Getting ready to start a family is such an exciting time in anyone’s life, but it’s also one fraught with worry and uncertainty. The eagerness to meet your new child is only matched in strength by the terror that you won’t be very good at it. Preparation and communication are key in this situation. You may even find that a few sessions of couples’ counselling are useful to get everything straightened out beforehand. You will also need to consider your home, location, and financial situation. Here are some important questions that you both need to consider before you go ahead and start a family.
Are you financially ready?
Children are expensive. Babies cost thousands in nappies and new clothes, and as they get older, it’s all about having the newest toys and attending loads and loads of birthday parties. Even before they’re born, the cost of all the equipment and accessories you will need is not insignificant. Excluding childcare, it is suggested that children can cost up to £7,200 a year, so you and your partner need to be sure you can afford it.
Is your house big enough?
Brand new babies don’t take up too much space, although you’ll need a lot of room for drying racks and clothes storage. And as they get older they need room for toys, playtime, and school work. Children need space, so if your house isn’t currently big enough it could be time to upsize. It might be time to sell your house fast and get somewhere that everybody can fit in comfortably. You probably don’t want a townhouse with too many stairs, as going up and down them all day will be exhausting. A more open plan house is better for you and young children. This allows you to supervise play time while getting on with your own thing.
Are you both ready?
A baby can be emotionally very draining, and it can cause a lot of strain on a relationship. Have you both discussed it in sufficient detail that you’re convinced that your partner understands the gravity of the situation? Have you discussed ways in which you will continue to support each other? Some people find it useful to have couple’s counseling before they commit to starting a family, to ensure that both people are happily on the same page. You will also need to decide between you how childcare will work once your maternity leave is over. Enrolling your child at a nursery can give you back your independence, but can be costly. You may want to be a stay at home mother for a few years, but you both need to agree and be comfortable with that decision.
Do you have a support network?
It’s important that you both have people around you to help you. If you have family and friends nearby who can keep an eye on the baby while you grab some much-needed sleep, or spend some quality time together as a couple, then a huge weight is lifted from you both. It could be worth considering relocating to ensure that you have people around who can help when the going gets tough.
With all of these considered, hopefully, you’ll now have a clearer picture in your mind of how your lives will be affected by the arrival of a new baby. Now you can start to plan the fun stuff!