Having babies is serious business that takes some deep thinking. Fortunately or unfortunately, not everyone will have the opportunity to think about it. I recently had a conversation with a new mom, Mary, who waited two years after her marriage to have a baby and not because she had any known challenges. She and her husband just felt they needed to wait for the right time to have their baby.
For one, as at the time, they got married, Mary’s husband had just got a new job in another city and they would need to relocate, but it was not going to be an overnight move, he had to first go and see how the new city was going to work out for him, how the new job was going to be, before they moved from close family and friends to a new city where they knew no one.
Apart from their unpreparedness due to work issues, there was also their need to take some time off by themselves. Yes, they had met, while they were in the university and their love story had spanned several years, but soon after their marriage, they had come the realisation that there were some new things that they needed to learn about each other. Her husband had an onion personality, the more you thought your knew, the more layers you find. That had not been obvious in their courtship.
They had gotten into an argument on the very night of their wedding, over how the parents would get home. It was surprising, they had never really argued so much, they had always found some middle ground but that night, they had gone into a melt down and raised their voices. All because the driver that was supposed to take the bride’s parents home had left and the parents were stranded.
In the end, it was sorted with a call to the new bride’s brother, who came to pick up his parents from the hotel where the wedding reception had taken place. But you know what made the whole difference for me? “I can give you many reasons, why we didn’t have babies then and they are all tangible, but the basic truth was, we weren’t ready. We just were not ready to become parents. Gaskiya! We needed to know more about the people, we had become by virtue of our marriage.”
“You won’t believe this; my husband was not worried about our not getting pregnant, until one year into our marriage. It just did not matter that much to him, so there no need for much toasting to get him to agree to wait for another year, before we start to try for babies, which worked well for me.”
And Mary is right! There are plenty reasons to give, but the truth is, if you are not ready to have a child, you are not ready and if you are able to have time to make a conscious decision about having a baby, then all the better. Here are four factors to take into consideration:
- What’s your relationship with your partner like?
This is one very important question to ask oneself. Do you want to co-parents with your partner? How well do you and your partner interact? Take a close look at whether you are good at working together, problem solving and compromising, because you are going to have plenty situations to use these skills once a child is in the picture.
By the way, thinking that having a child with repair a marriage or strained relationship rarely ever works, rather, it strains the relationship even more, because there is someone else taking your attention off your relationship.
While a baby might help you get over the honey moon phase of your relationship faster, couples, who get over the honey moon phase by themselves are more equipped to raise a family if they have been in a stable, loving relationship for a couple of years. For Mary and her husband, they are glad that they got to know one another better and had time together first before jumping forward and bringing kids into the mix. Now, there are almost no surprises.
- Are you ready to adjust your lifestyle?
Babies are a bunch of attention seeking people. They want every single bit of attention you can give them and more. Like Nicole used to advise our pregnant moms, enjoy now however you can, because it is going to be your last holiday EVER!
It is the absolute truth; your life does not remain the same once a child comes into it. Your life becomes really busy, juggling your work, wifely and motherly duties, all of which you have to do very well. Whatever routine, you are used to before babies, believe me,that it is going to change. Thankfully, in this our clime, having babies is such a big deal that, they most moms are ready to have their lives disrupted for it.
- What support system do you have?
This is one question that needs to be answered. Babies are a lot of work, you need more than one pair of hands, in fact you need a village, like that African proverb that says “ It takes a village to raise a child” There will be times when you will need to turn to family and friends to help you with your baby. Some couples live close to relatives, while others donot and they have to decide whether or not they would be comfortable with friends or even strangers caring for their children when they are absent. This is more important, especially in the early days of motherhood, when you need the experience and love of family around you.
- What’s your parenting style?
Well, you will never truly know this, until the babies come and you have the opportunity to practice. While every generation is different; strict parents can become pushover grandparents), it really comes down to individual preference when deciding how to raise kids.
Again, it’s very important for you to sit down with your partner and talk about how you would raise your kids. You might be on the same page, but then again, you might not. That’s where compromise comes in. Experts also point out that when you become a parent you have to remember that you will be adjusting your parenting style as your child grows.
When all is said and done, no one can really tell you when it’s time to have babies. Deciding when to have a baby is a very personal and private decision, that while exciting, it does require thoughtful consideration for the mother’s sake, for the father, and ultimately for baby’s sake.
So, baby dust and Godspeed on the journey to becoming parents.
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