March 13, 2012

When is the right time for a baby?

This question seems obvious; is there ever really a perfect time to have a baby? 
When you really aren't sure and can't help but wonder [like I am], you really want to know.

Recently, I had 7 friends who were all pregnant at the same time. The same time. Now they all have babies, some of them baby #2. When I made this realization it was a lot to take in. Especially when the thought to join them and follow suit hadn't ever entered my tiny little brain.

At a recent get-together with friends the realization hit me like a cold cement wall. I no longer had anything in common with them because every topic directly related to their new babies. It's silly to think, but by the end of the night I felt like I'd lost two of my closest friends. Now it has been on my mind ever since. So if it doesn't happen on its own then how do you decide when the time is right to take the plunge into parenthood?

Having a baby can be exciting but it makes it easy to forget about the things that need to be ready beforehand. I found an article recently from Stork Net and compiled a few questions to help figure out the answer.

Will I be taking some time off work, either temporarily or permanently?
Will I be able to reduce my expenses at the same time in order to balance my family's budget?
If you're planning to return to work shortly after your baby is born, what are the costs of childcare and other work-related expenses?
Would it make greater financial sense to have one parent stay at home with the new baby?

What about a financial plan after the baby arrives?
Having a nest egg would help alleviate the stress of finances and should be started once you've made the decision to have a child. It would also a good idea to pay off any personal debt that has accumulated over the years.

Secondly, it’s a good idea to consider physical and emotional readiness. Emotional preparations are most crucial to healthy family development and sometimes these are ignored. Some things that can be considered include: labor pain, maturity, personal health, tolerating the demands of a baby, the feelings of stress, frustration, incompetence, vulnerability, responsibility and selflessness that a new baby evokes from an adult.
There are also the levels of stress put on the relationship as well as some interruption in intimacy, spontaneity and availability for each other.

What are the expectations of each other as parents and as a family? Maintaining an open line of communication with your spouse is important. Babies can bring turbulence to a marriage and do not necessarily make a relationship stronger.

Talking with other new families and participating in support groups for new moms and dads before the baby can help with questions and making you aware of many different aspects of raising a family.

Bottomline: There is never a perfect time, perfect financial situation, perfect home or job for having a baby. You don't need everything in perfect order to have the perfect baby. So take some time to think about what your heart and your head are telling you and the answer will come to you. If you are ready, you will simply know when it is time to begin the journey toward parenthood.

Adapted from Stork Net


Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I can remember thinking this about my friends but the other way around. I had our first when I was 22...and felt for a little while like I had nothing in common with my old friends....but I soon got over that and realised that I was still the same person...only with a lovely baby!! And now it feels just fine with them (and I'm on baby number 5!).

I don't think you ever feel 'ready' to have a baby. I certainly didn't. You kind of muddle your way through- and that's half the fun of it! But, truly, it's one of the most satisfying things in the entire world!


ms.composure said...

stumbled onto your blog and just wanted to leave you a little blog luv! Def enjoyed reading this post!!i feel the same way! i have tons of friends that are getting married (and i am still single) and then i have a whole group of friends who have kids (and they are working on #2 or #3)....i picked school and my career over that stuff...and so far i do not regret it. but it does weigh on my mind sometimes

SJ said...

Hubby and I planned when we wanted a little one and we're pregnant 3 years early. We couldn't be more happy though.

Unknown said...

What I learned is that there never is a perfect time. Whenever it happens is the perfect time for that little one to be born. I went back and forth on wanting to be a Mom more than anything to, do I really want to be a Mom. I had some problems getting pregnant and then a couple problems with hanging onto the pregnancy. What I figured is that I had to wait for my little guy to be born. It was the perfect time for him and ended up being the perfect time for us.

Enjoy yourself and your marriage and the right time will just present itself.

NEKCO said...

This conversation comes up more times than not for me lately...and the answer always come down to "you'll never truly be ready, you just learn as you go how to live your life with a baby" it's not the most comforting thing, but I guess it's just reality....we may never be ready for kids, but that in no way means we won't be good parents!

Anonymous said...

First of all... love your blog! I agree that you probably never feel ready to have a baby... but I dont think you should have one because of this statement. My two best friends are both pregnant (one with her 2nd and one with her first) and yes I do feel slightly jealous/envious/left out at times. But that does not override my feelings of content-ness and happiness in my life and with my husband :)

Lot said...

I agree that there is never a PERFECT time, but I think there is a RIGHT time and a WRONG time to have a baby. I think you need to reach a place in your relationship and your own mind that will allow place for another person in your life. I think knowing your reasons for wanting a baby is key, and will show whether the circumstances are right to start a family.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that the ideal is to have a plan... but you should always realize that plans don't always go according to how you want them. My husband and I wanted a very large family and we intended on getting pregnant within the first year after getting married. That happened as planned! We were so happy.

Then I got sick. The details of everything are far too long and depressing, but our beautiful baby girl was born far too early because my body couldn't handle it. Unfortunately, she didn't live very long.

Fast forward 10 years later... I've had more miscarriage than I can count. My husband was in a horrible accident and is now disabled. We've tried adopting, but several agencies have told us that we aren't "Suitable" because of my husband's disability, and therefore, reduced income. Others have said that the birth mothers they have would never 'choose' us because of our situation. Why, because my husband can't run and roll around on the ground with kids? Because earning less than $45,000 a year makes you incapable of raising a child? It's ironic to me because I know of families of 4 or more kinds that bring in HALF the income we do, are loving and happy homes with perfectly well adjusted children.

Yet, everyone who knows us thinks is a farce. We have a home and plenty of love. Our family and church friends regularly leave their children with us and the kids are always asking for us to babysit. We have 4 (FOUR!) couples who have asked us to be their children's guardians should something happen to them.

So if you ask me... I would tell people do NOT wait until things are 'perfect' in your mind. Make sure the child will have responsible, loving parents, a safe home and lots of love. Everything else will just work itself out. Know that there are many couples out there who would do anything to have a child. Be sensitive about talking about these things. It really chaps my hide when people, who don't know us, see that we've been married over 10 years and have no children in our home.... say the DUMBEST things, many of them making the assumption that we didn't want children so I could pursue a professional career.

It's not about the money, the size of the home or being in the perfect time in your life. Sure, some things might make raising a child easier than others. But, you know what? I've found that the happiest families and the best behaved children come from totally imperfect situations.

Bella said...

This is such a lovely post. I had my handsome prince when I was 17 years old. It was unexpected and yes I was too young. I graduated from high school, went to prom, and wotked at a near by Walgreens. I also graduated from college, I'm a certified Dental Assistant and I'm currently in school getting my bachelor's degree in Business Marketing. I have a happy healthy child, and I'm a happy healthy mother, I have a good career, and a helpful family. No one is ever perfectly ready to have a baby, but you learn about what is being a parent while your child is growing up. You grow as a mother and become great parents. You learn and get to know yourself as you get to know your baby. Having a baby changes your life, you start to think differently about others just like they think different about you. Do enjoy your marriage and your career, a baby will come when you least expected.