Pregnancy and Child Rearing – Seven Questions You Should Consider Before Deciding to Have Children

If you’re married or living with your partner, the question inevitably comes up, if it hasn’t already: Do we want to have children? For some couples this doesn’t seem like a question for discussion – it’s something that was expressed practically from the first date. But circumstances change, people grow, and two adults considering parenthood would be wise to have an in-depth and honest discussion about the subject before forging ahead. The following are seven questions for you and your partner to discuss to help you decide if you both want to become parents:

Why do you want to have children? All of your friends are having kids, your parents expect you to give them grandchildren, or society expects you to procreate. If you feel a bit uncomfortable with this question, try to separate out what you think you should say from what you really feel deep in your heart. You might need more time to mull this over. Our motivation is always the most important issue to be clear about.

What are your expectations about parenthood? Also ask yourselves: How have I come to have these expectations?

Do you feel prepared for the physical challenge? Are you in good health? Are you in the best shape of your life? Are you both young enough? Do you have some physical weakness that would be exacerbated by pregnancy?

Do you feel well-equipped for the emotional challenge? Having children is an emotionally vulnerable experience. Suddenly your entire happiness rests on how well you care for this little being.

Do you feel that you have enough money? Or do you have relative job/career security and good lifelong earning potential? Who can you turn to if one or both of you suddenly becomes unemployed?

Who will help give us a break from our children? This is a very important consideration. Everyone needs a break and if you don’t have someone to help you that you trust, you may find you will be giving each other breaks to go off alone and never have a date night together.

What do you expect each of your roles will be? You may be surprised by your partner’s response. Listen closely and read between the lines. Having more of a parental and/or homemaking role than you expected can lead to resentment. If you know what the deal is from the beginning, any potential resentment can be averted.

As a closing thought for you and your partner, I want to share with you an excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Here is what he wrote about children: “They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”