How to Know It’s Time to Start a Family With Your Partner

Have you got babies on the brain? Maybe all of your friends started having kids, and it’s got you thinking about starting a family of your own. Or maybe you’ve been dreaming of being a parent your whole life. Figuring out the right time to have a child can be difficult.

Growing up, your mom may have told you, “You’ll know when the time is right.” For some, that is true; they wake up one day and feel ready to take that step. For others, this decision can be more complicated. If you’ve been considering what it might be like to start a family with your partner, here are some signs that it could be the right time.

1. You’ve been researching.

Do you find yourself wandering to pregnancy and baby sites while surfing the internet? Intentional or not, getting a handle on some of the unknowns of parenting can be important before raising a child. Spending time researching these topics shows you are interested in preparing yourself to become a parent.

2. You’re not getting any younger.

This is likely a direct quote from your mother, mother-in-law, aunt Helen, or grandmother. And while this saying gets old rather quickly, there is some truth to this old adage. For women especially, getting older can mean decreased fertility and increased risks for problems with childbirth. Even if you and your partner are considering adoption or fostering a child, children have a lot of energy and require a lot of yours. Having a baby or young child now, means you need to be prepared to keep up with them for another 15 or so years. Consider this if you know you want children but feel unsure about the timing.

3. You’re ready to hang up your party hat.

Raising a child is a big responsibility and will require a lot of time and energy. If you and your partner have started feeling bored with the party scene, this might be a sign you are ready to put that energy into starting a family. Having a child doesn’t mean you will never socialize again. However, starting a family will take a commitment from you and your partner to spend more time at home and less time going out with friends. Make sure you have considered the impact to your current lifestyle before committing to starting a family.

4. You’re financially prepared.

Children are expensive. Whether you are raising a newborn or adopting a teenager, ideally you should feel financially stable before deciding to add another member to your family. The more they grow, the more they eat. They often need new clothes with every change of season. And those are just some of the added expenses you will experience with a child. If you are currently scrambling to pay your bills on your salary, you should work on a plan to improve your financial situation before adding a child to the mix.

5. You’re comfortable with your partner.

Starting a family is a huge change and can put a lot of stress on you and your partner. When you decide to share responsibility for a child’s life with someone, you want to make sure you feel comfortable with that person first. Think about times you disagree on how to handle situations. Do you feel comfortable with your ability to resolve these conflicts with your partner? Do you feel confident that you will be able to share the responsibilities that come with raising a child? Before turning your life upside down, make sure you feel solid in your relationship and communication with your partner.

6. You don’t picture a future without a child.

Think about you and your partner ten or fifteen years from now. Do you picture yourselves with a family? If so, it’s time to start thinking about how that family will fit into your life. Without considering the time it takes to potentially have a child and raise that child, time can get away from us. Before you know it, ten years have passed and you haven’t taken any steps to prepare yourself for a family. If you know you want children in the future, consider the time it takes to make that happen. You might be surprised to find yourself wanting to start a family sooner than you realized.

7. You can take care of yourself.

Before making yourself responsible for the life of another person, you and your partner should be confident in your ability to take care of yourselves. This could mean making sure you are in good health, so you can keep up with your child. It could also relate to your mental or emotional health and stress management. You should feel confident in your ability to manage your daily life, especially sharing it with your partner, before you start a family.

8. You want to share a child with your partner.

You have chosen to be in a committed and loving relationship with your partner. This commitment often means you have a deep love and respect for the person you are sharing your life with. What better than to experience parenthood with someone you care so much about? Feeling this way is a sign you want to start a family with your partner.

9. You have a plan, but it’s not set in stone.

Having a plan for starting and raising a family is extremely important. It can help you prepare financially, emotionally, and logistically. That being said, the process of starting a family does not always go according to plan. Additionally, a child brings a certain level of spontaneity and uncertainty to your life that will require you to be flexible. If you feel prepared for a family, and feel prepared for a little chaos, you could be ready for a family.

10. You may never feel certain.

If you and your partner have considered having children, there may never be an “ah ha” moment where you feel the time is right. Instead, consider some of the information above and other important factors in your life to determine if it makes sense for you and your partner to start a family now or sometime in the future. Having a plan or general idea about when you would like to start a family can help push you past your uncertainty and towards an exciting future with your family.

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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