When we were teenagers, we seemed to have our lives figured out. At age 16, we could’ve probably mapped out a detailed itinerary listing out exactly what we’re going to achieve and at what age we’re going to do it.
It was not because we were intelligent enough to prepare for the real world but because we hadn’t been exposed to that harsh reality yet.
Our expectations were probably roughly based on our family patterns combined with the things we’ve seen in the media. The overly-ambitious twist was perhaps a result of daydreaming about our successful lives in the back of that stuffy classroom.
Once we hit our twenties, we can acknowledge that this teenage daydream is not in any way realistic. Yet this doesn’t stop us from irrationally comparing our reality to this nonsensical teenage adult-life expectation.
So when the nation went into lockdown and put everyone’s lives temporarily on hold, we can’t help but look at our current situations through the eyes of our teenage selves.
Critiquing every aspect of our lives and instilling a firm fear of regret now that we have nothing else to do but sit on the sofa and get existential.
But how has this situation affected young people who plan on starting a family?
Now or Never.
Pandemic aside, there’s arguably no perfect time to start a family. Sometimes we’re not ready to sacrifice certain aspects of our lives; sometimes, our financial situation isn’t quite suited to family life. Sometimes we just don’t feel mentally prepared to bring another life into the world.
For those that eventually plan on raising a family, a year of existentialism on the sofa probably isn’t going to be beneficial in this scenario.
After all, our body clocks don’t seem to have gotten the hint that the rest of the world is currently on standby. A thought that torments many young people with the desire to start a family by making them feel as though time is running out, risking their chances of ever being able to start a family.
What makes starting a family during a pandemic so difficult?
After the pandemic has already closed so many doors for countless young people, it’s easy to doubt whether or not this is the right time to start a family.
Career progression has halted, and living situations are constantly changing. Some couples are suddenly spending much more time together due to restrictions; some couples have suddenly found themselves living apart.
Add the potential financial challenges that come hand in hand with a national lockdown, and it’s fair to say that coronavirus has cast an enormous shadow across the family home for new parents.
Despite the difficulties new parents will face in the current situation, it’s hard to factor them in when you feel as though it’s now or never when it comes to starting a family.
But the struggles of starting a family during the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t begin and end with the pressure of deciding if it’s the right time to do so.
Due to social distancing measures, new parents will receive less physical help from family and friends. Pregnant mothers will need to attend appointments unassisted and even give birth without the support of their partner. Healthcare during a national lockdown is generally less accessible, hospital visits are limited, and mental health support for new parents is at an all-time low.
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Ultimately, it’s your choice.
As previously mentioned, there is no perfect time to start a family. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure without the pandemic factor thrown in. As with every situation, there are potential upsides to starting a family in the current climate.
Depending on your situation, having a child during a pandemic can develop into a uniquely personal experience. Being pregnant in the comfort of your own home, less unsolicited parent advice from friends and family, and certainly no unwanted houseguests postpartum.
Furthermore, beyond the actual pregnancy, with so many people working from home or still being furloughed, both parents may be able to cherish this time with the new baby.
But whatever you decide to do, it’s okay.
Despite the pressures, the obstacles, positives or the negatives. This is your choice to make.
But it’s worth acknowledging the pressures young people who aspire to have families face in this turbulent time—weighing the risks of conceiving and carrying a child during the coronavirus outbreak and balancing their concerns against an uncertain future.