How do you know when you are ready to have a child?


My wife and I turn 30 this summer, and are considering trying to have a child. Yet we are worried about the financial stress and if we are ready. When we got married 3 years ago and we were unsure about having children. Yet, now as I am entering the Catholic faith the more that I want to have children. My wife is a Catholic and I begin the RCIA this fall. I guess my biggest question is to all parents is how do you know that you are ready. Also, what advice would you have for people considering having a child?
God Bless


Well, I’m not married yet but this question has been on my mind as my boyfriend and I are thinking about wedding planning. My sister-in-law wrote an interesting blog about it, discussing her decision (and my brother’s) not to have children until they figure out the logistics of raising them - who will quit or reduce work, childcare and schooling decisions, and other issues.

I’ve come to the realization that I’d rather have the children first, and trust that the logistics will sort themselves out later. I’m not saying we should just pop out babies indiscriminately without finances or plans, though! Before we get married, my boyfriend and I will save up a bit of a nest egg (to be spent on kids, not the wedding) and I’ve chosen a career that is fulfilling yet easy to cut back on. But rather than worry about how I’ll feel when I quit my job, I’m just going to go ahead and trust that since I want children, sooner is better than later.

I guess my rambling point is that if you know you want children, what does waiting achieve?


I knew when the pregnancy test came back positive that I was ready to have a child. Of course, financially speaking, it was not a good time. It is true though that God will provide you with the means. It usually also requires hard work and a little creativity on our end to make it all work, but it is so worth it.


I think that you may have the wrong question here. Having children is the very essence and reason for marriage in the Catholic Church, though many would have that be secondary and optional. You say that you and your wife were ‘unsure’ about having children, which would lead me to believe that you were not open to children at that time and there may be a knowledge deficit on your and your wife’s part concerning the proper use of Natural Family Planning and/or the reason that the use of artificial birth control is gravely wrong when it’s primary use is the prevention of conception. Catholic answer’s website has many excellent articles on this topic, I suggest you start there. As for being ready…my friend, as a Catholic, you said you were ready when you said ‘I do’. Having children is a huge responsbility and often-times people grow into the role as is required. The two most important things to remember are 1.) Jesus and Mary should always be members of your family and the center of your family and 2.) other than the salvation of your own soul, there is no greater obligation than doing everything in your power to ensure the salvation of your child’s.


I would be very careful not to fall into the trap of waiting for the “perfect time.” I’ve known and read about so many unfortunate couples who did this, waited far too long, and had fertility problems and great heartache.

If you are thinking about having a baby, you’re ready to have one. There will never be “enough” money for children, but somehow in God’s economy, they still get provided for. You might stop watching cable, or not buy a new car next time around, or eat out less, but what is that when you have a tiny little life to care for? Nothing at all.

If you meet other practicing Catholic families, you’ll see what I’m talking about. There is no “perfect” time, but the fact that you have a desire to have children and you are married means this would be a truly acceptable time, and once you hold that tiny person, you will never look back.

May God give you courage in your journey together, and we welcome you to the faith!



There is never a “right” time! You will never have “enough” money, etc. You just do it. And you will never look back.

They kids will be the biggest blessing! Then you will wonder why you waited so long.


I don’t think anyone is ever “ready” to have a child any more than they “know” how to be a parent. (I sometimes ask God for that Parent Handbook and it appears that He just wants us to trust Him and keep Him and prayer a very active part of our parenting and marriage, so He hasn’t supplied it yet :slight_smile: ). With that being said, I think that once you make your wedding vows, you ARE ready and should be open to life. Let go, let God. Trust Him. He knows what is best for you and your wife and family. Again, I believe that you and your wife were ready when you said “I do.” It is that simple.


The last time someone asked me about waiting until ready to have a family, I told the guy that no one is ever “ready” to have kids. You have them and work out the logistics of keeping them fed, clothed and housed.
My associate tried waiting. The last I heard was after I had moved out of the area and one day saw an article on the inside of the last page of my local paper. A man and his wife were looking for a surrogate mother to carry a child for them as she had had medical problems and the doctor had been compelled to remove her uterus. No more chance to have children as much as they were now financially ready and wanted children. Yes, it was my old associate and his wife.
Irony upon irony, they were willing to mortgage the house they had paid off in order to pay a surrogate.



This is the same epiphany that I had when I was ready for a child. Unexpected morning sickness? Yeah, I guess I am ready.:smiley:


When you get married.

You better be darn well ready to have a child by then, because if you’re having relations with your spouse they could come whenever God wills them to come.

