Pregnancy can be an amazing journey, but it can also be extremely scary for a woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and wonders to herself, am I too young to have a baby?
You are too young to have a baby if you need to rely on others for financial assistance and are not ready to settle down. You are too young to have a baby if you are not ready for a 24/7 commitment. You are also too young to have a baby if you still have goals you would like to complete first.
So, you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, and you are researching the web for answers. A young, pregnant girl or woman might be very scared and does not know what to do, and you may also be wondering how to tell your parents you are pregnant.
There are so many factors to consider when trying to understand whether or not you are ready to have or are too young to have a baby.
The following will help guide you on a journey to discover how you truly feel about your readiness to have a baby. Go ahead and grab some paper and a pen and ask yourself some questions to truly know, logically, if you are ready to have a baby.
Pregnant with No Money
There are many things to consider when taking a look at the financial aspects of caring for a newborn baby. Babies are very expensive given their constant need for diapers, as well as formula if you choose not to nurse.
As your baby grows, so too will the financial requirements. Being pregnant with no money can be a rough way to begin parenthood.
Babies turn into toddlers who then turn into hungry little children who will need three full meals a day, clothing that will constantly need to be replaced as they grow, reliable transportation to get them to and from school and appointments, costly daycare; the list goes on.
Do you have a steady stream of income that affords you the ability to financially take care of a baby? If not, then this might be a sign that you are not yet ready to have a baby.
Are you able to pay for rent or mortgage and basic utilities that generally include things like electricity, phone, and water?
Do you have money left over for reliable transportation which includes gas, car insurance, and/or a bus pass?
If you are underage, would you need to rely on your parents for financial assistance?
Needing to lean on your parents for help is a sure indicator that you are too young or just not ready to have a baby.
American Pregnancy Helpline
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
Courtesy of Teen Health and Wellness.com
Do you have other children? Are you ready for the added expense of another child? Would having a baby put a strain on your relationship with your partner due to the additional financial burden?
Would being pregnant mean staying in a bad relationship with your partner strictly for financial support?
Is your partner working to help with family expenses? Do you have a partner, or are you in a situation that would mean raising a baby by yourself?
Are you prepared to work while raising a child? Being pregnant with no money can be stressful.
There is a multitude of financial things to consider. If you are feeling overwhelmed, that could be a sign that you are not ready to have a baby. Being pregnant with no money makes for a rough road ahead.
Not Ready to Give Up Social Life for a Child
Do you enjoy your Friday and Saturday nights out? Sleeping in the next day until 11 AM is so nice, right? If you think that you can still party and parent a baby, you are in for a huge awakening.
This does not mean you cannot enjoy some time with friends, but you do need to realize that your life will change once your baby is born.
Although most women suffer from the postpartum “baby blues”, some fall into a deep depression after the birth of their baby. Postpartum depression is very real and is addressed in more detail by the Mayo Clinic.
When you add the reality that your social life will never again be as it once was, you could likely be faced with a very challenging and lonely time.
Are you prepared to say goodbye to your social life as you know it today? Don’t get me wrong, giving up one’s social life for the miracle of a new baby can be so worth the sacrifice.
What you gain is so much greater than what you lose.
How will you feel on a Friday night when your friends want you to go hang out and do the things that you used to do, only to have to tell them you need to be with your baby?
You will need to be prepared for the realization that the friends you knew before pregnancy and childbirth may disappear. After all, you will not be the same fun person they knew.
Of the friends that stick around, how will you feel when they excitedly talk about the latest party they were at?
Here is an interesting article courtesy of TodaysParent.com about losing friends after becoming a parent.
After the birth of your baby, you will more than likely be feeling so desperate for a human connection that you hope to run into your mail carrier.
You may even fabricate a made-up question you need to ask them just to have that interaction with another human being.
Are you thinking you can make it work? You will simply ask your parents to watch your baby while you spend an evening out with your friends. Right? What is the big deal, you might be thinking?
What about your lack of sleep? After all, you will be waking up at least every three hours to feed your new baby. I can tell you from personal experience being a mother of three children, that you will be running on little to no sleep in the first few months of your baby’s life.
You will be so incredibly sleep-deprived that your eyes will tear up from pure exhaustion.
If you happen to be a pregnant teen or are parenting a child as a teen, the US Department of Health & Human Services – Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens is a wonderful resource that you may want to check into.
You may find that joining a support group for pregnant or expecting mothers will help you feel a bit less socially isolated, as well as provide you with a place to visit others going through what you are going through. Visit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for an extensive list of support groups for new and expecting parents.
Many or most of these support groups are online and can be enjoyed at all hours of the day or night.
