When is it the right time to start a family?

By Faeza
08 August 2016

With all the excitement and joy that comes with having a life partner, comes the difficult decision of when to start your own family. Although it can be one of the most rewarding areas in life, it is can be demanding. That is why it is important that before bringing a child into a family both parents need to be on-board with the arrangement.


“There is no real age limit to start a family. Some people even start a family at 40 years old. For example, the famous singer Janet Jackson is having her first baby at age 50,” says Jennifer Papers, social worker at the Family Life Centre in Soweto. There are several factors that people who decide to start a family must consider. “It is important to start a family with someone that is committed, has financial stability and someone you can trust will be a good parent,” she says. Jennifer also says that it is normal for people to be in long-term relationships and delay in starting a family.


Jennifer says being ready to start a family requires maturity, emotional and spiritual development.


“One of the important steps that you and your partner should consider is going for a medical check-up especially if you were using contraception. You need to assess your finances; it takes more than love to raise children,” she says. She adds that, a person should look at their ability to deal with the unexpected. “Just like other parts of life, there are no guarantees with children and this can be a very emotional journey.

You may find yourself the parent of a handicapped or specialneeds child. Or you may end up a single parent through divorce or death. You could end up conceiving twins or triplets. However, this should not scare you because even challenging children can bring as much joy as any other,” she says. She says that she would not advise a person to start a family as a single parent because children deserve to grow up in a household that has both parents.


Starting a family also comes with sacrifices. Jennifer explains that if you were a person who enjoyed going out with friends to parties, you need to understand that, that life will no longer exist when you start a family. “In some instances you have to let go of certain friends and you need to befriend people who understand what family is about because they will be able to give you advice. You must be prepared to put the needs of others before your own, and be willing to make sacrifices that can be painful,” she says.