They say that love makes the world go round. And they are partially correct. Love is definitely an essential ingredient, especially if you are going to start a family. A loose definition of family is you plus another person or people with whom you share your life. When there is legal responsibility involved in this relationship, we tend to call it family.
It takes a lot of love for just a person and a partner to make it the distance. It takes even more when a young person below the age of responsibility is added to the mix. Family does not have to involve two parents. But it is usually easier when it does. And if you are planning to have the kind of family that includes a marriage plus dependents, you are definitely going to need a lot of love to go around.
But love is not the whole story, not even close. A marriage takes more than love. And being married with children requires a lot more than that. Before starting that family, nuclear or otherwise, you need a solid foundation made of the following:
A Healthy Start
There are multiple ways to become a parent. Infertility simply is not the barrier it used to be. Companies like Your Fertility Friend can help with IVF solutions. You can also adopt or become foster parents. Your family, your choice. But whatever method you choose, make sure you begin the process with the healthiest start possible.
With childbirth, you need to be able to financially cover the better part of a year of prenatal and postnatal care. With IVF, the process could end up being much longer. During all that time, you have to maintain the peak of fitness. That means eating right, not smoking, drinking, or doing illicit drugs. Even some prescriptions are out of bounds. And that is on top of all those checkups.
Good health is not optional. It is a necessity. The healthier the mother is during pregnancy, the better the foundation for having a healthy baby. So don’t let health become an afterthought. Make it a core foundational principle before starting your new family.
Physical fitness is not the only type of health you should consider. Before starting a family, make sure you are also financially fit. Check your credit score and repair any negative reports against you. Tuck away more savings than you think you will need. And for goodness sake, don’t do all that just to run yourself into bankruptcy due to the wedding and honeymoon.
There are many ways to have a nice wedding on a budget. And you can do yourself a favor by starting a honeymoon registry instead of a wedding registry. Get a handle on your spending habits before having your first child. One of the best things you can do for your new family is practice frugality and financial responsibility as a foundational principle.
Whether or not you believe it takes a village to raise a child is optional. But to paraphrase John Donne’s reflection, “No one is an island entire of itself;” Further observation shows us that no one raises a child on a deserted island without community. Whether or not we want community, we need it. And we are going to have it in some form or other.
What you have to do is decide what kind of community your family will have well before you start it. Before buying the house where you will spend your first 10 years, you need to be checking out the schools, parks, recycling, and the like. You need to get to know your neighbors and your neighborhood. You need to make sure your community will be a place that reflects the values you hope to pass on to your future family. Don’t leave any part of it to chance.
In some ways, starting a family is a little like starting a business. There are things you have to have in place first. In the case of family, you want to start with a foundation of health and financial fitness. And be sure you have the kind of community that serves as a support rather than an obstacle.