The decision to start a family is a huge decision. Becoming a parent will change you in so many ways, and starting a family will change your life.
Once you start a family, life as you know it will never be the same again. Once you have a child, your life will be quite different, but if you believe it’ll be different in a good way, that’s a good sign you’re ready to start a family.
Bringing a child into this world is a major responsibility that you should not take lightly. Thus, deciding whether you’re ready to start a family needs thoughtful deliberation and contemplation. It depends on what stage of life you’re at, and for many people, they feel they’re ready to start this new chapter of their lives.
Many sociologists assert that a family is the smallest and most basic unit of society. Hence, it is your job to ensure that your family thrives because whatever happens in your circle influences others and the world as a whole. Besides, rearing a child will impact many aspects of your life. And unlike other things you do, having a child is a permanent and forever responsibility. There’s no return, no exchanges, and no do-overs in case you change your mind. Once a fertilized embryo forms, there’s no turning back.
Remember, don’t feel pressured to start a family. This is a personal choice that only you and your partner can decide. Other single people even choose adoption or in vitro to start their own families solo. There is no set formula on how to determine your readiness. However, there are certain issues that you must assess to make a sound decision. Thinking about these factors ahead lets you evaluate if you are ready to embark on a new life journey to start a family:
Make an Honest Assessment of Your Current Relationship Stability
A new life is fragile, and this new addition will redefine your relationship. It would help if you and your partner were committed to each other, so you could face the ups and downs of raising a family. Although parenting is joyful, it also exerts pressure from emotional to financial.
Besides, lack of sleep and other obligations mean you will spend less time with one another. If you don’t start on solid footing, all these elements can strain your relationship. For this reason, a stable relationship serves as the rock-solid foundation of your family. It will allow you to weather storms and enable you and your partner to cope with the many changes and challenges parenthood brings.
Although there is no perfect relationship, staying committed, communicating, and expressing love helps. If you have a lot of conflict in your relationship, it is better to wait. A child will not provide healing or fix a broken relationship. So be wary of this. Instead, consider couples counselling because this will help you build a healthier relationship that’s ready for a new addition.
Communicate and Analyze the Situation with Your Partner
It’s not enough to do introspection, but you must communicate with your partner about starting with the family. Speak about the practical aspects of parenthood from expectations on feeding, giving baths, changing, nappies, and so on. You want to know how housework and child care will be divided between the two of you.
Moreover, discuss your thoughts and feelings, such as what makes you excited or what you are fearful of. Again, it is critical to hold this discussion before having children so you can see if your expectations are aligned and what you need to work on. Family planning is imperative for a seamless journey into parenting.
Talking about your parenting styles will help you address any potential conflict. It is best to resolve them before a baby is born. Explore different scenarios once the baby is there and what kind of support you can offer each other. Having an honest conversation is crucial before starting a family to prevent future resentments and disappointments.
Do Thought Exercises and Envision Life as a Parent
As a thought exercise, it would help to envision and imagine your life as a parent. Can you see yourself changing diapers, burping a newborn, and wiping spit-ups? Are you excited to make family traditions and plan vacations? If all these future plans make you feel giddy with excitement, you may be ready for parenthood.
Most importantly, assess your support system. As the famous adage says, it takes a village to raise a child; and studies corroborate this is true. Thus, it is important to be honest if you can count on the support of your family and close friends to cope with the challenges of rearing children.
It would help to make a list of people you believe you can rely on for support. Then, have a serious talk with them about how they can help you during your pregnancy and once you’ve given birth.
That being said, the lack of support doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to have a baby. If you feel determined enough to handle everything, you can do as your heart desires. But remember, having support makes a big difference during difficult times and emergencies.
Take a Good Look at Your Finances
Can you truly afford to have a baby? Ask any parent, and they will tell you children are expensive. You worry about diapers, formula milk, vaccines, future education, and so much more. Remember, the older your child is, the more expensive everything becomes.
For starters, ascertain that you have a stable income to address the needs of your family. Next, it would help to draw up a budget so that you can see how much you will spend. There are many resources online that explicitly state how much it costs to raise a child. Factor those details into your budget.
Besides, both pregnancy and childbirth equate to medical expenses. Do you have sufficient insurance to cover the costs? Apart from that, it would be advisable to have sufficient savings in case of an emergency. Starting a family on strong financial footing means less friction for the parents because you don’t have to worry about debts and cash flow.
Assess Your Maturity Level
Are you mature and skilled enough to raise a child? If you are glued to online games and tune out the world, you may want to reconsider a baby that’s always needy for attention. Children demand a lot of time and care, so you must be selfless and willing to prioritize them.
It may help to read up on parenting to get the right information. This will ensure that you can be the mom or dad that you hope to be. You can also join parenting classes or become a part of a parenting support group.
Listen to the stories on pregnancy and parenting to gain honest insight into what it’s really like to have kids in the house. A trusted mentor can also help you prepare for your transition into parenthood.
When you stay proactive in learning parenting skills before the baby comes, you get a head start on the parenting journey. In addition, carving out time to do this creates an excellent foundation for your future family. Although having a new family with a baby is unknown to you until the child is born, having guidance can help you relax and enjoy your time with a new baby.
Work on Your Overall Health and Wellness
Being pregnant puts a strain on a woman’s body. In the same token, raising a baby who is totally dependent on you will take a toll on both mom and dad’s emotional and physical well-being. Imagine the following:
- Breastfeeding with cracked nipples
- Mixing formula at the crack of dawn
- Waking up every 2 hours for nappy changes and feeding
- Changing dynamics of relationships because there’s not enough time
- Difficulty in balancing work, family, and social obligation
Take all these factors into consideration and ensure you are truly healthy before you begin a family. Suppose you have mental health concerns. It is advisable to speak with a therapist before having a child. A professional will assist in sorting out your thoughts and feelings, assuring you can better prepare for parenthood. Having this kind of expert help will make the transition easiest because you can cope well with the challenges that will surely arise.
Most of all, you must discuss the family history of diseases or genetic mutations, because you could potentially pass them on to your children. You may want to do genetic testing like CircleDNA with your partner, to find out if you’re both carriers of the same genetic mutation that could be passed on to your child. Your DNA test results will also reveal some information about hereditary health conditions and disease risk, which will enable you to take a more proactive approach towards preventive health and family planning. In other words, a DNA test can help you lookout for the safety and wellbeing of your future children.
When you raise children, you put their needs ahead of your own and model the right behaviours for them. Thus, if you drink or smoke excessively, you may want to rethink your lifestyle choices. It is important to cultivate healthier habits once you have a baby because this tiny, new life will be dependent on you for the long haul. In addition, having a child will change your priorities because you are focused on making sensible decisions that will benefit your family. Knowing all of these will help you become a good partner and parent.