How to Decide Whether or Not to Have a Baby

Опубликовал Admin
29-09-2020, 02:20
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Many parents find having children a deeply rewarding life experience, and many are also quick to recognize that parenthood comes with both joy and hardship. Deciding whether you want and are ready to have a baby is a major life choice. There is no right or wrong answer, and there is no obligation to start having children or time limit on making a family planning decision. Thinking about your motivations, your lifestyle, and your relationship with your partner can provide you with some of the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

Examining Your Motivations

  1. Consider the commitment. Many biological and cultural factors may contribute to the desire to have a child. However, rather than bending to immediate pressure, take time to decide whether you have the capacity to care for a child in your home for the next eighteen years, as well as helping to support it throughout your life.
    • Understand that having a baby is not simply a time commitment. Raising a child is currently estimated to cost a quarter of a million dollars before college.
    • Know that a child is a mental investment, as well. Studies report that new parents experience a loss of happiness that is on par with divorce and unemployment. While happiness does eventually pick up again, consider your own mental health and whether you are presently in a place to handle that level of extended mental hardship.
  2. Evaluate current life events. Some people may become motivated to have children after major life events or even during crises. Look at what else has happened or is currently happening in your life to see if it may be giving you temporary motivation.
    • Some couples are led to believe that having a child may save a hurting relationship. While there is no guarantee either way, the pressure of raising children often hurts damaged relationships more than it helps.
    • Some couples feel that having children is simply the next step after marriage. There is no inherently right time to start having children, so check in with yourself and your spouse to see if it is what you both want or whether you should take time and revisit the conversation later in your relationship.
    • Sometimes a major life event such as recovering from a serious illness or injury might fuel someone to start making the most of their life immediately. It is not bad to have a baby after a life event, but take time to think over the long term implications along with the short term rush.
  3. Consider not having children. If you grew up believing that parenthood was the only option once you grew up, take a moment and consider what it would mean for your life if you did not have children. This is simply an exercise, not a final decision, but picture what type of work, relationships, hobbies, and personal interests you might pursue if you did not have a child.
    • Ask yourself, “Does any of this feel better to me than the option of bringing up a family?” Take note of your instinctual reaction.
    • If there is something in your mind that does seem as appealing as parenthood, check with yourself to see if that option and raising a child truly are exclusive. How might you be able to work that career, hobby, or relationship into your life as a parent?
  4. Check your obligations. Remember that you have no obligation to have children if you don’t want them. Likewise, as long as you are legally an adult in your homeland, you have no obligation to abstain from having children if you do want them. Look around you and see if anyone is pressuring you to make this decision.
    • If you and your partner are not on the same page about children, stop momentarily and ask yourself, “Am I considering this new stance because I am seeing things differently, or am I trying to make my partner happy?”
    • Look at your friends and family. Have any of them been pressuring you one way or the other? If so, you may opt to keep your distance from them until you make your decision.

