Am I Ready for a Baby?
For some, being a parent is a lifelong dream. For others, becoming a parent can be more daunting. It’s not a decision to take lightly, so let’s unpack a few things to consider if you’re thinking about having a baby.
Consider your health.
Are you physically and emotionally ready to carry and care for a child? Pregnancy and childbirth can be physically demanding, and it is important to ensure that you are healthy enough to handle the changes that will come with pregnancy. You should also think about your mental health and emotional well-being. Optimizing your health before becoming pregnant will go a long way to ensure the best outcome. Controlling your weight, monitoring your blood pressure and properly managing other medical conditions such as diabetes are crucial.
Are you fertile?
A good step in deciding if you want to have a baby is assessing your fertility. Reach out to a healthcare provider to help determine how much time you have. The risk of pregnancy related complications increases with age, and women face a decline in fertility in their mid-30s, with a steeper drop-off at age 40. Chromosomal abnormalities in the baby or birth defects are more likely with older age pregnant women, especially those between 40-50 years of age. For those who may want to become pregnant, there’s no time like the present to seek out information. The earlier you do this, the more flexibility you’ll have in family planning. Your medical provider may advise you to have your eggs or embryos frozen. This is a common way to buy more time to make your decision.
Is your partner ready?
Sometimes, there is a disconnect between couples over topics like becoming a parent. One person might assume the other wants to eventually have children. It’s best to address this conversation head-on with your significant other and get full clarity. Maybe they want to have children, but not at the same time as you do. Maybe they’re just as excited as you. Maybe they don’t want to be a parent at all. Whatever the outcome may be, it’s best to be forward with your partner and get on the same page. It’s also a good time to determine if your support system outside of your spouse can help you cope with the stress of raising a child.
Can you afford to have a child?
Having a baby isn’t cheap. Raising a child until the age of 17 can cost a two parent, middle-income family over $233,000. But there are even more immediate expenses, like appointments and screenings. The costs of medical bills and delivery are high, even if you have insurance. It’s important to think about your current income and expenses and consider how the addition of a child would impact your budget.
Are you ready to sacrifice personal time?
Being a parent means putting your little one’s needs before your own. Independent time spent on personal interests will become harder to come by once you become a parent. Make sure this is a sacrifice you’re willing to make before having a baby.
Deciding if you are ready to have a baby is a complex and personal decision. By taking the time to think about your health, fertility, relationship status, financial stability, career goals and personal goals, you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your future family.