Questions to ask before deciding to have children
Before embarking on the wonderful, and challenging, adventure of parenthood, couples should be honest with themselves and each other before deciding to take on a responsibility that will last for decades.
- First comes marriage...
- How will they balance careers and work?
- How secure is the relationship?
- Do the couple want to have a baby, or raise a human being?
- Is the couple prepared to change their lifestyle drastically?
- Is the couple prepared to go everywhere together as a family?
- Will the relationships with friends and family change?
- Are both people fully committed to this long-term responsibility?
First comes marriage...
Lots of couples enter marriage with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm and this type of euphoria makes life worth living. A whirlwind of fun dates, outings with friends, celebrations with both sides of the family and the magical day of the big and expensive wedding make days and months fly by.
A honeymoon in which both people have nothing but time to indulge in each other’s arms and savor the first experience of a beach resort and exotic meals is a treat for the senses that heightens the feelings of romance and love for one another for the duration of the care-free and much deserved break from the social requirement prior to the wedding.
Once back into the reality of jobs and new marriage, issues shed a harsh light into the daily routines and obligations. Many couple’s find that pregnancy occurred during their honeymoon and feel blessed while others contemplate with worry a change in lifestyle they were unprepared for and feeling trapped into lifestyle changes that are not welcomed.
How will they balance careers and work?
Even if a couple has been married for many years, the idea of having a child and raising a family should not be taken lightly. Couples who have children from a previous marriage/relationship have different dynamics and feelings about bringing another child into the world. Couples who are career driven and successful in their careers have some serious decisions to make regarding child care and balancing their careers with being parents while being fully involved in their child’s emotional and physical well-being.
How secure is the relationship?
Do the two people involved are hanging together through tough times and finding solutions to achieve common goals? Or is one person shouldering all the responsibility of the marriage and its stability? If the second one is true, sadly, this is not the time to bring the responsibility of a child or children into the marriage. If arguing, fighting and coming home is unpleasant to either one of them, the idea of bringing a child into the mix is best postponed until the couple can resolve their issues through counseling.
Do the couple want to have a baby, or raise a human being?
Often times, people fall in love with the unrealistic romance of holding and playing with an infant, but are poorly prepared for the possibility of sleepless night, day care, respite care, medical issues and the constant time and attention that having a child requires on their otherwise care-free lives. Raising a human being is a long-term commitment that spands decades of navigating some very murky waters.
Is the couple prepared to change their lifestyle drastically?
Picking up and going somewhere on a whim will become almost impossible. Spontaneous romantic evenings or weekends will be rare. One, or both parents, are bound to be too tired to take care of themselves and feeling trapped into a routine that stifles their independence. Raising children is a full time job that goes beyond the 9-5 requirements of a paying job. Embracing all of this requires clarity of mind and a desire to raise a family that makes all the sacrifices and hard work desirable. Kids have to go places and they need to be driven or supervised. They need the parents to be involved in all aspects of their lives and look for guidance even when they are not asking a question.
Is the couple prepared to go everywhere together as a family?
Vacations will typically be restricted to family-friendly locations or individual vacations without the spouse and children. If the couple likes going to Vegas, cruises, hiking in the mountains or going to couple’s resorts while having a regular nightlife that includes bars, night-clubs and midnight outings, they need to be aware that all this will come to screeching halt. They must be eager and willing to give up most of their social life for the next decade or so. It will be replaced by a lifestyle that includes new friends, most of them parents, and vacations and outings that will be limited by the child’s needs and age.
Will the relationships with friends and family change?
Friends who don’t have children will still be friendly but will not be tied down to family needs so they will become distant. Extended family may Oooh! And Aaaah! Over a new addition, but will become scarce when needed to take care of the child if the couple is expecting to saddle their responsibility to family members on a regular basis. Raising a human being needs to be more important than changes in social status and embracing life’s changes with humor and adaptability.
Are both people fully committed to this long-term responsibility?
There are times when one person is embracing the situation wholeheartedly and the other one is just toying with the fantasy. Making sure that both people are on the same page is essential before committing to the lasting changes of increasing the family size.
Having a family of your own can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Being as fully prepared as possible to enjoy the new additions include a realistic expectation of what is entailed, open and frank communication between partners, and proper financial planning that will reduce stress if one paycheck is going to be spent on daycare services or given up to stay home with the child