth for at least one year in order to give themselves time to gain the necessary skills and experience to allow themselves to be employable post-partum.

Morgan Ellen Estabrooks article, The cost of early motherhood,summarizes the study, which used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: On average, a motherhood delay of one year will also result in a 5 percent increase in career work experience and a 3 percent increase in career average wage rate. These figures contribute to the 10 percent overall increase in a womans career earnings."

And thats not all, Miller says, statistically speaking, "If you waited two years, [this increase] would double; if you waited 10, you would double your earnings."

A family is lucky if only one parent has to work. More likely, both parents will have to bring home the bacon, which means that women who want to have children are right to keep in mind their earning potential when planning their family. A woman who has her first child at 22, then a second at 25, then helps raise them until school age, wont be ready to start her career until 30 at least. By that time, all of her competition has been working, gaining experience and connections.
Lisa Romano