The next step many couples find themselves in is adding onto their family. It’s a huge step for all families, as their houses may be growing from two people to three (or more!).
For many, the process is well thought out while for others it might be a complete surprise. No matter where you are in the process, you want to make sure you have the groundwork set for a happy and healthy family.
Examining Your Relationship
No matter what your relationship status is: newlyweds, engaged, married for 15 years, you will need to step back and ask yourself if you two are truly ready for a baby. That looks like a lot of different steps.
First, it’s wise to gauge your maturity level. No one is 100% prepared to be a parent and everything that comes with it, but you can at least make sure you have the foundation down and set.
You’ll need to see if both of you are ready and willing to become parents. Hopefully, this is something you discussed before you let the relationship grow and mature this far but it always looks like a different beast when you’re actually there. Make sure both of you are on the same page about the timing and being parents.
One person can’t be driving the car while the other sleeps in the backseat, both of you need to be figuring out where you’re going to go.
While some pregnancies are planned while others are not, timing can be an important role in when is the optimal time to have your baby. Your work schedules could influence when you start trying, life commitments or both. If you know you’re going to be moving, would it be better to wait or to have the baby now?
What about your job? If you’re a teacher, would it be better to give birth over the summer or at the end of a term?
Do you want your child to be the oldest in their class or does it not matter? Are you trying to match up your pregnancy with other members of the family so your child has similar age cousins?
You may not be able to plan the date perfectly, but having a calendar in mind would certainly help.
Unlike Hollywood would tell us, getting pregnant isn’t as simple or quick as it looks. Many factors come into play, such as age, health and reproductive health. It could take up to an entire year, or longer, for some couples to become pregnant.
While you may and your partner may be quite anxious to start the whole process, chances are you’re going to be needing a few months before you receive a positive test.
For some couples, unfortunately, the process may grow longer and longer and the constant negative tests may create a feeling of worry or anxiety. For those couples that struggle to get pregnant, some look into adoption while others explore different options. If you do decide to go a different route, make sure to do a whole bunch of other research.
Just like everything else in life, you’re going to want to look over your entire financial picture. Having a child can be expensive (who knew strollers could cost so much?) and having a budget in place beforehand will help immensely down the road.
What sacrifices are you going to have to make? If money is going to be tight, look what you can cut out to make sure you’re providing for everyone in your family.
You’ll also have to look at both of your work lives. When the mother takes time off to be with the baby, will you two be able to survive on one income? Will you have to change your work schedule around to see if you can pick up more hours or not?
Looking way into the future, you might want to start setting up a savings account or college fund for the newest member of your family. The best way to do this is to sit down with a financial adviser who can help you plan out what accounts may be the best options. There are so many different kinds that rely on income, tax deductions and the like, so it’s best to do a bit of your homework beforehand and then go talk to a financial professional.