Deciding to Have a Baby
The perfect parental picture: two people who have chosen to have a family, who were emotionally, financially, and strategically prepared to care for another human being. Two people who are on the same page from the beginning and have had minimal stress planning their path to parenthood. This is a beautiful picture and also an unrealistic one! The path to becoming a parent is hardly this straightforward for many families. For many people bumps, bruises, hurdles, and multiple obstacles stand in their way and cause confusion, hurt, stress or conflict.
For some people the decision to bear or adopt children is a very real struggle! The reasons for this can be deeply personal and varies from person to person or family to family. Following are some of the issues that may impact a person or couple’s decision making when it comes to baby making.
Concern for one’s fertility: A person may have a family history or medical diagnosis that makes concern for infertility more of a reality. For some people with a family history of miscarriage, stillbirth or infertility the idea of pregnancy can bring up sadness, anxiety and uncertainty.
Career advancement: Many people have been cultivating a career for years; some have spent decades in school or training and climbing the career ladder or path that has inspired them. The prospect of changing or giving up a career in order to bear or rear children can bring stress, resentment, dread or fear.
Financial concerns: We all know raising children isn’t free! Whether considering pregnancy or adoption, both require funding. As tiny as babies are, they require a certain amount of items to aid in their care and entertainment. Anticipating the financial strain of adding a member to your family is real and valid. Some might feel pressure to be in the perfect financial situation before adding children.
Conflict with a partner: Some couples start out on different pages when it comes to the decision to have a baby. Common differences between couples include desiring vs. not wanting children, wanting a single child vs. multiple children, wanting a biological child vs. preferring adoption.
Internal or external pressure: Some people might pressure themselves by feeling that it is their duty to have children or that their life will not be complete without a baby. Friends, family, or peers might apply pressure to people or couples who are childless. This can happen purposely or possibly unintentionally, but has the same result, which can be added stress, guilt, and tension.
If you identify with any of the above, the good news is there are some ways that you can start to explore the questions, struggles or issues that you are facing!
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of having children or not, make a list or talk with a person you trust
Explore your personal wants and needs when it comes to child rearing
Identify your anxieties and fears related to this process and remind yourself that they are valid and normal
Talk with a medical professional if you have concerns regarding infertility and let them educate you on your options
Assess your current level of social support and research programs that might provide additional support in the community
Seek a therapist in your community who can help you learn to cope with your worries, be an objective listener and help you sort through your options.
I am a therapist in Austin, TX providing support to women or men who are struggling with issues related to pregnancy and postpartum mental health. If you or a person you know need help please consider calling me for a consultation, I am here to help! 512-522-4783