Motherhood. Let’s be honest, society bores it into our brains. Even when we champion independence and healthy feminism, a little girl getting her first doll and playing “Mommy” is still something that happens every day. Television, movies, and even social media all focus on the special moments of being a mom. How many times have you seen “happy couples” rejoice and hug over a positive pregnancy test?
But what you see on a screen is not always a fairy tale. The decision to become a mom includes evaluating all aspects of your life. Here are a few things to consider before deciding if trying to become a mom is right for you.
Am I at an optimal/healthy state?
It is normal for the body to undergo changes during pregnancy; changes that would otherwise be considered abnormal for a non-pregnant patient. For patients who have medical problems (like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) it is important that these conditions are under the control prior to getting pregnant. A simple medical condition can create a potential health risk for you and the baby. Ask questions like:
Am I eating a balanced diet?
Am I getting enough exercise?
Can I get pregnant while on my current medications?
Am I up to date with any required vaccinations?
Setting up a counseling appointment with your doctor before you start trying for a baby is a great start to evaluate your physical health and readiness for pregnancy.
Am I financially healthy for a new baby?
Here’s the thing….so many people don’t think about money before they get pregnant. Babies are sooo cute so who thinks about money, right? Because all they need is my love? Nooooot exactly.
Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that families can spend more than $230,000 raising a child through the age of 17 years old. (Yeah, those cute newborns get older.) That’s over $13,000, on average PER YEAR. This may not include medical bills you may acquire during your pregnancy. Now understand, you don’t have to be wealthy before deciding to get pregnant. However, if you have creditors calling your cell phone, even as you read this post, maybe you should consider dealing with them first. After all, newborns are not free.
Do I have a good support system for both me and the baby?
Having a newborn baby and raising a child, is like a job where you work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no built in vacation or sick days…yes, it is a true commitment. Frequent feeding, colicky nights, fevers and earaches, dirty diapers is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the most common complaints and concerns of new moms is the feeling of burnout and not having any time to themselves to sleep, shower, regroup. One of the questions asked during the first few prenatal visits is about the support system of the pregnant mother. If a person is considering pregnancy, identifying this support team is imperative.
Babies are adorable, lovable, and so cute…but this decision to have your own should not be taken lightly. There is data that suggest the mental, physical, financial health of the mom can have direct effects on the success getting pregnant, being pregnant, and recovering from the delivery of a baby.
Knowing this, commit to being healthier BEFORE getting pregnant…you and your baby deserve it.