When people I know get pregnant and they want to share their news with someone they know without a shadow of a doubt will be happy for them, they tell me. Congratulations is always my instinctual response when someone tells me they are going to have a baby. That congratulations is usually accompanied with an OMG to two (or three), a squeal of glee, and a hug (a virtual hug if we’re not face to face).
A common question/reaction I get once the initial announcement has been made and the subsequent excitement has died down, is, “I don’t know if this is the right time.” At which point I break the news… there is no perfect time to have a baby. Shocking, I know. By virtue of what a baby is, there is no point at which the will come into your life and not completely rock it. You are bringing a new person and a new energy into your home. You have to get to know who you are, as a parent. You have to learn how to live with this new little being, and learning to live with anyone can be hard.
So, if becoming a parent is marred in so much difficulty, why do it? Well, you do it because this is your opportunity to take part in a miracle… and I’m not just talking about the whole pregnancy, birth, miracle of life bit. I’m talking about molding and shaping a human being – the real meat of parenting. So, you do it because anything worth having requires a great deal of effort, and you do it because being a parent will be one of, if not the most important thing you will ever do in this life.
Now! I said there was no “perfect” time to have a baby, but there are better times to have one. Prior planning can help ease many a growing pain. So, here are some questions to consider, before baby, that can help ease your transition into the world of the parent.
1. If you are currently employed, what is your company’s maternity/paternity leave policy? 1A. When you return to work, who will watch the baby? What is your preference for childcare? Nanny? On-site daycare? Off-site daycare? Au pair? Family member? (Here’s more information on all those childcare options.)
2. This may seem like an obvious question, but many people make the mistake of not giving this its due consideration. You need to think about how having a baby will change your day to day life… what do I mean by that? I mean you will now be making decisions based on being a parent with a child, not just as a single entity, and that is a change that affects your every waking moment. It is important to take some time to ruminate on that.
3. What activities may you need to take a hiatus from due to your new addition, and what aspects of your life lend themselves to the inclusion of baby? What activities are not baby friendly?
4. Do you have a support system in place to aid you in your journey toward parenthood? If you don’t currently, what steps can you take to create one?
5. Have you considered the expense that comes along with having a baby (diapers,wipes, clothes, stroller, crib, childcare, etc)? Are you financially ready to take on a baby?
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it won’t guarantee a complete absence of parenting related challenges, but it will help you feel a bit more prepared when the time comes. Happy Babymaking!!