Expanding your family can be incredibly rewarding.
It also halts your career, wrecks your social life, and shifts your priorities.
In other words, having a baby is a huge, life-altering, monumental step.
Are you prepared to leap?
If you recognize these 9 signs, you’re ready to have a child.
Otherwise, you might want to reassess your decision.
1) You’re in a fulfilling relationship
In a bad relationship? I hate to break it to you, but having a baby won’t fix it.
While it may bring you closer for a while, cracks don’t heal without hard work and dedication.
In fact, the exact opposite can happen.
Having a child means increased stress and added responsibility.
If you two can’t figure things out now, how will you manage to do it with a tiny human demanding the bulk of your time and attention?
A baby won’t magically solve your problems or replace the need for emotional connection and mutual respect.
On the other hand, if your relationship is solid and you’re on the same page, you might be ready to expand your little family unit.
And if you’re single and thinking about having a child, check out the next point on the list.
2) You have a sturdy support system
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.
Is your village up to the challenge? Can you even find a village to rely on?
When you have a child as a single person – or even in a couple – it’s always advisable to have help.
Relatives who bring you casseroles in those first few months so that you actually have something to eat.
Friends who help with errands and lighten the load.
Other parents who can offer advice and provide some perspective when you feel like you’re doing a horrible job.
Life is unpredictable, and situations will arise where you need immediate help or backup childcare. Having someone to call when you’re in a pinch is ideal.
Of course, you can hire a village. It will be money well-spent, but it may deplete your finances.
3) You understand the financial implications
Having a child will take a toll on your budget and savings. There’s no way to sugar-coat it.
You’ll have to deal with medical and childbirth expenses if applicable – and this is only for starters.
Once the child is in your life, childcare, healthcare, and education costs should be considered.
Additionally, you must ensure the child’s basic needs are met, which means everything from food to clothing to baby gear.
Having a child also affects long-term financial goals, such as retirement planning.
If you’re financially prepared for the responsibilities of parenthood, it’s a sign that you might be ready to take the plunge.
4) You’re healthy
A baby drains you, even if you’re in excellent condition.
Sleepless nights and lack of “me time,” coupled with the responsibility of caring for another life, will impact your physical and mental health.
Furthermore, if you’re a woman who plans to get pregnant, being in good health increases your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Before embarking on the journey, it’s crucial to assess where you’re at and consult a healthcare provider who can come up with a plan that supports the well-being of both you and your future child.
If this step is on your to-do list, you’ve probably given the idea of having a child a lot of thought.
In other words, you may be ready.
5) You do well under pressure
As I mentioned before, having a child is a significant lifestyle change.
I’ve seen first-hand how my friends with babies had to cope with mounting pressure during the pregnancy stage and after the child’s birth.
Having the ability to manage stress is beneficial when it comes to parenting, as it enables you to prioritize tasks, make quick decisions, and adapt to ever-changing circumstances.
That said, these are all things you can learn. And if you have a child, you’ll be forced to.
It’s remarkable to witness how having a child transforms a previously carefree person into someone who has their act together.
But if you already realize that having a child comes with stress, and you’re positive that you can take it, it’s a sign that you know what you’re in for.
6) You’ve mastered adulting
Sure, plenty of people have kids before they’ve conquered all the pesky tasks that come with being an adult.
However, having a child brings even more challenges into the mix.
If your basics are covered, you have a better chance of handling such a big change successfully.
At the minimum, you should:
- Have a steady job and a healthy(ish) work/life balance
- Pay all your bills on time
- Have a place to live that can accommodate a baby
- Know how to feed yourself properly and keep your home clean
Bonus points if you have or had a pet in the past and took care of it with no major hiccups.
You may think that I’m stating the obvious. You’d be surprised.
7) You’re at peace with making sacrifices
As a single child, I had trouble sharing things growing up.
Toys, clothes, time.
Even now, I struggle with this. Don’t get me wrong; I like to fancy myself a generous person.
I’ll happily give you half of my burger, for instance. But if after that you ask for more of my half, we’ll have words.
When you have a child, you share everything, including your free time.
You also have to make sacrifices.
You might have to put your career on pause, take a step back from having a thriving social life, and even lose some friends in the process.
You may feel like your world is shrinking.
And while it will (hopefully) turn out that it was all worth it as you witness your child grow, giving up bits of yourself still hurts.
If you can accept this reality, you’re ready to have a child.
8) You daydream about it
You feel warm and fuzzy inside when you’re around babies.
You’re excited whenever your friends or relatives ask to babysit.
You look at kids longingly whenever you pass a playground.
Need I say more?
9) You’re a little scared
Finally, being scared is one of the most evident signs that you’re ready to become a parent.
The fact that you’re even reading this article? It’s a point in your favor.
Being scared means you understand the impact this choice will have on your life.
I doubt anyone ever feels 100% ready to care for a tiny human.
Deciding to have a child comes with a range of emotions, including fear.
Deep down, you already know what you want to do.
Bringing another life into the world is a huge responsibility, and you’re the only one able to figure out if you can take it on.
Even if you’re not the most successful adult on the planet, you can still do a good job at parenting – as long as having a child is what you truly want.
But if you’re on the fence, take your time and carefully weigh your decision.
It’s one of the most important ones you’ll ever make.