Plus when you get up before God and everyone during your wedding Mass and say that you are ready to accept children lovingly from God and raise them in the Church, you better mean it.


I agree with a lot of what everyone else has said on here.

Another thing that gave me the idea that I am ready, albeit more on the selfish side of things, is that my DH and I don’t really go out anymore. Our friday nights and saturday nights are usually quieter and we will rent a movie. We really enjoy just being together as a family.

Now that I am around 2 weeks away from having my first child, I do get the thoughts that I am not ready yet! But it is normal to not feel ready. As others have said, you will never feel 100% ready.

On the other hand, what are you waiting for? Having your finances perfectly in place is a rarity for young families anyways! Did you discuss with your wife before you got married when you would have kids?


I want to thank all of you for your thoughts. I truley appreciate them all. I am so happy first of all that I will within a year become Catholic. Just reading and preparing for the RCIA I feel as though I am a new person. I just want to be able to provide a great life for a child. But, I guess that I need to realize that my life is in god’s hands, and that he will only give us enough that we can handle.


You are going to do just fine! Remember not to believe the propaganda out there about what children “need” in order to have a happy childhood. Some of the happiest childhood stories I’ve ever heard come from the Depression Era generation. Somehow back then kids could be dirt poor and not let it spoil a good summer afternoon. :rolleyes:

Just being there, loving them, giving them religious formation and strong guidance is all that is necessary. Christmas doesn’t need to be an extravaganza. They don’t need to wear Ralph Lauren. Store brand juice is just as tasty as the expensive stuff, and picnics at the park can be just as fulfilling as Disney on Ice. It’s all about what you make of it, and frankly, kids who aren’t spoiled are a lot happier and healthier than those who are!


I think that for some couples, the longer they wait, the less ready they actually become. They get more and more accustomed to a DINKy lifestyle (doubleincomenokids), and to evenings and weekends and vacations and houses that could never accomodate the needs and limitations and schedules of children. I know two couples who both waited 4 years, and their adjustment to life with a baby - socially and monetarily - was staggering.

I know this sounds like kids throw a big wrench into your life. Actually, they just take it in a very different (and wonderful) direction, but I suspect the longer you’ve lived without them, the harder it is to embrace all those changes and start to think and act as a family.


In a perfect world, the minimum time to get ready to have a baby is 40 weeks after the wedding date.


Lol. When the water breaks.


Many people told me, and I agree with them, that you shouldn’t wait until you feel ready or have enough money to have children, especially with the first one. This is because you will never feel ready (even when you are holding the baby in your arms). And you will never have the money, generally speaking. You just kind of jump into it and then after you have the first one, you’ll know better when to try for the second, third, and so on.


There is no “right” time, believe it or not! You will never regret having kids, that is for sure.


On the practical side, things you can do to be ready for the baby:

*]Make sure you have good insurance coverage for the mother and baby. If you have a spending account, try to beef it up.[/LIST]
*]If you are ttc (trying to conceive) take the time now to exercise and eat healthy. Pre-conception health is important to the wellbeing of the future baby and to the mother’s health during pregnancy. If applicable, stop smoking, treat an ailments, get conditions under control, make sure the diet is very healthy, etc.[/LIST]
*]Although beliefs can change when a baby is on the way or here, probably your basic values and desires will remain the same. So take the time to find out if you want a hospital birth, a natural birth and a doctor or midwife. Research the hospitals and doctors near you to find a good one. IMO, it takes a long time so you might as well get started now![/LIST]
*]Depending on your financial situation, this might not matter. But for example, DH and I have started saving a portion of our paychecks into a high yield savings account to prepare for anything we might need related to the baby. (E.g. high-risk specialist that we might need, medical care the baby might need, or just a wardobe spending account hehe). That will keep you from going into “baby debt” if you come across an emergency and this can keep a huge amount of stress out of your life.[/LIST]
Yeah, there might not be a “right time” to have a baby. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least try to prepare!


**Great post! While a couple will never feel completely ready, preparing what they can is usually a very prudent thing to do.

And every couples definition of having all of their “ducks in a row” will be different.

Hubby and I were married for over 6 years before we conceived. The main reasons we held out so long were health related… but there came a time where we felt “ready to try”. We didn’t feel ready in a complete sense but we were ready to accept the changes and challenges having a baby brings.

She is almost 23 months old now and most mornings I wake up and I still don’t feel ready, lol.:smiley:

But seriously, I never knew I was really ready until I took that first pregnancy test. I surprised myself by honestly wishing for it to be positive and knowing I would be crushed if it wasn’t. If the same circumstance had happened a year before I would have probably been praying for a negative result:o

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit