Are You Ready for a Baby?
How do you know if you are ready for baby number 2?
Does a little pink line tell you?
Do you and your spouse have a conversation?
Is there active planning (and trying)?
Or do you let nature take its course?
Baby number 2 has been a topic of discussion between Aaron and I. Do we think we want a baby number 2? Maybe! Are we ready? Haha No! Before we go any further: No, I am not pregnant. No, we are not trying. But we are having that discussion.
What needs to happen before we are ready? We came up with some important things to think about/ discuss with your spouse before you decide whether or not you are ready for Baby number 2 (or number 1... for all my friends who have yet to give me a niece or nephew...).
Here are our 5 big discussion topics to help you decide if you are ready (or not!).
Do you actually want another child? Don’t assume that your partner wants another little one. Aaron and I have spent the last year or so flip flopping on the idea of adding another little one. Some days Aaron is all for it. Other days, I am ready to jump in! But there are some days where neither of us are sure we could handle one more. So, have the conversation. Some questions that we discussed were: How do you feel about adding another person to this family? What if getting pregnant is difficult? Are we open to taking medical measures? If we can’t, are we open to adopting? Is it safe to say no, I am not ready for this or no, I do not want more children? Getting on the same page is important and can elevate stress, which can help improve your odds of getting pregnant. So, have the conversation, get on the same page. Then you can move forward or not.
Can you financially afford a(nother) child? I am not saying you need to have a saving account with $X in it. You can make it work. Many people do, however, one thing Aaron and I were thankful for was the preparation we did financially and with resources while we were pregnant. You should consider finances before growing your family. Some things to consider are: childcare, diapers/wipes, formula, and baby clothes. Childcare was the biggest topic of discussion when we talked about finances. Will one of you stay home? Will you need full time child care? How much is childcare?
Taking Maternity leave or Paternity leave? Or both? This is an important conversation to have before having a child, especially if both of you will maintain your jobs after baby arrives. Will mom take maternity leave? Will dad take paternity leave? Does your job offer it? The state of California offers Paid Family leave to parents who want/need to stay home and take care of a child. It protects you from losing your job and allows you to get paid while staying home to bond. It is important to note that you do not get your full paycheck, and that it is limited to 8 weeks. Depending on how mom delivers the baby, she gets 6-8 weeks of Disability Insurance to heal and bond with baby. You can find more information here: http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/Paid_Family_Leave.htm
Parenting styles: Whether we admit it or not, your spouse and you were raised differently. No matter how similar you think you were raised, small differences may be amplified when a child arrives. An example: Aaron and I fold towels differently. The funny thing is, his mom and I fold towels the same way. Even though he was exposed to the same towel folding ways that I was by my mom, he learned a different way. While this is something minor, think about the larger things: breastfeeding, pacifiers, co-sleeping, cloth or disposable diapers. Have these conversations now, while you have a full nights sleep and can think straight.
Making your older child (or fur babies) comfortable during the transition. If you have a child or fur babies who are used to being the only ones, they may feel threatened by a new baby joining the family. They may feel scared that you will love them less or that they are being replaced. It is important to let them be involved during the pregnancy and remind them that they are loved and that their spot in the family is secure. I asked my parents to have a baby. I started asking God to give me a little sibling, but after a few months of my sister being here, I asked my mom if Jesus would take Siarah back, just for a little bit, so that I could sit on my mom’s lap for a little bit. It is important to explain to a child that while Mom and Dad’s attention may be split between the older child and the new baby that it does not diminish your love for your oldest. Talking to them about being a older sibling and giving they things to look forward to are so important.
Is there anything I missed? What do you think should be talked about before growing your family? I would love to know! As Aaron and I plan for the future, we are looking to learn from those who have gone before us!