When is it the right time to have a baby? Many women who are considering having a baby alone, want to know when they will be ready to have a baby alone? When should they move forward and do it alone?
The honest answer is probably never. And, you’ll never know if you were ready or whether you you waited long enough for a more traditional, partnered path to motherhood would have presented itself if you’d just waited longer.
It’s very rarely a good time for anyone to have a baby. There’s always something in the way, whether it’s your finances, your career, a health issue, or even just the fact that you actually like your life the way it is.
Add to that the fact that single motherhood isn’t the norm, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to keep pushing it further into the future.
But at some point, if you want a genetically-related child at least, you have to accept that age does come into play. If you keep putting it off, your chances of having a baby will decrease.
That said, whether or not now is the right time to have a baby is a completely personal choice. With that said, here are five questions to ask yourself to help make that decision.
1) Do you definitely want to be a mom? Why?
Before you think about timing, it’s important to examine your desires and to get clear on what you actually want. Luckily, this is much easier to do without a partner’s wishes to take into account!
Take a moment to be completely honest with yourself about your desires. What is it about becoming a mom that you want? Do you dream of being pregnant? Do you specifically want to create another human, or is raising one what it’s all about for you?
As you’re working out how you feel deep down, try to set aside any practical concerns you might have about raising a child, such as the impact on your career or finances. Try to identify what your gut is saying; you can handle everything else later.
Understanding exactly what you want and why will help you to make other important decisions further down the line.
2) Can you afford it?
Although it’s best to set aside practical concerns when working out whether or not you want a baby, once you know that this is what you want, you should figure out whether or not you can afford to raise a child alone.
I’m sure you’ve heard the stats about how expensive babies can be. According to the Consumer Expenditures Survey, an average middle-income family spends almost $13,000 a year on their child –which seems like far too low of an estimate to me (at least until they can start public school). But even so, that’s a lot for a couple, let alone for a single parent.
You should also factor in fertility treatment costs and the sacrifice in potential earnings if you expect to take time off work to care for your child.
Fears around financial stability can easily stop you dead in your tracks. Try to push forward and set aside the fears while you do a budget and take an honest look at your finances. But with that, also think about worst case scenarios and what you could do if they occurred. For example, could you move in with parents, rent your house out and live somewhere cheaper, cut out other expenses like clothing, entertainment and expensive coffee at a coffee shop. None of these are necessary, but it’s good to know what you can do to cut corners if need be. It’s all too easy to panic about money so take a breath and think outside the box.
Most women find that where there is a will, there is a way. And that if they are responsible enough to ask the question about whether they can afford it, they are likely responsible and resourceful enough to make it work.
3) Do you have a support network?
Being a mom to a newborn is hard. You’re sleep deprived, your body is recovering from a huge ordeal, you’re hormonal, you likely have no idea what you’re doing and, to top it all off, your baby probably won’t stop crying. Without a co-parent to share the load, you’re going to be working even harder.
Even once you get past the newborn stage, who will look after your child if you want to go on a date? Is there anyone who could bring you meals when you’re sick? Do you have a close friend who will listen to you when it all gets too much?
Take an honest look at your support network and, if you think it’s lacking, ask yourself what you can learn about your past relationship to asking for and receiving help from others. How you’ve generated support for yourself in the past? Are you good at getting support when you’ve really needed it? Or do you need to work on asking for help? Also take some time to research local groups and services that could lessen the load and get you out of a difficult situation when necessary.
But also consider this paradox–that most single moms wish they had more help but at the same time, find that when push comes to shove someone will rise to the occasion and help them. When your baby is a newborn, people will be clamoring over themselves to come hold a baby. And as your child ages, you will be meeting other moms at the playground, school etc. I’ve found that if I’m willing to ask, people will help me.
4) Are you in the right place emotionally to do this alone?
Many of the single moms I know are independent and brave. They’re not scared of a challenge and they can look after themselves. To have a baby by yourself, you need to be independent, resourceful, and strong.
Are you in that place right now? If not, do you think a few more months or years will get you there? Or will becoming a single mom turn you into the person you need to be to do this?
5) Are you out of time?
As much as many of us wish it weren’t the case, biology has the final say, at least when it comes to having a genetic child.
The truth is that if you’re approaching 35 and you want a baby that’s biologically yours, your best bet is to take action now, whether that’s by freezing your eggs or starting fertility treatment.
If you’re 40 or over, it may already be too late to have a baby using your own eggs. If this is the case, and you want to have a baby rather than adopt, I’d recommend speaking to a fertility doctor as soon as you can.
Deciding to have a baby is a big deal whether you’re making that decision with a partner or on your own. If you’re young, you can afford to wait until you’re better prepared for motherhood. But the older you get, the more attention you have to pay to Mother Nature.
Download a Free worksheet so you can journal about these questions and generate more clarity around the issues. To continue the conversation, head on over to our private FB support group and post your questions and concerns.
If you’re still on the fence as to whether now is the right time to have a baby, you can set up a 30 minute FREE consultation with me.
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