Becoming parents is something that many of us dream about. Even from a young age, we see ourselves copying our parents and preparing for the day we will become the parents ourselves. However, taking the leap into parenthood can be daunting and anxiety-provoking as much as it can be exciting and joyful. There are many different roads to realizing your dream of becoming a parent. For some, natural conception is possible, for others assisted conception is needed and for some adoption is the favored option. Whether you are looking to understand your natural cycle, discover the best IVF clinic or sign up to an adoption agency, there are ten questions to ask yourself before starting a family.
How will it affect your relationship?
All relationships take work. It is work that you will likely have done over the course of your relationship and are grateful for. However, adding another person to your life is a big change, and you should consider how it will impact your relationship. Talk about how your priorities and views might change once you have a baby to look after.
Can you afford it?
Kids ain’t cheap! It’s a phrase you probably heard your parents say as you were growing up. Whilst money shouldn’t have the casting vote on this one – a family with an abundance of love is far richer than a family with an abundance of money – you do need to be practical. Take a look at your finances and think about whether your spending priorities will need to change in order to accommodate the things your family will need.
Do you need help?
Many couples experience fertility issues when they start on the road to having a family. Don’t let the idea or possibility of infertility put you off your dream. Get some help from a specialist and learn about all of the options that are available to you.
How will it affect your career?
Whilst supporting your return to work is something that your employer is legally required to do, you do need to consider the emotional and mental impact that taking a career break will have. This one is about timing. If you are in the middle of a project about which you are passionate and have worked long and hard, you may want to wait until it has reached its conclusion before looking to take time off.
What will your childcare arrangements be?
This is one that you need to have an open discussion with family members about. For some grandparents, looking after their grandchild is something that they delight in and have the time for. For others, it is not something that they are physically able to help with. Think about who will look after your child when you return to work. This might be the point at which you think about the jobs that you both have and the hours that you work.
Have you got the space?
Many people move house whilst they are planning their family. Your cute one-bedroom cottage is no longer going to serve your needs once you have a baby in your life.
Are you ready for a change?
Priorities, finances, your relationship and even your values – having a baby can change it all. Ask yourself if you are ready for the change (and loss) that having a family will bring.
Are you healthy?
A full check-up before you embark on your conception journey is a must. However, even without a medical check-up, you can start to consider whether there are any changes you need to make. If you are over or underweight you may think about making dietary changes. You should also think about the amount of alcohol you consume and whether you smoke.
Should you tell people?
Sharing your thoughts and ideas with friends and family will help you to make an informed decision.
What do you fear most?
Ask yourself this question often – the answer will change. Whatever it is that you fear about becoming a parent, you can be guaranteed that there is someone who will understand and eliminate your fears with a close chat and a good cup of tea.