If starting a family is on your mind, there’s nothing that can tell you that you’re wrong to make that decision. For many people, family simply makes life a lot more worth living. However, whether you’re thinking about your first child or your fifth, it’s never a choice that should be made lightly, if it is indeed a choice you have the opportunity to make. Here, we’re going to look at some serious talks you and your partner are going to need to have to gauge where you’re at, where you want to be, and what can help you get there.
Do you both want kids?
This is, of course, the biggest question of all. Often, it’s framed as a woman trying to impose her “ticking body clock” on a man, but medium.com actually shows that, in general, more men are certain of their want for a child than women. When talking about having children, it’s easy for one partner to get so wrapped up in the idea, they never really give the other the chance to express themselves. Love for the other, a pressure to deliver, expectations of what step we are supposed to take next in life, all of them can coerce an answer we might not be ready to give. You have to ask and answer this question with understanding, and really consider what you want for the future and whether both your visions match up.
Why do you want kids?
For some people, this answer is easy. Having a child is fulfilling for plenty of healthy reasons, but there are reasons that might suggest that you should pause and ask whether you’re doing it for the right reasons. A common misconception is that introducing a child can help repair a strained relationship or build a closer bond where there isn’t one. In truth, the pressures that come with a child can often exacerbate existing tensions a lot more. Psychologytoday.com takes a look at several bad reasons to want a child that might be worth examining.
What are your options?
If you have passed the first two questions, then it’s not a matter of motivation, it’s mostly a matter of practicality. Questions regarding the ability of either partner to have a child are emotionally difficult, but when you’re planning the next step in your family seriously, it’s wise to know what the best route is. Resources like mcrmfertility.com can help you know where the facts lie, seek solutions to any potential problems that might pop up, and help you increase your chances dramatically. An estimated 1 in 7 couples have at least some trouble conceiving, but there are always options out there so it’s best to get ahead of the question rather than let a later revelation rock your plans.
Think about timing and health
This is primarily (but not entirely) a question for the mothers. If you’re about to start seriously trying to have a baby, make sure that your doctor is involved every step of the way. You want to be in the best possible health to ensure no undue risks to either you or the baby. If you’ve recently had a child and are considering another, then you want to make sure that it’s not so close to your last pregnancy that you are at risk of burning yourself out, either emotionally or physically. You need time to recover from nine months of solid work (and everything that comes after for the first year), so timing is crucial.
How is the financial situation?
The idea that there is such a thing as a “perfect time” to have a child, especially when it comes finances, is bogus. However, if you’re not particularly short on time and your financial situation isn’t the greatest right now, it may be prudent to give yourself some room to make sure you’re ready for the costs of raising a child. Those costs are rising particularly high, at the moment, and getting into debt dealing with the healthcare costs, not to mention all the expenses that come with actually taking care of them, can make those early years a lot more stressful than they need to be. Look for personal finance tips online that can help you shape up your money situation, so you don’t have one more thing to stress too much about.
Will this impact where you live?
The choice between your current place of residence vs. having a baby you are certain you want isn’t a hard choice to make. Many mothers and fathers will willingly and gladly sacrifice a lot of convenience for the sake of their child. However, it’s worth considering not only the financial impact of having to upsize your home but the stress and planning that can come with it. If you’re living in a one-bedroom place with your partner, at some point you’re going to have to think about making the move to a larger place and it might be wise to offer yourself some time to make the move before your belly’s all big.
Will this change how you work?
Both partners in the relationship need to have a talk about the changes in income that may follow a pregnancy. There are fewer barriers to mothers in the workplace nowadays, especially when companies like appen.com are making it much easier to make your home that workplace. However, you are going to certainly need some time away from anything resembling work, and your partner may need that time, as well. Even if you plan on keeping your old job or getting back into the world of work, that means you have to consider the question of childcare, as well as whether either of you intend to scale back your hours or become less career-oriented in general.
Are you in a good place?
This is another question fraught with messy implications. Besides physical health, there is also your emotional health to consider. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other issues can affect not just our experiences of pregnancy, but also how we fare as mothers when our child is born. The hormonal changes that happen as a result of pregnancy can mix things up even more, so it’s never a certainty that we can cope with the new pressures. However, we can endeavor to ensure that we have the right support structures around us, a partner who understands our troubles, and a productive approach to emotional health. One thing that should never be assumed is that having a baby will be a “cure” for stress or depression.
What kind of parents will you be?
It’s so easy to play the role of backseat parent. You might spot a missed opportunity to praise or teach a child into better behavior or be quick to judge that another parent is too harsh in their discipline of their child. However, when it comes to the nitty-gritty of raising one yourself, you might be so focused on keeping them clean, fed, healthy, and secure that your notions of how you discipline, teach, and help them grow fall out of sight. It’s worth having a conversation about what kind of parents you want to be to your children with your partner, so you can make sure that you’re both on the same page and actively thinking about it.
How might it impact your other children?
If you have any other kids, then it’s unfair to make the decision without at least considering how it impacts their lives. You can never assume their reaction. Some may be ecstatic at the thought of a baby brother or sister, others may fear that they will no longer be a priority or resent the reduction in the attention they’re likely to get. Your child shouldn’t be making the decision for you, of course, but it’s important to consider them and to help them get ready for that change, as suggested at kidshealth.org.
How will all of this affect your relationship?
If you’re considering starting a family, it’s not always the case but is very likely you have a partner to think about, as well. This point is about the fact that all the other points mentioned above have to be discussed together. Your relationship is going to change the moment you introduce a child, whether it’s your first, your first child together, or the tenth one. Schedules, communication, time for intimacy, priorities and more are going to change, and you have to make sure both of you are ready for that. Of course, there’s no guaranteeing it, but if you openly communicate about wants, expectations, and fears, you’re likely to be able to approach it together. So long as it’s both of you vs. the questions, it stops from becoming about you vs. your partner.
If you have your heart set on starting a family, there’s likely nothing that would dissuade you from that choice. However, hopefully, the conversations above make you think of the feasibility, timing, and obstacles that can ensure you give your family the healthiest start (or addition) possible.