Deciding whether or not to start a family is a big decision for you and your partner. There are a lot of factors to consider and these days, not all couples need or should be having children. It’s a lifestyle decision that should be taken very seriously and not gone into haphazardly as it is so often. Here are 6 ways to tell, compliments of housekeeping.org, if you are ready to have a baby
- Consider Your Long-Term Goals – When you’re mulling over the idea of procreation, one of the first things you should consider are your long-term goals and how becoming a parent would affect them. If you’re dreaming of a trip to Machu Piccu or of backpacking through Europe, doing so with an infant in tow may be more of a challenge than you think. Carefully consider the impact that having a child would have on your career, if it’s pertinent, and the way that you’d like to live your life. When the biological urge to reproduce hits, it’s easy to lose sight of the future you’ve chosen. After the birth of your child, however, all of your priorities and dreams will shift to accommodate the new life you’ve created. Before you start trying to conceive, it’s wise to consider how parenthood would affect those goals and which, if any, you’re willing to sacrifice in order to have a child.
- Evaluate the Health of Your Relationship – It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a child will save a foundering relationship, but that’s almost never the case. If you’re looking to parenthood as a means of salvaging your connection with another person, you should stop that line of thinking in its tracks. It almost never works, and it’s far too large of a responsibility to place on the tiny shoulders of a child. Having a baby won’t fix a broken relationship; it’ll only bring another person into an already dysfunctional situation.
- Think About Your Living Situation -The trendy-but-tiny downtown loft you’re currently living in might be perfect for the lifestyle of a child-free couple, but may not be ideal when you bring a baby into it. Take your living situation into careful consideration before you start trying to have a child. If your current home is not conducive to raising a child and you lack the plans or means of moving into something more suitable in the reasonably near future, it may be best to wait a bit longer before having a baby.
- Finances, Finances! -There’s an old adage asserting that people who wait to have children until they can afford them never have kids, but there is some truth in the idea that you should wait to have a child until you’re reasonably secure in terms of your finances. The cost of prenatal care and childbirth alone can be financially devastating for a couple without health insurance, not to mention the ongoing and exorbitant expense of diapers, formula and other necessities. If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck and eating nothing but instant noodles to make ends meet, you may not be in an ideal place in your life for parenthood.
- How Healthy Are You? – The physical health of both you and your partner is something that should be taken into consideration before you start talking about having children. The toll that pregnancy and delivery can have on a woman’s body is nothing to sneeze at, and both parents will need to be able-bodied and healthy in order to properly care for and meet the needs of a demanding infant. It’s not impossible for parents with health complications to raise children, but it is significantly more difficult in most cases.
- Why Do You Want to Have Children? – Before you start trying to have a baby, you should think about the reasons why you want to in the first place. If you’re looking for someone to love you unconditionally or are under the impression that kids are part of life’s natural progression, whether you want them or not, parenthood may not be the best choice for you. When it comes to unconditional love, parents almost always give more than they receive. Children are demanding, and they grow into teenagers who will almost invariably think that you’re an overbearing millstone around their neck. They’re also not a status symbol or a wish-fulfillment vehicle. The most important thing for prospective parents to consider before having a child is their motivation for doing so in the first place.