Deciding to start a family is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.
We ask ourselves so many questions. Will we be good parents? Can we afford it? How will our life change? These anxieties are completely normal and are to be expected. And, of course, your life will change!
You will both be in charge of another human being who will demand your attention, your time and your energy. For the first few months, it will be smelly nappies, bottles, sick and sleepless nights, but hey, that’s the fun part!
11 signs to know if both of you are ready to start a family
So how can you really tell if you’re both ready to be parents? Take a look at some of these clues and find out if it’s time for you to take a leap into the scary, rewarding, intense roller coaster ride known as parenthood.
#1 Both of you decide to get a pet
Seriously, this is one of the first indicators that you are ready to become responsible for another life. You already live together and enjoyed the first year *or years* of having sex in any room, throwing parties, buying nice things and now, these things no longer seem quite so important anymore, so you buy a pet.
It feels right to care for something else. It’s that old adage that we call ‘nesting.’ It is the first step to finding out what it means to care for another life and take responsibility. Provided your cat/hamster/goldfish/dog didn’t die of neglect *this could be a surefire sign you aren’t quite ready!* having a pet can be a good suggestion to know you’re ready to move on to the next step of becoming parents.
#2 You have both hinted at the idea to each other
If you have had a conversation that included the phrase ‘I wonder what it might be like to have a baby?’ and had a reply that went along the lines of ‘I don’t know, I’ve thought about it myself,’ you are both on the right tracks.
Perhaps, the conversation went something like this – ‘I would like to have children someday,’ and you had a ‘yeah, me as well’ back. Then it progressed to ‘When we are ready, of course,’ and the answer was ‘yeah, when we are ready.’
But the clincher here is the looks that might have taken place between the both of you. You felt that your other half was hinting at being ready and you wanted to say that you might also be ready. If you have both had a conversation or shared meaningful looks along these lines, it might be time for both of you to just come right out and say what you are really thinking.
#3 You start staring at pregnant women
Whether you are male or female, when our subconscious starts to think about parenthood, we become naturally drawn to the wonders of pregnancy and pregnant women. We start to imagine what it would be like to wait on tenterhooks for that precious cargo to arrive.
A woman might question how it feels to be pregnant, and a man might start to think what it would be like to have gotten their partner pregnant. If you feel your eyes drawn to pregnant women and thoughts fill your head about being pregnant, fathering a child, being parents and bouncing babies, then it might be Mother Nature trying to tell you something!
#4 Both of you enjoy spending time with children.
If the two of you enjoy spending time with your niece/nephew/young cousin/children, then this is the biggest clue that you might be ready to start your own family.
Both of you enjoy spending time with children together. Children can really enhance our lives, and if you and your partner both enjoy having children around, taking them out as a couple and neither of you get too upset if you get covered in ice-cream or chocolate, then it means you might be ready to have your own kids.
Other things to bear in mind when you are around children is to take note if either of you freak out if something gets accidently broken. You are allowed to be annoyed, of course, but not have a breakdown if your niece decided to place a coin inside your Blu-ray player, for example, or she thought your cream carpet would look better covered in orange squash.
Being a parent means accepting that children don’t follow our rules at first until they are taught them, but if you are both laidback when children are around you or in your house, then this is a big thumbs up indicator that both of you might be ready to start a family.
#5 You have both stopped to look at babies in a pram when out together
Babies can make the most hardened of us go gooey when we see them. There is something about a gurgling, smiling baby who smells of baby powder looking at us with innocent eyes.
But if you both want to look inside every pram you see when you are together, it could be your connection to each other that is telling you both that a baby is the next step.
However, if it’s only one of you who is cooing and your partner would rather stare at an ant on the floor than pull funny faces at a baby, this could indicate that now is not quite the right time for you both to start a family.
