For men and women looking to advance their careers, being mindful of how best to navigate the complexities of the workplace and paying attention to what it takes to position oneself for success are critical. Women, however, face many challenges their male counterparts don’t when considering their career trajectory. One major consideration for women, specifically women who want a family, is how motherhood will impact their career. And one question these women often ask themselves is whether it makes sense to delay motherhood in order to realize their full potential.

Motherhood penalizes professional women in several ways. Not only does it negatively affect their income and leadership status, it also influences their ability to get promoted and hired. They are often overlooked when it comes to career-advancing opportunities.

Recent studies in the United States and Europe show that with motherhood, “women’s earnings plummet and their career trajectories slow. Women who do not have children, by and large, continue to grow their earnings at a similar rate to men.” The fact that the United States does not offer family leave for all workers or public preschool also adds to the financial burden for young parents. That being said, the combination of the cost of raising a child with a potential decrease in income or status, influences more women to wait until they have the financial resources to start a family.

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