Are You Ready For A Baby?

6 things to think about before you make baby plans.
Having a baby is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make in your life, but it's also the best thing you'll ever do! Before you start trying for one, however, there are emotional, physical and financial aspects to consider, so you and your partner will be well-prepared to be great parents when your bundle of joy arrives!

Here are six essential issues to work out with your other half:

1. Are you financially ready?

The prospect of having a baby is so exciting, but do take a step back for a reality check: Are you financially ready? Being ready doesn't mean you have to be rich, but you have to get your money priorities in order, because now you're planning your future not just for the two of you, but for three. (Or more!) Some questions to consider, for example, is how having a baby is going to affect your family's bottom line, if you'd able to provide a stable environment for the child, and whether you will be returning to work or be a stay-home mom.

"A baby is a lifelong commitment, so having a stable home and enough money so that finances are not a huge pressure is helpful," says parenting coach, Judy Reith, author of Be A Great Mum. The key is to work out a sound post-baby financial plan with your partner before you have the baby, so you have an idea of how much you can afford to spend and how much to save.

2. Are you emotionally ready?

Your mindset is just as important. It's natural to be concerned about the what-ifs of parenthood: What if you can't be a good mom? What if you're not emotionally mature enough? What if you can't give your love selflessly? But do think of the positive, advises Reith. "Try to focus on the benefits of creating a lifelong relationship with another human being that you are bringing into the world -- focus on developing a positive attitude which will help you to keep the anxieties and nerves in perspective."

Of course, as a couple, you and your partner need to prepare yourselves for the huge responsibilities ahead as new parents -- to be emotionally available to a newborn all the time, to expect the feelings of stress that comes with a new baby, as well as the hard work and unconditional love that she demands from you.

This is the time to open up to each other about your mutual expectations and hopes you have as parents and as a family. Do you have the same views on how the child will be brought up? "You might assume that your partner has the same values, and then be really alarmed to find that they don't," says Reith. Talking it out before -- rather than after -- the arrival of a baby gives you time to work out any differences of opinion.

3. Are you having a baby for the right reasons?

Many couples fall into the trap of thinking that a baby will fix relationship problems and bring them closer together but it often has the opposite effect, says Reith. All those sleep deprivation, stress and anxiety put a strain on any relationship, especially in the first year, and any existing cracks in the marriage are likely going to get worse.

"Children thrive best being raised in homes with two loving parents in a stable and committed relationship," adds Reith, so make way for a baby only if your marriage is in the pink of health, never as a way to patch a rocky one.

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