To be honest, as a youthful 27 year old, this wasn’t a question that I was expecting to have to ask myself. Up until the past year or so, I don’t think it crossed my mind once and why would it? As recently as two years ago, the main question on my mind was how I could better optimise my Tinder profile!
Thinking about it more broadly, I’ve only just been getting a good handle on looking after myself, so the prospect of looking after someone else is slightly intimidating. Plus, if I walk into a lamppost (it happens) then I might have a bit of a headache but I’ll get over it. If my future baby bashes its head into something then I might be condemning it to a life working in McDonald’s. I wasn’t in a place to be protecting myself and a baby against the hazards of the world, lampposts included.
Yep, after a brief 5 minute day dream, weighing up the pros and cons, I’d decided. I’m not ready at all and that thought needs to go back to the depths of my sub conscious, along with GCSE French.
Fast forward around 12 months and this somewhat worrying question had sprung out of my subconscious and Jo and I were deciding if now was the right time to start trying.
Now I’m a very logical person, most of the time, so it seemed like there should be a few criteria that we should tick off before deciding. I must add that these criteria are personal to me and you guys can have whatever criteria you want:
#1 Your Relationship – Do I See Myself With Jo Forever?
While a marriage is very much not forever, a child definitely is. A marriage can be annulled or you can get a divorce. In fact, with over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, is seems like it has become the social norm. I bet at the singles events for the over 40s, not having been married and divorced is probably a big red flag! Why haven’t you been divorced? What’s wrong with you?
Anyway, I digress. A child isn’t something to be annulled or divorced and I think that having a couple of stable happy parents is vital to any child’s development. Jo and I were both lucky to be raised in happy environments but you do see how it could have been different. Documentaries like Eastenders and Coronation Street really do open your eyes.
After a split second of deliberation, yes, I did see myself with Jo forever, onto the next criteria.
#2 – Do I Want To Have A Baby?
I guess for me, one of the most important clues as to whether I was ready for a baby was whether I actually wanted one. Until a couple of months ago I could have probably given you a long list of reasons to not want a baby but would struggle to cobble together a few reasons why I’d want a baby.
Now, the scales have very much tipped the other way. I’m at a different stage in my life. While I was never a party animal, I do now find myself longing for home comforts even more than I did in the past. Spending a night in watching some sort of David Attenborough nature programme while snuggled up on the sofa is my idea of a good night.
Rather than just being scary and intimidating, the idea of having a baby is now also exciting. It is still incredibly scary and intimidating, and that’s just Jo’s potential mood swings! But, it comes with so many more possibilities and the opportunity to share that experience with Jo. So, to answer the question, yes I do want to have a baby.
#3 – Are We Financially Secure?
This is one of the criteria that is more important to some people than it is to others. From my perspective, I lived a relatively spoilt childhood and I loved my childhood. I wouldn’t want my child to every have to worry about money and whether they could or couldn’t go on the school trip. I wouldn’t want them to be the kid to have the gadgets from 5 years ago or the coat with holes in. Or the holidays to Bognor!
I know this makes me sound like a terrible snob and perhaps I am but I just wouldn’t want my child to have to experience that. Kids can be brutal and if they have inherited Jo’s toes then they have enough on their plate!
While you can always be better off, we’re financially secure and would be able to cope with an extra one
#4 – Do We Have The Support Network?
What do I mean by this? I mean do we have the friends and family around us to help us through the inevitable ups and downs. Again, this is something that some people wouldn’t consider to be important and it isn’t really something that you are able to fix and work on. If your parents are naff then your parents are naff, you’re not going be able to turn them around.
Still, it is at least reassuring to know that both Jo and I have a great set of friends and family that will be able to help us through it all. I must admit, I am slightly concerned by how stressed and worried Jo’s mum will become but we’ll have to deal with that problem when we come to it. I also think there will have to be some kind of aptitude test for potential baby sitters. While some friends may be willing, they’re probably not as capable as you’d want them to be!
That’s it, those were my four criteria and we’d passed all of them. Even by working through the criteria, I’d been able to calm myself immeasurably. I always have to work through an idea and a change to then become comfortable with it. The idea of having a baby is still incredibly scary, the idea of trying and failing is somewhat nerve-racking and pregnant Jo is terrifying but at least I know we have a solid basis for wha