You’ve been married a couple of years and reckon it might be time to expand your family.
Maybe you’ve started realising that all your college girlfriends seem to have dropped out of your “Friday drinks after work” group, because they are either a) pregnant or b) mothers.
In any case, having a baby is not a decision to take lightly. No matter how envy-inducing those Instagram pix of cute baby butts or daddy-son lookalikes are, you need to be absolutely sure that you’re ready to take on the role of mum…or not.
Here are 10 signs that you can, and probably should, wait:
1. You’re still in party mode
If you prefer to check out the latest watering hole for drinks at 2am to planning a first birthday party, then you may need more time evaluate your priorities before taking that step towards parenthood.
While mothers need a healthy social circle, it’s going to be difficult if you think that a meaningful convo is best done during a past-midnight supper. Uh huh, caring for a baby pretty much means that you’re going to have cut out most late nights, for bubba’s, as well as your well-being.
Perhaps, your spouse is pressuring you to have kids, even though you yourself have doubts that you’re ready.
2. You can’t afford it
When you’re struggling to make ends meet, having to feed another mouth isn’t the best financial decision. Babies are expensive ― besides budgeting for essential baby gear, insurance and medical bills, you’ll need to think of setting aside enough money for diapers and formula milk in the early years.
Plus, once your maternity leave is over, there’s childcare arrangements to consider. Whether you hire a domestic helper, use a babysitter or place your child in an infantcare centre, it won’t be cheap.
3. You’re being pressured
Sure, your parents may have reminded you more than once that you’re “not getting any younger”, and your best pals are now busy raising little ones.
Still, it’s important to ask yourself the real reason why you’re even considering having a child ― is it societal or family pressure? Perhaps, your spouse is pressuring you to have kids, even though you yourself have doubts that you’re ready.
If you don’t feel prepared to be a mum, it’s best to be honest with yourself. The last thing you want is to regret rushing into the decision. One working mother, who has two kids and wants to be known as Gerry, shares that “while I love my kids unconditionally, I can’t say I love being a mum. It’s hard work, and takes a lot of getting used to”.
4. You want to fix your relationship
Thinking that having a baby will solve your marriage issues is, well, plain wrong. While getting pregnant immediately changes the dynamics of your relationship ― it may not necessarily be for the better.
You may hope that introducing a little one to the family can strengthen your commitment to each other, but the vision that a baby can bring a couple closer together is usually just…an ideal.
In reality, marriage is hard work, but parenting may be even harder. Having to care for a baby makes you tired and sleep deprived and this can affect your relationship with your husband. Couples easily get distant with each other, and it’s so much harder to focus on one another when there’s a baby in the mix.
5. You gush over baby clothes more than the baby
It’s easy to fall in love with those impossibly soft, organic bamboo fabric blankies, and those gorgeous little onesies. When those little mittens and booties catch your eye, you swear that your ovaries are going into overdrive.
Yes, all those pastel-hued baby items are adorable, but if this is the main reason why you long for a kid, you’re in for a big surprise ― parenting is way more than cute babywear. Sure, you babysit your darling nephews and nieces and even lavish your hard-earned cash on them…but you know that at the end of the day, you get to hand them back to their parents.
6. You’re easily grossed out
Poop, pee, puke, blood…handling all these come with being a parent. You’ll be inducted from Day One to the incredible messes a baby can make, especially when you cotton on quickly that a newborn needs eight to 12 diaper changes a day.
Baby spit-up is also a common occurrence ― it can happen when bubba swallows air while drinking milk, or if he overeats. If he happens to have reflux, he may even hurl like nobody’s business after every feed.
As your little one grows, rest assured the messes don’t end there ― be prepared to tend to cuts and scrapes on little knees, as well as deal with grubby little fingerprints and stains on your fabric couches.
“I’m so tired… There are even nights when he would wake up and not go back to sleep till it’s around 6am.”
7. Bad habits still rule your life
Everyone has their vices ― but you’ll need to take control certain ones, at least when you’re TTC and during the 9 months that you’re pregnant. Habits like smoking and excessive drinking can harm your unborn child, plus second-hand smoke may pose a health risk to a family with young kids.
If you don’t think you can cut down on these bad habits for your child’s sake, you’d want to take a close look at your current priorities. You’ll also need to get your own health in order before you take responsibility for another person’s.
8. You aren't ready to give up your sleep
Eight to 10 hours of beauty sleep? You’ll be lucky if you catch four! Ah yes, gone will be the days where you could sleep in till noon on weekends, or take an afternoon siesta whenever you felt like it.
Plenty of babies don’t sleep through the night, even after they turn 1. Gripes Natasha Choo, mum to Tristan, 3, “I’m so tired. He still wakes up and crawls into our bed at 4am! There are even nights when he would wake up and not go back to sleep till it’s around 6am.”
9. You care a lot about what others think of you
We’ll be honest here. Becoming a parent often means throwing your dignity out of the window. Goh Yun Mei, mum to Vivienne, 1, shares that she was always shy to expose her own body, “I don’t even wear bikinis!” Needless to say, she was horrified when during her delivery, “I was pretty much naked, with so many strangers coming in and out of the delivery room to examine my nether regions,” she laughs.
Nor will the fun stop after bubba arrives. Leaky boobs with milk stains on your clothes, having to hum and sway around in public (it’s the only way the little guy will nap), and dealing with very public tantrums and meltdowns are just part of the package.
If you aren’t ready to put your life ― and entire being ― on hold, you should postpone having kids, for now. There will be a time when you’re ready, and the wait will be worth it.
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