Career, life goals, holiday plans etc. is there ever a right time to have a baby? Children have always been considered a blessing. In Nigeria, where the average family size is 6 people, the question of ‘When you go born pikin?’ is never too far from the discussion.
If you are planning to have a baby, it is important you consider as many factors as possible before making the big step.
Are you financially prepared?
Having a child is more expensive than you think. Initially, there are the obvious initial costs for nappies, baby food and so on but as time goes on, financial obligations will include fees for childcare, nursery and ‘big school’. We haven’t even talked about toys! Every parent likes to spoil their children but toys and books, both of which can aid development, can cost plenty naira and kobo. Babies also require medical attention from time to time.
Having a steady income to cover planned and unexpected costs is a must and having a long-term financial plan is advised. One way to lessen the financial burden is to subscribe to a family health plan here as this will cover many of the healthcare costs.
No matter how much money you spend, your child will need love and attention over a walk-in baby wardrobe. Be sure to have the time and give emotional stability your bundle of joy needs.
Your Partner’s Readiness
It’s not uncommon for a spouse to want to have a baby while their partner is uncertain. Having a baby will undoubtedly change the dynamic of your relationship and it is important to have an honest conversation. Ask questions, share concerns and be open as possible about your expectations.
New parents have often said that nothing could have prepared them for the sleepless nights and the constant fatigue that accompanied the early months. The joy a baby brings into one’s life is undisputed but the life-changing impact should not be underestimated. Not on you, your partner or the way you relate to each other.
The Age Factor
There are many benefits to having a baby when a woman is in her early twenties. Not only are fertility levels are higher, research also points to the body being less susceptible to diseases and poor health compared with a woman who is 30 plus. A mother in her 50s may seem healthy but she is at a high risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other serious conditions.
There are also risks to the baby such as Downs Syndrome. This risk increases with age. The Mayo Clinic reports in women aged 35, the risk of having a baby with this genetic condition is 1 in 350. In women aged 45, this risk increases to 1 in 30. Saying that there are many women in this age bracket who have had healthy, happy babies in succession. Music star, Janet Jackson just gave birth to her first baby at age 50 and reports state that she had a “stress-free healthy delivery”. Little Eissa is a bouncing baby boy and is doing just fine.
With the right community and health professionals in your corner, a woman can be adequately prepared for any medical situation that may come her way.