Having a baby is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It involves more than just simply saying you have this overwhelming desire to be a parent. This is not a decision that you make when you’re feeling particularly emotional. Instead, you have to sit down with your spouse and map out how you would like your future to look like once you have children.
To help you make better, informed decisions about starting a family, here are three questions you need to ask yourself.
1. What Are Your Finances Like?
Let’s face it, raising a kid will put enormous pressure on your finances. Even before the baby is born, you’re looking at expenses such as doctor’s visits, medication, and hospital bills. Additionally, if after the first doctor’s visit, you find out you have infertility issues, you’d have to factor in other pregnancy methods such as IVF. Some families report spending as much as $100,000 on fertility treatments alone! The cost is very steep, so you should review your finances to see if you are able to afford it.
And that’s not all you’ll be spending money on. Some expenses seem fairly minor but can cause a major impact on your savings when it’s all added up. For example, you’d need supplies just to get ready for your bundle of joy; supplies like baby clothes, diapers, a crib, a car seat, a stroller, etc. Not to mention the money you’d have to spend as the baby grows older. There are the medical bills (doctor’s visits, consultations with pediatric dentists), babysitters, daycare centers, and, extracurricular activities. If you’re feeling particularly generous, you might also want to look into setting up a college fund early so you’ll be prepared for your kid’s future.
2. What’s Your Relationship Like?
This might not seem like a question you’d want to ask yourselves but it’s important. You need to assess how well you work with each other and how trustworthy and reliable you are. Gone are the days when only mothers were expected to take care of the baby. Nowadays, there’s an emphasis on fathers taking on more active roles in their children’s upbringing, as more studies show that kids grow up exponentially better when they have active and present fathers in their lives.
These are the things you need to discuss:
- How much “me” time do you need? Some people need more than others and having a kid would certainly cut into that time.
- How do you divide up the chores around the house? Do you both share in it or does one spouse do more than the other? When you have a baby, you both need to be prepared to take on the responsibility of feeding and changing diapers.
- Is religion important? Are you both of the same faith? Do you expect your child to be of the same faith as you? Would you be prepared if they choose not to be?
- Are you prepared to have a gay child? Gender fluidity is getting a lot of attention nowadays and educating yourselves about it now would help you be better prepared for any eventuality.
3. What’s Your Living Situation Like?
Finally, ask yourselves if you have the ideal living situation to have a baby. Trust us when we say it’s not ideal if you live in a studio apartment (you’d survive, sure, but you certainly wouldn’t thrive). Ideally, you’d want to have a separate room for yourselves and for the baby. It would also be ideal if you lived close to your own parents or guardians so you could potentially get help caring for the baby when one spouse is unavailable. Be prepared to consider moving if you don’t have suitable living arrangements.