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HEALTH

How To Know You're Ready To Have A Baby

Just feeling broody ain't gonna cut it... there's admin involved

BY Naledi K

Jun 01, 2021, 05:29 PM

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Say your ovaries have been doing the happy dance every time you see a cute baby on the Internet and you are finally in love with your Mr Right and feel like you are ready to have a baby. Finding the right partner to do this with is super important but there’s more to the game than just having the right baby daddy. 

After you’ve found a man who promises to be a great father and has the genes you’ve been looking for, you have to look deeper into the reality of falling pregnant as a working woman, and a woman in general.

Here’s the thing, the act of conceiving a baby is the easiest part of the process - unless you have biological challenges. You have sex a couple of times and voila! Right? However, most women are not nearly prepared for the practical aspects of being pregnant or the changes in their reality. A few essential things worth looking into or doing young research on may save you a lot of stress. 

Be Ready And Willing To Be A Mom

Mental and emotional readiness or maturity is very important for a woman going into this particular life chapter. The mental shift from living your best life and only looking out for you needs to register before that test reads positive. Depending on where you are in your life, you may know unconsciously that you are ready for this, but it always helps to have it be a part of your life goals to be a mother. Otherwise, falling pregnant and eventually birthing a whole human being you will now be responsible for may negatively affect you and even have suffered from mental illnesses such as depression. 

We are a generation that is lucky to have information at their fingertips and more and more women are bold enough to say, “you know what? I don’t want to be a mother” and that is way better than bringing a child into this earth when you know deep down, “you don’t have it in you”. Also, life’s too short to do things because they are expected of you.

Money Matters… A Lot!

Even if you are financially stable under normal circumstances, it is worth knowing how being pregnant will affect that stability. Most people don’t know what the policies in the company they work for say about maternity leave or things like the percentage they take out of your usual salary during maternity leave. Some companies don’t grant an employee who hasn’t worked for them for more than 12 months paid maternity leave. Other companies don’t have “paid maternity” while others pay you only a portion of your salary and have UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) pay out the rest of what would have been your normal salary.

The UIF process is daunting and often frustrating but the HR office has to help you set it up. It’s in your best interest to find out where you stand so that you know if you’ll be able to cover all your bills while on maternity leave or if you need to start asking the people you owe (creditors) if they offer payment breaks and such.

Additionally, know what the labour laws in SA say about maternity leave over and above your company policies.
"Know that having a dependable support structure (e.g bae and your family and friends) makes all the difference in this journey."

More Money-Related Things To Consider

Do your research depending on your situation. Before the actual birth, a pregnant woman sees a doctor (an obstetrician or a gynaecologist) for monthly (sometimes weekly) checkups. There are also vitamins and pills, you have to take - these also cost money in addition to paying for consultations. If you don’t have medical aid, this is the time to find out all prices associated with having a bun in the oven. Find out how much it costs to give birth - this is obviously going to be different per pregnant woman but generally, you will either give birth naturally or surgically. 

The prices of the procedures differ per hospital and if the cost blows your mind (as it often does!), then look at government hospitals and find out which ones are close to you and which ones will work for your birth plan. If you have medical aid, find out EXACTLY what they will cover you for and where they will expect you to fork out money from your own purse. It is also worth having some money - in case of complications or medical emergencies that might pop up. 

Are You Ready To Embrace The Post-Partum You?

Everything is going to change. For some women, the change is for the better but for some, the change really messes them up. Your body will undergo hectic changes, which you should do your best to be prepared for. Most women devote themselves to their new-born and neglect self-care and self-love after giving birth. This only leads to problems in the future

Read up on things like post-partum depression and know that having a dependable support structure (e.g bae and your family and friends) makes all the difference in this journey. It is okay to need help and when it’s available always take it.