When my children became young adults, it wasn’t uncommon for friends and acquaintances to ask if we had any grandchildren yet.
My standard answer was: “Yes, I have two cats.”
Deep down, I would love nothing more than to be a grandmother, but I wouldn’t ever want to pressure my children to make my wish come true.
I believe having children requires two people to be responsible, mature, be willing to make sacrifices and, maybe most importantly, have a loving marriage.
Of course, some people might differ with me about this, but I also think no one should ever go into parenthood half-heartedly. It’s probably the main reason I didn’t ever bring the subject up, unless our children did—which didn’t happen until now.
With so many unwanted children in the world, it’s good when parents can consider a few things before making the final leap into the wonderful world of parenting.
According to the “experts,” it’s important to know what kind of sacrifices parents are willing to make in order to afford a new baby.
From experience, I know babies and children are expensive and potential parents need to be prepared financially to meet those needs.
Depending on different sources, the cost to raise a child from birth to 18 can be between $138,000 to $235,000, and even more with college figured in.
It’s also important to know your marriage can handle the stress of raising children.
Anytime there is a change, it causes a family to dysfunction. Most dysfunctions—such as the birth of a child, moving, new jobs—are temporary. In time, the family is able to adjust and all is well again. Potential problems happen when they can’t get disengaged from the “dysfunction.”
Raising a child can put added stress on a marriage and both people must be 100 percent committed to their new baby and each other.
Another tough question for couples thinking about a child is whether they are someone their child can look up to. A good question to ask is if both parents display respect and responsibility.
Discipline also is vital and can both parents do this with a loving heart. Parents need to decide how they want to approach discipline before having to apply it.
Financial stability is another thing to consider. A steady income is a must. Without it, would-be-parents may need to reconsider having a child right then.
Some people cannot have a child of their own, but want to be parents. Adoption could be their option if they are willing to raise a child who needs a loving set of parents.
After having said all that, now when someone asks me if I am a grandmother, I can proudly say, “yes”—or at least it’s getting closer. In less than three months, our oldest daughter and her husband will be parents to a little girl.
So much has changed, though, from when I gave birth to my little girl in 1980. Her dad and I were concerned about pre-natal care, but 32 years later, with the Internet and so much information available, I feel like I had our child in the Middle Ages.
I believe Tracy is going to be a good little mother because she cares about what she is putting into her body prior to birth, and she and her husband are so ready for a child.
That’s not to say I wasn’t careful or ready, but the list of things Tracy won’t eat were never the things I couldn’t eat. I’m glad my children came out as well as they did, considering.
When it came to deli meat, nobody told me I could run the risk of “listeria,” which can cause miscarriages. Tracy also avoided Caesar dressing, mayonnaise and other products that contain raw eggs.
She also knows the gender of their child is a girl. In fact, they have already decided on the name, Livia.
It’s funny to hear them talk about what the middle name will be. At this point, I’m not sure if they have agreed on that yet. Husband Stephan likes Elizabeth, but Tracy thinks Livia Elizabeth sounds odd.
When Livia opens her eyes for the first time outside her mother’s womb, I know she will be showered with love from her immediate family and all her grandparents.
The nursery is ready to go and, in Germany, Tracy will have access to a midwife for the first week to help her with questions. That’s something I would have found extremely valuable, having not been around babies.
So with the arrival of 2013, I am looking forward to telling my friends I am proud to have my first grandchild on the way. It’s been a win-win and everybody is happy.
As I told my children when they were old enough: God danced the day you were born. I remember how much they smiled when they pictured God dancing. Well, now it’s time for Livia to imagine God dancing.