The next time you see a baby in a carriage and think “Aww, I want one, too!” here are a few things to consider…

Once a woman gets close to the big ‘3-0’, society, her family, and her friends constantly remind her that it’s her time to start having children. More than ever before, though, women are settling into careers and holding off on becoming mothers. We need to think about our careers, lifestyles, dreams and compatibility with our partner before we can commit to the responsibility of having children.

To decide whether you can successfully raise children, you should make a “pregnancy checklist” and remember it every time ‘baby fever’ strikes. The next time you see a baby in a carriage and think “Aww, I want one, too!” here are a few things to consider:

1. Pick your partner wisely

Love is a beautiful thing. At the same time, it does not guarantee a lifetime of a successful relationship. Your relationship needs to be based on a strong foundation. No woman wants to be labelled a “Baby Mama” because she chose the wrong partner.

Before you decide that it is the right time to have children, speak openly with your partner to find out if they are on the same page. Here is a list of things to discuss:

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  • Financial stability
  • Future goals
  • Passion for parenthood

Being a parent is an lifechanging experience. However, you should only share it with a mate who is on your level, someone who shares similar beliefs and life goals.

2. Know yourself

We are all on a journey of self-discovery, and personal development is essential to parenthood. After all, bringing children into the world is a huge responsibility. It is wise to be the best version of yourself because your child will look up to you. As time passes, your goals and beliefs will change, but a child always needs a role model to admire, and it should be you.

To be a mother, you don’t need to be a superwoman, but fixing baggage from your childhood or life experiences can improve your parenting experience and reduce your stress

3. Research, research, research

We heard our grandmothers share stories of instinctively raising our parents successfully. While this approach can work for some women, it’s important to do your own research – and plenty of it. There are tons of parenting books in the library. Mommy bloggers around the world share tips and advice on balancing stress, the reality of motherhood, and dealing with life’s unexpected surprises. While a blog or a book may not teach you everything, it is a good way to prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

4. Are you happy?

Are you truly happy with your life? Is motherhood a way to cope with loneliness or an unsuccessful romantic relationship? I’ve heard many stories of women who get pregnant because they think it will fill a void in their life or will bring their partner closer to them.

The truth is, though, a man will not improve his relationship with you just because a child is in the picture. Also, loneliness can only disappear once you work on your baggage. Children need to grow up in a healthy home environment with parents who are happy with their lives and relationships.

5. Are you emotionally stable?

Some women experience hair loss, anxiety, and postpartum depression after they become mothers.

A child needs a mother who can balance her own needs with theirs, especially if that mother is living with mental illness. Mothers often feel, though, that they put their child before their own needs, which shouldn’t be the case.

Here are a few ways to work on yourself before having a child and after your baby is born:

  • Seek a life coach
  • Consult a therapist
  • Find a mentor
  • Speak to elders in your family/community

To be a mother, you don’t need to be a superwoman, but fixing baggage from your childhood or life experiences can improve your parenting experience and reduce your stress. So, next time you wish for your own little bundle of joy, ask yourself, “Am I ready to be a mother?”

This article was first published on Unwritten.