Many modern parents start their parenting journey by Googling “Am I ready for a baby?”
Usually it’s at 3am, often because they are lying awake and unable to sleep.
Sometimes it’s because they’re already pregnant and starting to panic.
How do you know for sure you’re ready to be a mother?
How do you know it’s time to ditch your contraception and dive headfirst into being a parent?
The simple answer is, you don’t. There is no guaranteed formula for success when it comes to having a baby.
10 Signs You’re Ready For A Baby
The perfect time for one person might be completely the wrong time for another. There are so many different variables to consider. In the end, it all comes down to what you really want.
The truth is, whenever you decide to do it, that will be the right time for you.
You might worry you’re not prepared to have a baby, but how can you ever really prepare for the unknown?
It doesn’t matter how many years you spend getting your ducks in a row (metaphorically speaking, that is – the positioning of your waterfowl has little to do with what you will be like as a parent), how many books you read or how many instructional videos you watch.
You will still panic like crazy when you’re left alone with your baby for the first time. Being a parent is big and scary and you’ll never feel totally ready for it – even when you’re three kids in.
If you’re starting to wonder whether now is the right time for you, perhaps looking for these signs will help you to decide whether you’re really ready:
#1: You’re Both On The Same Page
If your partner turns red and sweaty and starts to make a swift exit whenever you bring up the subject of babies, it’s probably safe to assume he might not quite be ready for the pitter-patter of tiny feet.
If, on the other hand, the two of you spend hours chatting about what it will be like when you have children of your own, then you might be getting ready to start a family.
#2: You Think About Baby Names A Lot
You’re always on the lookout for nice names for your future babies. You take inspiration from characters in books, people you meet in real life, or even from dogs you walk past at the park (because some dogs have really nice names, not because you’ve always fancied having a son called Fido).
You already know which names you would choose. Bonus points if you’ve already discussed them with your partner.
#3: Your Ovaries Tingle A Lot
Not tingle as in oh-no-I-have-a-weird-medical-condition but tingle as in squeeeeeee-a-tiny-baby-oh-my-ovaries. You’re probably ready for a baby if you’re past the ‘Aw, what a cute baby’ and on to ‘Eeek, a baby. I want one’.
Once you’re in the ovary-tingling, hand-me-that-baby-now phase of your life, you’re probably gearing up to have a baby of your own – and soon.
You’ll know you’re there because the whiff of a newborn’s head will be addictive. If you keep sniffing strangers’ babies, you’re definitely ready.
#4: You See Babies Everywhere
All of a sudden, you are seeing babies everywhere. They are in the doctor’s surgery, they’re waiting at the bus stop, they’re in the cafe you go to for lunch. You can’t walk down the street without tripping over them (metaphorically, obviously, as people don’t usually leave helpless babies on the pavement).
Your internal monologue sounds something like this: “Baby, baby, another baby, oooh cute baby, tiny baby, another baby, ALL THE BABIES”. Interestingly enough, there is probably exactly the same number of babies as there always was, it’s just you’re noticing them because you want one.
#5: You Ask Your Parent Friends A Lot Of Questions
Research is the first stage of any life change. And, since your friends have started popping out sprogs as though there’s no tomorrow, you have started asking questions. And not the ‘OMG, did you poop during labour?’ questions you would’ve asked before you were interested in babies.
Now you’re asking real questions. How much do babies cost? What’s it like to hold your baby for the first time? Is being a mum hard? Does breastfeeding hurt? Are you happy?
#6: You Wonder What Your Baby Will Look Like
You’ve spent more time than you care to admit trying to imagine what your baby will look like. In your head, you have created a picture of your baby – his perfect hair, your eyes, his chin, your nose. You can already see that beautiful little baby.
If you’ve asked your partner’s mum for a couple of old baby photos so you can do a more in-depth analysis of the potential face of your future baby, then yes, you’re definitely ready.
#7: You Find Yourself Daydreaming About It
You can tell you’re ready to win the lottery when you find yourself daydreaming about it, and the same is probably true for babies. In quiet moments, your mind wanders to imagined scenarios of you and your partner pushing a pram through the local park.
If the daydreams make you feel warm and fuzzy, as opposed to sweaty and tight-chested, you might be ready to start a family.
#8: You’ve Got This Adult Thing Down
Once you’ve got this whole adult thing under control, you might be ready to take the next step. If you can leave the house without locking yourself out, go shopping without losing your card, and deal with an emergency without panicking, you might be ready to be a parent.
Of course, you can be a parent and still do all of those non-grown-up things, too. It’s just life will be easier if you can take care of yourself before you chuck a baby into the mix.
How do you know when you’ve mastered being an adult? It’s when you’ve stopped thinking things like “Oh my god, I am such an adult now!”
#9: Social Media Has Started Advertising Prams To You
How does social media know? No idea, but they do. Zuckerberg is the all-knowing mastermind of the world and if he says you’re ready for a baby, you probably are.
He knows you’re ready to start a family even before you do. That’s why your Facebook feed is clogged with adverts for prams, bassinets and breastpumps. He just knows.
Facebook advertisers have somehow tapped into your ovaries (this might not be strictly accurate), and they know when you’re ready for those adverts. In a few years time, they’ll be advertising double prams to you.
#10: A Late Period Doesn’t Send You Running For The Hills
This is the ultimate test, isn’t it? You never know how you’ll truly feel about a pregnancy until it happens. Even those who have been planning and trying for years still have an “Oh, what the..” moment when they see the positive result on the pregnancy test.
If your period is late and you don’t cry with fear, you might be ready for motherhood. If you feel excited, you’re definitely ready.
Does the thought of getting a positive result on a pregnancy test fill you with excitement or dread? That visualisation alone will tell you whether you’re really ready to have a baby.
Motherhood, here you come.