Baby fever is real.
I reminisce, sometimes, about when my last two siblings were infants (I was 11 and 13 when each was born, respectively, and I did a lot of “mommy” stuff back then). I coo endlessly over photos and videos on the internet. Plus, a lot of my friends are in the baby-making business already, so I get exclusives of my nieces and nephews’ latest antics.
But I can also be painfully realistic, and just on the other side of my “Awwws” are thoughts of diapers, formula, and bye-bye to life as you know it. I sometimes feel I narrowly missed being one of those women who choose not to have babies because I think it’s probably the most selfless act, and I’m not sure I’m up to the task.
There are few things that break my heart more than the sight of an innocent child suffering because of their parents’ irresponsibility or selfishness. And, there goes the reason behind this article, basically.
Are you thinking of having a baby? Please make sure you consider the following, first:
Are you ready to not think about yourself first?
I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. See, I have no problem with anyone being selfish, but only as long as you don’t hurt others in the process. Especially a baby!
When we have a baby, it’s time to turn in our membership card for the Selfish Sally Sorority. The same goes for our partner as well. The moment a baby comes into the picture, from conception, our life choices change. Especially for the mom—there will be sacrifices like missing out on friend hangouts and changing our diet.
Of course, it’s all worth it in the end, but it’s also okay if you’re not ready to put another human first. In that case, maybe just live vicariously through the baby pictures and videos online.
Are you in a stable relationship?
If you’re dealing with major issues in your relationship (like chronic jealousy or violence), you may want to be in a good place before bringing a baby into that environment. Don’t be tempted to think you can fix your relationship by having a baby. From all indications, things will only get worse.
And why would you saddle an unborn child with such a huge responsibility, anyway? A wobbly or toxic relationship is not the best place to welcome a child. Also, according to April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert, it helps if you and your partner have been together for longer and know much more about each other. I agree. Even if you’re married, but had a short courtship—I’ve heard of folks getting married after knowing each other for only three months—it’s advisable to wait. There will always be surprises with babies, but it helps when you know, to a large extent, the person you’re taking on the challenge with.
Are you ready for your life to never be the same again?
We need to know as much as we can beforehand about what we’re getting into. Having a baby is a beautiful thing and the rewards are lifelong, but we can mess things up by not realizing just how much our life will need to change.
According to mom Melanie Pinola, you will never be the same. “Your values, perspective, and habits get realigned to one single creature: your child,” she writes. Some of those things she discovered? Parenting changes your partner (for better or worse) and how you see them, your entertainment choices change, eating out becomes more complicated, and you will never take free time for granted again. But here’s what she also discovered: “You will likely experience a love and a bond that you never could’ve imagined!”
Are you ready financially?
Babies cost money. There. I said it.
Money to care for a child should be put into account right from the moment you discover you’re pregnant. Especially in a country like Nigeria, premium healthcare for mother and child does not come cheap. Then there’s also all the money you get to spend after the baby arrives—formula, clothing, baby gear, car safety equipment, postnatal care appointments, and diapers!
Newlyweds expert Francesca Di Meglio, notes that if you don’t think you and your partner can afford a baby, you should probably wait.
Interestingly, Pinola found out after having her daughter that it’s the overlooked things that usually cost more money. While the internet is bursting full of new trends in baby toys, gadgets, and clothes, your little one may end up not using half of the things you buy. Babies outgrow clothes so fast, and you’ll be shocked to see them reject an Amazon-reviewed toy for a random box at home. Pinola found that diapers, babysitting fees, medical expenses, and even daycare, were some of the things that cost way more than she expected.
Bottom line is, babies are wonderful! But just like any other worthwhile venture, they require planning and thoughtful consideration. It doesn’t mean there’ll be no surprises, but they don’t hit as much when there’s been some preparation. Babies are way too important to be treated with kid gloves. *Pun absolutely intended.
Just before I go, here’s a few hilarious—and oh-so-true—anecdotes I found that you need to know before having a baby:
>> “If you’ve ever said something easy is like taking candy from a baby, you’ve never tried to take candy from a baby. A baby will cut you.”
>> “Baby hands are so small and gentle and clumsy and cute and armed with razorblades for fingernails. So approach with caution.”
>> “When your baby is teething, make sure to get plenty of teething toys. They will help relieve stress. You should probably get your baby some too.”
So, who’s ready for the baby train?