Thursday, November 13, 2014

Top 3 Questions To Ask Before Starting A Family

Some of my family members and friends have asked me this question "What made you ready to have another child?" or "Why did you decide to have another child?" So I figured that I'll write a post on this important topic. Here are the top 3 factors we considered before expanding our family of three with another bundle of joy!

1)  Is it just an instinct? Or do we really want another baby?
It has been scientifically proven that couples, especially those in their late twenties, have a stronger sense of maternal/paternal instinct and their hormones are at an all-time-high on wanting to have a baby. Even a photo of a stranger's baby can trigger that instinct and hormone to conceive and reproduce! Scientifically, it is termed as the "biological clock". Or you may refer to it as the "baby fever".

However, we've come to realise that the decision to have another baby takes much more than just basing it on an instinct or hormone. From our own personal experience of raising our first son, Shayne, we've realised that it takes an enormous amount of effort, work and money to raise a child. Raising a child is never easy, it is a challenge. Hence, we discussed the pros and cons of expanding our family before concluding that we're ready to have another little one. So to couples who are thinking of starting a family, it is crucial to have a serious talk with your partner. Most importantly, do not let parental or peer pressure affect your decision. It is perfectly okay and normal to be a childless married couple, or to have only one child. Do not let the opinions and thoughts of others prejudice your decision. At the end of the day, you and your spouse are the ones raising your children, not them.

2) Can we afford another child?
It takes approximately $350,000 to raise a child from 0 to 21 years old. Unfortunately, the truth is that the baby bonus, CDA and other government incentives can help for only a short period of time. Our pre-delivery, delivery and post-delivery consultations cost us about $7k+ and as such, our baby bonus of $6k was seen as a form of "reimbursement" for us. Hence, we did not get extra money from our baby bonus and in fact, it wasn't enough to cover all of the bills. Moreover, the CDA can only be used for government-approved institutions and it is capped at $6k. Hence, to play safe, do not take into consideration the monetary incentives which the government will give you once you're pregnant.

Children are expensive. They are never cheap. If you really want to have a or another child, you have to either reduce your expenses or increase your income. The cost of raising a child or children only increases over time. There are ongoing expenses for medical care, clothing, toys, vacations, and most importantly, education. By understanding and discussing the complex financial cost of raising a family with 2 kids, it really helped us to decide if we're financially ready (and not just emotionally ready!) to have another little one.

3) Are we ready to give up "me" time? Is life just too good to change?

For us, having another baby meant that we will definitely have much lesser "me" time and "one-on-one" time with each other. Honestly, right now, we can't even hold hands when we're out as a family! Our hands are always occupied with either Shayne or baby Nathan. However, we're okay with that and would rather be occupied with our 2 kids than with ourselves. But if you're just not yet ready to give up hours with your friends, your own favourite activities (eg: gym, yoja, dancing, cooking, clubbing/pubbing, or even book-reading sessions etc) and one-on-one time with your spouse, then it might be worth seriously considering if you're ready for a child or children right now.

Nonetheless, as the saying goes, "you can't know what it’s going to feel like until you do it". You can never exactly plan every single factor in detail, so no matter how much you plan and talk to your spouse, it truly is impossible to know exactly what becoming a parent will be like. Hopefully these factors will serve as a rough guide towards you and your spouse's dream of having a baby!

Parenthood is the most selfless and challenging job that you and your spouse will ever have. But the reward is pure love, and that's the best reward one can ever have. :)

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