Having Your First Child
When you are expecting a baby whether it is your first or not, a multitude of feelings run through your mind: excitement, relief, elation, anxiety, etc. Aside from the excitement you likely recognize all the big questions: How are we going to do this? Aren’t kids expensive? How can we afford more than one? Will we be good parents? What color are we going to paint the nursery??
The first thing couples need to do when having a child is to sit down and discuss priorities for your first months and years as parents.
Questions to Consider:
- Will there be unpaid maternity and/or paternity leave involved?
- Will one parent reduce their work time or stay at home full time to care for the child?
- If both parents will work, what are your childcare options?
- What home improvements, furniture, etc. will you need to invest in to make your home baby-ready?
- How much of the prenatal care and delivery costs will not be covered by your health insurance?
- How much will all of this cost?
This would be a great time to dust off the budget and sit down together to start figuring out how much income will need to be saved over the next 6-8 months. Depending on the type of job that the mom-to-be has it may not make financial sense to go back to work while the baby is an infant. The cost of childcare in this world today can be quite expensive. You may literally go to work just to have that entire paycheck go to the cost of daycare, which could run easily $600-$1,000/month. You may also be able to find some cost savings in your budget as well. Some parents find that their recreation spending and/or the amount they spend on eating out goes down after having their first baby.
You can read all the “How to” books on parenting that you want, but just know that your baby doesn’t read the manual and they are all different. You have to live it and experience it. Because of this, the pregnancy months are a great time for you and your partner to focus on strengthening your relationship and your lines of communication. While a plan for the costs and budget of transitioning to family life will not resolve everything, the habits you create in working through solutions together will help significantly.