Whether your pregnancy was unplanned or planned and the situation has changed, you have some decisions to make and many options to explore. And one of those options is parenting. During this decision-making journey, you'll need to fully understand your responsibilities as a parent, what parenting may entail for you, and how to deal with marriage, co-parenting, teen parenting, or single parenting.
Because the parenting experience is different for everyone, it's best to start with the basics. Before many people begin their families, they often wonder what it takes to be a parent. And not just any parent, but a good parent. Good parenting requires patience, unconditional love, forgiveness, and an ability to effectively and lovingly discipline and teach. Being a parent also means that you have to financially, emotionally, and physically provide for your child. You must provide a roof over his/her head, clothing that fits and is substantial for different types of weather, food to eat, and a safe place to sleep and live.
There are several ways to prepare for parenthood, and they are as varying as there are people. If finances worry you, start a savings and explore local, state, and federal programs that can help you along your parenting journey. The federal government, for instance, provides low-income families with necessities like baby formula, milk, and cheese through the WIC program. Your local community has food banks and charities that can help you with groceries and needed clothing and shoes for your family. If you need to work, but can't afford normal daycare, your community may have a daycare provider that can help.
As a parent or a soon-to-be parent, you now have major responsibilities. You are in charge of taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your child. You are responsible for your child's wellbeing and education, both in school and in life. Your child will be entirely dependent on you for many, many years, and after those years are through, your child will still come back to you for insight, knowledge, advice, and reassuring love. Being a parent isn't an easy assignment, but it's enriching, fulfilling, and an amazing learning experience.
Exploring parenting means more than just deciding that it's what you're going to do. It requires you to do the research, make the necessary arrangements, and devote yourself to the betterment of your child and to the fulfillment of your parental responsibilities. However, remember that as you explore your options, that the best thing you can do is make an informed decision. If parenting isn't for you, you do have other options to consider.