There may be family and societal pressure to start a family soon. But this is a big decision which you and your spouse need to consider thoughtfully. When is a good time to have children? How does pregnancy change your relationship? How will having a baby affect your marriage? How will you find the money to fulfil all your needs? What will happen to your career? Can you take on the responsibility of yet another person?
These are good questions to think about. If you’ve been able to plan for children – that is, if you haven’t had an unplanned pregnancy, we have some advice for you before you conceive:
- Settle down in this new relationship before you think of having a child.
Dating and courting is very different to being married. Check if your relationship is rock solid before adding to the family. If you have any problems or issues in your marriage, try to deal with them before you think of having a child. Don’t believe the cliché that ‘having a baby will bring you together’. It can bring new stresses that can have the opposite effect.
- Discuss childcare.
Who will take care of the infant? What if both partners are working? Will grandparents be able to manage the care or will you a have to hire someone? Can you afford the different child care options?
- Talk with your partner about your ideas of having a child.
Sometimes you could be on different pages without knowing. Does it mean the same to both of you? Are you both ready for this life-changing process? Don’t move ahead unless you have convincing answers for these questions.
- Sort out your finances.
Pregnancy involves expenses – there will be a lot of rounds to the gynaecologist and then there are the hospital costs. If lack of maternity leave means losing out on an additional income, account for that too. And don’t forget the money you’ll need for the baby.
- Read up and learn how a baby is made.
Check out tips on getting pregnant. Find out how the baby develops during pregnancy, and see the most important mother and baby health tips.
- Talk to friends or relatives who have kids.
Ask what the main challenges were – just so that you’re mentally prepared.
- Be mindful of your and your partner’s health.
The fitter you are before you get pregnant, the healthier you and your baby will be. Look after your health, and get plenty of exercise. If you’ve been meaning to shed a few extra pounds, now is the time to do it.
- Cut out smoking and drinking.
If you’re planning to become pregnant, you should stub out those cigarettes and give up on drinking. Smoking is disastrous for you and your baby. Drinking can harm the baby in the womb. And both of them make it harder to conceive – that goes for both women and men!
- Listen to your heart and then enjoy.
If you are sure deep down that you want to add a new member to your home, go ahead, and then enjoy the process. Don’t stress too much about conception. Eighty-five per cent of the women who want to conceive do so in the first year. Relax, be patient and the results will follow. Have sex. Give it 18 months before you start thinking about fertility testing.