Am I Ready for a Baby? 15 Things You Should Consider was written by Victoria Cornell and originally appeared on Your Money Geek. It has been republished with permission.
How do you know if you’re ready to have a baby? Well, I don’t think you ever know for sure. No one is ready to have a baby. It’s a massive change in your life that you only fully understand once you’re in it.
We are going to talk about 15 things you should consider before bringing babies into the world. You may never be fully prepared to be a parent, but it’s good to prepare yourself as best as possible.
If you’re at the point that you’re asking yourself, “am I ready for a baby?” that might be a sign that you’re more ready than you think. Most people start to think about starting to raise a family once they’ve accomplished some goals like finishing school and you’ve moved out of mom and dads.
When is a Good Age to Have Kids?
The best age to have kids could vary for everyone, but I think the period depends on a few things like; are you done with your education? Do you live on your own or with your partner? Are you financially stable and ready for the additional costs of raising a child? Are you both ready to become a mother and a father?
Usually, the average age where these stages of life are met is around 25-35 years old. But, of course, this can be different for everyone.
The average age to have a kid in 2020 was 26! The average age is up from 21 in previous years. The information I’ve added here was found in this Forbes article if you’re looking for more details.
15 Things You Need to Should Consider Before Having a Baby:
1. There is No Perfect Time
You can go through all the things I mentioned, but the reality is that there will always be something else that could be done before you have a baby: more money, a bigger house, another promotion, an event is coming up. The list could go on. So you want to feel prepared but know that there never really is a “perfect time” to have a baby.
2. A Support System In Helpful
Do you have a support system in place? This is something good to consider since it is so important to know you have a support system. I’m not saying that you can’t raise a baby without one, but it is helpful to have one. You will be going through the most significant life changes, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
You’ve heard the saying “ it takes a village,” and it’s a very true saying for most people. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and needing a support system. Ask the grandparents for help, ask them to take siblings for sleepovers, etc., make it part of your plan to ask for help from your support system.
3. Are Your Finances in Place?
It’s probably not a great idea to have a baby if your finances are a mess. Having a child will cost you additional expenses that might cause unnecessary stress if you are at a place in life where you are comfortable and prepared for the extra expense. It’s definitely something to consider before having children. If you can reduce some financial stress during this phase of life, it's probably a good idea to stash some money away.
4. Are You Ready to Have Less “Me Time?”
If “me time” is a priority for you right now, you might want to delay your plans of having a kid. Your life will change, and you will forever want to be or need to be around your baby. Once you become a parent, your priorities change, and your time tends to shrink. At least for the first few years anyway. You’ll always have bathroom breaks and hide in your pantry, sneaking food before your kids find you.
You will probably feel selfish at some point but know that this is a normal stage in being a parent, and taking time for yourself is not selfish and is needed.
5. It’s a Very Emotional Ride
Get the tissues out and get ready for emotions to run high all the time. It’s an unbelievable feeling when all of a sudden, your welfare isn’t the essential thing in your life. Instead, there will be a human being that solely relies on you for everything. Emotionally, it’s a lot to handle when you become a new parent in the first few weeks.
Emotions run high because you will be sleep deprived sometimes, you will feel frustrated at times, and again, it's a significant change in your life. Sleepless nights are in your future as a new parent.
6. You Will No Longer Come First
Move over! Your kids' well-being now comes first. Your days won’t consist of worrying about you anymore. Of course, once your child is born, you will be so consumed with your child that you will no longer come first, but that’s ok. You’re deep in parenthood and figuring out your way into this new magical world.
7. Your Kids Will Teach You Lessons In Life
That’s right. It’s so crazy to me that your kids teach you life lessons. It’s incredible to watch a tiny human teach us so many amazing things. For example, my kids have led me to laugh more; they’ve taught me to worry less and experience more things without planning every detail. So don't forget to be open to the things they might show you as they grow up.
8. Your Priorities Will Change
Long gone are the days of prioritizing yourself or your friends. Your child is now driving the priority car. Before you have a child, know that your priorities will be completely flipped upside down. Your perspective in life changes, and so do your preferences.
