Are you ready for a baby?

Having a baby is one of those serious decisions that takes two; at least if you are part of a couple. Making a unilateral choice without consulting your partner puts them at a disadvantage. Bringing home a baby isn't like surprising him with a new kitten. Babies (as sweet as they are) don't always bring people together. You could start by taking a fun quiz from sites like the BabyCenter or BabyZone but the real work comes through serious discussions with your partner.

Don't plan to hash everything out over coffee. Extending your family is a serious matter that will affect your life in several different ways. Talk about these five points.

Preparing financially: Some parents will tell you, "If we waited until we had the money, we'd never have had children." That is true for many in the older generation but today, it is a different world. Raising children has always been expensive; now it's even more so. Beyond the cost of diapers and formula (which are pricey themselves) there is daycare, private school, trendy clothing and electronic gadgets. Talk about where the money will come from.

Making room: Studio apartment living isn't conducive for freewheeling toddlers. Do you have room for a baby? That's something to talk about!

Deal with emotions: Many people come from broken homes and everyone has different home life experiences. What about healing in your own life? Do you have issues, or your spouse, that should be dealt with before having a baby? Provide your baby with a happy, loving home by dealing with those personal childhood issues before having a baby.

Sharing responsibilities: You're a step closer to having a baby but don't neglect the responsibilities talk. It's important that you share child rearing responsibilities even if one of you works outside the home. One parent taking care of the child full time is stressful and unfair. This is why you should both agree

After the baby: Talk about life after the baby comes. Make plans today to continue your romance with date nights and time together, away from your child. If you don't deliberately plan for romance, life with baby will overtake you.

Do listen to your spouse. If he's not ready, don't force him. Revisit the idea later to see how he's feeling. The best time to have a baby is when you're both ready!

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