This is a big subject and there are so many variants all of which may be right!
Are you ready? Hell, what are you asking me for?
But seriously, you are ready when you are totally sure you can handle everything associated with sexual activity. Let’s look at a list of things which you may have to handle and, before you start saying you’re going to be careful or your partner has made promises or you love each other so it is all OK, STOP! Your decision to have sex is yours alone. If it all goes wrong then it is 100% your fault. So, that list:
Sexually transmitted conditions
often you can have something and have no idea you have it, more important, those promises you just got? Your partner may also be unaware she/he has anything. So, you argue, they just got tested … no, some STI’s can take several months to show up on tests including HIV and, before you ask, no, HIV is not just for gay people. There are now more heterosexual people (straights) getting HIV than there are gays. There is also NO SUCH THING as ‘safe’ sex only safer sex. No matter how well protected you think you are, there is always a risk of you getting something.
Oh boy, way too often people say how the condom split, how they only forgot to take the pill the once, how he promised he’d take it out before he cum in you, how this is the first time so it can’t happen – TRUST ME ON THIS … if you have sexual intercourse, there is a possibility that you may end up either fathering or mothering a child. How great a chance that is doesn’t matter, the question you have to ask yourself is this … Am I ready to be a parent? If the answer is no, don’t have sex because making babies is the primary reason for shagging, it’s a biology thing!
FACT: people lie to get their rocks off! Yes, difficult as it may be to accept, just because he/she says they love you that doesn’t mean the same as … if you get pregnant I am going to want the baby and stay with you, quite often it means, I love the idea of loving someone and, just as important, I want to shag. If you can’t handle the emotions of sex, don’t have sex. To many it is no more than a physical activity with no emotional attachment at all
Yes, even in these enlightened days, reputation does matter. Have sex too often and you will be seen as easy, indeed, even guys can find themselves labelled as ‘man whore’ and, you know, that’s not really a compliment mate! It just means that you will get it out first chance you get and you aren’t that fussy. Girls, you don’t really want to be known as the local tramp. Contrary to what people may try to tell you, most will, at some point, want to settle down with someone nice and, you know what, nice people don’t much care for sluts and man whores.
Have sex too young and you could be really screwed up about your sexuality too early to make a rational decision about it. Our sexuality seems to be defined quite young, maybe even in the womb but, our teenage years are not good for making bold proclamations to others about our sexuality. I know you tell everyone on Facebook everything there is to know about you but, please, keep your sexuality to yourself for now unless you are 100% certain you are 100% certain and yes, that was said twice for a reason! I have known too many boys come out too soon. Yes, they have always been gay and they know it but, when they came out they hadn’t yet got to know themselves well enough to know how to be ‘gay’. Too many of them think they have to become a stereotype else no one will believe they are really gay. Boys and girls, trust me on this one, if you are gay, bi or lesbian, just carry on being the person you have always been, you don’t have to and should not try to be something else. The same goes for declaring absolute heterosexuality. The problem there is, there is so much pressure on kids to be straight that the possibility of being anything other than that is not given any thought. Sure, thoughts of same sex encounters may cross their minds but they’ll assume that everyone gets that and, anyway, they can ignore it because they are straight. No, don’t do that … always be totally true to yourself. If you are having sexual thoughts about people of the same gender then you may actually be NOT straight. That doesn’t make you bad, just not straight. You may be gay or bisexual. The fact is, too early before you are ready to ask yourself those tough questions, is a bad time to make Facebook statements about it. There is no right age just the right age for you and your circumstances. You should be emotionally and physically ready before you make sexuality decisions, gay or straight
Hmm, are you at school or college? Do you trust the person you are thinking about shagging? I mean, REALLY trust them? Because, you know it can be really upsetting to find out that your intimate moment is being spoken about to 300 of their closest friends on Facebook and that, somehow, everyone in school/college knows about it. If you don’t think you could handle that, you are not ready to be having sex.
Expecting a baby?
Number 1 rule … there is a book for every opinion. So, if you start to read some, don’t be too shocked if you are more confused afterwards than you were before!
It seems obvious, to me anyway, but, babies are not toys! They are not going to exist to be your special little friend, to be the one to patch up your relationship and to make you feel better. What they are is 9 months of waiting, 9 months of frustration, sickness (probably), stress, expectation, planning, decision making. Then they are born and it becomes the tiredness, the stress, the negotiation between parents (even assuming they are still together), loads of shit, yes, you will have to get used to shit up your arms and under your fingernails, same goes for puke and bogeys. Babies don’t discriminate, they really will, poo, piss and vomit anywhere and on anyone with the chances increased in direction relation to just how important it is to keep something clean!
Another vitally important thing about babies, they are your responsibility from conception until they decide otherwise and, the way things look in 2010 at the time of writing this, that could well be until they are 30+. Sometimes, even when people know and accept a dog is not just for Christmas, they forget babies are not just for Christmas either!
The mother could suffer from depression before but particularly after the birth. The father could feel rejected as the mother spends time bonding with the baby, he may even feel a degree of competition or even revulsion that her tits have suddenly stopped being his focus of sexual pleasure but, instead, become baby feeders. This is quite normal. Some cases of depression may need medication, if talking together with your partner, a friend or family member doesn’t help, go see the GP. With the dad, give it time, hell, get to know the baby more yourself and share the work, it’s not all about getting her stuffed then heading off to get the money … we stopped being hunter gatherers as a species a very long time ago!
Of course, none of the negatives should matter to you and probably won’t. I just thought I’d mention them as they are important to get to grips with!
You are probably totally ill equipped to deal with the level of emotion you will have when this baby arrives. Think of the most emotional film you have ever seen which made you cry and laugh and then, add an extra layer to it and you are getting close. Little junior will have you go all gooey with one look, make you laugh uncontrollably, make you cry, scare the shit out of you … hell, save me time, think of an emotion and you’ll be having it several times over!
