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Having a baby is one of the most incredible, miraculous things that you’ll do in your lifetime. Bringing new life into the world- a tiny baby that relies on you for everything – is mind-blowing and terrifying in equal measures.
Before you take the plunge and start trying for the illusive blue line, it makes sense to try and get everything in your life in order first. Of course, not everyone has this option (some babies are a wonderful surprise!) but if you’re not pregnant yet and are planning to try at some point in the future, here are some of the things you could do first.
Speak to your partner
Having a good, honest chat with your partner is a great way to start your journey when it comes to preparing for a child. After all, this is something you’re going to embark on together, you need to know that they’re fully on board. This is the person that’s going to be your rock, your support system through pregnancy, labour and parenthood. You want to know that you can trust them and rely on them, and they’ll be the person you need them to be throughout this experience. Have a think about your relationship in general, no couple is perfect but if you’re frequently arguing or going through something difficult like a recent death in the family then it could be worth waiting. Of course, it might not ever feel 100% like the right time, and sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith. But having a discussion and doing it when everything is as good as it can be will mean it all runs much more smoothly.
Get your body into good condition
The next thing to consider when you’re planning on having a baby is your physical health. You want to be in the best condition possible, since pregnancy can be really hard on your body. Spend at least a few months before trying to conceive eating a healthy diet, take prenatal vitamins which will ensure you’re getting enough folic acid- crucial in the development of an unborn baby’s neural tubes and spine. Exercise, build up fitness and muscle strength- it will all help you when you have your extra little passenger on board! You could go to your GP and have them run some tests on you to make sure everything is in order, they will be able to advise you on lifestyle changes to get your BMI as close to the ‘ideal’ range as possible. It’s worth embarking on these healthy changes with your partner too, as their fertility can be affected by poor lifestyle choices. You should both have quit smoking if you’re addicted, and ideally be drinking little to no alcohol in the months leading up to conception. Not only will this give your fertility a boost, but if you fall pregnant sooner than you planned then you’re not at risk of causing any harm to your unborn baby.
Consider your mental health
As well as your physical health, your mental health is something to take into account as well. You’ll want to ensure that any conditions you currently have are being managed well, and the medication you’re on is suitable to continue with if you fall pregnant. You might also want to think about improving your mental health and becoming a stronger person- things like journalling, hypnotherapy, meditation and visualisation techniques can all be useful. Having a baby is scary, even to the most stable people amongst us. But being able to sit with your fear and deal with it in a positive way will really help you in pregnancy, childbirth and parenting as well. If you are struggling with any aspect of mental health- before, during or after having a baby, be sure to seek out the help you need.
Move to a suitable home
If you currently live in a one bedroom apartment, in a home with lots of steps leading up to it, or in an area that you wouldn’t want to raise a child in then you might need to think about moving home. Since this is a big change and something that can cost a lot of money, getting it out of the way early is a smart move as it means you’re settled when the baby arrives and it’s something you don’t need to worry about throughout your pregnancy. You can make the house into a home, and once you find out you’re expecting you can start transforming a spare room into a nursery. Look for a home that has enough space, especially if you want a bigger family so you have room to grow. A safe street on a quiet road and a back garden for kids to play in are all things to consider as well. At the very least, start saving up for your family home so you have the funds in place, even if you don’t move until later on. It can take a long time to get together the cash that you need, so starting early is key.
Upgrade your car
As well as your home, your car is something that might need changing if you’re planning on adding a new member to your family. If you currently have a two seater sports car then you almost definitely will, if your car is small and doesn’t have back doors it’s probably going to be impractical to get a baby in and out. Consider a model with four doors, great safety features and enough boot space to fit a pram in. Again, you could always start researching models and saving up to purchase the right car for you after you find out you’re expecting if you don’t want to jump the gun and switch things up before you know what’s happening.
Start up a side hustle
One of the most difficult things about having a baby is being able to remain financially comfortable. You will need to stop working, at least for a few months to be able to look after the baby and recover. And of course, many new mums choose to stay off work for some time afterwards so they can raise their child. This makes earning money difficult, but not impossible and there are ways you can still continue to bring in an income without immediately returning to work. Start up a side hustle, a business you can run from home and that’s flexible. You could start a blog, and once it’s established can begin monetising it. You could sign up to a freelancing site and take on projects whenever you can as a way to bump up your money. You could even start a home based business, if you outsource correctly you don’t even need to do much of the work yourself. For example, you could pay a manufacturing company to ship your product directly to a fulfillment company who then ships it out to customers- you just oversee things from the top!
If you have issues with things like marketing, or fall prey to one of the top 10 most common IT support issues, you can hire professionals to tackle everything for you. As long as you get the prices right, you can still earn a profit with very little work needing to be done by you. Another idea for working around having a child is to choose a career which you know you can be flexible in. For example if you start a business doing anything from cleaning to photography to beauty, once you return to work you can schedule in clients in a way that suits you. It’s something to be aware of if you’re considering which direction to go in with your career but know that you want to have kids in the future. You can make any career work, but anything with flexibility can certainly make life easier.
When it comes down to it, you’ll always make it work when you have a baby on the way. As long as there’s love there and you have a roof over your head, the rest will fall into place. However, if you want to get organised and give yourself the best chance of a smooth and stress free experience then these are all things you can do. If you’re the kind of person that likes to feel in control, you can go into things knowing that you’ve done all you can.
How did you prepare for pregnancy?