You are thinking about when to start a family; thinking about making that big step into Parenthood!…..
Well here are few things you should consider.
How are you doing financially? Well it isn’t cheap to have kids, no -sir! There are so many costs associated with having children it would be near impossible to plan and prepare for scenarios and circumstances. Some parents are able to adjust their lifestyle, cut back on costs, live with one or no car, live tightly on one income (or in some instances no income due to unemployment, unforeseen circumstances or study.) A lot of people feel like they need to be in a place of great wealth to have kids. You may want to be able to tick all the boxes so that you can focus on raising your children without the stress and worry of living week to week.
You may want to consider:
Renting v’s Owning: While owning your own home outright prior to having children would be a huge expense lifted for many people, these days it often takes 20-30 years to pay off a mortgage and most of us don’t have that sort of time to wait before we start trying for a family. If you own, or want to buy, prior to having children, you may want to consider what flexibility you have with your mortgage, so you don’t get caught out in unforeseeable circumstances, such as illness or losing an income. On the other hand, if you rent you may feel you have more ability to move and downsize if your circumstances change.
Income: One of the biggest (or even THE biggest) expense when you start a family is the loss of an income to stay home and raise your children. Even if you intend on going back to work after a few months there is still often a large expense of childcare. You may want to give some thought to a contingency plan, if your budget is such that you absolutely must return to work after X months, consider also what you might do in the case of health problems, child care shortages or you may not be willing to leave your baby as soon as you’d anticipated. How long can your survive on a single income from savings or can you adjust your expenses?
Stuff: Its no secret children seem to need a lot of stuff. Some times the stuff is debatable whether it’s a need or a want, like an automatic nappy bin bagging thing or a wipes warmer and for some people even the “basics” like a pram or cot are unnecessary (if they are planning to baby wear and co-sleep) nappies mightn’t be essential if you plan to do Elimination Communication. But generally speaking, the big ticket items (which you may or may not need) are pram, cot, car seat, bassinet, portable cot, food, clothes and nappies (while food and clothes might seem like small expenses, they add up over 18 years)
Other expenses – Health insurance, private schooling, an additional or bigger car, medical expenses, activities and lessons.
We are not saying you shouldn’t have these things, because you have to be feeling good in yourself in the decision you make on what kind of life you are bringing your child into. Nor should you have any regrets, but also know, sometimes these things cannot be planned, and things find ways of working out anyway.
Partners. Is your other half ready? Is he ready to put up with your wild hormonal mood swings? (And that is before you conceive!)
You need to both be in the same boat, on the same page, in the same ball park to make this decision. It shouldn’t be for one person more than the other, ideally you should both be totally in it.
Have you discussed your values on parenting, pregnancy and birth. It might be a good idea to feel out some conversations before they come up later on, such as your roles in birthing (even how and where you want to birth) your views on hot topics like smacking, ear piercing, circumcision. Or general views on breastfeeding, education, discipline or on specific parenting philosophies, like Attachment Parenting.
Also see: Preparing for Pregnancy