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Are you ready to have a baby?
Good parenting = Great nation
Some couples prefer to wait and get 'settled' before having children. Others let nature take its course. And some couples are convinced they don't want kids at all. Irrespective of which category you fall into, having a baby is a full-time job, and also an expensive one. We list 10 parameters to help you decide if you and your partner are ready to welcome a new member into the family. If you satisfy six or more criteria, the answer is Yes!
1. You are in a stable relationship with your partner
Will having a baby help you repair a bad marriage? No. This is a myth. It is you and not your child who will make you love each other. Maria Antao, a child counsellor at Fathima Convent, Goa cautions young couples to get to know each other first before they consider welcoming a third entrant.
2. You have the money
A baby comes with a host of financial attachments, which only increase with time. Expenses could vary from baby products and doctors' bills, to toys, clothes, schooling, further studies, summer camp, tuitions, religious ceremonies, etc.
Make a list and start saving. We have a list of smart saving ideas you can rely on, from principles when investing for your child, to protecting your child's future, how to start saving, saving for new borns, saving for your child's education and investing for your child.
3. You have the time
Okay, you are financially settled. However, money cannot love your child. "Your child needs your time, which cannot substitute for all the fancy clothes and toys in the world," says Maria. This refers to both moms and dads who need to understand how they will make time for their child, especially if both are working or have demanding careers.
4. You have tackled potential 'issues' in advance
If both of you are from different religions, communities, cultures or countries, all of these could be become a bone of contention during child rearing. Discuss these in depth before junior arrives. "You don't have to agree on everything, but you need to agree on how you will compromise, " says Maria.
5. You and your partner are healthy
"In the case of a person suffering from TB, a baby should be conceived only after nine months of treatment. Jaundice infected partners should avoid conception for three to four months after treatment," says Dr Minali Gada of Gada Maternity Hospital, Malad. She cautions those planning on a baby to check their sugar levels and blood pressure before conception. Minali also advises couples in their early 30s to get a medical check-up and consult a gynaecologist to ensure there are no complications.
6. You have a strong support system
Having help during and after pregnancy, and during those first few years before your child goes to school, makes the journey easier. With nuclear families, having house help cannot be ruled out. Lack of help is likely to put a strain on your relationship, so make a note of all the people who can be roped in for support.
7. You are ready for body changes
Pregnancy is likely to bring about changes in an expectant mother's body, in the form of weight issues and stretch marks. Women need to be comfortable in their skin and not feel pressurised to lose weight. "Reassurances from husbands that they find their wives attractive helps beat weight-related stress," says Maria. After pregnancy, mothers' should give themselves about nine months to get back in shape.
8. You are ready for sleepless nights
Be ready for disrupted sleep patterns, lesser 'me time', a reduced sex life and lesser couple outings, with immediate effect post the birth of your baby. You must be prepared emotionally before the due date. Also, be conscious of the fact that having a baby right after marriage can put a strain on your relationship.
9. You want a baby and are not having one due to parental pressure
A sure sign that a woman's biological clock is ticking is when you will distinctly feel a mothering urge to cuddle or hug a child. This is brought about by a chemical change that takes place in the body. Fathers feel ready when they are financially secure and know they can provide for a child. Another sign that you are ready is when you have already chosen your babies' names. However, unless you have your child for the right reasons, 'parenting pleasure' can soon turn to 'parenting pressure', making you regret having one, through no fault of the child.
10. You will accept your child
Couples contemplating a child should also reflect on the possibility of having a physically or mentally challenged child. Although it is a scary thought, make sure you and your partner are united on what you would do if this were to occur.
Are you a parent? Do you have any tips to share with young couples? Post your tips, suggestions and experiences.
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