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Choosing Parenthood

Pregnancy, Labor, Delivery, and Becoming a Parent

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Updated June 22, 2011

Unplanned pregnancy can happen to a woman at various times in her life. It is completely normal to have a variety of emotional reactions to an unplanned pregnancy. You may feel overjoyed, or you may be feeling overwhelmed and conflicted about what to do. Women may base their decisions about continuing their pregnancy on what they believe is best for them at that particular time in their lives. It is important that you have reliable information when considering your pregnancy options.

One of your options is to continue your pregnancy and raise a child. Being a parent is often described as one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences a person can have. The more you understand the responsibilities of being a parent, pregnancy and labor, the more prepared you will be should you choose this option.

The Role Of A Parent

Parents must provide a nurturing environment for their children and help guide them to reach their potential in life. You will need to have patience and be able to handle pain and conflict. Parenthood also brings along great happiness, pride and joy. You must be willing to put your needs aside and focus your attention on your child. Parenting can be complicated because every child is unique; you need to be ready to provide unconditional love, able to handle frustration, and have an unlimited amount energy and patience.

The Costs of Raising a Child

Raising a child can be expensive -- from diapers and clothing to food and shelter. Consider if you will need to pay for reliable child care, too. You may also want to start saving for your child's future education.

Even before you begin having to financially support your child, you will have to pay the costs associated with being pregnant. These expenses include maternity clothes, prenatal care and hospital costs when it is time to give birth. If you are currently working, do you know if your company provides sick leave or maternity leave? Other financial aspects to consider: Do you have a plan in case you may need to be on bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy? Will earning a living for you and your child be a challenge? Do you have a financial plan to cover the expenses of being a parent?

Pregnancy

One aspect that you also need to consider is whether you are ready to go through a pregnancy. Pregnancy is an exciting time for many expectant mothers. Some women have wonderful pregnancies while others experience morning sickness, fatigue, and many other symptoms. It is a time where you will have to take great care of your body. There is also the possibility of complications during pregnancy that may leave you on bed rest. You will need to find a doctor and go for routine prenatal care check-ups. As you can see, the responsibilities of parenthood start way before your baby even arrives.

Pregnancy Resources:

Labor and Delivery

Before you can officially become a mother, you will need to give birth to the baby that is growing inside of you. Try to realistically assess whether you are ready for this. You will find that preparing for childbirth may help to alleviate some of your worries about delivery. You will need to make decisions such as where to deliver your child, who you may want with you at this time, and whether or not you feel comfortable using pain medication during your delivery. Do you have a reliable person who can get you to a hospital? Some woman write up a birth plan as a way to communicate their desires during delivery.

It is important to understand the birthing process, so you know what to anticipate; also know that there's the possibility that you may need a C-section or that complications may arise.

Single Parenting or CoParenting

If you are leaning toward choosing parenthood, another decision that you'll have to make involves whether you will be parenting with a partner, or if you will be a single parent. Are you planning to stay with your partner to raise this child together? Or are you prepared to be a single parent? Being a single parent may leave you with very little time for yourself. Even with the help of your family and friends, single parenting is not easy. You will be the main person that your child will turn to, every day, for love and attention. You will find that there are no “vacations” from motherhood. Choosing to be a parent means that you are in it for the long-haul. Because your child will need so much from you, realistically consider if you would feel comfortable becoming more dependent on your own family and/or friends; you may need their help with child care, their emotional support, and maybe even some financial assistance.

Single Parent Resources:

Being A Good Parent

As they say, children do not come with instructions. You will find that a child’s needs are constantly changing. To be a good parent, you must really want to be in this role. You also have to have a good understanding of what parenting is all about; it is helpful to learn about children, the stages they go through, and how to meet the demands of motherhood. If you are not sure if you are ready to become a parent, read about parenthood, talk to other moms, and have a realistic expectation of the challenges that parents face.

Choosing to become a parent is a huge decision that should be made with careful consideration. Once you become a mother, you will be responsible for the complete emotional and physical well-being of another person. Your top priority in life will have to be your child. Are you prepared to make the sacrifices required to be a parent? The rewards for doing so are priceless, but you need to realistically evaluate if you are ready to make this type of lifelong commitment at this point in your life.

A Checklist: Choosing To Become A Parent

More Parenting Resources:

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