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When couples are together for a while, everyone assumes that you’ll have children soon. The pressure grows even more once you get married.

But having children is a big decision. And even though couples start their own families all the time, it’s important to ask yourself why you want to become a mother. Here are some ways to realize you’re ready for a child.

1. You’re not following the crowd

Women are given a very specific trajectory: date, get married and start a family. And many women do that, and it’s perfectly fine if you do that, too – just as long as you’re not blindly following the crowd.

It’s worth asking yourself if you’re having a child simply to keep up with everyone else.

2. You’re not pressured by the “biological clock”

In our day and age, women spend much of their 20’s figuring themselves out and exploring their many options. They date, build a career and work to pay off student loans. Most ladies aren’t ready to start having kids if they’re busy figuring everything out.

And even though women are encouraged to explore and dream and have careers, they’re also pressured to have kids before it’s “too late”. After all, the biological clock is always ticking and waits for no woman. But you shouldn’t have a child due to fear of missing out (FOMO).

If you rush to have a child based on your age, you might be a young mother, but you may also be an ill-prepared one. And that will be difficult for both you and your child.

3. You want kids to be a part of your life

It’s easy to just imagine family portraits on the wall and family outings at your favorite spots. But try to set aside these romantic ideas, and instead try to imagine what having children will really be like.

Having children means being on call 24/7. It means accommodating a growing, developing human being both when it’s fun and also when it’s incredibly challenging. It’s not that having a child will be a draining and negative experience.

But there will be hardships right along with the beautiful moments. Are you ready for both?

4. You’re secure and confident in who you are

The best way to be ready for a child is to first work on yourself. Are there any emotional blocks you need to heal? How is your relationship with yourself? Do you love yourself and take care of yourself?

When you know and love yourself as best you can, it will be much easier for you to love your child. What’s more, you will have a functional and healthy relationship with your child. It can be a relationship free of fear and power struggles.

5. You don’t expect your children to fulfill you

It’s important to have a full life before you have a child. So, try to invest in your passions and interests, and keep them going once your child arrives. Sure, you’ll have to sacrifice things, but try not to give everything up completely for the sake of your child.

If you do, you’ll depend on your child to fulfill you and make you happy. This places a lot of unfair and unhealthy pressure on your child. It will also create a very conditional relationship with your child, where you show love when they please you, but anger when they don’t fulfill your needs.

6. You believe children are independent individuals

When your child is young, he or she will need you and your guidance. But too many parents confuse this with being controlling and dominating. Remember that your child has a mind of their own and they’re entitled to developing their own ideas and beliefs.

This is what you’ve done and what you’ll continue to do. So, it’s important to go into parenting with an open mind and allow your child to do the same. Your child is an independent individual and it’s up to you to support them as they grow and develop into their best self, even if it’s not what you anticipate.

7. Your child has a place in your life

Once your child arrives, will he or she be an inconvenience? Or, will they be welcome in your life? Will they feel unwanted or cherished? If you feel impatient and irritated around children, you might have a hard time adjusting to your own child. And when we’re frustrated, we can accidentally make others feel bad about themselves.

If you’re ready and eager to share your life with your child, you can create a healthy home for them.

8. You're ready to give up your free nights and weekends

Unless you plan on having a nanny or a full-time babysitter, you’ll have to give up some of your personal freedom. This means that late nights, weekend dates and random getaways are probably going to decrease – at least for a while.

It’s just really difficult to keep up with a single lifestyle with a child. It’s important not to resent your child for this.

9. You’re okay with more planning and less spontaneity

You might be a free spirit and love to fly by the seat of your pants. That works fine when it’s just you and your partner. But it’s harder to pull off when you welcome a child into your life. Most kids need the stability of a home, schedule, and routine.

Otherwise, it can become pretty chaotic and exhausting for everyone involved.

10. Your goals make room for little ones

Even though you have to give up some freedom when you have a child, it’s also important to keep reaching for your goals. But before you decide to have a child, it’s important to ask if your goals are kid-friendly.

For example, do you want a career where you travel all over the world? Do you want to accomplish big things? And if so, how will it impact your child? Similarly, how will your child impact your goals?

Before you have a child, be sure your goals and your child are compatible with one another.

11. You feel ready

The most important indicator that you’re ready to have kids is that you feel ready. So, when you think about having kids, what do you feel deep down in your gut? Do you feel a sense of calm? Or, does the idea freak you out?

Many people say that you’ll never be ready for kids, but that’s not necessarily true. Even though parenting is a huge learning experience for everyone, you can still feel ready and willing to embark on this journey. If you don’t, there might be important personal lessons you need to learn before your child comes into your life.

Having a child is a very exciting time in everyone’s life. You can make it even more meaningful and joyful by taking the time to understand yourself, as well as your goals before you welcome a child into your life.

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