The common response to that question is, “You’re never really ready.”
My dad basically confirmed that last night. We were watching old reruns of Frasier on television while eating oranges together on the couch.
In one particular episode, Niles, Frasier’s smaller, yet equally-pompous younger brother, had to deliver a baby in an emergency situation and it got him thinking about being a dad.
To discover if he was truly ready or not for the responsibility, he decided to start carrying around a sack of flour like it was a baby.
He went all out and even scheduled alarms for midnight feedings.
My dad was not impressed. Between orange slices he said,
“I’m sorry, but lugging around a sack of flour is nothing like having a real baby. I remember that first night with you. We brought you home and set you in your bassinet and your mom and I looked at each other thinking – What now?”
What about real life?
He’s told me this story before. I always laugh because I can just picture my parents’ faces looking exhausted, excited and bewildered. But it wasn’t until last night that I thought that feeling probably doesn’t ever go away.
I’m sure when I came home really sick from school for the first time or got my first boyfriend – and subsequently, my first broken heart – or declared what I wanted to be when I grew up; the feeling was always, “What now?”
When you Google, “How do you know you’re ready to have a baby?” all sorts of results pop up.
There’s a quiz for that
Like this quiz from Woman’s Day which offers 15 questions that are supposed to help you decide if you’re ready to help bring a new life into this world. I got 14 our of 15 “correct” so I am clear to “Call the Stork!” by the way.
There are other quizzes that caused me a lot more anxiety. Like this one from Babycenter.com which makes sure you’ve done your research, have consulted a doctor, taken notes at the doctor and either have said notes beside you when you take this quiz or have an excellent memory.
Needless to say, I didn’t do too hot on this one. No, I didn’t know men are supposed to get 11 grams of Zinc per day when trying to conceive. So sue me.
All the guides
There are more practical guides and articles like one on Parenting.com that I found. The article offers insight to make sure you and your partner are both mentally, emotionally and financially prepared for this step. Solid advice.
It all comes back to you
Basically you can go down an internet black hole trying to find concrete affirmation that you’re actually ready. Or you can take a journalist’s approach and talk to or interview every person you know who has produced offspring, looking for a common theme.
If you actually find that, let me know!
But honestly, I think I’ll always feel nervous about it, partly because that’s just the kind of person I am and also because, parenthood is one of those things for which I don’t think you can be too prepared.
You can have all the money in the world, the best doctors lined up, a prenatal plan, a pregnancy plan, a post-pregnancy plan and have your kid’s life planned out through high school, but there is just so much you cannot plan for or expect.
And isn’t that part of the awesomeness and amazingness of having a child? Those unplanned, unpredictable moments and seasons of growth and joy and learning together.
That’s what creating a life together is all about.
No, I don’t have all of the answers and not every detail is figured out, but I trust myself and my husband enough to know that I want to do this. And we will both be the best parents we can be. Because that’s what you do when you decide to make your life not just about you anymore.