· Are you still finishing your education? Is your career where you would like it to be? How much longer do you need to finish your education or establish yourself in your career before you can take time out to have a child?
· These days, people have babies when they are still in school and while they’re getting established in their careers, so there’s nothing saying that you can’t do both at the same time. But you need to ask yourself – with the time and energy I currently must commit to my job or studies, could I realistically accommodate the demands of intensive parenting during the first few years of my child’s life and still manage the demands of my studies or my career?
· If you feel you’re running out of time to have a baby, can you take a break and come back to your studies or career later? If you take time out, will you still have a job to come back to?
· The first few years after you have a child are typically very demanding, with sleep depravation being one of the most common complaints of new parents. Are you ready and willing to make the compromises that you will inevitably need to make in your work life, to accommodate the 24/7 demands of raising a child?
· If you are currently in a relationship, what is your relationship like? Is it stable? Are you with the “right” partner – someone you believe would be a good parent and who is also ready and willing to take on this new role and responsibility?
· If you aren’t in a relationship – are you willing to consider becoming a parent on your own? Can you imagine yourself as a sole support parent, taking complete responsibility for raising your child?
· Where are you living? Is this a neighborhood in which you’d be comfortable raising a child? Do you currently have enough space to accommodate a baby? Will you need to consider moving to a larger place once your child is a toddler or you have another child?
· Do you have friends and/or family nearby, who can provide emotional and tangible support when you become a parent?
· Do you have enough financial stability to take on this new responsibility?
These are all questions that you can ask yourself as you are deciding if you’re ready to become a parent.
· Ask yourself if you’re comfortable with where you’re at in each of these areas.
· Are you ready to become a parent under these current circumstances or is there something that needs to change?
· Finally, ask yourself, do I have time to wait? We know that fertility declines with age. Some people wait and find that they have waited too long. While you don’t want to jump in before you’re ready, you also don’t want to wait too long and find yourself facing expensive fertility treatments or even a life without children.
No one has the answers that are right for you, but you. No one else can determine whether you’re ready to take that leap into the unknown – to parenthood – but you. Balancing these opposing pieces can be challenging. You have to find what feels right for you.
If you’ve asked and answered all these questions and you’re still not sure if you’re ready to become a parent, try doing the following exercise:
Picture you or your partner taking a pregnancy test, and the test being positive – how does that feel? Are you happy? Anxious? Terrified? If you see yourself as being happy, even cautiously so, that’s one good sign of readiness. If you’re terrified, you probably aren’t ready to start trying to have a child, until you figure out what you’re so afraid of. And if you’re anxious – that’s a pretty normal reaction to making a life-altering, irrevocable decision to do something you can’t be 100% certain you’re going to be good at. In the end, it requires a leap of faith.