Things to consider before having children

1. If You’re Ready To Put Someone Else First

You’ve heard this once, and you’ll hear it a million times more. Having a baby is a huge responsibility. Therefore you need to really be sure you and your SO are ready to put another person ahead of yourselves, according to PsychCentral.com. According to the outlet, you and your partner should be prepared to put the baby’s needs before your own, and be able to adhere to the baby’s schedule.

Part of this is feeling like you’re planning accordingly. I spoke via email to Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, to get her thoughts on planning for a baby. Tessina explains that so many changes will happen from the very moment the baby is born, so it’s vital to be prepared. “The day a baby is born, everything is different from the day before,” Tessina says. “There is no way to accurately predict how these changes will feel, and the learning curve for new parents is very steep. Planning ahead for what you can anticipate, like finances, helps make the transition easier.”

2. If You & Your Partner Are Financially Stable

Speaking of finances, let’s talk money. According to newlyweds expert Francesca Di Meglio, who penned a piece on Newlyweds.com, if you don’t think you and your SO can afford a baby, you should definitely wait. Di Meglio suggested taking a hard look at your financial situation and seeing whether you’ll be able to afford the necessities — diapers, clothes, formula, health insurance, and the like. If not, hold off.

To get additional relationship advice, I spoke via email to April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert. Masini says that in addition to being financially stable — you should also be mindful of the importance of health insurance. “Having jobs and health insurance will provide for a lot less stress when times are troubled with a child in your family,” Masini says. “A sick baby is a lot worse all around when you don’t have health insurance.” Don’t forget about the importance of life insurance, either.

“Having a life insurance policy in case something happens to one or both of you and the child is left without one or both parents isn’t a sexy subject, but it will help you both understand the non-romantic arena of being a parent,” Masini adds.

3. If Your Relationship Is Very Solid

If you and your partner have a rocky relationship, perhaps this isn’t the greatest relationship to bring a baby into, according Edward Kruk, Ph.D., a family policy expert at the University of British Columbia, who spoke to Men’s Health on the topic. Kruk told the outlet, “If there were problems before children came along, those problems typically only get worse—usually much worse.”

Tessina stresses that your relationship should be strong enough to handle the changes that are about to come your way. “Things happen when couples are unprepared, but if there’s a chance to prepare, I think creating a solid partnership, learning to solve problems together, and being able to talk about your parenting styles and your hopes and dreams for your children is very powerful,” Tessina explains.

Masini adds that it also helps if you and your SO have been together for a while.”For instance, knowing your partner for a longer period of time, versus a short period of time, is best,” Masini says of preparing to bring children into the mix. “When you quickly have a child after three months of dating, chances are good you’ll have more bumps in the road than if you’ve known your partner for three years.”

4. If You Are Both Self-Sufficient

Does your SO constantly need babysitting? If he or she is a baby themselves, likely you guys are not ready to have children of your own. Likewise, if you act like a baby regularly (or still have a selfish side, which is totally OK by the way), you might be the one in the relationship who simply isn’t ready. Masini explains, “Being self-sufficient is not just about finances. Someone who is emotionally self-sufficient or socially self-sufficient is better suited to parenting than someone who is needy and troubled.” Stop and consider if you both genuinely fit into the “self-sufficient” mold. If so, that’s a good sign.