Tomorrow? Next week? Six months from now? Or maybe right now? We go over the questions in our minds and discuss them with our partner, hoping it will bring clarity. Family members are pouring oil on the fire with advice: “You have everything, so what are you waiting for?” On the other hand, “you’re still young” So the question of when to have a child is not about money.
Is there that “right” time when you are full of energy, loved, and ready to have a baby? For some, it simply means listening to yourself. Someone, on the contrary, does not trust feelings and wants to think through every detail. And what do the experts say?
Family therapist Ellen Lefkowitz suggests starting from the essential question: Are you happy now? Are you satisfied with what you do? Can you say that you (in general) like your life?
Are you ready for the compromises that inevitably come with parenthood and even before? Can you trade independence and spontaneity for planning and structure? If you used to be easygoing, are you willing to settle into the role of homemaker? – Carol Wilkins clarifies. – Although planning a child often involves fantasizing about your distant childhood, remember that this is also a new phase for you as an adult.
Sometimes, with one of the two pushing the gas a little and the other slowing down a little, they can reach a pace that works for both of them. “It’s important that the partner who feels more confident knows how to listen to the other and is sensitive to their concerns and comments,” says psychotherapist Rosalyn Bloger. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to close friends who already have children to find out how they’ve handled problems – like coordinating their schedules.
The couples didn’t talk seriously about having children before they got married and then suddenly found out that one wants to be a parent and the other doesn’t, Bloger notes.
If you know your partner wants a baby but isn’t quite ready for it, it’s worth finding out what’s holding him back. Each of these problems can be a reason for a frank conversation. If you feel it is necessary, talk to a therapist you know or a couples’ group therapy session. Don’t be ashamed of your doubts, but don’t exaggerate them either. Remember: When the future takes shape, becomes tangible and observable, fear is gone. And in its place comes anticipation.
Some couples may be concerned about financial or career security. You may be asking questions like, “Should we wait until we can buy a house and get settled there?” Or you may find it strange, “Maybe we should wait until I start teaching, then I’ll have more time and energy to devote to the baby.” Or, “Maybe we should wait until we’ve saved enough money to have more time and energy.”
On the other hand, many couples are understandably concerned about their fertility. You may have witnessed your friends or acquaintances trying to conceive for years, going through endless fertility treatments, and bemoaning why they didn’t worry about it sooner.
Unfortunately, some people overlook a question worth addressing: is our relationship ready for this? It’s optimal for a couple to devote some time to living together to test their feelings so they can switch to parenthood without feeling like some essential part of their relationship is being sacrificed.
Because parenthood is largely guided by intuition, it is helpful and necessary to feel that the relationship has a solid foundation.
However, not all things require intuition. For example, you can estimate the pregnancy due date of your child, which can help you with family planning. You could also use this time to take parenting classes, develop a postnatal schedule, and, most importantly, work on the relationships that add value to your life.
Remember that you should share your time not only with your partner but also with someone else. And not just anyone – someone who demands your attention around the clock.
If your relationship is bogged down in arguments about “fairness” and “distribution of duties,” you still need to work on them a little bit. Think about this: if you’re arguing about whose turn it is to hang laundry from the washing machine or take the trash to the dump, can you be a “team” when your child will ask you “please, help me to do my homework” or when the babysitter canceled, and you find yourself out of diapers on the way to your parents.
We live in a society that idealizes parenthood and places sometimes exorbitant demands on couples–to be both loving and demanding, progressive and cautious, organized and open to experimentation.
Walk into any bookstore, and you’ll see whole shelves full of parenting manuals, from “how to raise a genius” to “what to do about a rebellious teenager.” No wonder partners may feel “unfit” in advance for such a difficult task.
None of us are born perfectly suited to parenthood. Like any other endeavor in life, we have strengths and weaknesses here.
Pregnancy and childbirth are always “battle scouting”. And that means, in a sense, you can never be ready for it. However, if you have doubts about something, you should discuss them with your partner. Together you should decide how your tandem will work, taking into account different situations. Pregnancy can be difficult, but you can think of ways to make things easier for yourself.
You should discuss whether you want to let friends and family know that you’re trying to have a baby or wait. In the long term, you should talk about whether you can afford to have someone stay home with the baby or whether you should use a babysitter.
But even the most carefully thought-out plans can change. The key here is to understand where suggestions and preferences end and rules begin. After all, you are planning to tie your life together with a stranger. That’s what parenthood is: a giant “leap of faith”. But many people take it gladly.
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