“When are you going to have a baby?” This is the most frequently asked question all married couples have to face. Planning a baby is undoubtedly the most important step in a couple’s life. Playing with your adorable nephews and nieces may have aroused your desire to have children. Or you may have decided to bow under the pressure of the society and have kids. BUT are you deciding to have kids too soon? Are you ready to have a baby?
“There is no perfect time to have a baby.” There is some truth in this old adage. But some times it might be better than others. Here are some of the things you need to consider that may help you in finding the answer to the question: “Are you ready to have a baby?”
Having a baby should be a mutual decision!
“I am not sure. He should be.”
“Perhaps he is not but he’ll get used to it.”
This is the rejoinder of some mothers-to-be when asked if their husbands are ready to have a child. One of the most important questions that any couple should ask before taking this life-changing decision is if they both share the desire to have children. You cannot take this decision on your own, completely ignoring your partner’s desires and plans. Otherwise it will the baby who will have to pay the price of your partner’s reluctance and resentment at the decision. (Read more about post hoc reticence in children)
To avoid any future conflicts and misunderstandings, discuss baby issues with your partner in advance. Ask him, “Are you ready to have a baby?” Make sure your partner understands the responsibilities that come along with being a parent and is ready to share them with you. You should be on the same page and similarly committed to the concept of bearing children.
Do you have a healthy relationship with your partner?
Before deciding on having a baby, you need to analyze your relationship with your partner.
- Do you and your partner share respect and love for each other?
- To what degree is your partner your best friend?
- Do you think your partner will be a good parent?
Having a healthy relationship with your partner is very important. As the road to parenthood feels less bumpy with a loving and supportive partner to share your journey with. Moreover, you and your partner are going to be a model for your child, showing him how people get along.
How do you and your partner resolve conflict?
Do you scream at each other? Do you give the silent treatment to each other or manipulate each other? Too much exposure to parents’ fighting at an early age will have a long-lasting effect on your child. So you should be able to sit with your partner, talk about your problems, and find solutions.
Do not have a child to save your marriage
“Have a child. It will divert your attention. You guys won’t even find time to fight.” This is the worst piece of advice given to somebody who is struggling in a bad marriage. Do not have a baby to seal the cracks in your marriage.
Are you ready to have a baby with an abusive partner? Having a child is not a magical solution to all your marriage problems. Rather, if you already have problems in your marriage, having a baby will only make them worse. It is your job to work out your differences with your partner. Do not expect your child to be a peacemaker for the two of you. He deserves to be born into a happy family.
Do you have a support system?
Even if you do not have a supportive partner, it is good to have a support system of some sort. You should have people you can trust and reach out to in times of need. It includes relatives who can pitch in and help you with babysitting; close friends who can offer advice and consolation during the tough moments with your child; or a parent group that can offer to carpool. It is good to have some happy helpers in the absence of your partner.
Are you ready to have a baby physically?
Before you give up birth control, you need to think about your physical wellbeing. Are you ready to have a baby? Do you have the physical stamina to go through pregnancy and parenthood?
There is no “best age” to get pregnant. But women who are 40 years or older may not have the physical vitality required to go through pregnancy and motherhood. It is better to have kids early to increase the chances of fertility; but it has to be your “own” decision. Studies have shown that women who get pregnant before the age of 23 are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
The biggest challenge to raise a baby is the lack of sleep. Even the healthiest ones take several months to get into a circadian rhythm. It requires a lot of physical energy to endure so many restless nights; feeding the child and changing nappies, even with the help of a supportive partner. This interrupted sleep can be taxing on your physical and mental wellbeing. So parents’ overall health is an important factor to consider before having a baby.
Are you ready to have a baby financially?
Bringing up children comes with a heavy price tag. Your expenditure quickly exceeds your income. The USDA estimates that it causes more than $16000 per year to have a child under the age of 1. This does not include the unexpected expenses that might pop up, like the mounting price of diapers and formula milk. So you need to be financially ready to have a baby to provide him good food and care. Make sure you have income stability and a workable budget plan before bringing another mouth to feed.