Looking at Your Life

  1. Get a check-up. Before you decide whether you want a child, take a look to see if you’re healthy enough to have a child. If you have a chronic condition, be it physical or mental, ask yourself, “How might this impact my child as I get older?”
    • Meet with your doctor. Let them know, “I am considering having a child, and I want to know if my health might have any long term impacts on my ability to parent.”
    • Women must also be aware that certain biological factors may impact how likely they are to get pregnant, as well as how likely they are to carry the pregnancy to term. Ask your doctor for a preconception visit to evaluate any potential complications that may come up during your pregnancy.
    • If you have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health complications, meet with a mental health professional and let them know, “I want to have a child. What impact could my mental health struggles have on me as a parent?”
  2. Check your bank account. You don’t need the whole quarter of a million in the bank before you have your kid, but you should make sure that you are able to meet your child’s foreseeable financial needs for the near future.
    • First, make sure you can afford the time off work. If paid parental leave is not a part of your benefits program, make sure you can afford reduced income for the amount of time you or your partner will take off after the child is born.
    • Look at healthcare costs. Once you decide to have a baby, you and your partner are going to have to start paying for the expectant mother’s medical care, which may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending upon insurance programs and care received. You are also going to have to take care of any medical complications the child may experience after birth, and add the child on as a new insurance dependent.
    • Consider how much it will cost to supply a new baby. Cribs, baby clothes, car seats, and other objects all come with a price, and items like diapers and baby food represent a recurrent expense that may add tens to hundreds a month in expense.
    • Look into the cost of daycare as well. This may be necessary if you cannot afford to let one partner stay home with the baby while the other partner is at work.
  3. Meet with your boss. If you plan on being a working parent, now is the time to think about where your career is going. Meet with your boss to discuss current and near future plans for your company and your position, and ask yourself:
    • Does your job require long hours or a lot of travel?
    • Are you working on a major project that might require excess time or attention?
    • Would having a child result in excess childcare costs due to career obligations?
    • Does your company offer paid parental leave or other benefits for new parents?
  4. Evaluate your support system. The bulk of raising a child falls on the parents or guardians, but a good support system will benefit both the parents and the child in the long run. Look at your friends, family, and colleagues and ask yourself if you see them having a positive impact on your child’s life.
    • Look for people who are not only willing to offer emotional understanding, but who will actually help with matters such as babysitting and housekeeping in order to ease the transition into parenthood.
    • If you do not have an integrated support system already established, ask yourself if you have the financial means to hire support staff such as nannies or housekeepers.

Checking in With Your Partner

  1. Ask your partner. If you haven’t already, now is the time to sit down with your partner and discuss whether or not they want kids. Let them know, “I have been considering whether I want to have a child recently and I want to talk to you about whether you see yourself as a parent.”
    • Find a good time to talk. Don’t spring the question on them randomly or when they are dealing with other matters. Instead, ask them to set aside a certain time so that you can have a serious conversation.
    • Explain your reasons for considering having children. Let them know what reasons you have for wanting children, as well as what reason you have for not wanting them.
    • Ask your partner for their opinion, and respectfully consider what they have to say.
  2. Ask your partner about their concerns. Once you and your partner have discussed if both of you want children, allow them to go through the same mental process of evaluation. Allow them to voice their concerns as well as their hopes.
    • Actively ask questions such as, “How do you see financially preparing for a child?” and “Do you think we have a good enough support network to care for a child?”
    • Avoid disagreements. Allow your partner to voice their own thoughts. If you see something differently, politely offer your opinion by saying, “I’ve been thinking about it this way.” Don’t, however, make your partner feel invalidated during this conversation.
  3. Evaluate co-parenting styles. Decide how the two of you would work together to parent your child. Would you both be involved, or would one of you simply be donating your genes? Would you raise the child together in a single household, or would the child split its time between the two of you individually?
    • Ask your partner, “How do you see us raising this child?” Understand that answers different from your personal preference are not necessarily wrong, and discuss any difference of opinion with an open mind.
    • Talk to your partner about behavioral expectations. Since you have not been a parent before, you might not know how you will handle every situation. However, you might have some ideas. Try starting a conversation with your partner about your expectations, such as by saying something like, “"I see us splitting nightly feeding duties evenly." Or, "While I'm nursing, I thought you'd be responsible for..."
  4. Seek couple’s counseling. Work with a counselor to help you and your partner communicate clearly and effectively regarding your hopes and concerns for becoming parents. Use this time to not only decide if you both want a baby, but to bolster your relationship prior to bringing a child into it.
    • Let your counselor know, “We are thinking about having a child and we want to make sure our relationship is healthy ready for the challenges of parenting.”
    • Consider talking with a family counselor, as well as a couple’s counselor.


  • Take as much time as you need to decide if you are ready to start a family. Do not put pressure on yourself to make a decision by a certain deadline.
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