#6 You both actually enjoy quiet nights in
Okay, enjoying quiet nights in does not necessarily mean you should rush out and buy an ovulation kit tomorrow, but we do tend to get to a time in our lives when going out all the time is no longer so appealing. So if you are both happy to spend a Saturday night at home watching a movie, or just enjoying a bottle of wine together, you are on the right track. This can be an indicator that you now have different priorities in your lives and are ‘settling down.’
Having a baby will really impact on your social life. In fact, for the first few months your only social life consists of visits to the health clinic, parenting groups and briefly seeing your friends who pop in to tell you what great parties you are missing out on.
However, if your Saturday nights are made up of partying and hangovers on a Sunday morning, you might not quite be ready to give all that up yet.
#7 You have both started saving
Normally, we try to save for a goal such as a new home, a wedding or a great holiday, but if you are both saving at the moment and don’t have an actual intention of spending the money on anything specific, it might be an indication that you are creating a ‘nest egg’ for your future family.
Kids cost a fortune, there is no doubt about it. From the Moses basket, to the cot and to the pram, it’s not cheap preparing for a new bundle of joy. So if you have found that you are both saving and have not really discussed exactly what you are saving for, perhaps you are both thinking of what might be around the corner and that could mean having a baby!
#8 You both have more patience than you did a few years ago
Patience. It’s something that we are not all blessed with naturally, and we have to work hard to develop patience. But are you both more patient than you were a few years back? Patience does seem to get easier with maturity and trust us, you will need patience in abundance if you decide to have a baby.
Your gurgling package will not care if you have to get up at 7am for work. If she wants to feed at 3am, then she will let you both know. Loudly. Having patience with a newborn *and all children* is a must and of course, you must have patience with each other. Mummy will be tired from looking after the baby all day and Daddy will be tired from working and not having much sleep *or vice versa, of course!* and so you will have to be patient with each other as well.
If you are both quite patient people, or you know you have become more patient over the last few years, you may both be ready to take that step into parenthood.
#9 You have already traded in your sporty car for a ‘saloon’
It’s amazing that your choice of car can be an indication if you are ready to become parents, but believe it or not, it is. As a couple, it doesn’t matter if you drive around in a sports car as passengers are not a consideration, but if you have recently bought a new car, or traded in an existing one, and you are now the proud owner of a family saloon, it might be a sign that you have both taken into account that you may have a child seat or two on the back seat in the very near future.
#10 You have both already taken ‘risks’
Right, we get it, we all take risks sometimes when having sex. Women can forget to take the pill or you both might get carried away and not bother using a condom in the heat of the moment.
But, if this has become a regular occurrence and not just a few one-offs, perhaps you are both telling each other that you don’t mind if a baby happens along? It could even be the case that you have both said ‘to hell with it’ after one of you has mentioned the lack of protection and the consequences, and if this has happened, it could be time for both of you to just come out and ask each other, ‘are we ready to have a baby?’
#11 You have had a few ‘false alarms’ together and felt disappointed
Everybody questions the ‘what if’ when we think something might be happening, and then find out it’s actually not. If you and your partner have had a false alarm when you believed you might have a baby on the way and then found out it was only a false alarm, how did you both feel? Were you both disappointed?
If yes, this is a really big signal that you are ready to start a family, especially if your first few feelings was excitement and joy. On the other hand, if you were both mortified and went out to the pub to celebrate when you found out it was a false alarm, this might be an indication that parenthood is not right for you just now.
So are you ready to have a baby?
If you both identify with a few of the pointers above, it could be that now is the right time for you to take that step and become parents. But deciding to become a parent doesn’t need to be that scary, as long as you are both open and honest with each other.
All new parents have doubts and worry about the future. Doubts are normal and parenthood is a personal decision that only couples can decide between themselves. Whatever you both decide together will be the right choice and there is no pressure to become parents until you both feel you are ready.
So if you think both of you are ready for a family, go for it, and if you’re still apprehensive, wait a while until the thought excites both of you. But until the time is right, relax and enjoy each other and every moment along the way!