Four Questions for Family Planning

Posted on March 13, 2013

 At some point, most couples desire to have children.  Some couples have children early in their relationship and others wait years before starting a family.  Regardless of when you decide to have children, one fact remains constant: kids change everything. Adding a child to your relationship is extremely exciting and a natural part of life, but children can also be challenging and may cause you to lose sight of your once perfect relationship.  As a family therapist, I’m passionate about the family health and encourage couples to take time planning for major life changes.  If you desire to have a family but are unsure if you are ready, check out the questions below.

Question One: Are you ready to focus on someone else other than yourselves?

Don’t be ashamed of being selfish when it comes to your relationship.  The first years of a relationship set the stage for years to come.  Most couples set their communication and behavioral patterns in the first years of a relationship, so it’s important that you like what you see.  If you think you need some work, talk to each other or set an appointment with a counselor.  Make sure your relationship is healthy before you bring a child into it.  It’s also important to invest in your relationship and partner.  It’s okay to be selfish and want time to yourselves.  Once you have a child, your time together will quickly diminish.  Wait to have a baby until you are ready to dedicate yourself to its care.

Question Two: Are you financially able to support a child?

Children are expensive.  Period.  Infants have numerous needs and will definitely change your monthly budget.  Financial preparation is a consideration when desiring to have a child.  No couple can completely plan financially for a child, but it is a necessary part of your decision.  Be smart about your finances.  Don’t assume that after you have a child your finances will magically work out.  Know how you will financially care for your child and have a plan to help cover expenses that a child will add.  If you are struggling financially as a couple, fix your finances first, then have a baby.

Question Three: Who will care for our child?

Creating a plan for childcare before deciding to have a child is essential.  Will one of you need to quit your job to stay home with a baby?  Have you planned financially for daycare or preschool?  Do you have a friend or family member who will be caring for your child?  Figuring out who will watch and care for your child is important.  Your financial situation will be affected if one of you needs to stay home.  Details will need to be figured out if a friend or family member watches your child.  Or you will need to budget monthly childcare expenses into your finances if your child goes to daycare.  Make sure you have a safe, secure plan for childcare before having a child.  If you can’t afford childcare or do not have a friend or relative to watch your child, you may need to wait to start your family.

Question Four: Who really wants the baby?

Do both of you equally desire a child?  Do your parents desire a grandbaby more than you desire a baby?  Think about where the desire to start a family originates.  If you both equally desire a child and are financially prepared to care for a child, then this may be your time.  If not, wait until you both equally desire a child.  Talk about your desires and compromise with one another.  And don’t let your family and friends talk you into having a child if you are not ready.  If you can wait, so can they.

 

Written by: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates.  Her passions are parent child relationships, adolescent females, and grief and loss.   If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie would be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==