Just when I got married in 2014, I had a lot of family and friends share their secrets saying, “Enjoy your honeymoon period to the best before you plan a baby”. My husband and I always chuckled back to such comments. As the year passed by and the first anniversary was celebrated, the lovely honeymoon period comments changed into personal questions. People asked, “When are you sharing the NEWS?”, “When are you inviting us to your Baby Shower?”, “You have enjoyed your honeymoon period for long enough, now is the time to plan your baby”. We laughed again!
Belonging to traditional Indian families, such expectations are common as soon as you are married. We did not really pay a lot of attention to these talks, instead spent time with each other. Deciding to bring another life into this world in itself is a beautiful feeling. Just close your eyes for a moment and think about bringing a little baby into this world… your eyes will be filled with tears and your heart with feeling that is non-descriptive. Along with the awesome feelings, comes the thought of added responsibility. A child is another person in your life, just like your parents, siblings, nephews, nieces and all those lovely family members and friends.
Little over a year and a half into our marriage, my husband and I talked about this wonderful experience of having a child. Our conversations ran the thoughts of changes our lifestyle, change to the finances and newer responsibilities as parents. It all sounded overwhelming. We both gave ourselves sometime to think about the acceptance of these changes and how confident we were to adapt them.
As a couple we did a quick reality check using the following questions to know if we are really ready for the baby.
1. Are we both healthy?
Health for us played a major role in planning. I had a history of Kidney Stones and getting sick with cold now and then, I was not very confident about how I would be able to carry my child with such poor health. My husband on the other hand has been a healthy man and has a good general health. To answer the above question, we visited our family doctor and ran body profile report. Everything for both of us came back normal and we were fit to plan for the baby.
2. Will we be able to accept the changed lifestyle?
Our couple goals just like any other couple were enjoying late night drives, movies now and then, hang out with friends, outing and adventures. We shared the understanding of changes to this routine / activities once the baby arrived. It did not make us sad or upset. We were willing to let go these for our new bundle of joy.
3. Can we survive through the added financial obligation?
Finances are at the root of our everyday life. This did not involve cutting down having fun in the life, but discussing options about me going on maternity or him taking a parental leave from work for 1 year (benefit that new moms and dads can look forward to in Canada). During the time we still need to pay for the rent, car, food and expenses to be occurred for the preparation of baby’s arrival. We had our savings and decent jobs which boosted our confidence to float though the finances.
4. Was it the right time for us to have a baby?
As I mentioned earlier, it is very natural and normal for friends and family to ask or even push for baby planning, but it is really your personal decision to say “Yes, we are ready for it now”. If your partner and you think you are ready, all I would say is – applaud yourself and go ahead! You both know each other the best and no one else can make this decision for you.
If you can relate and have answers to these simple questions, I think you will know if you are ready or would like to wait a little bit longer before you plan.
We planned because we were ready and we only planned when we were ready.
In my opinion, there is no harm in postponing your baby planning for a few years if your partner and you both feel you need more time to know each other or enjoy your lives. And say, if its unplanned and comes as a surprise, all of the above is void.
Useful links for Canadian Viewers:
Employment Insurance Benefits
EI Maternity and Parental Benefits