If you’ve already taken the leap, and consider having a baby, here’s a handy guide to get you started.
- Do you want to get pregnant in the first place?
If you and your partner have had this discussion, then you can skip to the next point. But if you’ve never actually thought about having kids, now is the time to do it.
Do you want children? Do you want them with or without a partner? How does your current partner feel?
Ask yourself all the hard questions.
- Do you have the money for the baby?
Sure, babies can’t be reduced to bank statements. But that does not at all take away from the fact that babies still need, and will definitely continue to need, quite a bit of money.
This money goes to the basic essentials – pre- and post-natal care for when you are in hospital having the baby, clothes for the baby, diapers, formula once the baby is weaned – and we haven’t even started on school fees yet.
It might be prudent, therefore, to start saving for the baby before the baby comes. This is, after all, an entire life, a little being, completely dependent on you.
- Are you in a place, physically and emotionally, where you are ready to have a baby?
Physically, in the first place, go for regular check-ups to make sure there are no pre-existing conditions that might make it difficult for you to have a baby, such as endometriosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Conditions like these may lead to complications during birth.
But even more important medically is to also know your HIV status, and understand whether you are a carrier of certain traits that can be carried on to your child, such as sickle cell anaemia. Get a clean bill of health from your gynaecologist.
As for an mental state, talk to parents around you to try and get a glimpse into understanding what it is like to be a parent – of course you won’t know until you get there, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research beforehand.
Many first-time parents can be ill-prepared for the ups and downs of parenthood – the knowledge that sleep will be a luxury for a few months (or even years), that you can’t have sex for at least six weeks after if you have a normal/natural birth, the fact that mothers have to often sit in a salt bath every day for a couple of weeks after the birth, that babies can sometimes bite nipples as they breastfeed and it can be very painful… and so on, and so forth.
Many of these things come with the baby and you learn on the job but there are definitely others that can be prepared for. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Of course, this is not in any way claiming to be the definitive guide or checklist on whether or not you should have a baby. This is but a stepping stone to the journey there; something to help you along the way of discovery and encourage you to think about what you are doing, and why. And also, obviously, choosing to not have a baby is a valid and acceptable choice – but that, we can discuss in another article!
Do you have any other tips? Share them below or on Facebook. For all pregnancy-related questions, head to our forum.