Most people know someone who was adopted–someone who has enjoyed a great life filled with opportunities. And, someone who is grateful to their biological parents for choosing what they believed was best for their baby. Still, it is not an easy choice.
If you have recently discovered that you are pregnant and are not sure if you are ready for motherhood, there are a few important questions that you need to ask yourself.
Can you count on the father?
If the baby’s father is currently “out of the picture,” you will be solely responsible for your child’s welfare. Are you ready to juggle middle-of-the-night feedings, endless diaper changings, and load after load of laundry? Many single parents do manage to successfully raise happy and healthy children. But, if this sounds far too overwhelming, you may wish to consider adoption.
Do you have a support network?
It is much easier to raise your child on your own if you have a reliable network of family and friends to help out. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Support,”26.2% of all children under 21 years of age in families lived with only one of their parents.” Raising a child on your own is, obviously, doable, but having someone who can share parenting tips, babysit, help out financially, or simply lend you an ear to moan into will benefit both you and your child.
Can you provide for your child financially?
Children are expensive. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that in 2013 the estimated average cost for a middle-class family to raise a child from birth to eighteen years of age is a whopping $241,080. That’s a lot of Benjamin Franklins. While no one is suggesting that a child requires designer clothes or the latest high-tech gadgets, it is still an expensive endeavor to provide the basics.
Are you physically and mentally healthy?
Your physical and mental health are important considerations when deciding to keep a baby. If you have a chronic illness that will make it difficult for you to properly care for your child, you will have to include that in your considerations.
If you suffer from significant emotional or mental health issues that you have not dealt with, they could negatively impact your child. It is important to seek professional help to cope with the fallout from abuse, abandonment, depression, anxiety, or addiction before bringing a baby in to your life.
Are you willing to change your plans?
If you had your life all mapped out, having a child will significantly alter these plans. Megan Cohen’s “When You’re Not Ready to be a Mom” advises that “if you dream of earning a college degree, but are still several years away from achieving that dream, motherhood may need to wait.” It takes a wealth of strength and determination to juggle a budding career and child as well, so you will need to re-visit your priorities and decide what is more important to you.
Remember that the decision is yours–and only yours. And both decisions–whether you keep your baby or put her up for adoption–are noble acts of a mother’s love.
Did you consider putting a child up for adoption? What influenced your decision?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and illustrator. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project or Searching for Barry Weiss.