One of the biggest and toughest decision anyone could ever make is starting a family. After all it is a lifetime commitment that involves raising a dependent human being for the next 18 years.
If you’re reading this post, starting a family is probably in your mind and you’re on the fence on starting a family. You may wonder whether it is to start a family now, later, or never.
Fear not for you’ve found the right place to start your journey in considering starting a family. In this post, we’ll start off by giving you some pointers on where to start, what considerations you might want to look into, and hopefully gain some clarity to your situation once you’re done with this post.
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Where do I start?
When it comes to having children, some adults could feel it in their blood. On the other hand, some of us do not understand the appeal of having children. And if you are surrounded by unmarried adults or young married couples who do not have kids yet, it is definitely very difficult to get a clear picture of what you’re signing up for.
Starting a family is a journey. Exploring this new world is important, so put your thinking cap on and start asking questions and poking your head into this new world with an inquisitive lens. Let’s begin your journey below, in no particular order:
Starting a family 1: Exposure
The best way to tackle this topic is to tackle it head-on, by putting yourself in the environment! I suggest for you to get to know this elusive creature
If you’re already surrounded by kids congratulations, you have already taken the first step into the deep end. However, as we know children come in all ages. So let’s focus our exposure to the young ones, the baby and toddler stages, for this is the most crucial and immediate stage you’d be facing when starting a family. The whole point of exposure is to acclimatize your surroundings with children. Seeing children in their element, observing their behavior, and taking it all in should ease you into the topic of starting a family.
One of the best places to immerse yourself in the environment is, of course places that are children centric and family-friendly. Of course bear in mind, if you are a lone man entering these places without buying anything or making any inquiry, you may seem very suspicious. So please do bring your partner along or tag along with a family with kids. Below are a few places you may begin your journey in exposure to kids:
- Baby shops like Mothercare, Chicco, Early Learning Centre to name a few.
- Kids play space like kidzania,
- Toy shops like toy’s R us, Hamleys,
- Reality Tv shows that focus on parenting like The Return of Superman (Korean reality show). The House of Tiny Tearaways (British Reality show) on YouTube, Or Babies (documentary)on Netflix. I’d suggest leaving Tiny Tearaway last. It is very difficult to watch at the beginning, but as you progress later into the season, it becomes hopeful.
- Family-friendly parks or communal places like Desa Parkcity’s shops and parks, Metropolitan Park Kepong
Starting a family 2: Talk to people
One of the best ways to get insight into starting a family is of course talk to people who have already start a family, or have decided not to start a family. And the wider the age groups or phases of life you gather, the bigger picture you get for yourself.
For me I spoke to :
- Friends or colleagues with young kids
- Colleagues who are already in their middle age with kids graduating from college
- My uncle and aunties who are single for as long as I remember
Do note that it is important to speak to people you are comfortable with confiding in or be vulnerable with. This is a topic that may be sensitive to people. Moreover, it is a very personal and private choice, and we must respect whatever decision anyone has made. So do remember to approach with thoughtfulness and respect.
Starting a family 3: Imagine your future
As simple as this suggestion may sound, it is a useful tool to take a moment to focus on yourself and your wants. A simple visualization technique will give some insight into whether the future you imagine for yourself is what you’d want to achieve or not. From there, you may make adjustments to what your family may look like. Do remember that visualization is just an exercise and a tool to help give your brain a clearer image of what your fuzzy future may look like. If you’d like to take it further you may Google visualization techniques for more info.
Starting a family 4: Assess yourself
For the detailed oriented person, you might enjoy this checklist of assessment, for the one who is less detailed oriented, this may sound daunting or scary. But please remember that these are merely suggestions on what you might want to consider before starting a family. This method might help or not help you in making the decision, but it is the process that helps you get there.
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1. What’s your support system like? Do you have support from family and friends?
This consideration may be very crucial for people who may have family members who lived far away. Where else could you get assistance or support when you need it?
2. What’s your relationship with your partner?
Whatever relationship stages you’re in, the key thing to look is if you could go through the tough times together. Or else, you need to be prepared to go it alone. Is your partner on the same page?
