Are You Ready to Be a Parent?
From the moment you know you are pregnant or are part of a pregnant partnership, you are a parent. Even if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage, abortion, or giving the child up for adoption, the memory and effect of having started a new life will be with you always. If you birth or adopt a child to raise, your life is forever taken down a different path. You now have a child to nurture and care for and worry about.
If you are questioning your readiness for pregnancy and parenting, you are already ahead of the game. Becoming a parent is serious business. It should be taken seriously. Here are some issues to think hard about while considering becoming a mom or dad. They are in no particular order. All of them are important.
Do you want a child for the right reasons?
Children should never be brought into the world because the parent needs love. The love of a child is not a substitute for the love of a parent, a partner or friends. Yes, loving our children gets us some loving but that’s a byproduct, not the primary reason we have them. Our job is to be filling them up emotionally, not the other way around.
Children should never be brought into the world to solve a problem. They should not be born to get the relatives off your back, to hold onto a boyfriend, to ensure an inheritance, or to try to bring a couple closer. When a baby is conceived to solve a problem, it almost inevitably fails. Now the problem is still there and there is a baby to care for.
Children should be born to people who want to spread their love, who see raising a child as the next big adventure in their life and who are committed to the idea that families are an important and valuable part of living fully.
Is your relationship stable?
Do an honest assessment of your couple-readiness. Every relationship takes a fair amount of neglect during the first year of a child’s life. Both parents are stretched by too little sleep, more financial demands, and less time for each other. This is normal. If the relationship is solid, you will both take it in stride. But if you and your partner aren’t really committed, can’t communicate, or don’t know how to work as a team, the usual responsibilities of baby care may stress your relationship to the max. Do you both have the commitment and the tools to make it work?