10 things to figure out before having a baby

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10 things to figure out before having a baby

Sort out the nitty-gritties before you decide to get pregnant

By Aarti Jhurani (aarti@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Fri 21 Mar 2014, 4:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:57 PM

It is somewhat expected of every individual to get married at some point and reproduce, to keep the species going. There are many who grow up and make choices to not marry or have babies — but if you’ve been married for a few years, irrespective of which religion or ethnicity you belong to, friends and family begin to ask the dreaded question, “So, when are you having a baby?”

Raising babies has certainly not gotten any easier over the years; in fact, if anything, it has only gotten more complicated, and before you decide to bring in a little child into the world, there are a lot of things to consider beyond changing nappies and playing with the little one — because that stage is going to end before you know it.

This Mother’s Day, consider our checklist of things a couple needs to talk over before deciding to become parents.

  1. Is your relationship healthy? Chat with your partner about the relationship you share, and whether or not you are compatible enough to shoulder the responsibility of a baby. Also, a lot of couples having trouble with each other decide to have a baby just because they feel it will solve the problem. Don’t fall into that trap! If the relationship is skewed to begin with, it is bound to break, or get worse, with a child around — and there is no point bringing a child into a home that is cracking anyway, and putting them through a separation.

  2. How will the duties be divided? The only time new parents get to rest is when the baby is asleep. If you’re lucky, it could be a lot; if not, you are going to need all the help you can get! Divide the duties — diaper, bath and times of the day you are solely responsible for the baby. It is unfair to have only one partner handle it at all times.

  3. How will career changes be handled? For the first few months after the baby, one partner will need to be at home frequently. Which one of you is willing to shoulder that responsibility? And will that entail that partner stops working altogether, or is just taking a break? Is working from home an option? Go ahead only when you have figured out a practical solution.

  4. How many children do you want? Agree on a practical number — one that both of you are okay with. You could want one, and your partner a whole football team — which, in these expensive times, is not feasible.

  5. How the baby will affect you as a couple: Initially, there is a very strong chance that the two of you won’t be able to make time for each other, as the baby is likely to extract every shred of energy from you. As a result, a lot of couples start having trouble as they begin to feel neglected, which can lead to dissatisfaction in the marriage. Speak openly about the challenges that you will face, and how you plan on dealing with them.

  6. Are you prepared for unpleasant surprises? What if it takes a long time? How long are you willing to wait, and are you willing to consider alternatives? What 
if the child isn’t born in the best of health? Are you prepared to deal with it emotionally? As a couple considering children, there’s a long way to go even after you conceive, so ensure you are both ready to stay strong together to handle the situation and get out with minimal harm. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario, and have a Plan B in place.

  7. Are you prepared for a lifestyle change? A non-existent social life, reduced trips to the movies, lesser travel, and trips to the mall with a crying baby are some of the things you will need to get used to — at least for the first few years till the child is old enough. You need to figure out what is more important to you — a life of wanderlust, or one with a baby, because the twain often do not meet.

  8. What religion/language will the child follow? If you are a couple hailing from diffe-rent parts of the world or follow different religions, you will need to decide if you wish to leave it to your offspring to make the call — or if they will be raised according to a specific faith. Language is relatively easier to imbibe, since a child can start out by learning one, and eventually the other.

  9. How will the finances figure? Babies are born with the magical power of making money disappear pretty quickly. Heck, they start playing tricks while they are still in the womb — while you spend years of savings on doing up a baby’s room, buying, clothes, strollers, cribs, and everything else it may require. Once they are born, you will also be spending on food, frequent visits to the doctors, diapers and other stuff, and they only get more and more expensive as they grow. Even as a double income couple, you need to realise that there will be a break in one spouse’s work life, and the moolah will be going out more than it comes in. Check your bank account, and have a plan in place before you start to freak out about the cash flow.

  10. What happens when he/she starts growing up? Once older, how will you raise the child? How much financial freedom are you willing to give them? Who will be the disciplinarian and how much can the child be spoilt? How will schools be decided and how do you plan on dealing with peer pressure — both the child’s and yours? There are a whole lot of things you need to figure out.

    While this is just a basic checklist, there is always room for a lot to go wrong, but you need to understand that there are no perfect parents, and should you decide to have kids, you are going to grow and learn with your little one.

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