There are a lot of conversations to have when you’re thinking about starting a family. You and your spouse have to talk about where you’ll live and who’s religion you want to raise your children with. You’ll talk to your best friends about where they shopped for a stroller. Your mom will tell you all about her experience while she was pregnant with you. You’ll grill car dealers about the safest vehicles on the market. What about the conversation you have to have with yourself, though? Before you start a family, there are certain questions that you’ll have to answer all on your own.
Am I going purely on instinct?
Nature says that women are programmed to feel the urge to have babies. Starting a family can feel natural even if it’s not the right thing for you at the time. Make sure you’re following your head as well as your instinct by making a “Pros and Cons” list. This will help get you back on track to make a good decision with everything taken into account.
Are your parents adding pressure?
Parents go through a period of time where they’re happy to have the kids out of the house and on their own. Then, soon after, they start wanting little ones around again. Your parents may want grandchildren more than you want your own children.
Can you take time away from your career?
Even if you plan on being back at work as soon as possible, you’re going to have to sacrifice a few weeks of your career to maternity leave, no matter what. Some women may not be okay with that, especially if they’re thriving in their job at the moment. Plus, what about when you do return to work? Do you have a reliable childcare plan or are you just hoping that your retired parents will take over babysitting duties?
Can you afford a child yet?
As nice as it would be, you can’t live on love. You need to earn enough to support a child. Does your income have plenty of wiggle room or do you need to save for a couple of years first? What if your child ends up having special needs or you get pregnant with twins? Know your bottom line so that you can afford diapers, your heating bill and food without moving into your mother’s basement.
Is there enough room at home?
Moving with a newborn is much more difficult than moving before you get pregnant. If you’re planning on starting a family, try to have your home setup for a child ahead of time. Not only do you need additional rooms in your house, but you also need to live in a good school district and close to any other facilities you may need, like childcare.
Is my relationship strong enough?
A baby isn’t a BandAid. If your relationship is wavering, getting pregnant may be just a temporary fix to a much bigger problem. You don’t have to just get through the pregnancy and newborn stage together. You should be committed to at least 20 years with each other. Work on that before trying to get pregnant.