How do I know when it’s the right time to have a baby?
Who can say when it’s the right time to have a baby? It’s a very personal question to answer, but by weighing up some of these factors, only you can say when it is the right time. Considering work, your relationship, finances and balancing life and children can be the key to identifying when the time is right for you.
So, when is the right time to have a baby? In the movies, if a woman takes a pregnancy test, one of two things happens. She either cries with joy or falls to the floor in tears of fear and panic. In real life, it’s more complicated than that.
For me, I was about 97% joyful. I was 24, married and living in a beautiful home. It was what we planned for, but I still couldn’t help but think about how a baby was going to affect my career. Was this the right time to have a baby?
I was scared. I hadn’t quite mastered putting my laundry away after washing it, how was I going to be a mom and maintain some semblance of a life? Had I done everything that I should have? Should I have gone on one more big vacation? Should I have secured at least one more promotion? Was I ready to start ‘baby’ chapter of my life?
Women are having babies later in life than ever before. It’s difficult to avoid the fact that biology plays a part in how easy or difficult it can be to have a child.
One question that would run through my head was ‘Do I want to be an older mom?’ Being a young mom meant I would have the energy to enjoy my children. This meant taking a career break. I watched my friends move up in their careers, buy bigger houses, and go on luxurious holidays while I stayed at home and tried to manoeuvre a 2-year-old with a 3-month-old attached to me!
My friends that waited to have children had secured their positions at work, had beautiful homes and great experiences under their belts. The obstacles they faced were biological. Some fell pregnant easily, some had to wait years and some turned to IVF for help.
While your career may be progressing well, it’s important to consider your employer’s maternity package. Many employers require you to be a permanent member of staff for at least 18 months before employees can claim their maternity packages. Having seniority, experience and credibility can make it easier when you return to work. You won’t be starting from scratch to build their trust in you to work flexibly and manage your responsibilities.
This sounds obvious, but your relationship needs to be in a healthy state. There seems to be an old school of thought around a baby fixing your relationship issues. I can assure you, it won’t. A baby can add an immense amount of stress to even the strongest of relationships.
If you’re facing issues in your relationship and are looking for some help, this is not the right time to have a baby. Women especially can fall victim to the pressures of society when it comes to having children. Listen to your voice and be confident that you are making the best decision for yourself and your family.
Having a baby is expensive. While initial costs associated with having a baby seem manageable, childcare can be a strain. Our nursery costs were comparable to having a second mortgage! Do some research into nurseries and nannies in your area to see what this means for you and your partner.
You may not think that a baby will affect your friendships, but being the first in your group to have a child can leave you somewhat lonely. Having a few friends with children can be a great support, especially as a new mother. There are also groups like NCT that can help in making new friends with children in your area. I have been guilty of telling friends considering if it’s the right time to have a baby to ‘go for it’. I love being a mom, and they will too, right? Maybe not!
The right time
Who can say when it’s the right time to have a baby? It’s a very personal question to answer, but by weighing up some of these factors, only you say when it is the right time. Throw away your pre-baby bucket list and don’t expect to be 100% ready. If you do find out that you are pregnant, rest assured that you can make it work if you want to, like you always do!