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Four things you need to think about before you decide to have a baby

Most people will tell you there's never a right time to have a baby, but if you're on the fence about whether or not its the right decision for you, parenting expert Alyson Schafer shares the top four factors that you should consider before diving into parenthood. 

Your Relationship  
Is your relationship healthy and strong and has some longevity?  Are you both in agreement that this is something you want right now? There's nothing like kids to throw a wrench in things, and a baby will be the ultimate test of your relationship. If you aren't completely on the same page about kids, you might want to talk to a counsellor to manage expectations before diving into parenthood. 
 
Finances 
Run some numbers and be sure you understand the costs and limitations that being a parent can make on career advancements. Daycare alone can be as much as a mortgage in some cities, but having an extra little person to care for can also be just what you needed to take your career to the next level. 
 
Support
Do you have support?  It really does take a village.  You need people to talk to, but also someone to help with childcare or school pickups when one kid gets sick and you can't leave a meeting. Don't fret if your parents aren't close by, a tight-knit group of friends can be just as helpful. 
 
Realistic Expectations
Are you ready for the unexpected?  Whether it's twins, or sudden medical issues, parenthood always keeps you on your toes. Consider how realistic your understanding of the demands of parenting is by hanging out with families who have children of various ages.   Many will say “you are never ready!”  What they mean is that there are things you will learn about yourself and your partner that you can only learn in vivo – in real time and in real life.