Society tends to associate having a family with womanhood almost by default. But becoming a parent involves so much more than a “biological female instinct”. If you do want to start a family, answering these questions may help you determine when it might be the right time for you.
Can you afford to raise a child?
Having a child is one of the most significant financial changes in a parent’s live. According to the Child Poverty Action Group’s 2019 Cost of a Child report, the average cost of raising a child in the UK is about £151,000 for a couple, even more for a single parent. Before deciding to have a child, it is best to manage your debt and savings to determine whether you can afford big-ticket purchases and the uptick in living expenses, health insurance, and childcare needs.
As flexible as your workplace may be regarding maternity, having a child will demand a career adjustment. Parenting demands sacrifices in your social and personal life as well. No matter how many arrangements you make, parenting remains a full-time job. Your child’s life will be your responsibility and that is bound to take priority in any dimension. It’s not selfish to remain childless if you’re not willing to make these changes; it’s your decision.
Are you emotionally ready?
“Your child’s life will be your responsibility” is a pretty strong statement, but true nonetheless. In order to raise a healthy and happy child, they need to be raised in the right kind of environment and that starts with you. Having doubts and insecurities is completely normal and you will never feel 100% sure of what you’re doing, but it is important that you feel confident in your instincts and that you have the mindspace to tackle these issues as they come. Take a minute to consider whether you have a support system as well. It takes a village to raise a child; it’s okay to ask for help.
Is your partner on the same page?
Every woman is unique, as are her needs, concerns, perspectives, goals, beliefs, and values. But there is one thing that we can tell you for certain: if you plan on embarking on this journey with your partner, you need to be aligned. Every person makes decisions based on their own perspective, so do not assume you know want your partner wants. Take as long as you need to communicate and compromise in order to reach a meeting of minds. Your relationship and parenting lifestyle will be better for it.
There isn’t really a “right time” to start a family. You will never be truly ready until you’re holding a child in your arms. All you can do is try to prepare even before it happens. Keep in mind that not every woman gets to choose whether and when to have children. You are fortunate to be in a position in which you can ponder these questions.