There are so many things to consider before having a baby, so the decision process can seem a little overwhelming at first. But while there are some things to think about that can wait (like whether you’ll use cloth or disposable diapers), there are a few things to consider before having a baby that you definitely need to think about before you go off the Pill and start looking for an OB/GYN. Here are 7 serious things to consider before having a baby.
It’s been done before, but it’s never a good idea, because it simply doesn’t work. If you’re thinking about having a baby to save your relationship with your significant other, think again. Bringing a baby into an already unsteady relationship means the fall-out from an eventual break-up will be worse, and felt by three people, not just two. On the other hand, if you and your partner are in a happy, healthy relationship, and you’re both longing to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet, keep reading…
This question is simple at first, then it gets more complicated — can you afford to have a baby? The expense goes beyond a crib and stroller and diapers and extends to taking a leave from work, hiring a child care provider, and possibly buying a bigger car. Think about all of these expenses. The bottom line costs are certainly some things to consider before having a baby.
3. Other Kids
If you have other children, it’s important to also consider their situations before you decide whether or not to add to their ranks. Certainly they don’t have the final consideration, but even more than worrying about whether or not you can handle two or three kids in diapers (new baby and two toddlers?), also think about whether there’s enough of you and your significant other to go around.
The debate over women and mothers in the workplace has raged for nearly a century, and though many claim to be experts in both camps, no one knows what’s better for you and your family than you do. If you’re interested in pursuing your career to its fullest, though, you may want to think about the timing of having a baby. Consider that, while you’re away on maternity leave, your co-workers and competitors will be there, in the office, making progress and connections. If this thought gives you hives, you may want to delay starting a family… for now.
5. Age and Health
Back in my great-grandmother’s time, it wasn’t uncommon for women to have children into their 40s and 50s… but nowadays, most of us stop in our late 30s or early 40s. Why? Because there are a lot of health risks that we older moms face. If you’re over 40, have a frank discussion with your doctor before you decide for sure whether or not to get pregnant. Your health is certainly one of the most important things to consider before having a baby!
6. Support System
No matter how marvelous a multi-tasker you are, or how good your motherly intentions are, you’ll need help to raise a baby, above and beyond your partner. Consider simple things, like who will watch baby for occasional Date Nights, as well as more pressing concerns, like who will provide child care if you work outside the home.
This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to consider before having a baby, especially a first baby. It sounds horrible, but any parent can tell you it’s true: your life, while it will be so much richer and more rewarding, will never be your own again once you have a child. Every decision you make, for the rest of your life, will be made with a child’s needs in mind… so if you’re a free, independent spirit who loves spontaneity and travel, this may not be the time to have a baby… unless you want to bring one with you… and why not? But your lifestyle is something to consider, for sure.
While again, you don’t have to think about some of the smaller issues yet, these are the main things to consider before having a baby… once these are all out of the way, feel free to consider the pros and cons of breast-feeding, co-sleeping, and whether or not you’ll need a midwife. To all the mommies out there, which of these things was pivotal in your decision to have a baby? And to all the not-yet mommies out there, which of these made you ponder? Do tell!
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