The choice to start a family is both terrifying and exhilarating. A new baby changes things considerably—you and your partner will no longer be able to spend Friday nights out with friends, and you can kiss impromptu weekend trips goodbye, too. While having a baby means a number of sacrifices, it also means innumerable blessings, not the least of which is bringing a new life into the world. Are you ready?
While you and your spouse might fit nicely into a studio or one-bedroom, you will find that the space shrinks considerably once a baby enters the picture. You might also want to change cities to move closer to your family or in-laws, so they can be part of the new baby’s life. Whether you are looking for apartments for rent in Houston, TX, New York City or Los Angeles, get a feel for the new area before you move. Houston, for example, has a number of family-friendly activities, such as the Children’s Museum and the largest Children’s Festival in the country, making it an ideal location for a new family.
Some couples have a baby because they hope to cement their bond. If you and your partner are struggling, it is not the best idea to bring a new baby into the world. Take a close look at your relationship. If one of you constantly suspects the other of cheating, or if you can’t work through problems effectively, try counseling to work through those issues before you have a child. Also, picture the next 18 years of your lives—can you see yourself working with your current partner to make decisions about a child’s well-being into the future?
Starting a family can mean putting the brakes on one or both of your careers. It’s up to you to decide to take a leave, to have one of you leave your job for a few years to stay home with the new child, or to have you both switch to part-time work and share equal responsibilities. If you are not ready to put your career on hold, even for just a few months, it is not the time to have a child. Your career choices also impacts your financial situation. Can you and your partner live on one income for a period of time, or do you both need to work?
Your physical health is another thing to think about before starting a family. The U.S. Office of Women’s Health recommends you prepare your body physically at least three months before you get pregnant. Put an end to any negative habits such as smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol. Be extra careful about any medications you take or any chemicals you come in contact with both before you get pregnant and during pregnancy. Make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss any physical concerns or conditions you have and the impact they can have on pregnancy and raising a child.
It’s not just the health of the mother that’s an issue. Dad should also be in a good health and able to provide care to the child.
Lydia is a nurse, mom and green living writer who loves helping people more than anything.