Deciding to you want to experience pregnancy and become a mother is, you know, a big deal. In fact, it just might be the biggest decision you'll ever have to make. For me, the trying to conceive decision-making process started by asking myself one simple question: "Do I really want to do this?" Then I simply waited until the answer to that question was an obvious "yes." And while I don't know if anyone is ever really ready to have a baby, there are a few questions a woman needs to ask herself before trying to conceive.
So, even after you decided that, yes, you want kids, there a slew of other questions to ask yourself. Is the timing manageable? Meaning, are you healthy enough to safely carry a pregnancy? To find out, it's actually a great idea to consult an OB-GYN before you get pregnant. How about your financial, employment, and housing situations? While there will likely never be enough money, because kids are freaking expensive, if possible it's a good idea to get your proverbial and literal houses in order before bring a baby home. Is your partner on board or are you comfortable doing it alone? And if for some reason you can't conceive, are you interested in exploring other options for starting a family?
See? There are so many questions and so much to consider before you finding yourself buying up at-home pregnancy tests and hoping for a positive. So consider the following before you even start to try to conceive:
"Do I Even Want To Have Kids?"
I asked myself this question probably a thousand times. I knew that I wanted to get graduate school out of the way and my career started first and foremost, but I went back and forth about if I wanted to have kids, especially with my husband at the time. By the time we decided to start trying, I had gone over it in my head and reviewed so many pro/con lists, that I knew motherhood was the right decision for me.
"Can I Afford This?"
For many women, the decision to have kids can seriously impact their financial life. Not only does pregnancy and having babies cost money on the front end, but kids can be ridiculously expensive. You have to ask yourself if you are in a financial position to support a family, or can get to a financially stable place in a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, you might also have to ask yourself if having kids will impact your career or cost you in other ways.
"Can I Afford To Wait?"
But if you're like me and you spent your 20s going on adventures or building your career, you might wonder if you can afford to wait or if your so-called biological clock might be ticking. I wondered if I would have a harder time getting pregnant in my 30s than I would have in my 20s, so the physical mechanics of pregnancy, labor, and delivery are all something to consider.
"Is My Partner On Board?"
If you have a partner, it's a good idea to make sure your partner is on board with the whole parenting thing before trying to conceive. Unless, of course, you plan on being a single parent, which is fantastic for more than a few women, too. These days, you absolutely don't have to pick a person and "do it the old fashion way" in order to start a family. Yay, science!
"Is It The 'Right' Time?"
Guys, it's never the right time. You will never have enough money. Your home will never be clean enough, and if you keep watching HGTV, your home-improvement projects will definitely never end. You might get a promotion at work, or find out that you have to move out of state, days after you've decided you're ready and willing and able to be a mother. So many things might happen, but in my experience pretty much the only thing that's guaranteed is that your life will completely change.
That said, if you have the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of potentially having a baby in nine months (give or take), I would definitely do it. Just remember that when babies are concerned, things never go according to plan.
"Are There Things I Want To Do Before Having Kids?"
For me, this was definitely save money, have a stable job with benefits, own a house, and have a nice long honeymoon period with my husband. Of course, what someone wants to accomplish or experience prior to having children will be different for everyone, and I was lucky enough to cross more than a few things off my list before that pregnancy test turned positive. The most important part is that you consider your own goals and priorities before you try to conceive.
"How Is My Health?"
So yeah, I think it's a great idea to set up an appointment with your doctor to talk preconception planning — which is totally a thing. According to the Mayo Clinic, a preconception visit to your doctor to discuss things like whether you are in good health, need to stop taking medications, or have your vaccinations up to date, can help you experience a healthy, complication-free pregnancy. If you find out that there are things you ideally need to address beforehand, you will be able to get answers you need to make the best choice for you about whether or not to TTC.
"What Things Will I Need To Change If I Have A Baby?"
When I say that everything changes when you have a baby, I mean everything. Everything will be different, but it's important to consider if there anything you might need to change about you or your lifestyle, before you welcome a baby. Everything from career planning to quitting smoking are worth considering. It might be a good idea to talk to some moms who have been there, too, to find out what motherhood will be like so you can ask yourself the right questions.
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