Having a baby is a joint decision for a couple and perhaps the most important decision that will change their lives and relationship forever. Parenting is not an easy task as it involves bringing a new human into the world and being responsible for another life. Several issues need to be talked through before deciding on having a child. Let us examine the various points that one needs to discuss as a couple before going ahead and planning a baby.
Is this the right time to have a baby?
This depends on your age, how long you have been married and whether you are ready to take on this new responsibility. If you have a career, you need to see where you are placed concerning your professional goals. Having a baby would mean dual responsibilities and would demand your time and attention.
Parenting is also about having the mental maturity of dealing with the responsibility of a new human. You may have some couple goals like buying a house, going on a world tour or doing other fun things together. Having a baby will reduce your freedom to an extent for a long period. It is important to talk these out before planning a baby.
So, be very clear if both of you are up to the new task of raising a child and sharing the responsibilities. There is nothing worse than having a baby where you don’t have the buy-in of your partner. It can get too overwhelming at a later stage when there is no going back. Deciding whether it is the right time is the first step of this momentous decision.
It’s always about money, honey! Having a baby involves additional expenses and you must discuss whether you have the financial means to shoulder the additional responsibility. If you had planned to buy the house first or take a vacation together, you need to check your finances and be sure that you are up to the task.
If both of you are working professionals, you will need to discuss whether one of you is going to be a stay at home parent to take care of the baby. That would make a dent in your future income while expenses will increase. So it needs careful consideration.
Having a baby is all cool but how are you going to take care of your little bundle of joy? Are you going to be a hands-on mom? If you are a working professional, you will have to return to work after the maternity leave is over. How do you plan to have your baby taken care of? Do you have family who can share this responsibility?
In Indian families, you have doting grandparents who share this activity joyfully. Will this arrangement work for you? What if they live in another city? Would you be hiring a full-time nanny to take care of your little one? Would you leave your child in a daycare centre while you are at work?
These are questions on which the two of you may have very different views. However, you need to thrash it out in the open and arrive at a mutually agreeable solution before you even consider having a baby.
Insurance and Medical issues
Do you have enough health insurance? How will you handle complications that may crop up during pregnancy? What will you do if the baby has medical issues at birth? Medical expenses are quite high and it would do well to be aware of how much you can handle.
Dividing time between parenting and chores
Having a child is one part of the decision. Raising the child and sharing the responsibility is quite another. It is important to figure out if your partner is up to the task. Will he help you to care for the baby? Will he be a hands-on dad who can change diapers, do the laundry, put the baby to sleep or bottle-feed the child if you are at work or resting? You need to consider if you would be able to juggle the dual responsibilities of a baby along with work. Household chores would also increase once you have a baby and you would expect your partner to help. It is important to have these questions discussed before you plan a baby.
Dividing time between other family members
Your baby is your joint responsibility. In the joint family structure, other members do chip in to help with raising the baby, However, this may or may not work for all. You will need to figure out if this arrangement works for the two of you before planning your baby based on this arrangement.
Religious and Humanitarian values
It is always advisable to have these delicate issues discussed before you bring a new human into the world. If you belong to the same religion, there is no difficulty in deciding what faith you want your child to follow.
However, if you practise different faiths, it is better to decide on the same before planning a baby. This will save heartburns later on. Either you can agree on one religion or you can decide that you will expose your child to both faiths and let him/her decide independently at a future date.
Methods of parenting
Before the little one comes into the world, you need to decide what kind of parent you would be. Would you be a strict disciplinarian who would spank the child if needed? Would you be a soft parent who doesn’t like harsh measures and would prefer to use kid gloves? You need to agree on what kind of parenting approach you would prefer to avoid a difference of opinion at a later date.
Pre-schools and schools
When you plan to have a baby, can thoughts of pre-schools and schools be far away? Normally everyone has dreams and aspirations around what they would like to do for their child. In this competitive world, everyone wants their child to attend the best pre-school and school available in the city. However, both of you don't need to have the same views on the subject. It is better to discuss this topic as well before you plan a baby. It is always nice to know what your partner’s views are on the subject. You may be in for surprises when this is discussed because your partner could have a different opinion.
Having a baby is planning for your future. It is a decision of a lifetime and cannot be undone, once it is taken. This decision must be made after careful consideration of all the factors involved. It is also important to decide how many children you want to have, the spacing between them etc. You will need to keep all the parameters in mind for a prudent and well-considered decision that can affect your lives and future.
How should a man prepare for fatherhood?
Hey, the baby belongs to both of you although it is the mother who carries it in her womb, fatherhood is a great responsibility and you should be mentally ready to become one. You should understand the gravity of the decision as the responsibility you will have to shoulder after having a baby is no cakewalk. There will be sleepless nights, endless diaper changing cycles, crankiness etc. that you will have to deal with. The decision is irreversible, so you need to give it some thought. Once you have agreed, it is up to you to support your partner as you explore this new, exciting phase of your life.
Couples need to discuss all the important factors listed above before making the most momentous decision of their lives. There is no fixed time that couples need to spend together before having a baby but it would be wise to understand each other well since this has to be a joint decision.
You cannot spring a surprise on your partner by announcing your pregnancy when he is not prepared for it. So go ahead, talk it through, discuss everything that matters and then go for it when you are both ready to take the plunge. After that, it is a matter of time before you reach out for the Prega News test to confirm the good news.