All the positive things you thought of with this baby will happen many times over … hopefully. In some cases, this doesn’t happen because of some sort of disability. I have mentioned that under a positive heading as, it isn’t a negative. This is your child and you will love it no matter what.
Mums & Dads
You are both in this together, neither is more important than the other and don’t you dare let anyone suggest otherwise. Mothers, if someone starts putting down fathers, sing the praises of your baby’s dad … just make sure he lives up to your compliments! Dads, if you go into a store and they have a mother & baby change area … tell them you want somewhere to change your baby up to the same standard as their mum & baby unit and expect them to provide it. No ICELAND, it is not always ‘Mum’ who knows best!
Dads needs to play as full a role as possible. It is just not good enough to argue they have been working all day or looking for a job, being a parent is a full time job in itself. Even when baby is sleeping they don’t have convenient timers which always allow the housework or cooking to be done!. Anyway, why are you even presuming the mum stays at home? The one with the best chance of earning the most money should be out to work. As a mother, no, you don’t have the right to automatic exemption from work because you have breasts! Doing the best for your child may sometimes mean, leaving the work time parenting to dad!
Both of you, you are now teachers. This baby knows nothing except what instincts tell them. Everything else is down to you. How quick baby walks, talks, crawls etc, that’s down to you. Read to them, play with them, talk to them, definitely talk to them! Never gesture to something or just hand it to them, always give everything a name including each other. If you give them a bottle then it is “mummy/daddy is giving you your milk/juice”. Hey, you in McDonalds, that child is screaming because, you, their parent, is ignoring them! They have no idea where they are or why they are there. It’s noisy, faces are unfamiliar, they need you to educate them. Talk to them, have them close to you and, if you must chat then continue to have some sort of interaction with them. Restaurants and shops are not your babysitters and play areas!
Often well meant and quite commonly well researched with facts and figures to back it up but, just think about this … you are on the internet reading this, go to Google and type in ‘what will kill my baby’. I reckon, and I have not checked, it’ll tell you they sure as night follows day, at some point or other, you are almost certain to do something which is most likely going to be the cause of cot death or an accident in the home. You see, good intentions can sometimes just lead to paranoid parents.
Yes, there are risks involved with the way the baby is put in the cot, when you start weaning, whether things are sterilised or not, the car seat, walking down the street … just about everything, if you are stupidly unlucky, could harm your baby. Remember this though, in reality, your baby will almost certainly grow into an annoying teenager one day and there really is little you can do to stop that! If the experts say your baby must be wrapped tight in a blanket and put on their back to sleep and you find, your baby screams all night and gets excessively hot, what’s the point? You know that this may be the theoretical best way but, quite clearly, your baby doesn’t agree! I’d personally feel uncomfortable with any baby sleeping on their front. Generally, consider the mobility of your child. Newborns have virtually no control at all, if they fall into a pillow on their front, they probably won’t be able to move away so, common sense says, don’t use a pillow. Most babies have no need for a pillow for the first few years anyway. Find the sleeping position which seems safest to you which your baby agrees with.
Weaning … well, you’ll probably be told, no weaning until he/she is at least 6 months old … absolute tosh! I am not advocating at 2 weeks to try a slice of toast but, you know your baby. If milk just isn’t satisfying them and they are clearly not overweight, a small amount of bland food such as baby rice is unlikely to do them any harm and could actually help them in so many ways
A quick note here, it’s at the bottom of every page but, it’s worth repeating …
What I am doing here is giving you the sort of advice a good friend or parent would give. It has little or no basis in medical fact. If you are at all unsure, consult an expert, I leave you with 100% responsibility for what decisions you make no matter what you read here!
Nappy changing – Look, babies are little humans, a good thing to remember with most of their care really. Would you want to be sitting or laying in piss and shit for a moment longer than you have to? If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then, you have serious issues my friend, don’t put them on your baby! Change that baby as often as you can afford. The slightest sign of nappy rash (redness or soreness) and use a medicated barrier cream such as Sudocrem. Step up on the bathing and go for at least once a day and don’t use harsh chemicals, your favourite shower gel may smell great but, it is too harsh for a baby. Make sure you always thoroughly clean baby at every change. A rule important to remember, I don’t give a shit what you think you have to do, nothing is more important than the well being of your baby! Find the time. If you have something you know you have to do at a certain time then plan babies day so you still have time to do everything you need to do properly, your hair can wait!
Illness – Babies have a very low immune system. All those jabs you will be told to give to your baby are there for a reason. Yes, there are risks but nothing compared to the risk of not having them! Your baby may well develop random fevers which can seem really alarming but, don’t panic! You need to be aware of meningitis, Google the symptoms. Generally, if you check their back and it looks clear, they are probably fine. If you can depress their skin a little and that yellow pressure mark goes within a few seconds, they are probably fine. Just about everything we panic about with fevers has the same treatment … undress them, open the window and use a cool cloth on them. What we need to do is cool them down. It seems obvious to do that but, it also feels like we should be wrapping them up and in a comfortably warm room until they are better. It is one of those times when you have to let your head rule your heart. Spots can be another worry. quite often they can look awful, be all over their body and off we go into panic mode! Generally it is nothing more than heat rash probably because an over protective, well meaning friend or relative advised several blankets and at least three layers. The reality is, babies are susceptible to cold but not so much as we have to forget we probably have the central heating up at 24°C and the windows closed! Heat rash will sort itself out. Leave baby to cool down for an hour or so and see the difference. If the rash persists or gets scabs, check with a nurse or doctor. It is probably still nothing to worry about but, it doesn’t hurt to check.