With many millennials entering their 30’s the question of “am I ready to start a family” is coming up. There are a lot of items to address before you ultimately make the decision and there are various factors that may get in the way. In some cases you may have an unplanned bundle of joy on the way. In all types of situations it helps to be properly prepared and have several resources available at your fingertips.
What Is A Family?
With so many different ideas of what a family is today, it’s tough to realize the true meaning of family. It can be defined as “a fundamental social group in society, typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.” While Families are essential to making the world go round, remember that your children are extensions of you and represent your strengths and weaknesses as they grow and develop. While the concept may seem basic, starting your own family is like exploring an entirely new realm of possibilities that you didn’t even know existed. From what others have suggested, forming your own makes life more expansive and rich.
How Do I Prepare Ahead Of Time?
- Clear your debts- pay off as many debts as you can before the baby comes. You don’t want the pressure of needing to have to supplement your income hanging over your head.
- Start a savings account- Build a savings account now before any baby arrives. Putting a little in from each paycheck will accumulate slowly, but will eventually grow into a healthy college/trust fund.
- Plan for the future- If something happens to you or your spouse, make it clear ahead of time, who your child’s care provider will be. Otherwise, it’s at the state’s discretion.
- Learn how to keep baby safe- Taking folic acid and using contraception during the pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects and complications.
- Be aware of hospital expenses- Together: prenatal, delivery, and post-partum expenses in the U.S. average about $8,802 per baby. Also check with your health insurance provider to find out how much it covers.
- Consider life insurance- determine what type of life insurance you have, how much you need, and how to add children to your plan.
- Employment considerations– learn about your employer’s maternity/paternity leave policy and your entitled benefits.
- Living and car arrangements- Think about the size and capacity of your home, is it large enough for a new baby? Do you need to move somewhere bigger? Also consider your vehicle, can it hold a baby and does your insurance cover you.
- Baby supplies- once your baby is born, you and your partner will be responsible for caring for it. So stock up on supplies like: clothing, diapers, food, furniture, car seat, toys, etc.
How to Adapt If There Is An Unexpected Baby On The Way?
According to Guttmacher.org, nearly 49 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. In the face of an unplanned pregnancy, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. But also feel inclined to be equipped and ready for your new addition. Here are a few suggestions to consider when that new baby is only months away.
- Visit a doctor- To learn about where you are in the pregnancy and how to properly treat your body during the process.
- Handle your emotions- Be honest and open with your emotions. You will probably be dealing with a variety of feelings (anxiousness, elation, hostility, fear, vulnerability). It’s important to come to terms with being a parent and having to care for your child.
- Alter your perspective and lifestyle- “Sadly”, having a baby means that it isn’t just your life any more. Now you and your partner have to share. Once the baby is here, consider your options for childcare and how a baby may impact your career or schooling and find a way to make it work.
- Develop a strong support system- You are never in it alone. Find out when and how family and friends can assist you during the pregnancy and with your child. Also reach out to local clinics, support groups and hospitals for additional help.
- Educate yourself- As human beings we are inherently geared to learn. Make a list of things about the birthing process that you still don’t understand and find a way to access the necessary information (the internet, a friend, doctor).
- Be positive- If it wasn’t exactly what you had it mind, it’s how it worked out, so make the best of it. You will eventually grow into it and your child will become a blessing.
Making room for a new addition and forming a family is a big decision. Don’t be afraid of the prospect of children. Though you may not always be “prepared” for children, as long you are willing to learn and compromise, it’s something to take in stride and represents growth and maturity.