If this pregnancy wasn’t planned, ever since you learned you were pregnant, your life has probably been a whirlwind of thought, emotions and activity. For some people, parenting can be difficult, but children are worth it. Even so, parenthood changes you on every level—physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. No matter how you picture it, it’s difficult to accurately grasp what you will need to know about parenthood before it arrives. Want to know more? Get the facts. Maybe parenting is the right choice for you. Before you make that choice, make sure you are ready to fully commit to everything your child needs.

“Being a Mom is hard. Getting up and going to school after staying up all night with a baby is not easy but I want to graduate and set an example for my daughter.”

– Jayme, age 16


+ Are you ready for motherhood?

Having children can be fun and rewarding. For some women who didn’t plan their pregnancy, parenting brings a level of emotional and financial commitment that many women don’t anticipate. Ask yourself these questions and be honest about how you feel:

  1. Motherhood can be a 20 year or more commitment. Are you willing to make the sacrifices of money, emotion and energy and put your life on hold?
  2. Have you looked at it from the child’s point of view? Babies don’t have a vote. Are you in a position to offer a stable environment emotionally and financially? Are you ready to do this?
  3. What about the baby’s father? Are the two of you on the same page? Do you agree on how to raise this child? Do you agree on discipline, religion, education?
  4. Have you examined why you want to be a mother? Are you having a baby for the right reasons?

+ Where can I get help?

There are pregnancy resource centers all over the county that offer counseling and financial help to women facing unplanned pregnancy. Find a Pregnancy Resource Center near you.

+ How much does a baby cost?

Obviously, parenting a child costs money. Below are some of these one-time expenses for having a baby. If you choose to parent but don’t have the money, a Pregnancy Resource Center (Crisis Pregnancy Center) can help provide some of items below. You can call our counselors and we will direct you to a Pregnancy Resource Center near you.  For more information about pregnancy services near you, see www.optionline.org

  • Car seat
  • Crib
  • Crib Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Changing table and pad
  • Rocking chair
  • Bassinet
  • Breast Pump
  • Stroller
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby monitor
  • Bath tub
  • Nursing items and clothing
  • Safety gate
  • Play center or walker
  • Thermometer/first aid kit
  • Dresser
  • High chair

In addition to the initial expense, there are the costs of raising and caring for the child. Government assistance is available for some low-income women, and your county social worker can direct you to the resources that can help you parent. The ongoing costs include:

  • Disposable diapers
  • Clothes
  • Formula/food
  • Child care
  • Photos
  • Toys
  • Medical insurances for you and the baby
  • Medical bills (co-pay or uncovered expenses)
  • Life insurance for yourself

This will hopefully help you better prepare for your little one.

+ What does it mean to be a mom?

The truth about parenting

One may think the reality of parenting comes with pregnancy and delivery, but for most, that is not the case.
Here is a quote from a 16-year-old mom about her reality with bringing her baby home.
“I was a junior in high school, with an 8-week-old and I had just returned to school. I was up all night with my daughter because she had colic and I had no clue as to what to do. I called the emergency room, the doctor, and even my mom, but nothing helped me or my baby. She just cried all night and into the morning, and I had a test in my 1st period class the next day. I was tired and not prepared and failed my test.”

Some things to consider

The reality of parenting:
The realities of parenthood include the basics of shelter, food, clothing, diapers, daycare, transportation, medical care, dental care, and eye care. But as your baby gets older, you have to start to incorporate and plan for your child’s education; who will take them, pick them up, who will pay for it, what happens if there is an emergency? What about homework? Will you have time for yourself?
The truth is, most women are great mothers, even those who parent a child who wasn’t planned. If you are ready, willing, and able to commit to meeting your child’s needs, you will make a great mother too.
The emotions of parenting:
How will I feel if it’s a boy? A girl? How will I feel if my baby has some kind of disability? How do I feel being this age and a parent? What are others going to think? How will my child’s classmates look at me? Will my child feel this too? How will I feel as my child gets older and I may not be in a financial position to obtain the things my child desires? How will I pay for college? These are just a few questions in planning emotionally for parenting.
The financial plans for parenting:
Be very realistic and talk to someone who can provide a clear picture of what it takes to financially care for not only yourself, but a child. Think about the unexpected bills, like lunch money, extracurricular activity fees, sports, etc. Plus the “regular” expenses of rent, food, electric, gas, car, insurance, etc.
The father of the baby:
Who is he? What is his character? Do you trust him? Do you trust his family? Will he be there throughout the child’s lifetime? Do the two of you get along? Will he help you financially and emotionally? Will your child know his or her father? These are just a few of the questions in planning for parenthood with the father.
Future outlook?
You do have parenting options and if you decide to parent you are deciding to be responsible for unconditionally loving, cultivating, developing, guiding and teaching another human being. Parenting decisions are huge and not to be taken lightly. When you consider parenting a baby, also consider parenting a toddler, adolescent, teen, and young adult.