If you have a solid understanding of the sacrifice and commitment you are required to make as a new mother and still feel that you can be the mother you need to be, then you are off to a good start.
Courtesy of The atlantic.com
Not Ready for the Commitment to Raise a Child
Whether you are going to be raising a child with a partner or alone, parenthood is a 24/7 commitment that will remain with you for at least 18 years of your and your child’s life.
Having a partner or co-parent to help you can make your parental commitment much easier. Having help with things like laundry, cooking, financial support for the basics like food, rent or mortgage, and diapers will make your journey so much easier, as you are not doing it alone.
Many mothers raise children alone with no help from a significant other. These women are strong and do everything by themselves. No one is there to help them watch the baby so they can get a couple of hours of desperately needed sleep.
Even running to the store for groceries is not as simple as putting on a pair of shoes. When going anywhere with your new baby, it will feel like you are packing to go on a vacation.
Where is the diaper bag? Do I have enough formula in the diaper bag for emergencies in case we get stranded somewhere? Does the baby have a fresh diaper to last while we are shopping?
Do I have additional diapers packed? Is the baby dressed for the weather? The list goes on and on.
Now granted, as your baby grows the easier things will become. You and your baby will eventually be sleeping sounding through the night. As children grow, so does their ability to help their parents with certain things like getting dressed, putting on shoes, etc. Yet you will still have that day-to-day responsibility of making sure your child is safe, loved, and attended to.
The commitment to raise a child reminds me of the day my youngest daughter who was eight years of age came home from playing with the neighbors and begged me to let her keep a guinea pig that needed a home. I’ll take care of it, she proclaimed while staring at me with those big, desperate eyes.
My guinea pig lived for quite a few years, and I took very good care of it. Notice how I said my guinea pig?
My daughter thought she wanted the guinea pig until she learned how much time and attention was required to care for it.
Having a baby almost seems like such a romantic, loving notion. A little bundle of joy to hold and love and that will love us back. All of the attention people would give to the baby, and how fricken cute it would be.
Sometimes we may not realize that the commitment to have a baby and raise a child also means dealing with sleepless nights, endless and inconsolable crying, temper tantrums, and a feeling of isolation from other adults.
Babies are not like pets; you cannot have one and then simply change your mind later.
Relationship Problems When Pregnant
Pregnancy brings challenges for couples as they start to see how the relationship they have known will eventually change forever. Even good, healthy relationships can experience stress when expecting a new baby.
Traditionally, men may be feeling the financial pressure of supporting their partner and newborn baby while the mother is off work.
They could also be wondering and worrying about how their relationship will change after the birth of the baby. What will sharing their partner with their baby mean for him?
Men by nature tend to withdraw when they feel stressed. It is important to not take this personally, as we all react to stress in different ways.
Attending birth and parenting classes together will help you both feel equally involved in the birth and parenting process and can also help to alleviate possible concerns and misconceptions one may have.
Stress can oftentimes lead people to try to find solace in smoking, drinking, and gambling, to name a few. If your partner is exhibiting any of these behaviors, try communicating your concerns in a non-accusatory manner.
Counseling is strongly recommended for couples stressed about having a baby. Even the most loving couples can benefit from counseling. What a wonderful gift to not only give your relationship as a couple but to also give your baby.
Couples who learn to communicate effectively will pass on those communication skills to their children.
Individual counseling is also beneficial in combination with couples counseling where one can focus on any possible deeper issues related to their past, or discuss if the relationship needs to be severed for the sake of you and your baby.
Are you in a rocky relationship? Do you feel you have no choice but to stay in your relationship as you financially have no way out?
Please know that you are never stuck! Some resources help women as they get out of volatile situations.
All too often, women stay in bad or even dangerous relationships because they feel stuck. Do not let any man make you think you need them and cannot make it on your own without them.
That controlling mentality is many times accompanied by physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. There are resources available to help women get out of those scary situations.
Courtesy of The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Whatever you do, do not believe for one minute that having a baby will magically bring a couple together or save a rocky relationship. That is a fallacy believed by the gullibly romantic.
Relationship Troubles Add to ‘Pre-Baby’ Blues is a great article about the effects of a rocky relationship on pregnancy, courtesy of WebMD.
Pregnant and Need Help
If you are pregnant and feel you need help, then that is a sign that you are not ready to have a baby. Ideally, you need to be financially secure, which to most people means having a job.
You also need to be able to raise a child on your own if you have no partner to help you.
There is nothing wrong with having a strong family support system that will have your back during challenging times.
But having a baby ideally means being mature and stable enough that if you had to, you could raise your baby with no help at all.
Many young mothers get pregnant before they are truly capable of the responsibility of caring for a baby, and most who do not have a family unit to fall back on end up turning to the state’s financial assistance programs to provide the help they need.
There is nothing wrong with accepting the help that is available to you. After all, you might need it. It is so admirable to see young mothers who get jobs, work hard, and eventually get off of the state’s financial assistance.
Some take advantage of free college grants to help better their career to be on the path to true financial stability.
Not Mature Enough to Raise a Child
If you are asking yourself if you are mature enough to raise a child, that in itself is a sign of maturity.
Wondering if we are mature enough to raise a child shows that we care and acknowledge that maturity indeed matters in being the best parent we can be.
In life, we take tests for almost everything to show that we are knowledgeable in the subject and are ready to take the next steps, like driving a car or taking an academic test to become a nurse, for example.
One of the most important things we will ever do is to become a parent, yet there is no test for it.
For most of us, parenthood is a life lesson and we learn as we go. Although becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding things we can ever do, it does not come without its challenges.
Are you emotionally mature enough to have a child? How would you react to an inconsolable baby who cried and cried and you were at your wit’s end? Would you be able to keep yourself together and not physically hurt your child?
Would you be able to not raise your voice out of frustration? Showing restraint during trying times shows maturity.
Are you capable of not ridiculing, hitting, or threatening, no matter how frustrated you get? Let’s face it, children can be a handful and do push us to our limits at times.
Do you have the emotional maturity to keep yourself together during these challenges?
How was your upbringing? Are there certain characteristics you saw in your parents that you do not wish to pass on to your children? Have you learned ways to handle things differently with your children?
Counseling is an amazing tool in helping us deal with our past and move forward in a positive direction.
If you feel unsure about how you would handle raising a child, then perhaps that is a sign that you are not mature enough to raise a child.
Not Open to Counseling to Better Raise a Child
As parents, we have the responsibility to want the best for our children. Yet, parenting does not come with an instruction manual.
Our parenting styles are shaped by our upbringing as well as the influences around us. Counseling is healthy and good. Even the best of us could use a little counseling once in a while.
Are you open to counseling to be a better parent? How was your upbringing? Are there things that you currently struggle with that could be an issue when raising a child?
Whatever the reasons, counseling can be very beneficial.
Why not try to refine yourself into the best parent you know how to be with the skills gained from counseling? Some examples of possible skills learned could be communicating with more patience or learning to set boundaries.
As parents, we are responsible for several things.
- Teaching our children important life skills.
- Our child’s daily living needs.
- Setting an example of healthy social skills.
- Teaching acceptable behaviors.
- Keeping our children safe.
- Overseeing our child’s friendships.
- Setting boundaries and limits.
- Listening to and spending time with our children.
Parenting has its challenges. Parents must provide consistent care for their children while still maintaining other relationships such as friends and family.
Add to that the financial difficulties that can arise when raising a child. Juggling a job and parenthood alone can be enough to take its toll on one’s sanity.
On top of all that, you still have to plan and schedule your child’s day as well as try to stay on top of your schedule.
Did I leave off lack of sleep with a newborn? You see how chaotic and stressful being a parent can be.
Why wouldn’t you want to brush up on some life skills that will help you deal with the heavy load you carry as a parent?
Desire to Finish Goals Before Raising a Child
Many women are waiting until their thirties to have a child, as they want to first focus on completing some goals. This wait could also have a lot to do with a concern for their finances, especially with the outrageous housing and rental costs.
Many women want to purchase a home, pay off student loans, and get rid of credit card debt before they begin to consider having a child.
Regardless of what your goals are, there are a few to finish before raising a child.
Having an emergency savings account cannot be recommended enough. You will want to be prepared in case of an emergency.
Think about the costs of child care and start putting together a budget to know what your finances will be after childcare expenses.
The costs of child care until your child attends kindergarten is going to be the most expensive if you plan on being a working mother.
If your income is not high, you may likely qualify for daycare assistance through the state in which you reside to help you cover the costs of daycare.
You will also want to pay off any credit cards so that they will be available for an unexpected family emergency.
Student loans can be huge, and you will want to pay those off as fast as possible. Design a payment plan that has you paying more money than the minimum required payment each month. Little by little it will be gone.
Only you can decide what goals are important and which ones you feel best to accomplish before you have a child. It is important to remember that goals can still be accomplished if you have unexpectedly found yourself pregnant.
Some young girls take advantage of the free assistance offered by their states and have used that help to build themselves a financially stable and independent life and are no longer in need of state assistance.
Do not let anyone tell you that your life is ruined just because you got pregnant at a not-so-perfect time.
The go-getters don’t let having a baby stop them from proving everyone wrong.
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.