So, you and your partner are thinking about having a child. That is fantastic! It is wonderful that you are in a relationship that you wish to expand into a family. Everyone knows it is not easy to find a person whose dreams and ideals fit nicely with your own. Sometimes it takes a long time to even broach that type of conversation with one’s significant other. In fact, you may not have covered all of the really important stuff, even when you have talked about it.
Well, now is absolutely the time to do so. Not only do you want to be sure that your relationship is equipped for parenthood, there are issues that may arise that you may have not considered. The two of you need to be on the same page about the decisions to be made before, during and after the pregnancy.
This time is not something to be taken lightly, it will determine your entire future and the life of your child. Take some time to consider all of the questions presented below before taking this next step in your life. Once you have done so, you will be ready when the time comes to make important decisions together concerning your child.
Get On The Same Page
Before you start trying to conceive, make sure your relationship and your lives are in the place you want them to be. Consider the questions below.
How is your relationship?
How do the two of you handle conflict? Do the two of you tend to agree on important issues and how easy is it for you to come to a compromise?
Why do you want a child?
Motivation for having a baby may be based on many different things that can be healthy or quite unhealthy. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. This decision should be based on your compatibility and desire to have a family together, not a means to bring you closer together or appease other family members.
How are your finances?
Everyone knows that having a child is expensive. Consider your budget now and the things you will be adding into it once the baby is born. There are probably some things you will need to let go of now that you will have child care and diapers to be accountable for.
Are you ready to give up your “me time”?
Having a child means it’s time to be selfless. Your independent state of mind will have to be set on the back burner for who knows how long and you need to be comfortable with that. Fitting in time for friends or exercising at the gym may be something you can do now and then, but you are no longer the number one priority.
Is your home equipped for a family?
Do you have enough space for another human? You may think you do now, but a baby comes with a lot of stuff. You don’t want to have to deal with moving while you are 9 months pregnant or have breastfeeding to worry about. Make sure you are in the home that will accommodate all of your family’s needs.
Pregnancy & Caring for Your Child
Once you are sure that you and your partner are ready for parenthood, you will want to think about how you want to go about the pregnancy and certain life decisions once the baby is born. Consider the questions below.
How do you want the birth to take place?
You may want to have a home birth and to use a midwife while your partner feels more comfortable with a traditional doctor in a hospital setting. Make sure that you see eye to eye on this matter so that everything feels secure when the time for delivery comes.
What if you are unable to get pregnant the traditional way?
Are you both open to seeing a fertility specialist? Maybe your partner would prefer adoption rather than having his sperm tested. This is something that usually doesn’t come up until the situation presents itself. It is better to be prepared for it before it happens and you discover that you have different opinions on the matter.
What if complications arise?
How would the two of you handle having a child with special needs? What if you are told early enough that you are given the option to terminate the pregnancy? If you would decide to go ahead with the pregnancy, would you be prepared for higher financial costs that may come along?
How will the two of you handle discipline?
A lot of families have a good cop/bad cop dynamic established. Some couples prefer to be viewed equally by their children. Determining how you both feel about this now will save you from a lot of conflict in the future.
Do you want to raise your child in a certain religion?
If you and your partner practice the same faith this is a no-brainer for you. Maybe the two of you haven’t really cared about religion up until now. Some families find it can provide a good community and moral compass for their children as they mature. You may be surprised the ideas you come up with when considering this with your partner.
How will you divide up responsibilities?
Don’t wait until one person feels like they are doing way more than the other person. Make a plan about how you are going to equally share the responsibilities that come with having a child. Decide how you can give and take and communicate your needs when the time comes.
The Next Step
The next step will be to find a healthcare provider that you feel comfortable with who will help you get your body ready for pregnancy. Prepare yourself by researching the different stages of pregnancy, prenatal care, how to stay healthy and safe, and what your options might be if you have trouble conceiving. If you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year or more you may want to visit a fertility specialist. No matter what, continue to keep the communication open with your partner. The best way to do this is together.