Have you ever saw an infant or small child and thought to yourself, "Aww, isn't he/she adorable?"
Let's admit it, we all tend to get caught up in the cuteness overload on our social media timelines from time to time. The thought of a baby may have crossed your mind, and you may be deciding to embark upon the land of no return called parenthood. Or perhaps you weren't planning on becoming a parent, but unexpectedly, you did.
Nonetheless, deciding to create and bring a life into this world is a lifelong commitment that requires some deep thought and planning. And while children are both adorable and cute, they are individuals you will have to raise, teach, guide, monitor and support until they are able to take care of themselves.
So if you are considering adding to or expanding your family, here are a few questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge:
1. Have you lived or experienced life?
Once kids pop on the scene, any free time that you have or think you have is non- existent. You are catering to their every cry, whimper and move. You are shackled to them until further notice. Autonomy as you know it is gone.
Many of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned with young women in their 20s representing the majority of the group. Early adulthood is that critical time for self-discovery and self-growth.
As a young adult, or adult of any age, there may be things that you want to experience and accomplish prior to parenthood.
Regardless of what it is that you would like do or accomplish, it's important to allow those experiences to manifest. It will help shape you into the individual you are meant to be and, in turn, you will be able use the knowledge and life lessons to create a meaningful environment for your child when you decide to have one.
2. Are you financially stable to have children?
Everything comes at a cost and children are no exception. The cost to raise a child from birth to age 17 is approximately $233,610.
Yes. Six figures, and that's only for one child.
There are many costs associated with raising children, which include and are not limited to, housing, healthcare, education and childcare.
With that said, you have to evaluate your current situation. What does your financial situation look like? Do you have anything in savings? Any investments? Are you receiving the salary that you want? Are you struggling to make ends meet?
Assessing your financial preparedness will help you to better understand the quality of life that you will not only provide for yourself but for your future offspring.
3. Are you mentally and emotionally ready to have kids?
Having children is one of the most drastic life-changing events you could experience. You suddenly go from having to worry only about yourself to fully being responsible for another human being. This individual relies solely on you for their survival and existence.
This requires a mature mindset and attitude towards every decision regarding your child. It's understanding and fully processing your new life as a parent and how your choices impact your child.
Raising children brings on a whole new level of stress that you may not be ready to handle. Being a parent is a nonstop, demanding role that requires tremendous amounts of sacrifice. It is a dominant role that takes priority over every aspect of your life. It is an immediate and permanent lifestyle change.
4. Are there any genetic concerns?
It is important to understand and know if there are any genetic concerns in your family's medical history. Some families may have a medical history of diseases such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, which result from genetic disorders.
If there are any concerns regarding what you and the other parent are passing down to your offspring, a doctor can administer a genetic carrier screening test prior to your pregnancy. This helps access your child's risks for many genetic disorders that can affect their quality of life.
Knowing this information will also help potential parents make an informed decision regarding having a child and the options available in the event there are genetic risks for your future offspring.
5. Who will help you raise your children?
The family structure in today's society comes in many forms. Though two-parent households are still the predominant environment for approximately 73.7 million U.S. children, single parent households still round up 23 percent of the population.
Consider who will be in your child's center of influence. Will grandparents and family members be involved? Will you plan to marry or remarry in the future if you're a single parent?
The saying "it takes a village" holds true to the cultivation and growth of a child. Every person that is in immediate contact with your child will have an effect on them whether it is positive or negative.
It will be up to you as the parent to decide what type of support you will need to create the ideal environment for your child's success.
These are just a few serious topics to consider when contemplating the idea of parenthood. Other factors to consider revolve around your lifestyle preferences, family structure and even around your own stability and well-being.
Just like with any other important decision, careful consideration and planning are key. Once the a child is here, there is no turning back.
What are other things have you have considered before entering the world of parenthood?