When a healthy girl reaches her puberty, she starts getting her periods. That is when she is biologically capable of having a baby. However, she is a child herself, and it is not advisable for her to have one.
It is for this very reason that the government of India had set 18 and 21 to be the minimum legal age to get married. However, if fact be told, that is way too early to have kids too.
In fact, in the urban settings, it is only a decade prior to the legal age that people actually get married. Marriage in late teens is a thing only in rural areas and, maybe, in some North Indian states, where the customs demand the same.
Even after a couple is married, till a couple of generations ago, it was expected that they would have kids in the first year of marriage itself. Again, that theory no longer holds good. That is why, it is all the way more important to know when exactly you want to have your first kid and how many kids you should have.
Now, this is one decision that requires a lot of thought and planning (for all we know this might be the most life-changing decision that you make in your lifetime). To help you through it, here is a list of points that you must introspect upon. Doing so will help you sail through this decision with ease.
1. Understand That This Is A Decision Between Two People
Both you and your partner must have equal say in the matter and you are the two people who should decide on this, not under anyone's influence. Do not even think of having a child because your grandmother (or that of your spouse) wants to see her great grandchild. Have an open conversation with your partner about the same.
2. Make Sure You Are Ready To Take That Career Break
This is applicable for women. With pregnancy and maternity leave on the cards, it is inevitable that your career will be in for a set-back by a year during this period. Even if you do work for a greater amount of your pregnancy, it will not be fair for you to expect a promotion or hike that year (because even if we keep it to a minimum, you will not be working for 6 months that year). Thus, your peers will be ahead of you when you get back. Make sure you brace yourself up for it.
3. Do Not Ignore Your Biological Clock
This point is also for the girls. Men have a reproductive lifetime that is way longer than women and they do not really have to worry about it. If women wait for way too long, they might not be able to conceive at all. Hence, it is all the way more important to strike a balance between the two. Conceiving becomes difficult when you are above 30. In your late 30s, IVF will be the only option that you will be left with. Needless to say that invites a lot of complications that you will not otherwise want.
4. Be Mentally Sound
You have no right to bring a little angel to this world and then subject him or her to the cruelties of having parents who are depressed themselves or who do not have a good mutual understanding between them. Thus, it is very important that the two of you sort out any misunderstandings in your relationship before you think of having a child. Remember, every child deserves a happy childhood and that is only possible when he or she has happy parents.
5. Plan Your Finances
This is more applicable to the guy, although in today's scenario, the women of the house also have a major role in it. Before you have a child, make sure that you can afford the quality of life that you would want give him or her. Please note that diapers and baby care products are not what we are talking about here. Think about the type of education that you would like to give your child 10 or 15 years down the line and if the financial planning on your part is enough to achieve that.
6. Distance Your Pregnancies
This is applicable if you are planning your second child. Make sure that your first child is at least 4 years old before you start thinking about having the next one. That way, you will be able to give both your children the attention that they deserve. Chances of sibling rivalry are also rare among siblings who have a decent age difference between them. Thus, by spacing your pregnancies far apart from each other, you will be able to ensure that all of you have a much better family life.
7. Bearing The Emotional Burden
Pregnancy brings along a lot of emotional and lifestyle changes. For medical reasons, the girl will not be able to smoke or drink for the entire duration of pregnancy and lactation and it is advised that the guy keeps her company as well. Thus, all that bachelor lifestyle that often extends into the married life of millennial couples will be something that has to be bid adieu to. Typical weekend parties and things like that will no longer be acceptable. Both of you must prepare yourselves for this before you plan for your baby.
8. Have Confidence
In life, confidence is something that comes with age and experience. It is a well-accepted fact that parenting is something that will bring on new challenges every day and one has to be prepared to deal with the same. If you have the confidence that you and your partner can come together to deal with whatever challenge the pregnancy and life beyond will bring, that's when you know that you are ready to have the child. If you have any apprehensions about the same, do not conceive. Remember, you have no right to jeopardize someone else's life only because of one wrong decision on your part.
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