Here are some financial milestones you might consider:
- Have a stable career.
- Make sure you have comprehensive health insurance which allows prenatal and postnatal care.
- Have enough disposable income.
- Have a moderate amount of emergency savings.
- Get an insurance policy. This might not be a comfortable conversation to have but you should be responsible and mature enough to plan for the people you are leaving in case a tragedy befalls you. You should have a life insurance policy along with a testament to make sure your child is in good hands no matter what happens to you. It reflects your responsibility as a parent.
- Have a real estate plan in place so that you have the physical space to raise a baby.
Also Read: How To Raise Your First Child?
What is your job’s maternity policy?
Are you ready to have a baby with your current job? Before having a baby, you need to make sure if you will be able to give your baby adequate time with your current job. Is your job conducive to having kids? At least one parent should have flexibility in the workplace that allows for unexpected schedule shifts because even your best plans can go awry in a moment. It is ideal if your job has fair maternity and paternity policies and options to telecommute during sick days.
Are you ready to have a baby emotionally and mentally?
Last but not the least, your mental and emotional readiness is the prime factor. There is nothing worse for your baby’s development than stress hormones circulating in your blood. So, are you ready to have a baby means do you have the emotional healthiness to raise a child? How well do you know yourself? Do you have unresolved traumas? Do you sleep well? Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself.
Are you still looking for love?
If you are still on a hunt for love in your life, it may not be the perfect time to have a baby. Do not expect your baby to compensate for the love you should get from your kith and kin. Are you ready to have a baby with a partner you do not love? It is for you to decide.
Are you ready for the massive change in responsibilities?
Are you ready to have a baby means are you ready for the challenges you are going to face? You need to correctly evaluate them. Some parents expect that having a baby is all fun and games, but there is another side to parents’ life you need to be aware of. Troubles and responsibilities come in the same package. And you should be ready to deal with every problem that comes in the way that may have an impact on your mental state.
So, are you ready to have a baby and bear all the responsibilities? You will gain weight; you’ll go through mood swings; you might have baby blues. You’ll have to breast-feed and change diapers, and much more!
Also Read: Early Signs of Pregnancy
Are you ready for sacrifice?
Parenthood is the most selfless job. You will have to put yourself on the shelf and give up your me-time. Are you ready to have a baby and put someone else’s needs before your own?
Are you thinking realistically about your capabilities?
You cannot keep dreaming of being the perfect parent. A “perfect parent” is a hard pedestal to achieve. Hence you have to come down of the high horse you are riding and be self-critical as well. Only that way you can work on your imperfections. You will make mistakes like everybody else and learn.
Also Read: How To Be A Good Mom?
Do you understand that your baby might not be the perfect role model?
“Our baby will have green eyes, blonde hair, and the sweetest voice.” Many parents think a lot about what they want their baby to look like. You may have a lot of dreams about your baby’s future looks and talents. But you must know that your baby might not live up to your expectations. You must not blame them for something they cannot control or push them into something they do not have a passion for. If you are mentally ready to accept and love the baby no matter what, only then you are ready to have it.
Do you have enough patience for a baby and a mess?
It takes a lot of patience to have a baby. You’ll have to put up with a lot of stuff. Babies are naturally experts in destroying your happy mood.
A common complaint by new parents is how chaotic and messy their lives have become after having kids. Be mentally ready to sacrifice your spotless home and prioritize your kids’ need to make mistakes as a part of their growing up process.
The decision has to be thoughtful and not imposed
Are you ready to have a baby? As a matter of fact, nobody can really tell you when the best time is. It is you who lives your life and no one else. Do not listen to the scary tales or pressurizing stories about growing old alone with no one to bring you a glass of water. Do not rush to become a parent just because you feel obliged to. You should not do it for anybody but yourself.
Wait for a time when you are physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially ready to call the stork and welcome this bundle of joy in your life! Whenever you think, it is the right time and you are ready for all the responsibilities, go for it.