Having The “Baby” Talk
There comes a time in every couple’s relationship, when one or both parties are interested in having a family, that you have to have the infamous “baby” talk. This is the talk when you discuss feelings, thoughts, and decisions on topics like having children, when, and how many.
The results of this discussion are going to vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including whether or not the couple is married, engaged, or just dating, whether both or either have full-time jobs or part-time ones, and past family experiences with parents and siblings.
If you have not gotten there yet, or the discussion is quickly impending, you will want to be extra sensitive, as this is a difficult discussion regardless of how each member of the relationship feels on this topic. My husband and I had this talk way before we were married, and it was unanimous that we both wanted children.
How Many Kids Should We Have?
I wanted a big family as I’m an only child, but he was a little more conservative in his ideal number. My husband comes from a family of thirteen children, and he was born a little closer to the top of that number, he had a huge hand in raising and caring for many of them. He only wanted a couple kids.
When Should We Have Kids?
The ‘when’ was another discussion. We both wanted to wait a couple years after getting married, but as we were both nearing thirty years old, we decided that getting pregnant before that would still be a blessing. We had a lot of time to discuss this topic seeing as how we were together for 3.5 years before getting married. Just before our wedding day, I think he started having doubts and decided on our wedding night that he was ready to get started right away.
The Pros and Cons for Starting a Family
If it is decided that you do want to have children together, the ‘how many’ and ‘when’ questions bring up various pros and cons to having children on the part of both individuals.
And it is important that you cover these as it will either confirm or alleviate doubts on the idea of starting a family and answer a few of the above questions.
You get to be parents.
Having a baby is a life changing experience.
Having a baby is a life changing experience.
Babies can be expensive.
Having a baby can also help to strengthen your bond with your partner.
Women are normally sick and moody during pregnancy.
Having a baby can give your life new meaning.
You will have to alter your schedule.
You’ll never be happier.
You will make sacrifices.
The love you feel defies words.
A child changes your relationship.
Kids make you a better person.
Babies can change a woman's body irreparably.
Your child is your greatest teacher.
Babies need 24 hour a day care and supervision.
So there are many concerns that come up when discussing children, and there are many topics that should be discussed. Starting a family isn’t a decision that should be made lightly and without a great deal of communication. It definitely isn’t something you want to tackle without any warning, but sometimes it happens.
Some of the biggest factors that come into play when considering children are the age of the couple, the financial stability of the family and cost of children, and whether or not the couple will be paying for child care or if one person will be staying home to care for them. Let’s look a little deeper into each area.
Are We Ready to Have Kids?
There's no one right or wrong time to start a family, as each couple is completely different and every individual is “ready” at a different stage in his or her life. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to starting your family at different ages.
In your 20s, for instance, you'll be younger for the younger years of your little ones. So you’ll have more energy to run after your kids but will likely be less financially stable with less personal life experience on which to draw. In your 30s and 40s you may be more established financially but have a tougher time getting and staying pregnant and, afterward, keeping up with an active baby and toddler. (Parents)
My husband and I are in our 30s right now. One of my biggest concerns was that there was a belief that at 30 your fertility begins to decline and it’s harder to get pregnant and stay pregnant. However, the older I get, the more likely I am to have twins, and the more successful any infertility treatment would likely be.
I have to say that my concerns back then were null and void. Six years later, we now have 2 beautiful children and look forward to having more.
Have you had the talk yet?
Can We Afford to Have a Baby?
The Costs of Having a Baby
Another huge concern when discussing starting a family is money. Obviously, it takes money to support another human being, and you have to consider food, diapers, and anything else you might need. One cost that most parents don’t consider is the delivery charge. No, I don’t mean the charge for them to send your packaged up baby to your door.
The costs of a hospital childbirth can be steep. The charge for an uncomplicated cesarean section at the hospital is about $15,800. An uncomplicated vaginal birth at the hospital costs roughly about $9,600, government data show. (WebMD) Most doctors will set up a payment plan to cover your portion of expected costs that your insurance doesn’t cover, but you will also be responsible for a portion of the hospital bill.
Is There Any Way to Save Some Money?
You’ll want to talk to your insurance company and even where you might be considering delivering for possible pricing. Had I known all of our birthing options, I might not have been so concerned. You can easily give birth at a birthing center or at home with a midwife for much less. We have had two home births, and the insurance covered everything except the actual birth, which costed $500 total. Really!
I have a book coming out called DIY Baby that will not only walk you through the process of finding all of your needed baby items for less than you could imagine paying, but I even walk moms through making many of their own baby items easily to save some money. With me, you can spend less than $600 on everything you will need, including a nice crib, a stroller, a swing, a car seat, etc.
My husband and I had already decided that we were going to save money wherever we could when it came to having a baby. We decided to breastfeed and use cloth diapers with washable inserts to save us tons of money on food and diapers. We even found all of our baby items at thrift stores, garage sales, and even Craigslist for great prices before we were even pregnant the first time. We were ready!
