When motherhood comes a-knocking, this debate will inevitably arise: Return to work and continue with your career or take a break and stay home to look after your baby? The thing is \u2500 having a baby is also a societal and family demand; automatically expected of a wife, so most married couples will think of starting a family straight away. But especially for career women rising up the corporate ladder, the question that arises is what does she do after having the baby. There is no one-size-fits all answer to this. It is personal and specific to the mother and the family in question. Just because all of your friends seem to have no problem returning to work does not mean it is the right decision for you. Or sometimes you only realise you want to stay home after you have had your baby. Whichever way you decide, here are some things you will need to consider when pushed and pulled by your dilemma, in order to be well-prepared to welcome your future baby. 1.Finances and Financial Independence Finances in the household are a chief factor when considering whether to stop or continue working (Image Credit: Josh Appel on Unsplash) It is no secret that having a baby and raising a child is an expensive do.\u00a0 Prenatal, delivery and postnatal care usually cost in the region of thousands, especially if you factor in confinement expenses whether you opt for a confinement lady or a confinement centre. Then, there are the other expenses, especially recurrent ones for the next few years like diapers or even formula and growing up milk and baby foods. And then, there are the increased medical expenses and insurance premiums and other debts, such as a housing loan or rental, car loan and so on. Can you really afford to be a one-income family? And then there is another factor \u2500 if you rely solely on your husband\u2019s income, how would you feel about sacrificing your own financial independence? How would you feel about always having to ask money from him? Fortunately, (or unfortunately \u2500 whichever way you want to look at it), the COVID-19 pandemic happened. In the days of the new normal requiring social distancing and avoidance of crowds and mass gatherings, Work From Home (WFH) has become a real option. \u00a0All of us had to WFH in the days of the Movement Control Order (MCO). This makes WFH not just a concept but a real and workable solution \u2500 thanks in part to technology. Of course, not all jobs are workable from home but some of us, in fact, many of us, do not really need to be in the office from 9 am to 6 pm every single day of the work week just to perform tasks, which can be performed remotely. In these instances, you could talk with your employer to offer this option or make flexible arrangements to allow for WFH. Again, thanks to technology, there is also the rise of online business options, which you could run at home without leaving your child. So, giving up your career or income entirely after having a child, may not be necessary after all in this day and age. Research Support & Childcare Options & Logistics Should you decide to return to work, look at your childcare, transport, and support network options with practical eyes. Who will look after the baby when you leave the house every morning? Can your parents or in-laws help out? If not, what are the childcare options? If you have an affordable, certified and trustable childcare centre located just down the road from your house, then sending your baby or toddler to them might not be such a worry. But if such a centre only exists miles across town, and you work at the other end of town and there is only one car and you do not drive, then sending your child to a caregiver may pose a problem, transport-wise. However, if your workplace has a cr\u00e8che, then your problem might be solved. Check on Your Emotional Readiness Moments like these are precious. Once missed, they never come again. Some women thrive in the workplace.\u00a0 You have your colleagues, your social life, your career, your professional goals, your space to grow into your own, and your chance to achieve everything you have always wanted to achieve as a person, and that can be really fulfilling. But when returning to work, some women struggle with the split-focus of trying to keep to their duties both at work and at home at the same time. Still, some others feel guilty about weaning baby off the breast so soon just to return to work or do not feel easy leaving such a vulnerable child behind to the care of others. Besides, you do not want to miss baby\u2019s milestones and all those precious, spontaneous childhood moments, which will never come again once passed, so returning to work may be a no-no for these women. At the end of the day, a decision on whether or not to return to work or stay home, needs deep thoughts and discussions with the spouse. For many women, these thoughts may only come after the child is born. Still, it is good to think about these things and prepare especially when you are planning to have a baby. It may also be a good time to talk to your employer to check out if they are open to the idea of flexible working hours or even WFH. That way, you will already know way ahead of time whether you should stay home or come back to work after your maternity leave. Planning for a Baby So, once you have made your decision on whether to go back to office or become a stay-at-home mum, it is time to get your pregnancy plans moving. Now when it comes to planning for a baby, and especially if you want to conceive by a particular time frame fast, it is best to use Ovulation Predictor Kits or OPK because they take the guesswork out of timing your pregnancy chances. Because they can help predict when you are about to ovulate and when best to place the sperm in the right place and at the right time \u2500 OPKs can help you get pregnant faster than if you were just trying to conceive blindly. No Ovulation No Baby OPKs work by detecting a hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) in your urine. It is this 'LH' surge produced by gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary glands of women that triggers the release of the mature eggs from the ovary \u2500 and this process is called ovulation. Ovulation is absolutely necessary for the conception of a baby. Why? Because no ovulation means no release of mature eggs and therefore, no baby, no matter how many times you have sex throughout the month. Ovulation normally occurs 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge, which is why the LH surge is a good predictor of your peak fertility or \u201cfertile window\u201d. After your ripe egg or ovum is released, it will live for up to only 24 hours, after which, fertilisation or conception cannot occur and you would have missed your chance of conceiving your baby. You will have to wait till your next menstrual cycle to try again. As you can see, you have a very narrow margin of time to conceive every month. If you do not know when you are ovulating, and when your best time is to have sex, you could end up having miss after miss and that could really be taxing on the emotional front. Worse still is when you have an irregular menstrual cycle or hormonal imbalance. You will need to get that fixed before trying. Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test Read on to learn all about ovulation tests, also known as ovulation predictor kits or OPKs. OPKs are one of the most precise methods of monitoring ovulation and there are many brands of OPKs available at the pharmacy.\u00a0 However, the one that gives you over 99% accuracy in detecting the (LH) surge with clear, unmistakable results shown by a smiley face of your \u201cfertile window\u201d and when exactly to have sexual intercourse, is Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test. Using Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test, you can identify your two most fertile days of each cycle. The Clearblue Digital Ovulation test works by detecting your LH surge in your urine. When it is detected, a smiley face will appear. In every menstrual cycle, there are only a few days when a woman can conceive, so having sex on these days is very important if you are trying to get pregnant. The Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test helps you identify your two most fertile days of each cycle. How to use Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test Using Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test is really easy. First, you need to know your usual cycle length before you start. This is to ensure you test at the right time to find your LH surge. To work out your cycle length, count the day your period starts (the first day of your full menstrual flow) as Day 1, and continue counting through to the day\u00a0before\u00a0your next period starts. The number of days you have counted is your cycle length. Once you know your cycle length, use the table below to find out when to start testing: Menstrual Cycle Table and when to test for LH surge. (Image Credit: Clearblue.com) Test directly in your urine stream.\u00a0 Hold the tip of the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test digital reader facing downwards in your urine stream for 5 seconds. Do not get the test holder wet! It is more hygienic to test directly in your urine stream like this. Wait for 3 minutes and always keep the absorbent sampler pointing downwards or you can lay it flat on the table while you wait. The test sampler will start flashing after 20 to 40 seconds to tell you that the test is working. Within 3 minutes, the display will show you the result. If the result is O, then there is no LH surge. If there is a smiley face \ud83d\ude42 \u2500 then it is time to make love. It is as simple as that! The smiley face indicates the best time to place the sperm in prime position to fertilise your egg the moment you release it. (Image Credit: Clearblue.com) Then, use Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test on the day your period is due to find out if you are pregnant. You can even test up to 4 days before your period is due if you cannot wait to see if you have conceived. Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator The Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator is the first and only test that is as accurate as an ultrasound scan at dating pregnancy. Its Smart Dual Sensor not only tells you if you are \u2018Pregnant\u2019 or \u2018Not Pregnant\u2019, but also tells you how far along you are. The Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator is the most advanced home pregnancy test to date as it is able to provide two accurate test results and you can also test early. This is for women who want to have more information at one go. Like two tests in one, Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator not only gives you clear digital \u2018Pregnant\u2019 or \u2018Not Pregnant\u2019 results, it also tells you how far along you are (1\u20132, 2\u20133, or 3+ weeks since conception). Like the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test, the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator is over 99% accurate at detecting pregnancy from the day your period is due and its dual role as a Conception Indicator is as accurate as an ultrasound scan at dating your pregnancy. Not only that \u2500 Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Tests can be used up to four days before your period is due. So if you are excited and cannot wait to know your results \u2500 this is how you can get it fast. How to use Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator Place just the absorbent sampler or test strip pointing downwards in your urine stream for 5 seconds only. Take care not to get the rest of the digital test stick wet. Then, replace the cap. The test will go to work by itself. When you are ready to test, take out the digital test stick from the foil wrapper and take off the blue cap. Once taken out of the foil wrapper, use the digital test stick straight away. Sit on the toilet and urinate on the digital testing stick with the absorbent tip pointing downwards for 5 seconds only. Make sure you do not get the rest of the digital pregnancy test stick wet. Replace the cap and lay the digital test stick flat while waiting for the results. If you are holding it, keep the tip pointing downwards. Remember to never hold the digital test stick with the absorbent tip pointing upwards throughout the test, or it will result in a test error. The results and pregnancy dating will be clearly indicated on the display panel: Not pregnant; pregnant, and conceived 1\u20132 weeks ago; pregnant and conceived 2\u20133 weeks ago, and pregnant and conceived more than 3 weeks ago. Once 3 minutes have passed, check the digital test stick for results. If you see the \u2018Pregnant\u2019 result appearing before the Weeks Indicator result, wait till the hourglass stops flashing to see your Weeks Indicator result. Your result will remain on the display panel for approximately 24 hours. And there you have it. Again, it is as simple as that! Once you know the answers, you can start making solid plans for the future. Try Clearblue today to be unmistakably clear and sure! Clearblue is having a special promotion for parents-to-be in conjunction with Merdeka Day. But that is not all! Clearblue is having a special promotion in conjunction with Merdeka Day, where parents-to-be can now enjoy 20% OFF storewide for ALL Clearblue products. And top of that, you will also get to redeem a FREE limited-edition Clearblue Tumbler when you purchase any 2 (two) Clearblue products and above on Motherhood.com.my! For more information on Clearblue, visit their website here. To learn more about ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, visit Motherhood.com.my.