Parenthood means that you are choosing to carry the pregnancy to term and to raise your child. It is important that you fully consider all of your options when making this decision. Becoming a parent means that you are financially, legally, physically, and emotionally responsible for the upbringing of your child until adulthood.

What Does This Involve?

When you decide to become a parent you are choosing to embark on an experience that many find enriching and life-affirming but also difficult in many ways. To ensure the health of your baby, it is important to understand your own body and pregnancy. You can increase the chances of having a healthy baby by staying healthy and taking care of yourself.

The decision to remain healthy during your pregnancy may include certain lifestyle changes, including modifying your diet and nutrition, and abstaining from alcohol and drugs.

Your first step is to make an appointment with a clinician for prenatal care. You will also need to determine if you want to deliver your baby in a hospital, at home, or at a birthing center.

The following questions are examples of what some women have considered when making the decision to become a parent. They are meant to help you decide what you need in order to proceed with this decision. Keep in mind that every person has different values and feelings. This list is meant to help you consider your feelings.

You may need to think about how you will accommodate potentially increased needs for:

  • changes in lifestyle
    • Will you be able to obtain childcare if necessary?
    • Do you want to continue your education? How will you accomplish this?
    • How much time do you want to spend with your child? Is this possible?
    • What do you do for recreation? Can you continue to do some of these things after the child is born? What if you cannot?
    • Will your decision to be a parent come closest to giving you what you want in your life?
  • medical support
    • Are you taking prenatal vitamins and having regular exams with an obstetrician?
    • Do you have a doctor and hospital lined up for delivery?
    • Have you chosen a pediatrician?
    • What will you do if there is a problem with the pregnancy?
  • financial support
    • How will you pay bills for prenatal care, delivery, and a pediatrician?
    • How will you provide health insurance for you and your child? (You may be eligible for government assistance.)
    • How will you pay for rent, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, laundry?
    • Will you need to take a different or second job?
    • How will you obtain (buy or borrow) a crib, baby clothes, maternity clothes, blankets, a car seat?
    • What will it cost to hire a babysitter, if you need one?
  • emotional support
    • Do you have a person (possibly your partner) who is going to make you a priority during your pregnancy?
    • Do you have a person who is going to be available for your delivery and the weeks afterward?
    • If you are in conflict with anyone over this pregnancy, are you willing to live with that conflict?
    • Are your family and/or friends supportive of your decision? What do you expect from them, and what do they expect from you? Are these expectations realistic?

Resources

We recommend the following resources for safe and accurate information.

National Parenting Center