There’s a lot that goes into family planning, especially when it comes to planning to have a baby. For many people, family planning isn’t something they think of until they suddenly realize they’re ready to start a family. Perhaps, your sister or a close friend just announced her pregnancy, making you more cognizant of your ticking biological clock. If you’re wondering if you’re ready to be a parent, you should sit down and assess your lifestyle because this is a loaded question with a lot to consider.
Raising a child is indeed a big deal. If you’re considering parenthood, knowing what to expect and planning for your pregnancy will help tremendously. Below is a mini-guide on family planning, so you can plan your baby timeline, and understand what you need to plan or prepare:
Are You Ready To Become a Parent?
If you’ve worked up the courage to think about this question and even say it out loud to your partner, you’re most likely ready to become a parent and start a family. Surely, after researching the topic, you will now know that most parents concur that no one ever feels truly 100% ready for parenthood. That’s why waiting until you’re ‘ready’ isn’t always the best game plan, since it’s normal to never feel ready. Moreover, you can only feel and understand the full impact of parenthood when your new baby is born.
Becoming a parent is a transformative experience. And for this reason, taking the time to plan and prepare can make a world of difference. If you’re not sure about what to do and feel as if you’re lost, continue reading to assess your parental readiness and see concrete suggestions on how you can prepare for a new bundle of joy.
Family Planning: Make Time for a Physical Exam
If you have been considering conceiving a child, you know how babies are made. However, the road to getting there is not always linear and straightforward. The “let’s wait and see what happens” approach is not always the best, because you could have issues with your body such as endometriosis or PCOS for females and a low sperm count for males. You and your partner may need to see a reproductive health specialist for an assessment. You may need fertility testing and perhaps even fertility drugs. And for women, taking folic acid and other supplements before conception primes the body and helps in preventing neural tube defects.
Thus, one of the primary considerations of having a child is the state of your body. Research says when a woman is born, she has 1 to 2 million eggs. By the time she hits puberty, this drops down to 300,000 eggs. Unfortunately, you lose around 1000 eggs each month, and this is compounded by the fact that egg quality also declines with age. By the same token, male fertility, sperm count, and sperm quality all decline with age, making it difficult to conceive a child. These are factors to assess when making baby plans, especially if you want 2 or more children.
That being said, if you feel pressured to have a baby because of your age, you have options. You have the option to freeze your eggs, go for in vitro fertilization, or look into adoption.
Ensure Your Finances Are in Order
Babies are expensive. You also have to think ahead and plan for education, especially if you want to give your kids the best start in life. Does this mean you need millions saved up to have a child? No. In general, you should have sufficient cash flow to cover necessities.
Make a concrete plan by imagining what your life-with-a-baby budget will look like. If you intend to have more than one child, you should factor this into the picture, too. Think long-term by calculating possible future expenses such as sports clubs, birthday pirates, college tuition, and the like. Don’t forget to account for inflation, which experts say fall around 4% per year. Factoring additional costs and making a budget with a child in mind won’t make your transition jarring once the baby comes.
Consider your financial situation when having a child and do your best to save up. Having children comes with many surprises so you need an emergency fund for sudden expenses because they usually crop up when you least expect them. To help you out, take note of the following details:
- Create a list of items the baby will need from formula and diapers to a full baby layette
- Determine out-of-pocket costs for pregnancy and delivery, including copay for checkups and other insurance deductibles
- Include savings for an emergency fund into the budget as this will help cushion any future financial problems
Check Your Company’s Maternity or Paternity Leave Policies
Does this feel like you’re jumping the gun? But making a simple call to your HR to verify your leave credits is part of good planning. It goes hand-in-hand with financial readiness because you need to know if your employer will provide paid time off when you give birth. Every hour you are away from work equates to lost wages. Thus, it would be good to plan for the following:
- Save enough to keep yourself afloat if you have no leave credits
- Find out exactly how much time will you be allowed to take off
- Find out what portion of maternity or paternity leave will be covered by your employer
Broaching these things to HR when you’re planning for a baby may feel awkward, but these are the things you must and have a right to know. Only when you are informed can you make an educated decision.
Establish a Support System
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and most parents would agree that this feels true. It would be an excellent idea to assess who is in your corner. Will you take care of your baby full time, or can you afford a nanny? Apart from a partner who will raise the child with you, do you have family members who can help out with babysitting in case of emergencies? You may need to start talking to relatives if anyone can help with child care. Or if that doesn’t fall through, check out daycare costs. Knowing these details should be your priority because childcare costs will surely eat up a lot from the family budget.
When it comes to family planning, it’s important to know who’s going to be available to help you out as a new parent. You shouldn’t just assume people in your circle are going to be available to help you. Instead, you should ask them.
If you have no family nearby, look into your tribe for friends who can offer you support. Alternatively, if you’re new to the area, it would be helpful to align yourself with a community of mamas who can give you rock solid advice and emotional support during your pregnancy and delivery. They can also help you out in case of emergencies when the baby finally arrives.
Look into Your School District
It may not dawn on you but checking your home’s school district should be on your “future baby radar.” You have to take a look into it before you conceive or give birth. Check the performance of the school and the quality of graduates.
You may end up not being comfortable with the school. Moreover, if you need childcare before preschool, you often have to get on a waiting list at least one year ahead. Yes, competition is that competitive for babies and toddlers. This factor may not be a priority when making kid-free decisions but they matter a lot when you start having babies.
Have a Serious Talk With Your Partner
If you plan on starting a family with a partner instead of on your own, it’s important to have the ‘family planning’ talk with them.
Do not use a baby as a band-aid solution to solve relationship problems. If anything, adding another human into the mix will create more complications. When you and your partner have a rocky relationship, you must seek counseling and find ways to solve your issues before conceiving a child. The inherent stress of conceiving a baby and rearing a child could potentially result in a relationship breakdown and lead to its demise.
Take a DNA Test
If you’re serious about having a baby, you might consider the idea of you and your partner both taking a CircleDNA test. Apart from preparing your body, heart, finances, and soul, you must also consider the possibility of genetic mutations. Talk to your partner about every possibility, including hereditary illnesses. It’s vital to discuss the family history of diseases because you can pass them on to your future babies.
If you and your partner both take a CircleDNA test, you can find out if you’re both carriers of the same genetic mutation. This is rare, but if you are both carriers of the same genetic mutation, you could pass it on to your child. The DNA test results can help you take a more proactive approach toward preventive health for you and your future children. If you find out you have a high risk for severely debilitating conditions like Huntington’s Disease, you may consider in vitro fertilization with genetic testing to make sure your future kids do not have genetic diseases. Studies show that these options are a lot more affordable than trying to treat the disease.