Starting a family is a big decision. If you and your husband are thinking about taking the plunge into parenthood, there are many discussions you should have before committing. Of course, having your home and finances in order is a serious consideration. But there are a few more things to iron out with your man before you make him a dad.

Here are five important questions to ask him before you have a baby:

1. How do you know you're ready to be a father?

No one is truly ready for parenthood. All parents will tell you that. But there are preparations your husband can make to better handle fatherhood when it comes. The strains, stresses and sacrifices will be unlike anything he's experienced.

You need to know how and why he thinks he's ready for the most important job of his life. And if he hasn't thought about it much beyond "I just am," then this is a great opportunity for him to articulate those important points.

2. Why do you want to be a father?

Becoming a father can serve a multitude of purposes in your husband's life. Understanding the deep underlying reasons he wants to bring life into the world will give you a good handle on your ultimate decision to join him. The answers are best if they're positive or affirmative - working toward something.

Negative answers work against something - filling the hole in his heart, for example. Others include making up for a bad childhood, reconciling harsh feelings about his parents, or proving he can do better than they did. These are not great reasons to have a baby and should make you think twice.

3. What makes a good father?

What does a good father do for his children and family? You should know what your potential co-parent thinks a good father looks and acts like. Who does he look up to and who are his fathering role models? Or, does he even have them?

You should also be aware of what he thinks doesn't make a good father, and what he plans on not doing. An interesting follow-up question would be "Can you be a good father while being a bad husband?" This will give you a lot of insight on what could happen to your relationship once baby fever subsides.

4. What kind of father do you want to be?

You should find out what role your husband wants to play in child rearing. Will he be hands on (changing diapers and midnight feedings) or hands off (bringing home the bacon and sleeping in)? You can also dig into his gender expectations and find out his feelings about possibly having a sensitive, artsy boy or a headstrong, independent girl, for instance.

5. How will you learn to be a better father?

You and your partner will never be ready for everything that comes your way as new parents. You could have a perfectly healthy, happy baby. But your child could also face congenital diseases, medical problems, mental health issues, special needs or terminal illness.

Before rolling the genetic dice and having a baby, you should know how you and your partner will adjust and become better parents. As the circumstances change you will need to grow and evolve. The earlier your baby's-father-to-be prepares to do this the better.

Preparing for parenthood is essential. You don't want to stumble into it blindly. Raising a child starts with making an informed decision. So these five questions and their follow-ups can shed light on what parenting with your husband could be like.

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