I am newly married to a wonderful man! Before marriage, we have agreed to postpone having children for at least one year until we were both ready. Here are my questions:
1) How do we know we are ready to have a baby?
2) What do we need to do to prepare ourselves for such a big change?
Dear Newly Married,
I salute you for your wisdom and level of maturity! I am positive that you and your husband will make great parents once you decide that you are ready. Here are a few tips on readiness:
1) Your marriage is stable, peaceful, and mostly happy. There will always be differences and arguments but their frequency and their lasting impact on your relationship are key to consider when thinking of having a baby. Do not think that having a baby will solve your problems or fix the marriage itself.
2) You are both ready and willing to take the slow lane in life for at least three years. This means that your careers will slow down or be put on hold, your social life will change dramatically, and your outings will be planned with many considerations for the little bundle of joy.
3) You are both ready to make adjustments to your lifestyle; what you eat, drink, and smoke will impact your baby. What are you willing to give up?
4) Are you both ready to give this baby what it needs the most? Time! Your baby’s main requirement is quality time with his parents!
5) Financially speaking, can you afford to take time off work?
As for preparations, there are so many things the two of you need to read about, discuss, and decide upon. For example:
1) Your birth options (where, when, how, and who will attend)
2) Your birth plan (all the things you want or do not want during the birth itself)
3) What kind of parenting are you both adopting?
4) Decisions on breastfeeding, co-sleeping or not, carrying the baby, soothing the baby, etc
5) Decisions on circumcision, and vaccine schedule
6) Decisions on when you are going back to work
7) Decisions on who will take care of the baby when you are at work
8) How involved or uninvolved do you want your mothers to be?
9) What roles will you both have once the baby is born? How involved does your husband want to be?
10) Both of you need to open up about your childhoods and childhood memories and decide what are the experiences that you want to repeat with your baby and what are the things that you want to avoid/change.
Emotionally speaking, you need to clearly tell your husband how to support you! Men are clueless when it comes to how a pregnant woman feels and they have no idea what postpartum depression feels like. If you feel tired, ask for help – this is a rule that will last forever!