Family

When’s the Right Time to Start a Family?

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

As you age, it’s normal to think about what the future holds. Most of us grow up with a template in our minds that we assume we’re going to follow at some point. The typical pattern involves falling in love, committing to each other and having a family. Now, this formula isn’t for everyone, but many people do want to become parents. If you don’t already have children, and you’re thinking about parenthood, you may be wondering if there’s ever a perfect time to welcome a new addition to the family. If you find yourself in this situation, hopefully, you’ll find this guide helpful.

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Understanding what parenthood entails

Babies are incredibly cute, there’s no denying it. Holding other people’s newborns is likely to make you broody, but it’s essential to understand that being a parent isn’t just about spending lazy days gazing at this beautiful little being in your arms. Being a parent is a 24-hour job, 365 days a year. There’s no switching off. Once that little bundle is dependent on you, your entire world will change. There are peaks and troughs, and you may find that there are days when you long for undisturbed nights, time to yourself and a little privacy when you’re trying to relax in the bath after a long day. Parenthood offers amazing perks, but life isn’t always easy, and you have to be ready for the changes that will come when you welcome your child into the world. The days of putting yourself or your partner first will come to an end, and you’ll be responsible for making sure that the precious little gem snoozing in front of you has everything they need. People warn you about tiredness all the time, but raising kids isn’t just about surviving on minimal sleep. Once you’ve made it through those sleepless weeks, there are still many challenges ahead.

Taking a look at your health and thinking about fertility

Many of us assume that we’ll be able to have a baby whenever we want to, but conception is not a given. Unfortunately, in most cases, you don’t know that you’ll have trouble conceiving until you’ve been trying for a while without any success. There are underlying health issues that can affect fertility, but your age can also have an impact. Younger women tend to be more fertile and as you get older, the risk of birth defects and complications during pregnancy increases. It can be very difficult to make a decision on when to try for children, especially if you feel like you’re not ready, but you’re conscious that your biological clock is ticking. If you have decided to start trying for a baby, it’s beneficial to look after yourself. If you haven’t been successful, and you’re worried about fertility issues, it’s advisable to see a fertility expert. You can find more details online, and arranging a consultation could help you to identify potential barriers. If tests and assessments do flag up problems, there are treatments and therapies you could consider to help you become a parent.

Working out your priorities

There’s often pressure on people to have children because it is considered the ‘normal’ thing to do. However, everyone is different. Some people long to be parents all their lives, while others have a more flexible approach. Before you make a decision, think about your priorities. What is important to you? What are you keen to achieve in your life? How do you want to spend your time? What are your long-term goals? If you’ve got ambitions to get to the top of the career ladder or you’re desperate to travel the world, having a baby now may not fit in with these goals. If, however, your dream is to have a family and you’re ready to settle down, there’s no reason to wait. Base the decisions you make on how you and your partner feel. It can be very difficult to ignore societal norms and comments family members of friends make, but try and block them out and focus on what you want either as an individual or part of a couple. Having a child is a lifelong commitment, and it shouldn’t be something you feel like you have to do.

Relationships

Children need stability and security to thrive, and this is why most people want to wait until they are in a solid relationship to have a child. It doesn’t always work out that there’s a family unit in place to welcome a baby to the family, and there are some incredible single parents and blended families out there. However, if you’re in a relationship and you’re in a position to think about when you want to become a parent, consider that relationship carefully. Do you want the same things as your partner? Are you on the same page? Do you love and trust each other? Can you see yourselves being together for the long haul? If you don’t know the answer to these questions yet, it may be worth biding your time.

Finances

In an ideal world, every parent would be in a situation where they could afford everything without any worry or anxiety. In the real world, life doesn’t always pan out how you want it to, and many people become parents without having thousands of dollars in a savings account. You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a baby, but it is worth bearing in mind that having children is expensive. From kitting out a nursery to paying school fees, you’ll be signing up to a never-ending stream of expenses for decades to come. If you’re thinking of starting a family, it is worth considering your current financial situation and making sure you could cope with an extra mouth to feed.

You could be 20 years old or 40 years old, and people will always ask you about having children. Some people want to be a mother or a father from a very young age, but being a parent isn’t everyone’s life goal. The truth is that there is no universal formula that suits everyone. Focus on yourself, your relationship and when you feel like it’s the right time to add to your family if indeed this is the path you want to pursue.

 

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