There are few conversations in your life that may be bigger than talking about starting a family. It’s safe to say that your whole life turns upside down and everything changes. Movie night may be replaced by getting your new child to eat while the majority of your energy will be devoted to taking care of your child.
Before you start thinking about birthing classes or changing diapers, you need to sit down with your partner and discuss a few key things.
The State of Your Relationship
There are many factors that could determine the current state of your relationship. How long have you two been together? Are you married, engaged or just together? Do you both want children?
While one of you may be 100% on the child-train, the other could be twiddling their thumbs at the station trying to decide if they want to buy a ticket. Both of you need to be willing and ready to start this process. As the old song says, it takes two to make a thing go right.
It can’t be a one-way street for a decision such as big as this, you’re not ordering a pizza. Make sure both of you are comfortable with the idea and in a secure enough relationship.
Are You Mature Enough?
It’s safe to say no one ever feels “ready” to be a parent. One day, you’re going to be fully responsible for the safety, health, well-being, education, upbringing and 50,000 other things of this tiny human.
Instead of asking yourself “am I ready to be a dad/mom”, ask yourself if you’re mature enough. Do you feel like you could handle the responsibility or do you feel like you’re on that path? You have to show that you’re self-reliant and not reliant on others to constantly be taking care of you. You’re going to have to make sacrifices and you need to be ready to judge if you can make those sacrifices.
Have you Done Everything You Want to Do?
It’s safe to say your life schedule and priorities are going to shift dramatically. Those impromptu drinks after work on Friday may not happen quite as often. Even though you’ve always wanted to go to China, that may have to be put on the back burner.
Of course you may always have life goals that will pop up from time to time, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve gotten your big plans out of the way first. Whatever you and your partner have planned, do it before you start having children.
Is There a Good Time To Have the Baby?
Once you decide that you’ll definitely want to start a family, you will want to think about time. Are either of you in school and you’ll have to wait until after you’ve graduated? If one of you is a teacher, is it best to have the baby over the summer months or at the end of a school term? Is there a better time where both of you can take off and be with the baby?
Timing can play a big role if your pregnancy is planned, you can try and work your way around your schedules
Unlike Hollywood may have us believe, families don’t get pregnant on the first try. It can take months up to a year for women under the age of 35 and even then, it’s never a sure thing. If it is taking a long time, you might want to examine alternate methods.
Are you Financially Ready?
While you may not be able to fully prepare yourself to have a family, you can start planning the financial aspects well ahead of time. You’ll have at least nine months to get your ducks in a row and make sure you’re ready for the next step.
What is your current job situation? Are you, or you and your partner, making enough to support a third person? If your partner has to take off while taking care of the child, can you survive with just one salary? If not, you might have to think about working more hours even if it means being away a bit more from your family.
You’ll want to start thinking about savings plans for your future children and think about life insurance, if you don’t already have it, for yourself. There are lots of other things you could be thinking about, but it might be wise to sit down and talk with a financial adviser about what the next steps are.