3. What’s your current financial situation?
To some, financial security may be the deciding factor in whether or not one is ready to start a family. To some, so long as you have the will, you’d find a way to make the money for the baby. Whatever the situation, the important part is to remember that you will now start paying for a third human being, and that will only increase in years to come. What can you do to ensure some form of financial security?
4. What’s your immediate location like?
Is having a children-friendly environment your priority? This could mean the environment in your immediate house or outside of your house. In your house, do you have an extra room for your growing child? Are you living in a neighborhood that has easy assess to baby-related facilities like daycare, pediatric clinics, or parks? Is the area you live in safe and secure for you to start a family?
5. What’s your lifestyle like?
Are you willing to put some of your habits on hold? This looks at the habits you have on a daily basis especially for women. This is because if you are planning to start a family, for the woman who will be carrying the baby, there will be major abstinence from caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs for at least the entirety of the pregnancy. This ensures that the baby gets a healthy environment for good development in the womb. What are your daily lifestyle to reconsider?
1. How much do you really want kids?
This is probably the simplest question, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to answer. For some people, they’ve wanted kids since forever, for some it would be nice to have a family and young kids around you. For some, they do not want children at all. So how much do you and your partner wants kids?
2. What’s your phase of life?
What Phase of life you’re at right now will deeply impact how you start a family because if you start too early before your time, it may bring forth blame, regret, and anger towards your partner and your innocent child. Evaluating what is your priority now is the best decision for everyone. What phase of life are you and your partner in?
3. Are you ready for a career break?
Starting a family with a baby will definitely change up the rhythm of your life and career. Your energy, focus, and time will be affected. For new moms, you’d be on maternity leave to recover from labor. For the men, the first few months will definitely be a roller coaster ride of nightly feeds and a crying baby. So you prepared to embrace a new kind of norm and busy-ness in your life?
4. What are the reasons behind starting a family?
This is probably one of the most important questions one should ask oneself, “Why am I starting a family?” The motivation and intention behind starting a family sets the foundation for overcoming challenges involving starting a family in the years to come.
- Are you pressured by your family?
- Was it a natural instinct?
- Are you trying to improve your relationship with your partner?
- Was the pregnancy unplanned?
There are many reasons why people start a family. Sometimes we can’t control the circumstance that we’re in. Whatever the circumstance, it is important to note that the reason you decide to start a family is for yourself and not for anybody else. It is through embracing your circumstances and make a decisive decision that would lead to an empowering approach to your family and life. Are you starting a family because you want to?
5. What’s your emotional readiness? Are you ready to let go of your late-night parties or traveling freely every few times in a year?
We all know that starting a family means that you’d now officially be the adult in your family, and you will be having a little human dependent on you on their every need. Are you ready to be their rock? That may mean giving up on certain freedom that you once have because it will never be the same again. But honestly, I’d like to look at it as having a new way of life. So, are you ready to live differently from what you know now?
6. Are you willing to learn and grow?
Starting a family also means dealing with new challenges every day. You will be in a new territory and will be forced out of your comfort zone, confront your own weaknesses, and your confidence will be shaken. This is an inevitable experience. Are you willing to take this step of growth?
7. Are you ready for the unpredictability and change?
There are many things in life that are out of our control and starting a family is no exception. And if you have a hard time with change or unpredictability, accepting the fact that unpredictability or change will happen is the first step you need to do. Change is imminent, it is how we deal with it that makes all the difference. So what are your strategies in managing your emotional self in a changing environment?
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1. What is your family genetic history?
There are positive and negative genetic traits that run in every family. And knowing your genetic history will help give some heads up. You will be able to know what to expect, prepare for, or mitigate an undesirable pregnancy. For example, one of the few genetic background to consider is if your family have twins or if your partner is anemic. Basically know your genetics and do risk assessment with your gynecologist. Do you know what’s your family genetics history?
To conclude, these are the 4 suggestions and 13 considerations you may start exploring to help you gain clarity in starting a family. These suggestions do not have a right or wrong answer. It ultimately leads to your answer.
In the end, it is great to do research and equip ourselves with knowledge of what needs to be done. But I believe no matter how prepared we are, we will never be fully ready for what’s to come. Besides preparation, it is ultimately our own resolution that will get ourselves through the storm.
I hope this post may kickstart your journey in exploring what it means to start a family and hope it help you gain clarity in your journey.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts~