Deciding to start a family is a big step for any couple to take. It involves hours (even days or months) of planning and careful consideration of every aspect of your life, including your health. You will both need to be on the same page before you take the plunge and start a family. Below are some questions you should ask before you take this big step on your journey through life together.
Do you have a medical aid plan?
Before you begin picking out nursery colours, you will need to ensure that you have a medical aid in place, even if it is a cheap medical aid. This is vital because if you are the one to be giving birth, you will need to be able to go to a safe, helpful hospital when the big day arrives.
Having a medical aid plan also allows for prenatal care, such as doctor’s visits, medications (if necessary) vitamin injections, fertility clinic and gynaecologist’s visits and so on. This ensures that the mother and father are both in good health without having to break the bank. You can do a medical aid comparison of any medical aid in South Africa by looking online for their rates, packages and benefits for pregnant mothers.
Can we afford it?
Once you are sure that you have a medical aid plan in place that best suits your needs, you will need to look at your current financial situation. Raising a child is expensive, so you might decide to try and save your money before you start trying because ‘managing’ in a difficult situation can be debilitating to a young couple.
In order to examine your finances, you should look at both of your incomes after taxes and other expenses have been taken off. This ‘disposable income’ could be used to buy nappies, formula, baby clothes and everything that comes with being a parent. Your financial situation will change drastically when your child arrives, so you will need to be sure that you can afford to meet these needs.
Do either of you have any harmful habits?
While you might feel healthy enough to have a child, your partner might have some bad habits they need to kick before you start trying to conceive, or vice versa. Will you be able to stop smoking before you become pregnant or will your partner be able to ditch the cigarettes to improve their health?
If you feel that you are unable to break these bad habits before, during or after you or your partner becomes pregnant then you should consider your decisions carefully. If your partner is unwilling to stop a bad habit, then pregnancy may have to be postponed until they change their mind. You could consult with a doctor on your medical aid who can help you to stop these bad habits without causing too much stress to your body during the period you are trying to conceive.
What hereditary conditions are in your family tree
If there are mental illnesses, heart diseases or other inherited conditions that run in your family, you need to let your partner know and then go for medical tests to screen yourself for these conditions.
You could be a carrier for a certain disease that your child could inherit, so it is vital to have this checked before trying to start a family. If you are unsure about what conditions might be found in your family tree, speak to your parents or grandparents about their health issues.
Is your house big enough for a baby?
One highly important aspect you will need to consider when planning a family is whether or not your current living situation will be able to fit a new family member in. Are you currently renting a one bedroom studio apartment? This might not be an ideal living situation for a new family.
Another part of this question is whether or not you will be able to afford moving to a bigger premises or if you will need to remodel your current home. These can both be financially draining, taking away from money that you have saved towards buying new baby gear. If you are renting and have signed a lease that you are unable to easily break, you might need to wait until this lease is up and you can move into a bigger place before you start planning a family.
Having a baby is a life-changer
Having a baby is a gift, and this decision should not be entered into lightly. You will need to have a medical aid plan in place before you even start trying, in order to ensure you are both healthy enough to care for a child. You will also need to consider your finances carefully and decide on whether you current home is big enough for a new baby.