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          Should You Have a Baby?

          September 09, 2002

          It’s one of the biggest decisions we make in our lives. And sometimes, spouses don’t see eye to eye on the matter. Ideally, you should talk to your partner about having children before marriage. If you’re already in a committed lifelong relationship and debating whether or not to become parents, Dr. Phil offers the following discussion points.

          • Consider the statistics: The reality of 3 a.m. feedings, changing 10,000 diapers and the fact that a baby born in 2002 will cost $250,000 by age 18! Are you ready to sign up for this?

          • A child should be wanted, not needed. Don’t give a child a job before they’re even here — the job of saving your marriage, of making your spouse settle down, of living out your unfulfilled dreams, etc.

          • Remember that everyone loves puppies, but they do become dogs! Likewise, adorable babies do become teenagers. Make sure that you’re not fixated on the infancy stage of a child’s life and are in it for the long haul.

          • Keep in mind that if you’re happy with your home life as it is, a new addition may disrupt the balance. You have a responsibility to keep the family healthy and intact for the kids you already have, and not strain it by having another if it will threaten your marriage or family.

          • In order to have a baby, it takes a yes from two people. But it only takes a no from one person to stop it. Both of you need to be comfortable with having a child. Don’t force your partner into parenthood. It could lead to resentment, threaten your relationship and be bad for the child.

          • If one of you wants to have a baby and the other one is concerned about the financial demands, ask yourselves if you are willing to downgrade your lifestyle in order to afford a child. If so, negotiate a budget that makes both of you comfortable.

          • If you're in disagreement, ask yourself whether the problem is not that you're not getting an answer, but that you're not getting the answer you want. Could you not be hearing your partner's differing opinion? Or could you not be hearing that your partner is not committed to you?

          • Don't feel guilty if the desire to have a baby isn't there. A lot of women think there's something wrong with them if they don't want to have a family. There isn't.

          • This is a big commitment. If the decision to have a child is a close call, don't do it. No matter how much you estimate what the sacrifices and demands will be, you're not even close.

          • Life is about choices. You choose your behavior, and therefore you choose your consequences. Don't choose the behavior if you can't deal with the consequences. Babies are a lot easier to make than they are to raise.

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