If you’ve never had a baby before, you’re likely full of excitement at the prospect of starting a family. However, there are several factors to take into consideration before you get pregnant. Your living space, financial means and career all come into play. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before having your first baby.
1. Can I afford a child?
You may have the finances necessary to support yourself, and you might even have enough to support your partner. However, this does not mean that you’re financially prepared to support a child. Do you intend to start a savings fund for your child’s future education? The fact is, you may never be 100 percent financially ready to have a child. Having realistic expectations of what things cost from insurance coverage to recurring expenses such as diapers and food are all financial factors you need to take into account. Unfortunately, paid family leave is virtually non-existent in the U.S. and your partner may need to work more so you can stay home for the first few months after your baby is born. Childcare doesn’t come cheap either and going back to work may not be financially feasible. Have these discussions now and save yourself the stress of being faced with these decisions once you have a baby.
2. Do I have the space?
Your apartment may be perfect for you, but what about a baby? Do you have a bedroom you can dedicate to your child or are you prepared to share your room with a noisy newborn? What will you do if you decide to have another baby? These are all space concerns that you have to address before you choose to conceive. Babies may be small but they come with a lot of luggage!
3. Is my home right for a child?
Even if you have a spacious abode, it may not be ideal for a small child. You need to consider everything from noisy neighbors to staircases before you bring a baby into your home. Child-proofing your space can only go so far, especially when it comes to factors like an unfenced pool and busy street.
4. Do you have time?
Depending on your career and preferred lifestyle, you might have a limited amount of time in the day to dedicate to your own personal interests – what will you do once you have a baby? This new little person’s needs and desires will take precedence over your own. If you love going out on the weekends, taking long leisurely baths, traveling to exotic locations or simply having uninterrupted phone conversations be aware these things are about to take a backseat. While it tends to get easier as children get older, time can quickly become one of the biggest stresses of having a child.
5. How will you split up the responsibilities?
There are daily responsibilities that come with having a baby – think of the diaper changing, feedings, baths and naps. How will you and your partner split up these responsibilities? Can you agree on a strategy, or are you already butting heads when it comes to nailing down a plan? What about major life decisions like agreeing about discipline and parenting style? Are you seeing eye to eye or are you miles apart?
There’s no doubt that having a child brings a slew of joyous occasions. However, beginning a family doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Answering these questions can help you anticipate some of the obstacles you’ll encounter as you look into becoming a parent.
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