Having a Baby
Your first pregnancy can be an exciting time, and also uncomfortable as you’re body adjusts to a totally new experience. You’ll find a number of articles here to help with things like dealing with the first few months of pregnancy, your food cravings, budgeting for a newborn and preparation for your new baby into the world.
Many people aren’t prepared for the changes that being a parent brings to their relationship. The change from being a couple with time to spend on yourselves and each other to being parents with a small baby is a big one.
Attention pregnant partners!
Because the woman is carrying the baby, it’s often easy for a pregnant woman to bond with the baby and to get used to the idea of being a parent. But for you, it may not be so easy. There are simple ways to get to know your baby before he or she arrives, and to get used to the idea that you’re a parent now. • Be there for ultrasound scans. It’s a very powerful experience to see your baby for the first time. • Talk to other friends who are parents. Talk to your own parents. Ask about their feelings and experiences. • If you’re apprehensive about being with your partner during labour and birth, talk to her about it. Ask other parents about their experiences in labour and talk to the midwife – this can give you an idea of what to expect. • Go with your partner to childbirth education sessions (they’re for both parents, not just mothers). Ask if you can go on a tour of the delivery/birthing unit at the hospital to see what it’s like. • Whenever you can, feel the baby kick. • Get involved with caring for the baby as soon as possible after the birth. It does more than give your partner a break: it helps you feel more confident about parenting and closer to the baby too.
Parents at last
Some people think having a baby won’t change their relationship much and that the baby will fit into their lifestyle. But your lifestyle will change. Thinking about this and getting used to the idea before the baby arrives will help prepare you emotionally for these changes.
Some things to think about: All babies are different. Yours will arrive with a unique personality and temperament. As with any other person in your life, there will be things about your baby that you can’t change. You’ll need to spend time getting to know, understanding – and learning to live with – this little person just the way they are. It’s not just first babies that change things.
The arrival of other children also affects relationships between parents, and relationships between parents and their children. Babies have a habit of changing other relationships too, especially with a couple’s own parents. Some women find that motherhood deepens the bond they have with their own mother, for instance. Some partners may find this change a bit threatening (‘she’s at her mum’s again …’). But this doesn’t mean that she’s abandoning her partner. It’s just natural for some women to feel closer to their mothers (or other mother figures) at this time.
Budgeting for you and your child
While nothing can quite prepare you for the changes about to happen, one area that you can get a handle on is your finances.
Have a money conversation with your partner
Talking about the changes that will happen to your family after you have a baby is really important and these conversations should include money.
Some of the things to discuss may include:
- How do you want your family to function after your baby is born? For example, who is going to be the primary care giver? Is the primary care giver going to work? Answers to these questions will be informed by your own values and your current financial commitments.
- Do you need to change how you manage your day to day spending and saving?
- Do you need to reevaluate your goals and priorities including financial ones? Should you delay major purchases or try and reduce your debt?
Single and having a baby
If you are having a baby and you are single, it's important to research and plan for your life changes as soon as possible. There are important decisions to make about how you want to arrange your life after you have your baby that will impact on your finances. For example, do you want to care full time for the baby for a period, or work part time or full time?
Prepare during pregnancy
Being pregnant can be an emotional rollercoaster, especially your first time. There are many new things to learn about and you will probably want to know all about the baby growing inside you, as well as what you need to prepare before the baby arrives.
It's important to budget for any associated costs during pregnancy. These may include:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Scans and special medical tests
- Maternity clothes
- Baby clothes and equipment
- Extra savings (if you can) for after the baby is born
It's probably a good idea to talk to people who have children to find out what cost saving ideas they have before you go out and buy all the latest baby equipment.
Ask your employer about your paid leave entitlements like maternity leave, recreation or annual leave, long service leave or unpaid leave.
To keep costs under control, think about buying second-hand goods. Check online, at specialist second-hand baby stores, garage sales and charity shops. Find out the retail price of new items so that you get a good deal. Family and friends might also have items they can lend you or hand-me-downs they can give you.