The one question to ask before getting pregnant

When I hear people talk about having babies, it’s often about the joy that having a child brings. But it’s also important to remember that as soon as you become pregnant, your life isn’t only about you anymore. Motherhood is truly about making sacrifices so that you can give your child the care and love it needs, and making sacrifices actually begins the moment you become pregnant. So say goodbye to your favorite glass of chardonnay, your morning supplements, and some food choices.

With this in mind, the big question to ask yourself is this: are you ready to sacrifice your needs and put yourself second for your child?

If you don’t feel ready to put yourself second for a while, you might need to wait until you are. The thing is, we’re not used to our life being about someone else. We live in a hedonistic culture where we can get our needs met most of the time, but when you bring a child into the world, you need to let go of some of your needs to meet theirs.

As a mother, you will lose sleep, your hormones will fluctuate, and your body will experience physical trauma during birth. Aside from all this, having a baby is bound to impact your relationship with your partner.

Research shows that when couples have a baby, marital conflict goes up by 8 percent. This is because of less quality time, irritability from exhaustion, and having sex less often (and no sex for about six weeks after birth). If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, are you ready for this? Do you trust that your partner is ready for this? And are you both willing to sacrifice some of what you’re used to for a while?

Having a child will change your life forever. You will develop a deep and unconditional love for them, which might be a love deeper than you’ve ever known. You will also come to know fear and guilt on a different level when you become a parent.

Mothers start to worry over their child as soon as they become pregnant, and the worrying never stops. The guilt that mothers experience during their child’s early years usually involves the desire to be at home with the baby while at work, and the desire to earn a living and better support the child while at home. Part of the guilt also involves putting your own success goals on hold for a time. It’s actually quite hard to do this, and you will likely feel a little bad about putting your fitness goals on the backburner or turning down travel opportunities.

Asking yourself whether you can handle the challenges that will come up for you as a mother is the first step to understand if you’re truly ready. You may not ever be 100 percent ready to make sacrifices, but you can be more ready depending on where you are in your life. Although there may not be a moment where you feel completely ready, you can know it intuitively. Ask the difficult questions you need to ask, trust your instincts, and make sure you have a partner who is very helpful and supportive.

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