Am I Ready For A(nother) Child?
4 Guidelines for Deciding When to Grow Your Family (and the One Truth that Trumps Them All)
Tiny fingers and toes, gurgled laughter and a gently breathing, sleepy bundle of joy and wonder cradled in our arms… these and many other images pass through our minds as we consider having children. Father Moon, founder of the Unification faith, considered family to be the ideal school of love and the ultimate expression of God’s being. He says:
“Our children are there to enable us to deeply experience the circumstances of the heart of God, the subject who created the entire universe through love. By having and loving these children we come to realize, ‘Ah, this is how God loves people!’” (Cheong Seong Gyong, pg. 370, 6.1)
Since many of us would list a happy, harmonious family as one of our biggest life goals, it’s easy to agree. Like all goals, however, one of the most challenging steps is the very first one, specifically, knowing when to take that step! If growing your family is on your mind, here are some areas to check in on personally, to guide you in finding the right time to start:
First, we need to connect with God, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to what our Heavenly Parent wants for us. We often discuss our spiritual journey as a solitary practice, but in truth, our relationships bring about our deepest spiritual growth. While each of our relationships bring out unique facets of our love, our children reveal the part of our heart most deeply entwined with God: our innate parental nature. Getting that intimate with God sometimes means being pushed to the limit, but the wisdom we gain from that is unparalleled. Take the time to ask God, “Am I game for that degree of spirituality?”
The reflective practice of checking in with God creates an excellent opportunity to check in with someone else: ourselves. Becoming a parent transforms us in incredible ways, but that cannot occur unless we willingly offer our whole heart. Ask, “Am I in a good place emotionally? Is there something I need to do for myself first, that I know is necessary to be able to give my best self as a parent to our future children?” If there is something on your heart that urgently needs attending to, and you believe a bigger family could result in it being neglected, seek out the self-care you need.
Take the time to examine your relationships with the people who form the “village” in which you will raise your child. How are things between you and your spouse, your parents, your in-laws and otherfamily members? Are you on the same page about family values? Are you in a position where these relationships are healthy enough to provide at least emotional,if not also physical, support?
We all want to create a secure environment for the new little people who come into our care, and stability in things like our health and finances are a necessary part of that. If your couple’s budget orphysical health is in any way uncertain, now is a great time to sit down together and reach clarity together on what needs fixing. Is there room in your finances for one more? Can your bodies handle the strain of parenting? If not, is there an expense or lifestyle choice you are prepared to let go of to welcome in something new?
Amidst all this introspection, don’t forget this one important point: we never, EVER feel one hundred percent ready for life’s big changes, especially a child. There will always be twinges of self-doubt, or feeling as though we haven’t ticked everything off our pre-baby bucket list. If we wait for all the conditions to be perfect before we make a change, waiting is all we end up doing. Luckily for us, our Heavenly Parent knows a thing or two about parenthood, and can foresee what we cannot. Ultimately, God wants us to experience every aspect of love, including parental love, and no matter when we choose to take that plunge, it’s a choice we will never regret making.