- Family and Parenting
To have a baby or not?!
We live in a very complex world and an even more complex society today. Divorce rates are climbing, as are unplanned pregnancies, single parenting, gay, lesbian partners and co-habitation. There is so much confusion. Many people as kids are quite confused about what they want to do in life when it comes to a career. If they were to give half this thought to other decisions like a marriage or having kids, life would be so much more better. It's not possible to plan every tiny second, as much as we would like to. Uncertainty is something that can really throw your plans out the window and you cannot predict how every decision will turn out. But planning for a decision, whether it comes out right or wrong is important.
Have you thought it through?
How many couples really sit down and think about having a kid thoroughly and can say " I had my kid exactly when I wanted to and am every inch the perfect parent". Maybe a 5% will swear to this statement, the remaining 95 would get heart palpitations as they are already struggling with the question of " Am I doing it right, Am I a perfect parent?". When you are starting to contemplate having a child, make sure you know that it is not possible to control every little detail and have all the right answers to parenting. What matters is to want to have the answers, that is definitely the right path to go on.
I know 5 out of 10 couples have their first child, without any planning. All the overwhelming catholic doctrines thrown our way, doesn't help either with abortion being a sin and the thought of killing a baby being absolutely abhorrent. I agree to this, but I know, I don't consider myself ready to have a baby right now. Add to this 2 sets of parents, and grandparents howling to have a child running around and you have more confusion and pressure to deal with. Post the age of 30, women are under immense pressure to marry, similarly, after a certain "acceptable" gap, they are under equal pressure to conceive.
If you have had a baby, without having planned for it and managed to cope admirably, then kudos to you on that. Did you also know that child neglect is the single largest means of maltreatment all over the world? A child requires love, commitment, nurturing, time, effort and direction. It is NOT like having a pet or a companion if you feel like life is lonely or your marriage just isn't working. Some parents even go so far as to suggest having a baby as a solution to rising differences in a marriage. Please don't ever make this mistake as you are ruining three lives in the process, that of your's, your spouse's and your child's. Research has clearly shown that parents who have had a healthy relationship of mutual love and respect, prior to having a baby are far more likely to not indulge in maltreatment of their child. Bring the spark back by going on a honeymoon or meet a counselor, don't have a baby for it!
Change your habits
Having a baby is a lifelong commitment; you cannot walk away from it, once you say yes to it. Its not a job you can change when things get too hectic, it’s not something you can exchange for something new when you get tired of it. If you have been quite flighty and unstable until now, choose this moment to first adhere to a single task, a single goal for at least a year- to be healthy and to stay clean. When I say "clean", I mean staying off alcohol, smoking and any other "addictive/recreational" substances. Don't mess with nature; it will pay you back, in full measure. Have a child after you have spent enough time and paid enough attention to getting your body ready for it. This will help you to have greater chances to having a healthy baby.
Renting a womb
This seems to be the "hottest" trend these days. Women want to look slender and sexy at all times and don't wish to take time off from their career. It could also be that as a couple, you just don't want to go through the whole "messy" situation. Let me tell you, when you choose to bring a new life, things will go upside down. In fact, that little infant will stand your whole world on its head, until you pay him heed and give him all the love he wants- of course that is if you want him to know and love you as a real parent. Please don't think taking time off to have a baby is "cumbersome", "dirty" or "ugly". It is not. If you want a child that is a part of you, flesh and blood and if you want to truly be a parent, make time for it. Of course, there are exceptions to the situation, such as couples with infertility issues. But if you can have it, and are healthy and able, don't give up the chance to be a part of the biggest miracle of life. Don't jump the gun either. Do it when you are ready, to really get down and be there. Having enough money to spoil him/her is great, but having all the time and love to care for him is greater.
Single and a parent
There is yet another category, the single and the swinging single. Of this bunch, some know what they want and have chosen to conceive either in-vitro or otherwise. There are also the ones who just adopt to "have someone to spoil". Your child is a person, not someone to toy with. You can be indulgent with your child, but you also need to be the pillar of strength, and a voice of reason he/she can turn to. “Shopping for kids” is something that has become quite popular among many single women/men with enough money to afford it. It's like buying and owning a living breathing doll. Be careful, or you may do irreparable damage. Unless you are ready to give of yourself as much as it takes and not expect back every minute, you shouldn't contemplate being a single parent. Of course, there are many women and men out there who have been admirable parents and have brought up wonderful children who are clearly well adjusted and a credit to single parenthood.
For two partners in a committed relationship, it is not unnatural to want to share and cement that love by choosing to have a baby. Many lesbian partners choose in-vitro fertilization or adopt. If you have a committed single partner relationship and believe you have what it takes to have a child, watch and help that child to bloom into a wonderful adult, then by all means, decide to raise one.