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Motherhood is an enriching phase of a woman’s life. But one shouldn’t be forced into it. It’s important to be well-informed before motherhood arrives.
The Indian society has always interlinked two phases of life – marriage and motherhood. There is no denying that in most communities in India, bringing forth children is still considered the main aim of marriage. Once married, the obvious question any woman can expect is, “When can we expect some good news?”, whether she has been married for a month or several years.
I speak from experience; even people I’d met for the first time ever asked me this question with no hesitation whatsoever, even before my first wedding anniversary. It is not just the bride, but also her in-laws and parents aren’t spared from questions and advice regarding the couple’s family plans. A woman who decides to wait before becoming pregnant usually is told why she shouldn’t delay pregnancy or that she should consult a doctor, just to make sure there’s nothing wrong. Societal pressure can be so compelling, that many women consider conceiving before they are actually ready for motherhood, as they are fed up of answering this very personal question. Nobody likes to be judged for not supplying the intended good news.
Nobody likes to be judged for not supplying the intended good news.
Rather than succumbing to this pressure, one thing every woman should realize is that motherhood is not just another phase in life, like puberty or old age. There is much more to it; it is not just about bringing forth progeny, but also about altering your priorities, making compromises, taking responsibilities like you’ve never done before. Motherhood will change your life completely – it is not just the physical changes, but also the emotional and social aspects of your life that go for a toss. Your relationship with your spouse changes, you have to make many important decisions including childcare options, finances and work priorities. How many girls know what they are in for, or are prepared for this drastic change in their situation?
Of course, this can all fall into place and you can be a parent who learns from the circumstances that life throws at you. But, when a couple prepares and plans in advance, they are better-equipped to tackle parenting challenges and this eases the transition from two to three. Not many couples realize that once a baby comes into their lives, the entire equation changes and it may be several years before they can find that balance, and have time for each other again.
My personal opinion is that before a couple plunges into parenthood, they should first spend sufficient time together.
My personal opinion is that before a couple plunges into parenthood, they should first spend sufficient time together. This allows them to recognize and adapt to their differences, enjoy their relationship, and to build a stronger bond of understanding. When they think they are ready for a child, they should discuss and decide how they’ll share childcare responsibilities, parenting approaches, their work-home life balance and more. Although these factors may change along the way, it is good to have some plan in place rather than scurry around and quarrel over who does what after the baby arrives.
And, it is not only these emotional and social things that matter, before becoming a mother, you should be in optimum health so your baby gets the right start in life.
Here are the various things you should perform and prepare for, so that you can enjoy parenting as you should.
This includes planning yourself emotionally and physically for a baby. Doctors advice women who are trying to conceive to reach a healthy weight and to take a prenatal vitamin regularly. Don’t take this lightly, as this can affect your baby’s health. Understand your family health history; if there are any conditions that can affect your pregnancy, be prepared for it. Start exercising regularly and quit alcohol and tobacco use.
This is an important factor and you should think about it seriously before becoming pregnant. Will you continue to work, or will you stay at home to care for your child? If you have to take a break, how will it affect your career? Who will care for your baby if you have to work?
Many women are smitten by how adorable babies are, but may not realize that babies often fall ill, require attention and take time to get used to. If you have no idea of what to expect, it can become overwhelming. To avoid this, do your homework and understand what you can do about feeding, nursing, vaccinating and taking care of a baby, and it will be a lot easier when it is time.
Similarly, know the changes that will happen to your body during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Understand how you will have to alter your diet and lifestyle, and slowly accommodate and get used to these changes.
An additional member means additional expenses, and you should figure out how you will meet maternity care, childbirth, education, medical and childcare expenses. Consider your financial situation and how you can accommodate these increased costs once the baby arrives. Will you have to move to a bigger place to find enough space for your family? If so, what other changes will be part of it? Chalk out your finances, and you will be able to handle the additional costs that you will incur in the future.
So, the next time someone asks you how much longer before you share some good news, don’t feel guilty. Your friends may all have children, but that shouldn’t be why you think it is time you did too. All that matters is whether you are ready for it. After all, there is no better time to have a child than when you are ready for it. The right reason to become a mother is because you want to be one.
Image of a pregnant lady’s baby bump via Shutterstock
Always on the lookout for new things to learn, I am a voracious reader, globetrotter,
Also remember that unlike a job, where you have the option of taking a break, vacation and worst case scenario – quitting… Parenthood does not give you those options. Of course there are parents who are happy to outsource a lot of things to boarding schools and nannies – but even they have to take on the final responsibilities for the child for the next couple of decades… 🙂
You are absolutely right Uma! Like you said, parenthood is a lifetime responsibility, and there is no turning back once you are in. By preparing for it, the journey is a lot easier and enjoyable.
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