It may seem like just a passion or an obsession, but even scientists have studied "baby fever" and determined that it is real (check it out in the scientific journal Emotion). Baby fever, generally thought of as a deep longing to have a child that results in obsessive thoughts about babies and children, is honestly a logical source of thoughtful reflection and continual dwelling for our thoughts. Procreation is important to all living beings, so it is no wonder that, at various times, many people experience a complete obsession with having a child!
Symptoms of Baby Fever
The symptoms of baby fever are above all emotional: how do you feel when you see a baby or child? Do you have a pang in the pit of your stomach, as some women have described it, desiring a baby of your own? What about when you look at baby pictures of your own children who are now older; do you dwell more on how wonderfully they are growing or on your own desire for another small one to nurture? These desires can be considered baby fever.
Other symptoms could be the way you spend your free time (researching your own fertility, the costs of having another child or your first child, or just looking up baby pictures on your social media feeds), the way you think about the future (is it baby-focused?), and how you motivate yourself to accomplish big things (does going to the gym have its own rewards or is it all part of getting fit for pregnancy?). Basically, the reorienting of otherwise ordinary thoughts toward having children can often be considered baby fever symptoms.
Answering the Question: Should I Have a Baby?
No matter how wild your baby fever is raging, there are quite a few questions to answer oneself before moving from "baby crazy" to "having a baby." Here are some great questions to ask yourself to determine whether this is a phase or a great reason to jump on the parenting train.
Are you old enough or mature enough? Plenty of young people know that they someday want a child and daydream about that future day, but it is important to decide for yourself whether you still have some maturing to do. It is possible that you are young and mature but your partner, who would be part of raising that baby, still has some growing up to do. Even if you know you want children someday, most young people can stand to not rush into a baby choice, especially when you are at very high fertility and likely to conceive rapidly.
Are you financially and socially stable? You don't have to be raking in the big bucks or surrounded by hundreds of friends and family, but most people agree that a baby will have a smoother transition into the world if you know where the rent is coming from next and have friends to support you and your future little one. Whatever "stable" means to you, think about what your social networks and your finances can provide to a baby. Importantly, consider: if I wait 3 months, 6 months, or a year, what can I do to deepen friendships and stabilize my finances to make having a baby even more rewarding?
How is parenting of other children going? Some baby fever isn't a desire to parent another child for the long haul; it is a nostalgic recollection of the pleasant and adorable baby phase from your other children's youth. If you are already parenting other children, you may be temporarily "baby feverish" because this particular stage of parenting with the other children is harder or less rewarding. This is normal, however, it may be worth waiting until your children grow out of this tough season before deciding whether another baby is right for you.
Have you been feeling this baby fever for a while? If you answered the first three questions with an even stronger feeling of desire for a baby, think about how long you've felt this way. If its been a while, you may just be feeling the completely lovely and normal excitement that accompanies being in a good place to have a child! Don't discount the benefits of baby fever: during tough days of pregnancy or sleepless nights, your utter obsession with cute little babies will carry you through. We are programmed to feel quite a lot of joy and wonder about babies, and there is no reason at all to discount those feelings.
Even if it isn't the right time to have a baby now, you can use your baby fever in totally healthy ways: offer a friend a free "date night" or night on the town while you babysit their baby. You get to hear all those cute sighs and coos and you get to give a tired parent a night off!