Thinking of Becoming a Mom? 6 Things Not to Do

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Figuring out whether — and when — to have children is important, yet many of us delay, deny, or avoid the decision altogether. Here are some common mistakes prospective moms make, from The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective’s Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era.

  1. Avoiding a conscious decision. Some women let nature “decide” by not using contraception. Others delay so long that the decision is made by default.
  2. Letting your partner decide for you. He or she might be eager to have a child, or might want you to promise not to. You may go along with such a wish if you’re afraid your partner will get angry or leave, or if you’re uncertain and just want the decision to be over and done with. When you’re newly in love, you may go along with your partner’s wish to have a baby together, and then regret it later. It’s crucial that you have a strong voice in any decision you make.
  3. Thinking your partner will change. In your eagerness to form a family, you may ignore warning signs that your partner isn’t ready for parenthood. If he or she has a drug or alcohol problem, or is explosive and violent, it is unlikely that he or she will change when the baby arrives.
  4. Thinking it’s a decision between no children and two children. Many of us assume that we must have two children, to provide the first child with a companion and as a hedge against having a “spoiled” only child. However, only children are no more or less spoiled, lonely, or maladjusted than children with siblings. For many people, a one-child family is just right.
  5. Making the decision without knowing what children are really like. How do you feel when you’re with babies and children? Spending time with them may be one of the best things you can do. Get to know your friends’ kids, your nieces, nephews, and cousins. Take them to the park. Have a sleepover. Spend an afternoon at the playground. Do you have a good time? Do you feel drawn to them?
  6. Worrying that you won’t be a good parent. Because of your parents’ mistakes, or your own behavior, you may doubt your ability to parent. Be assured that you can learn, grow, and change by talking with supportive people in your life, reading parenting books or taking parenting classes, or getting some counseling.

Author of Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era (Copyright (c) 2005 by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective), The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective aims to empower women by providing information about health, sexuality, and reproduction. Advisory board members include Teresa Heinz Kerry, Susan Love, and Gloria Steinem. To learn more visit



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Bethenny Frankel is the four-time bestselling author of Skinnydipping, A Place of Yes, Naturally Thin, and The Skinnygirl Dish. She is the creator of the Skinnygirl brand—which extends to cocktails, fitness, and health—and currently stars as the host of her own talk show, Bethenny. She has been named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities by Forbes magazine and is regularly featured in both Health magazine and Glamour. She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. Bethenny lives in New York with her daughter, Bryn, and dog, Cookie.

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