Parenting is the biggest responsibility anyone will ever take on during their lifetime. It comes with many sacrifices on your financial, educational, and emotional stability.
Once you become a parent, life will no longer revolve around your needs and development – you will now be putting all your time and energy into ensuring a new human being grows up healthy and successful.
Babies need unconditional love and attention, so if you are thinking of becoming a parent, you need to guarantee you will have the time and financial means to raise a child. Make sure becoming a parent is something you choose to do, not something you end up having to do.
Below are a few of the biggest factors you need to consider before you make such a life-changing decision.
Research show that couples with unplanned pregnancies experience more relationship conflicts and depression than couples with planned children. Struggles in relationships are very common when young couples face parenthood decisions.
Some partners are not yet mature enough to understand the situation and the sacrifice it takes, which takes a toll on the relationship. When deciding to become a parent, make sure your partner is supportive of this decision and will be there every step of the way.
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Raising a child is a big financial commitment. The costs of raising a child – including food, clothing, child care, education, and health care – are significant and will only increase as the child grows older. Raising a child through the first year costs more than $10,000. You will be taking care of your child for at least 18 years, so multiply that by 18. It’s a lot of money!
Could you provide that much for a child with your current financial stability? Don't forget: that's not the only cost you need to worry about. You need to worry about yourself too! Caring for a child means you will have less money and less time for yourself. Do you think you can eliminate most of the things you spend on yourself today in order to sacrifice for your child? Food for thought.
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Impact on Education and/or Career
In addition to financial sacrifices, young parents may also have to make sacrifices to their educational and/or career goals. Your early 20's is a time when most people are attending college and starting their careers. It is hard to do these things when you have an infant who requires all of your time and attention waiting at home for you.
When you have a small child, building your career will most likely be put on hold. Being a parent means you won't be able to work late at the office or be on-call every weekend. Depending on how you and your partner decide to cover child care, you may even reduce your hours to part-time.
Talk to young adults who are parents and ask about their lives. Do their realities match your dreams for your future? What support do they have, and what support will you have?
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Impact on Child
A child born from an unplanned pregnancy faces certain risks. Some of these risks are due to financial instability, being separated from a significant other, or not being able to balance work/school with family time. These risks include:
- Physical and emotional health problems
- Dropping out of high school
- Becoming a teen parent
- Lower educational aspirations
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Written By: Gergana Mishkova,
public health education intern
Reviewed By: Melissa Raby, R.N.
Last Reviewed: August 11, 2013
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.