We’ve all been at the point where we’ve told nosy relatives or friends that “we’re not ready yet” when they’ve asked prying questions about when you’re having a baby. (Read this blog post for better responses to that annoying question!). Eventually, you get to the point when you decide that you are ready to start a family, and you begin to make all sorts of exciting plans.
I was 30 and my husband was 32 when we had Little H so we’d used the “not ready” line for a good few years – and we really weren’t ready before then. We lived in a second floor flat, I wasn’t in a position to give up work, and we were really enjoying going on lovely holidays by ourselves.
Little H is now almost 5, and I can say that the people who told us “but you’ll never really be ready” were right!
Think you’re ready to start a family? Think again!
Of course, sometimes are better than others to start a family. You might want to get to a certain point in your career, have some money in the bank, or move to a nice big house first. And granted it would make life easier not to have to worry about money, or to have a big house, or whatever, but none of these things could actually prepare you for being a first-time parent.
We read all the books, signed up to the email updates, and went to antenatal classes but that first night at home on our own with a newborn baby was the most terrifying night of our lives.
We had no idea about colic, didn’t even know what it was – though we became experts pretty quickly. The nurses had shown us how to bathe a newborn at the hospital, yet our first attempt was a disaster as Little H screamed the place down (tip: make sure the water is warm enough!).
You have to learn to understand why your baby is crying, and despite what the books say that doesn’t come straight away for everyone. You need to work out a feeding schedule, and how you’re going to feed your baby because that’s not always as straightforward as you expect it to be.
No two days are the same, what works one day might not work the next – and that’s pretty much how it goes as they get bigger as well. Dealing with stubborn, tantruming toddlers can be even more difficult than a crying baby.
As I said earlier, nothing can prepare you for any of this. No amount of money in the bank will help you to prepare for all of the unknowns. Unless you hire a nanny.
I’m not trying to scare expectant parents, but I wish someone had warned us about a lot of things rather than painting a lovely, rosy picture of how wonderful it all is in those early days.
On the other hand, nothing can prepare you for the amount of love you’ll feel for this little person. I just can’t put into words how much I love my little mini-me, I obviously knew I’d love her but you can’t possibly understand a parent’s love until you become one.
Nothing can prepare you for the pride you’ll feel when your child starts school, or learns to read and write.
Basically, if you’re worried that you’re not ready to start a family then you’re probably right. There’s no right time to have a baby, it completely depends on your situation.
But when you do decide that the time is right, don’t worry that you don’t know everything. You just can’t until you’re living it. It’s all one big learning curve and you will pick it up pretty quickly. Some of it’s a bit rubbish – some days will be awful and you’ll be counting down the minutes until your partner gets home from work to take over.
On the whole, though you will be enormously rewarded for your efforts, and the lack of sleep.
Apologies if I’ve scared you! Despite most of the above it really is the most amazing thing 🙂