A positive pregnancy test is not always cause for celebration. In fact, many women–especially “first timers”–are overwhelmed with a sense of panic and a myriad of unanswered questions. Will I be a good mom? Can I afford to provide for a baby? Or, how in the heck do you change a diaper? After all, a child is a huge responsibility and it is natural to have fears.
But, how do you know if your worries are the normal type that will come to pass or if you, in fact, are not ready to be a mom? And, if it’s the latter, what’s your next step?
Are You Ready for Motherhood?
In order to determine if you are prepared to welcome a baby into your life, you need to take an honest look at your level of readiness. And, most importantly, if you find yourself lacking in a particular area, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to make the changes needed to become more prepared.
- Your Level of Commitment. Motherhood is a full-time job that you will be committing to for at least the next twenty-one years. This means putting your child’s needs ahead of your own and making sacrifices for the sake of your child.
- Your Level of Financial Wherewithal. Babies cannot survive on love alone. Besides the obvious needs like food and shelter, they also require clothing, diapers, toys and books, medical care, furnishings, a stroller, and a car seat. It is also important, however, to note that as your baby grows and enters school full-time, you will also have the ability to increase your family income by working longer hours and/or taking college courses.
- Your Level of Support from Baby’s Daddy. While many women have successfully raised happy, healthy kids on their own, it is beneficial to both you and the child if both parents share a stable relationship–whether you are still together or not. And never have a child with the goal of bringing you and your significant other “closer together.” As Dr. Phil warns, “A child should be wanted, not needed. Don’t give a child a job before they’re even here–the job of saving your marriage, of making your spouse settle down, of living out your unfulfilled dreams, etc.”
- Your Level of Outside Support. Caring for a baby is an exhausting, and oftentimes stressful experience that can leave you wanting to bang your head on a cement wall while simultaneously ripping your hair out–particularly if you are doing it on your own. That’s why it is important that you have family members or close friends that you can count on to help you out by providing you with respite, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on.
What can you do if motherhood’s not for you?
After long and careful deliberation, you may decide that you are not ready for motherhood. First of all, don’t feel guilty or inadequate as a female. There is no shame in admitting that you are not ready to have a baby. In fact, some women have no desire to have children at all–and there is nothing wrong with that.
If you have decided that keeping your baby is not an option, you may wish to look into adoption. Adoption, after all, can create a win-win situation in that you can give your baby the happy home and fulfilling life that she deserves, while enabling a childless couple to experience the thrill of parenthood.
- Find the right partners. If you are considering putting your child up for adoption, you will need to have a law firm or adoption agency that you can trust to guide you through the process. As “What to Do When You’re Pregnant and Scared” advises, check out who an agency serves and get references in order to choose the right partner. Plus, it is wise to always get the counsel of a lawyer that is not affiliated with the adoption agency that you plan to use.
- Protect your baby’s health. You will also need to seek the care of a trusted physician to safeguard the health of both you and your unborn child. In many cases, the adoptive family will cover your pregnancy-related medical expenses.
- Choose a form of adoption. While a closed adoption, one in which you will have no contact with your child after she is adopted, is still an option, many people are now opting for an open adoption. This allows you to have contact with the child and the adoptive parents after the adoption has taken place.
- Know Your Rights. This is the most important step in preparing to put your baby up for adoption. According to the law, you must receive counseling before giving up your child and this is usually provided for free by the adoption agency. Plus, as “Procedure to Give a Child Up for Adoption” states, “thirty US states and the District of Columbia require a waiting period lasting from twelve hours to three days” to pass after the delivery before the birth parent can give consent. This means that you may have the opportunity to change your mind after giving birth to your baby.
If you find yourself torn between opting for motherhood or putting your child up for adoption, it is important that you give yourself as much time as you need before making your decision. And remember, this is your decision to make–no one else’s. So, follow your head, your heart, and your gut and do what’s best for you and your unborn child.
Are you a single mom who is raising a child? Did you put a baby up for adoption? What questions did you ask yourself before deciding to keep or give up your child?