You probably know by now that I like to plan. However, planning and preparing for a first baby during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t something I had a roadmap for! It honestly felt like I was just winging it sometimes. And you know what? I think that is okay.
You might read this journal and think, “Wow! Seriously?! You did things so late, so early, so out of order, so something.” And you might be right! But for better or for worse, this is how we prepared for the baby and managed through the pregnancy. It worked for us!
Weeks 7 – 12: It’s All a Blur
Ohio started talking about shutdowns in my 8th week of pregnancy (early March). The owners of my firm were contemplating the best action for our team and clients. During a health crisis, I felt it was necessary to inform them of a pretty major health factor… the pregnancy.
Note: Most people would NOT recommend telling your employer this early. However, it was a unique situation, and I am glad I did. Think carefully through your own employment situation before you share.
In the end, working from home was a HUGE blessing because I was sick sick sick. Morning sickness + public restrooms ≠ ideal.
I was pretty much in survival mode during these weeks, trying to keep hydrated and awake… so the details are fuzzy. We did start to slow down on making extra mortgage payments so we could have more cash on hand for baby preparations.
Non-financial tip: Ginger tea really does help morning sickness. I will swear by it.
Weeks 13-16: Planning in Full Gear
We were in full planning mode. Will made a spreadsheet outlining when tasks needed done by and who was responsible for them.
We firmed up numbers on a nursery budget (which we really didn’t end up looking at again). However, I think the most important part is that we DID talk about these goals. Even if we didn’t refer back to our initial budget, we were aware of the amount we wanted to spend. Baby things are expensive. I’d like to think that planning ahead helped us make wiser decisions in our nursery spending (even if it was subconscious J).
We analyzed all our financial goals and determined which ones needed attention first. For instance, we decided we needed to get a new, child-safe car before we remodeled our basement.
Note: Just because you can financially handle two major money goals at once (the car and the basement), does NOT mean you should. You don’t want to let unexpected events derail your finances. Plus, mentally, I am not sure I could have comfortably handled both of those tasks at once!
Week 17: The First Expenses Hit
The first real expenses of the pregnancy begin to occur with doctor bills, ultrasounds, a couple of fun gender reveal purchases (don’t worry – no pyrotechnics), and gasp… My first pairs of maternity pants.
Warning: Pregnant ladies are a HUGE marketing target. You will be bombarded with social media ads, emails, and mailers trying to convince you that you need dozens of expensive maternity pieces and baby gadgets. Don’t fall victim to the traps. From my experience, you can probably keep your purchases fairly simple.
I remember a specific video ad that followed me everywhere. It was a pregnancy seatbelt that claimed to spare your unborn baby from a gruesome death. While the product might have merit, the ad was unkind and graphic, and really played on the emotions of expecting parents. ☹
Week 20: Daycare Panic
If I were to say I “lost it” during any point in the pregnancy, it would be this week. The realization that daycares in my area had an 11-month waiting list hit me like a BAG. OF. BRICKS.
11 months… That’s like… BEFORE YOUR BABY IS EVEN IN EXISTENCE!! We did manage to schedule a daycare tour, which made me feel much better. Bless those daycare owners who actually call you back in a timely manner. <3
We started doing mental math to try to understand how the cost of daycare would impact our current financial situation. For the record, I completely understand why some mothers or fathers decide to stay home and care for their children themselves. For many, the cost-to-income ratio is simply too high. I know it is not an easy decision!!
Note: We would have looked for daycares sooner, but most centers were closed or under strict regulations during the pandemic. We had to wait until they were more open and ready to host tours.
Week 22: Money Flying Away…
Hold on to things loosely. Including your money. Some purchases are just worth it!
We bought a new-to-us car that will be much safer and convenient for transporting Baby Hinks! I was SO happy about this purchase, even though car buying can be a little stressful. Will did a ton of research beforehand, so we knew exactly what car we wanted. I wrote a blog about our recent car buying experience HERE.
While our car was a responsible purchase, it is still the most expensive car we have owned to date. I had a little bit of post-purchase jitters when I contemplated how much money we just spent!
We also had our first Amazon spending spree. Yes, I said first. We bought a few larger items like the crib and diaper pail. We plan to space out some of the other big purchases.
So, on a scale of 1-10 of things we learned throughout this period, I would give it a 15. We learned A LOT. The empathy I feel for others who are going through life transitions of all kinds increased. I have a much better understanding of decision fatigue and the intimidation that comes with facing something new. Stay tuned for the next 2 weeks to read about the rest of the process!