There were several things that were in my itinerary to accomplish:
1. Both of us finishing school (he had already graduated by the time we started dating, and I was close).
2. One or both of us having secure jobs with benefits (he ticked that one off a few years ago; I have a decent job and plan to continue working part-time -if- I become a parent).
3. Having a stable relationship. The first few years were difficult for us. The last few have been very stable and very great, so check there. Being married first was also important to us.
4. Both of us having frequent contact with young children. I watched one of my sisters-in-law wily-nily get pregnant solely because she was getting older. She was extremely jealous of anyone having contact with her kid for fear he would bond better with them/that she would look inept. She had no idea what she was getting herself into…something that was easily remedied, as there were other children in the family. She avoided them at all cost, never baby-sat, never changed a diaper, etc.
Too many people trying to conceive understand intellectually that having a kid means diaper changes, bath time, power struggles and discipline. It’s one thing to know it intellectually…another to experience it.
I’ve been baby-sitting my pseudo-nephew since he was 2, so my husband and I have had regular exposure there. I also get my paws on my nephew and niece as often as I can. I’ve tackled homework, homesickness, diapers, feedings, burps, booboos, etc., over the years. I was also a K – 12 substitute for years in the past, so I’m aware of the “I’ve got to go potty now!” routines, temper tantrums, etc.
I’ve told my husband that the next time he’s home and we’re watching the baby, he will be learning how to change diapers, give a baby a bath, feed, burp and change. I really think that practice is important. There’s a good chance I may not be feeling my best in the weeks after giving birth.
And…it’s just something that dads should know.
Emotional readiness was also important. If he hesitated, I would not be having kids with him.
5. That we are OK financially. I don’t mean rolling in dough — for many people, it’s unrealistic to save up for the kid’s entire college fund, wedding and down payment on a house before you even get pregnant. But expect that it could be a few hundred dollars a month for formula, diapers, wipes, and perhaps even more for any medical bills that aren’t completely covered by insurance.
6. Ensuring that we have a support system. One of my SILs lives several hundred miles away, and neither of them have any family in the area. It’s always an ordeal when she wants to go shopping or spend some time alone. I have been scouting out relatives who I think would be good baby-sitters, and taking note of those who concern me. It wasn’t an absolute necessity, but having a close-by support system is important.