What About Child Care Costs?
The big question . . . Are you going to pay for childcare or are one of you going to stay home with your little one(s)?
The Cost of Childcare
While your child is in the baby and toddler stages, you'll likely pay more. Younger children need more hands-on care and so daycare centers must hire more caregivers for this age range. The average cost of center-based daycare in the United States is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). (BabyCenter)
Some couples get lucky, if neither person is willing to give up on their career, and have parents that will watch their kids for free, or find a nanny or in-home sitter for a great price. That would definitely help save some money. But statistically, it’s cheaper on all parties for one member of the relationship to stay at home.
Do the Math to See If You Would Actually Save Money
To figure this out in numbers, many people are visual, start by calculating out all of your actual expenses every month (including that cup of coffee you get every morning). Now figure out what going to work will cost you; breakfast, lunch, and maybe dinner, gas, clothes, and childcare.
So what about your long term expenses for staying home (i.e. the missing paycheck)? Remember the person staying home won’t be spending money on gas, eating out, or work clothes, and you won't need childcare. See how the numbers work out for you and then for your spouse. By sitting down and figuring it out this way, you’ll feel better about the decision you make in this area.
It just so turns out that I was already staying at home with our beautiful lab puppies, and writing books and articles full time from home. There was no question there for us!
What is Your Reason For Wanting Children?
You have now addressed the biggest concerns in regards to starting a family for most couples. So now let’s look at an even bigger topic. What is your motivation for having children?
I know this sounds silly, but with so many couples deciding to have children, there are just as many motivators for having a baby.
- Some individuals are looking for a fix for a bad relationship.
- Some are looking for someone to love them.
- Some are interested in tying down the other person in the relationship.
- What about those that are trying to get insurance/food stamps/tax benefits?
- Some individuals just think that’s what they are supposed to do next in the relationship.
Your Motivators, Good and Bad
None of these are not good reasons alone for starting a family. Anytime you are using a baby to fix a situation, you are in for a surprise. If a relationship is not in a good place, an infant, who brings sleepless nights, crying days, and lots and lots of dirty clothes and diapers, is only going to strain your relationship further.
An infant will only bring a relationship closer together that is already strong and that has already proven that it can weather the storm of life. Having a baby for tax benefits, food stamps, insurance, or any other government help is really not fair on the baby.
The only really good reason to consider a baby is because you really want children, and you really want to be parents, with the full knowledge of what you are getting into and what’s ahead.
The motivation for each partner in the relationship for having children should really be considered before moving forward.
How Many Children Should You Have?
Now that we’ve covered pretty much all important topics regarding having children, let’s consider those first couple of questions that ultimately come in a discussion on having a baby together.
I’ve been told by many that once you start having children your thoughts on the number of children you will have changes dramatically. I’m not sure if that means you decide to have more once you realize how wonderful they are, or you decide that you don’t want quite so many because parenthood is hard. The answer to this question is not only going to be different for everyone, but may even change over the years.
The last discussion my husband and I had before starting our journey together, he said that he wanted around 2 kids, and I said that I wanted about 6. So for that moment, we settled somewhere in the middle, but we are still waiting to see how many God really blesses us with.
When is the Right Time to Start Having Kids?
An even more important question than how many . . . When are the two of you considering getting started? Like I said in the beginning of this article, my husband and I decided well before we were married that if we were blessed with a pregnancy right away we would be happy. However, we would have preferred to wait a couple years after we got married to get started building our family. Funny, it still took a couple of years into marriage before receiving our first blessing.
Figuring Out the Details
You will want to consider how each person in the relationship feels about all of the above topics to know when the time will be right. You might easily decide to start right away or to wait until a better time. But what will be a little harder to figure is whether one or both of you are in school and would like to wait for graduation, whether you are waiting to save up a certain amount of money, or even if you are waiting for a big move or other big landmark in your lives.
To answer this question together, please consider everything we've already discussed. Having a child is a permanent decision that you can't take back. You definitely want to make sure you are both ready before setting out on the adventure of parenthood.
What was your biggest concern with having children?
If you are considering having the “Baby” Talk with your significant other, you may want to make a plan. You may even want to consider your answers if you think the talk may be coming from the other person. There are so many potential topics to discuss and so many complications to consider before jumping into parenthood.
I know a woman’s biological clock seems to tick from the time she turns 5 years old, like mine had, but every woman (or man, I think my husband had a biological clock ticking too) may not be ready to jump in straight away, if at all. Like I said in the beginning, be sensitive when broaching this topic and make sure to listen to your partner as he or she expresses his or her thoughts and feelings on the topic.
With a little patience, consideration and caring, I’m sure you can come to a decision that works for both of you.
© 2014 Victoria Van Ness