If you’re asking yourself this question you’ve probably got to the point in your life where you think you should be thinking about having kids.
Maybe you’re getting broody, find yourself browsing the baby clothes pages online, considering the pros and cons of baby names, or planning where you’d put the cot in your spare room.
Perhaps your friends are having kids, you’re starting to hear the tick of your biological clock, or now just feels right.
Whatever the reason, the key thing is that you want to have children, which is really exciting!
Working out when the best time is to get pregnant is tricky, and most parents will tell you the ‘right time’ to have a baby doesn’t exist, and perhaps they’re correct – but if you’re starting to wonder whether you’d like to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet there are a few questions that could help you make your decision.
Have you spoken to your partner?
It takes two to tango – and it’s important to make sure that your partner is in the same place as you are. Discussing the prospect of trying for a baby can be a little nerve wracking, even if you know you both want children at some point. As with most things, honesty is the best policy and being open with your partner is the best way to be.
If you’re not sure how to approach the 'should we have a baby?' chat, set aside some time to ask them for a chat and simply say, "I'm ready to start a family with you soon, how do you feel about that?" and go from there.
Are your finances in order?
Do you have a savings pot, or are you the kind of person who has an empty bank balance at the end of the month?
If you are seriously thinking about having children, money is a big part of it. If you’re not saving yet, start. Babies tend to be rather expensive!
Also consider if you’ll be able to cope financially on one income for a while, or a reduced income when you go on maternity leave.
Are you ready career-wise?
Do you feel happy to put work to one side for a while? Perhaps your partner would like to take on the childcare? Also what is your company’s maternity leave policy? Do they offer childcare vouchers?
Big questions, but important to think about.
What’s your living situation?
Is your cosy little flat starting to feel a bit cramped, or you’re thinking that your spare room has a crib-sized space in it?
Now could be the time to make that family home a reality.
Do your friends have children?
It helps if your friends are at the same stage as you – you’ll have allies for playdates, parent and baby classes, not to mention emotional support and someone to go to for advice.
Equally, if your friends don’t have kids yet, but you do feel ready, don’t let it put you off – someone has to take the plunge first!
Are you ready emotionally?
Some people know they want to be parents very early on, for other people it can take a little longer. And either way, that’s fine! But be sure to think about if you are emotionally ready for a baby – this is the big question to ask yourself.
If you’re noticing babies everywhere you go, find yourself asking to take on babysitting duties rather than groaning internally when your brother asks you to keep an eye on the kids, the likelihood is you probably are.
These may seem like daunting questions, but it’s a fact that having a child is a big responsibility. And yes it’s going to be scary, but it’s also going to be amazing!
There are so many wonderful things about being a parent, and while the perfect time to start trying for a baby may not exist, you’ll know when it’s the right time for you. And once you know, here's everything you need to know about preparing for pregnancy.
Real mums share when they felt ready to have children
We asked the mums of MumTribe when they felt ready to have children, and whether they ever felt ready at all – this is what they said:
'I honestly don’t believe there is ever the "right" time. My boys are 17, 12 and 2! I had my first when I was 22 years and my third at 37 years. Although we are now more financially secure, the pressures of life are still just the same as they were 17 years ago.' Rachel Train
'When we were told it was now or never! My partner and I were informed we had to have IVF if we wanted to have kids, and due to my age, the cut-off point for me was in the next six months, so I had to start straight away if we wanted to try. So we went for it. Our odds were quite low, but we got our little miracle. So it was more like right now, than right time!' Sophia Mackie Ellis
'When lockdown hit and we were both working from home we thought "this is a good time to try!" - it was handy having an office next to the toilet for the horrible prolonged morning sickness!' Chelsea Abbott
'My biological clock was ticking very loudly as soon as I hit 35. I met my lovely man and after a few years, I eventually persuaded him into having a baby. While pregnant we got a mortgage, and finally, after a few years, we married. Then we tried for two years to have another baby. Now we have two beautiful girls.' Amanda McShane
'We decided once we got married to start a family, however it took seven years after that. I guess looking back, we weren’t ready to have children back then, we spent those seven years growing as a couple and setting foundations for having a family. When we finally did have our son, we were settled and a lot older, that’s when I knew that was the right time.' Rach Griffiths
'When I was reasonably financially secure enough to know I could manage. And at 41, time was not on my side (although lots of women have babies older with so-called 'geriatric pregnancies' with no issues and it is becoming the norm)!' Clare Lomer Hill
'It was the point where we’d realised that we’d achieved everything we had wanted to achieve and both felt broody, knowing that we wanted our own little person/people to love.' Annique Jeffrey
'I have no idea. I don’t think anyone is ready for a baby completely. You can have everything in place, financially and emotionally stable in your relationship. But once that baby is here...boy do you underestimate! I was 18 when I fell pregnant and it was stressful. I did the majority on my own. But I always wanted another. I had my second at 27 with my husband (fiancé at the time) - he did his fair share and it was still stressful! But again, we want another. I love watching my kids grow up and their little personalities shine through. I’m trying to work out when you know you don’t want any more!' Tiffany Fitzpatrick