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What To Know Before You Start A Family In The UAE
And Baby Makes Three!
Are you thinking of having a baby? Congratulations! Starting a family is a big deal and not a decision to take lightly. Having or adopting a baby will most certainly change your life in a big way. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and the idea of a cute little baby, but the responsibility is much greater than just that. If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of time to mull things over before taking that step, there are definitely some things to consider. Before you decide it’s time to add to the family, ask yourself these questions.
Is having a baby something you truly want?
Often we start to think that because we’re a certain age, because all our friends are having kids, or because we’ve been married for a while now, we should start having kids. Maybe Mom and Dad are dropping not-so-subtle hints that they’re dying to be grandparents. Whatever the outside pressures, you should not decide to have a child because you feel you should. Once you go there, you can’t go back. If you’re unsure, don’t rush into anything. Try making a list of pros and cons and do some serious thinking and research (reading this is a good start!) before making your decision.
How stable is your relationship?
Are you prepared to co-parent for the next 18 years with your partner? Sometimes people think having a baby will help a struggling relationship, but that is usually not the case. You’ll be bound to this person once you have a child together. You also want to make sure your relationship is strong enough to get through the hard parts, if there are any, of starting a family. There may be struggles conceiving or adopting and it’s important to be prepared for that, to be on the same page and to have a strong support system in each other if you’re going down this path with a partner.
Are you financially prepared?
You saw this one coming. Everyone knows that babies are expensive -- so are toddlers, adolescents, teenagers…you get the idea. This website breaks down some of the first year costs and it’s estimated that a new baby will cost an extra US$11,500 that first year. Are you struggling right now? Maybe it’s not the ideal time to conceive. Will you get maternity or paternity leave, or will you have to take vacation time? If so, is it in the budget? Another huge cost is childcare. Will you be able to afford to have a parent stay home or to pay for daycare if you go back to work? Many people in the UAE have full time live-in nannies once their babies are born. Is this something you want or could afford? If you don’t plan ahead and think about these questions, you can get into a tough place financially.
Ok, now that you’ve thought everything through and you’ve decided on it, you’re ready to have a baby! There are still more things to think about but don’t get too overwhelmed. With a little planning (you have nine months after all), you’ve got this. Here are some things you’ll want to start looking into as soon as you can so that you’ll be ready to welcome a healthy baby when the time comes.
Find a doctor and a hospital
Finding a doctor should be first on your list. You’ll need to make frequent visits to the doctor in the months leading up to your baby’s birth. It’s also time to start thinking about your birth experience. Will it be natural or do you want to use pain medications? Do you prefer to give birth in a private or government hospital, or perhaps not in a hospital at all? This could affect the environment you’re in and the cost of the hospital stay. For UAE options, you can visit a government hospital with a health card and pay lower fees. Al Wasl Hospital is a popular choice with moms-to-be. But, if you have private insurance or the money to pay for it, you might prefer a private hospital like Welcare or American hospitals, or a private clinic. In the UAE, you have the flexibility to plan the birth experience exactly how you want it, so if there’s anything you want, ask for it.
Location, location, location
Once a baby enters the picture, you might start to see your home or apartment and its location differently. Suddenly, that perfect high-rise in the city starts to look very small and un-kid-friendly. Right now is the time to reevaluate your home and neighborhood, and what you envision for the future. It’s easier now than when kids are in the picture. So think about if your home big enough for your growing family. Is it in a kid-friendly neighborhood, and is that important to you? This might start the classic city or suburbs struggle. Is your home close to good schools? Everyone has his or her own opinion on where and how is the best place to raise a child, but sometimes another opinion is helpful. If your heart is stuck in the city, this website has compiled some of the best neighborhoods in Dubai for raising kids, based on things like access to good schools, green space and parks, day cares, recreational areas and more. Think about which of these factors are the most important to you and use those to help make your decision. Many prefer Abu Dhabi to Dubai for raising families, due to its slower pace, safe environment and green spaces.
Every family is different, so there is no universally correct answer way to plan to start a family. The best thing you can do is think ahead, read up on things you are concerned about, and know what you want. It’s probably a good habit to get into because the work will continue. If you want your child enrolled in an international school, space is limited and you need to look into enrollment very early. The more you can do before baby comes, the better. Not that life will slow down anytime soon – good luck on your new adventure!
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