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.
- Avoiding a conscious decision. Some women let nature “decide” by not using contraception. Others delay so long that the decision is made by default.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 www.ourbodiesourselves.org.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- The 6 Tests to Try if You’re Struggling With Infertility
- 10 Tips for Reading Food Labels
- 11 Ways to Take Care of Your Sexual Health
- Condoms 101 and Safe Sex 101
- Pregnant? 10 Things You’re Entitled to Do Right Now
- Read the Introduction to Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era
- See the book’s Table of Contents
- Browse more books by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective