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Can You Plan Ahead for Having Children?
I'm afraid the answer to this question is a double-edged sword. There are many ways you can plan ahead, but there are just as many that will blindside you. There are several different aspects to consider before having a baby: financial stability and sustainability, emotional maturity, having a good support system, physical and mental health, and a stable, loving relationship, just to name a few.
When it came to starting a family, my husband and I took it slow. After dating for three years, we decided to marry. As newlyweds, we decided that we had several goals we wanted to achieve before having a child. It seems there are many couples today that are putting their education, careers, or other goals before starting a family.
My husband and I are planners. We set priorities and one was to spend time together, just the two of us, to enjoy our relationship without having a child to take care of. We wanted to come and go as we pleased and not be tied down by a child. Some call it selfishness, but in that time, we grew as a couple and matured as individuals. We grew out of our college partying days as we watched all of our friends around us have kids right and left. And we were happy for them; we just weren't ready yet. Of course we withstood many a comment from friends and family, "When are you ever going to have a baby?", "Our kids will be grown when you decide to get pregnant!", and my favorite, "I may not live to see my grandchild." (Spoken by a healthy grandparent) With rolled eyes and pursed lips, my husband and I stuck to our plan. Our main goal was to be homeowners before we brought a baby into the mix.
Seven years later, we bought a house and had a beautiful baby boy. We were financially stable, but not rich. We were physically healthy, but I had complications after delivery that pushed my body to the limit.We were mentally and emotionally mature, but still had no idea what we were in for. We had a stable, loving relationship, but it would be tested in many ways. Despite all of our preparation, we still hit some speed bumps.
That being said, it's still worth your time and effort to do these things to prepare for parenthood:
Start a savings account.
Make a budget and stick to it.
Eat healthy meals and get in shape. Try to drop extra pounds. Being a parent requires being active and teaching your child healthy eating habits.
Discuss with your spouse all aspects of having a child. Determine which things you disagree on (for example, discipline or religion) and try to compromise on them before the child is born so you‘ll know what to do when the time comes.
Educated yourselves through books, online discussions and talking to friends with children.
Determine if you are really ready to be responsible for another human being for the next 18 years.
Get ready to be amazed that you could ever love someone so much!
So you see, you can do many things to help with your journey to parenthood, but just know that there are some things you just can't foresee. (Isn't that called "life?")
You can save all of your money, but it won't end up being enough to raise a child. You can take classes and read about all things baby, but you'll never truly "get it" until you've experienced it. No one could ever prepare oneself enough for all the skills you need to be a parent. So just do the best preparation you can and go for it!
I decided long ago to not worry about the things that were out of my hands. I knew that God would provide for us and our baby would bring us so much love and joy that the "bad" stuff would pale in comparison. And I'm glad I did, because having a baby is the best thing that ever happened to us. Like they say, "Being a parent is the hardest job you'll ever love."