Taking time off from your career to stay home with your baby inevitably leads to a drop in your income, but what if that drop never rebounds? According to new research moms who have their first baby between ages 25 and 35 will never recover from the drop in pay after giving birth.

Pay gaps between husbands and wives are becoming increasingly narrower in the United States; however, once a woman has a baby everything changes. As the New York Times reports, the pay gap between a husband and wife doubles after the birth of their first child. Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end there. For many women, eventually, that gap will close. However, for women who have their first baby between the ages of 25 and 35, their pay rate never fully recovers.

The study found that before kids are born women earn $12,600 less than their husbands and after kids, that gap jumps to $25,100 less. The pay gap also grows larger with each additional baby that is born and it doesn’t begin to narrow until the kids are around age 10.

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The decade between 25 and 35 is when many people establish and build their careers so it makes sense that leaving the workplace even for a small amount of time, or by shortening work hours as many moms need to do during the early years parenthood, during that period can have an impact on pay and future career advancement.

So what can be done? According to the New York Times, studies have shown that there are some steps that can be taken to help. Flexible work schedules, subsidized childcare, and programs that help women re-enter the workplace have all been shown to minimize the pay gap created by becoming a mom. Research has shown that dads taking on a more active role in childcare and taking time off early on can have an impact as well.

Do you think becoming a mom has had an impact on your career and income? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Pexels

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