Ever wonder if you’re ready to try and have a baby? There are just so many unknowns when you think about becoming a first-time parent, and it’s hard to know when the time is right.
As someone who’s had to work through a lot of baby questions, I understand it can be hard to feel ready. But, thee questions below cover important topics that have helped me and may be useful to you – especially if you’re considering parenthood!
7 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Trying to Have a Baby
1. Why do You Want to Have a Baby?
I know this question might seem strange or overly simplistic. But, I think it’s really important to establish what your motivation is for having a child.
I grew up in a culture where a lot of value was placed on motherhood. And, as much as I respect motherhood, I wanted to make sure I didn’t just want a baby out of duty.
So, I really forced myself to think about my values. What do I want out of life? What is most important to me? And, how does a baby fit into this?
The more I thought about it the more I realized my desire to have a baby stems from the value I place on family – not a sense of duty.
2. What Scares You About Trying to Have a Baby?
Okay, let’s be real – there are SO many things that scare me about having a baby.
- Never sleeping and taking care of an infant while exhausted
- Making ends meet while on mat leave
- Losing myself in motherhood
- Etc, etc, etc…..
As much as this question elicits many responses, it’s been really helpful for me. It gives me permission to admit that the thought of becoming a parent kind of scares me.
And, asking this question gives me an opportunity to explore some of the negative things about motherhood considered taboo to talk about. It gives me a chance to compare risk vs. reward and what solutions might work for me.
Even though having kids is scary, thinking about my fears has helped me know that I can work through the things on my list – that’s been HUGE in helping me feel ready to be a mom.
3. Can You Afford Not to Work While on Mat Leave?
Affording life while you’re on mat leave is a HUGE consideration.
Luckily, I came up with a plan to help us afford my maternity leave when I get pregnant. Here’s how I did it:
How to Know If You Can Afford Maternity leave
First, I created a solid budget. This helped me feel comfortable in knowing that I could live within my means plus a little bit to spare for savings.
It also helped me understand exactly what I have in savings and how much I could put toward making up for lost income during maternity leave.
Next, I read my company’s maternity and parental leave policy. This helped me understand what I’m entitled to at work (length of time off, benefits, salary top up, etc.).
Then, I scoured the Government of Canada website on Employment Insurance benefits for maternity leave and determined how much I’d be eligible for. Doing these things helped me understand how much total income I’ll be eligible for upon having a baby.
After taking all of these steps, I felt a lot more comfortable, but it didn’t change the fact that it’d be hard to afford the entire year of mat leave that I wanted.
So, I started getting creative and thought if I started trying to conceive right away and got pregnant right away, how much extra could we make in nine months?
And, it turns out we could make it work! The amount my husband could make in the summer and the bit that I could bring in through side hustles, could help us afford it.
4. Can You Afford the Baby Gear?
I used to think babies needed lots of fancy gadgets and everything had to be brand new, but all that gear = $$$!
But, after thinking about it and doing lots of mommy blog reading, I realized that a baby can be budget friendly.
Don’t Buy Unnecessary Stuff
Before I started seriously thinking about trying to have a baby, I really thought I’d need to be prepared to buy a boatload of baby gadgets. Wipe warmers, formula makers, $1000 smart cribs – they all seemed essential.
Yes, a lot of the gadgets out there are really awesome. But, when you’re on a tight budget (and even if you’re not) you really need to think about how worth it they really are.
Is saving ten minutes of time a day for three months worth a $400 price tag? Can you reasonably make due without the item? What cheaper (safe) alternatives are there?
Of course, everyone is different and some baby things may seem essential to you that aren’t for me. Just take time to consider needs vs. wants.
Buy Things Used
I know that parents want the best for their kids, but the best doesn’t always mean brand new. Yes, I’m a believer in some things brand new (car seats for example), but things like clothes and diaper genies – no way!
I’m in favor of buying second hand when I know it’s safe to do so (as per federal and provincial health and safety guidelines) and I can fully wash and sanitize the item.
It’s amazing how many people have bundles of baby clothes for sale on Kijiji that give you a whole 0 – 9 month wardrobe for CHEAP!
Wait to See What You Need
Yes, you’ll benefit from being prepared for baby. (I highly doubt that anyone wants to go crib shopping right after giving birth.) But, your preparations can (and should be) limited to the essentials.
One plan to consider is to ensure you’re primed with all the basics (in minimal amounts) before baby comes (car seat, diapers, soothers). But, hold off on buying things like swings, pack n’ plays, a Costco sized box of diapers, and toys until you get to know your baby better.
Because, what might seem like a good idea before baby comes might not be after you meet baby and get to know his or her likes and dislikes!
5. What is Your Support Network Like?
Ideally all new mothers would have a loving partner, a bunch of close family and friends, and an amazing community to help them seamlessly transition into motherhood.
But, the reality is that support networks are different from person to person, and there are lots of ways to make things work.
So, what’s your support network like?
This is something you’ll benefit from thinking about while you think about trying to have a baby.
Because, for better or worse, we are all human and we all need help from time to time – especially as we go through big, hard, sleep-depriving life changes.
So, who will be there for you when you have a baby, what level of support and help can (or are they willing) they give, and is this enough for you?
If you don’t have a good network, how can you build up your support? What other family, friend or community resources do you have?
At the end of the day, you’re a strong, awesome, boss lady and you can accomplish great things! But, if you can also sometimes rely on other strong people in your network for support it’ll make your path a bit easier.
6. What Does Your Doctor Have to Say?
I’m not going to lie, I felt super awkward telling my doctor I was thinking about trying to get pregnant. I’m just weird like that. But, it was actually one of the best things I did!
After I’d figured out my why for having a baby and that I could actually afford it, I was still concerned about some possible health issues and risks. Luckily after having a super candid conversation with my doctor she put my mind at ease.
Even though Google is awesome and you can find a lot of good information on pregnancy and having babies, you can also find a lot of conflicting information.
So, I’d definitely recommend doing your research then talking to your doctor about trying to conceive and how it applies to your specific situation.
7. What’s Your Plan to Stay Sane?
People don’t call it baby fever for nothing! When you want a baby (especially if you’re already trying to conceive) it can be all consuming.
You start to wonder if every stomach gurgle means you could be pregnant and all you want is to see those two beautiful lines on the pee stick.
But, it’s important you find a way to stay sane and keep your life moving forward. It’s hard with the uncertainty of when and if you’ll get pregnant but if your entire focus is 100% on baby it’ll be more and more frustrating if you end up having to wait it out a bit.
So, think about your personal progress. What is something you can do for you? Set a goal and work towards it!
Determine Your Answers & Make the Leap When It’s Right for You
Thinking about having a baby is a big deal! And, the questions mapped out above will help get you thinking about what’s right for you.
Take the time to figure out your answers and be at peace with your decisions. Because, trying to have a baby is a big step in your journey and it’s important you feel at peace with your decision.
For those of you who are already moms or soon to be, what are some of the things that helped you know when the time was right for trying to conceive? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.