No one will ever be able to tell you when the right time to have a child is. There’s no magical age when you simply have to do it. Nor is there a specific set of circumstances that our lives must meet before it becomes the right time. It’s different for all of us, and only you and your partner can make the decision. But, there are some things that you can think about — some guides to help you to make that choice.
There Might Never Be One
First things first, there’s never, ever a right time to have a baby. There’s always something that could be better, part of your life that could be more balanced or something that you’d like to do. If we waited for the perfect time, no one would ever have kids. Part of this is because it’s scary, and none of us know what to expect or how we will cope. Even if you’ve already got one child, adding a second is a massive change that it’s impossible to entirely prepare for. Sure, there are things that you can do to help, and there are some things (which I’ll look at) that you’ll want to consider before you think about trying to conceive, but just remember, that perfect time will never come.
You Don’t Have to Want Children
It’s perhaps equally important to say that you don’t have to want children. Not all women do, and you certainly shouldn’t feel under pressure because society has decided that all women must want babies. Many women spend more time considering tubal ligation than they do looking at baby clothes. Sometimes, there never feels like there’s a right time, because it’s just not what you want from life, and that’s fine.
How’s Your Career?
But, if you do want a baby, and you are seriously thinking about starting a family soon, one of your primary considerations might be your career. But, in today’s world, women with children have got more options than ever before. Some choose to take a career break to raise their families, hoping to go back at some point in the future. Others, never return to employment, but instead decide to make money at home, looking for the best of both worlds. Some return to work full-time shortly after having their baby, and others try to find a more flexible employment option. The point is, there are options, and while you’ll want to consider where you are and where you want to be, in your career, it doesn’t have to stop you.
Do You Have Space?
Another significant consideration should be your home. Do you have space for a baby? Safe sleep associations and healthcare professionals recommend that all new babies sleep in their parent’s room for the first six months of their life, to ensure their safety in the night ( it also makes night feeds much less stressful). But, at some point, they will need their own bedroom, as well as soon space to play. If you haven’t got room for a child right now, do you have the space for a baby? And would more room be possible in the next 18 months or so?
Are Your Finances Healthy?
Perhaps our biggest worry when it comes to having a baby is whether or not we can afford it. Babies are expensive. You’ll have to spend a lot getting them everything that they need before they are born, and then while the significant expenses will slow down, they will spend the next 18 years or so costing you money.
There are clothes, toys, food, and day to day expenses. Holidays will be more costly, Christmas can suddenly cost a fortune. When they start school, you’ll face bills for uniform, and supplies and family days out can be extortionate. Can you afford to take time off work? Have you looked into maternity pay and other benefits?
But, in truth, we can never afford to have children because we’ll always want to give them the best that we can afford to. We’ll always want to provide them with more and spend more on them because we want them to have the best life possible. However, if you can be free from debt and relatively comfortable, it can be a big help.
How Many Kids Do You Want?
Another thing to consider is how many children you want. Of course, there’s never a way to know for sure, and you might completely change your mind after the first. But, if you want three children, you might want to take yours and your partner’s age into consideration. The older you get, the more your fertility starts to decline, and the higher the risks in pregnancy become.
How Old Are Your Parents?
A family isn’t just mum, dad, and the kids. While your parents shouldn’t dictate when you have children, if you want a close family, in which the grandparents are a big part of your child’s life, and young enough to enjoy them, you might want to take their age into consideration.
Are You in a Strong Relationship?
You don’t have to be in a relationship to have a child. Many single parents are fabulous parents with wonderful relationships with their children. Families today come in all different shapes and sizes, and they can all make it work with a little support and a lot of love.
But, you shouldn’t have a child to fix your relationship. A child shouldn’t be a way to give you something in common or something to share to bring you closer together. If you and your partner are considering having a baby, think about how it will affect your lives and how your relationship might cope.
Are You Happy?
Nor should you have a baby because you are unhappy, or because you want a project. Ask yourself if you are happy? Life is rarely perfect, so don’t worry if things aren’t quite there, but are you happy with your lifestyle and situation? If you are, it might be an excellent environment for a baby.