9. You and Your Partner on the Same Page?
I highly suggest having a conversation with your partner about parenting and how they see parenting. For example, do you both want a baby? Do you guys want a big family or a smaller one? How far apart do you want a second child? How will you discipline? How many kids do you want? What’s going to happen when they start dating or want to go outside by themselves? Cloth diapers or store-bought diapers?
It’s good to have a conversation to make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to growing your family.
10. Motherhood Isn’t Easy
Being a mother requires a lot. It’s very emotional, especially in the new stages of being a mother; it might feel very lonely. Once your baby is born, postpartum blues and baby blues are a real thing. It is temporary, but it’s essential to know and be as prepared as possible. Not everyone experiences baby blues, but having a newborn is a lot. While your body is recovering, the emotional highs and lows are often something mothers don’t expect and might catch them by surprise.
Your feelings while adjusting to being new parents are expected, and you are not alone.
11. Breastfeeding Can be Very Challenging
I feel like breastfeeding isn’t talked about enough. Breastfeeding is not easy for everyone. There are so many things involved in breastfeeding, and it’s normal if it doesn't come so easy for you. It can be a lot at first. Your baby could not latch properly in the beginning. It’s not as easy for some as it is for others. What you see in movies is not the reality for most mothers.
Be prepared for the first few months of breastfeeding to be more complicated than you think. In most cases, it does get better and is a much easier option than bottle feeding, but it doesn’t work out for some, and that’s ok. The formula is fantastic, and the bottom line is. Fed is best. Period.
12. You May Have Trouble Getting Pregnant
Conceiving a child might take longer than you think. If you’re just starting to get pregnant, you might not know your fertility status or your partners. Sometimes it takes up to a year to get pregnant or more prolonged. Getting pregnant is another topic that I feel is not talked about enough. Not everyone gets pregnant the first few times of trying, and it takes up to a year to get pregnant is normal.
The journey to being pregnant can be challenging for some; if you’ve been trying for a while, it’s a good idea to let your dr know to see if there is anything they can suggest to help you get pregnant.
13. Talk about Daycare
Depending on where you live, you might want to talk about child care and look into costs and waiting lists. They grow up so fast, and as a potential new mother and father, you will want to look into what schools and daycare centers you want your child to attend.
The waitlist might be very long in some places, so this is an excellent topic to run over before having a baby. You will find yourself going back to work before you know it, so it’s good to have a plan beforehand.
14. Babies Cry
Babies cry pretty often, and this is normal. Sometimes new parents are thrown off by how much their newborn baby is crying. Babies crying a lot is normal and the only way a baby knows how to communicate. Know that this is ok and all babies cry. Cluster feeding on day two is regular.
There will be some sleepless nights, and it should be expected when bringing your baby home. Don’t feel guilt around how you’re feeling during these nights. They are complex, but they will pass, and this stage will end.
15. Your Plans as a Parent Might Change
It’s great to have a plan, but things change. You might have twins or triplets. Your birth plan could end up changing. Giving birth is a beautiful and complex thing to plan out perfectly. After giving birth, you might find that how you feed your baby might change. You can’t plan everything when it comes to childbirth and raising children; sometimes, things need to change.
Be prepared for things to not always go as planned as new parents. Things will change, new, unexpected things might happen. I think it’s important to expect a change in plans and adapt and create a new plan when needed. When you have your first child, this can especially be true.
Raising children comes with twists and turns at every corner; try to embrace them as you go through these different parenting stages.
From mommy hormones to maternity leave and parental leave, there is so much that we can discuss whether or not you are ready to have a baby, but the bottom line is that sometimes things happen for a reason, and we can all be fantastic parents. I believe that discussing the topics above is a great idea, but not every scenario happens to everyone. We’re all different, and that is a good thing.
In the end, becoming a family is a beautiful, magical thing and the positives far outweigh the negatives. Unexpected pregnancy happens, and that’s ok; you will be okay and not alone.
There are some hard times, but they’re nothing compared to the joy and wonder a child brings to your life. Having a family brings that new baby smell, those newborn giggles, getting your baby home to meet their siblings. It's such a beautiful process. From diapers to the car seat, strollers, cribs, monitors, folic acid, tantrums, and the cost of raising a family, it’s a lot, and nothing anyone can fully prepare you for all of that. So enjoy the ride and enjoy life!