Ready to grow your family from two to three? It can be a scary and exhilarating step all at the same time. While having children can be the best thing you’ll ever do, it’s also one of the most difficult. Even when you do it right.

As fun as babies are, they’re a lot of work. Just talk to anyone who has kids. They’ll usually say they had no idea what they were getting in to. This is not said to scare you, but to have you be realistic. You never know what kind of baby/kid you might get. They range from the perfect kind who sleep through the night the day you get home from the hospital, to the kind that scream their heads off night and day for 5 years straight (or beyond). It’s kind of the luck of the draw.

With that said, it’s important for you and your spouse to keep some things in mind when you’re getting ready for your first baby, both emotional and practical.advice for newlyweds getting ready for their first baby

Emotional Considerations

Make sure you have “sowed your wild oats” before you make the decision to get pregnant. And no, I don’t mean sleeping around with people. I mean make sure you get the traveling, the partying, and anything else you can’t really do with a baby out of your system. Because going on a trip around the world is not easy with kids in tow. Trust me.

Talk to your spouse and maintain open communication. Most people have concerns about taking such a huge life step, even when you want to. It’s normal and natural to have some fears. So make sure you are both equally committed. Because if you’re not, then maybe you should wait. Having one spouse want kids more than the other can cause major problems down the road.

Practical Considerations

Make sure you can afford to have a baby. Again, until you have one, you have no idea how much they cost. Diapers aren’t cheap. And neither is formula. Even if you’re breast feeding, you’re going to have supplement with other foods eventually. And then there’s the clothes. They hardly stay in an outfit for more than a few days it seems! This is a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the truth. And don’t forget babysitters and saving for college. It sure adds up.

Discuss these types of questions: How are you going to handle child care? Is one of you going to stay home with the baby? Or are you both going to work full-time? Can you afford day care? If you have a nanny, how can you be sure that you trust the person? Some moms go back to work after they have a baby only to quit later – for either financial reasons (like if it’s cheaper to stay at home than pay day care) or emotional ones (like they can’t stand being away from the baby).

There are literally endless considerations other than these that range from baby names to the theme of the nursery. But if I wrote more, this article would turn into a book. I think the above considerations are the most important ones. So before you and your spouse take a leap into parenthood, make sure you do it with eyes wide open so that you can be the best parents you can possibly be. Your children deserve that.

Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. She also tries to imitate Oprah during her regular appearances on the TV show Living Dayton. Although not a world-famous author or speaker yet, she’s working on it. She’s also a single mom of two boys who think she’s a horrible cook. Follow her here on Twitter and Facebook.