Congratulations! Being pregnant for the first time may be your greatest adventure to date. Suddenly you are looking at the world through a different lens. . . a scary lens. There are millions of questions that will race through your head on a daily basis. Is the pricier stroller worth it? Why am I suddenly so hairy? Am I allowed to have that cup of coffee? Many women soon find themselves paralyzed with anticipation. So, in hopes of avoiding a panic attack or two, here are some pre-baby suggestions:
- Balance your budget. Everybody should do this anyway, but having a child gives you a good excuse to finally do it. You will have a significant increases in your household expenses, so this is the time to figure out what you can afford and stop your frivolous spending. I know that you truly deserve that Coach diaper bag, but when you can’t pay your heating bill this winter, that bag won’t keep you and your peanut warm. In fact, more than just balancing your budget, this would be a good time to start building an emergency fund.
- Look into your employer’s maternity policy. You may be having dreams about spending the four months post baby on a virtual vacation, cuddling with your peanut while your employer foots the bill. Many women believe that their employer is required to give them a maternity leave. However, the Family Medical Leave Act, which requires employers to give 12 weeks unpaid leave, only applies to employers who have 50 or more employees, and only applies to employees who have worked for such employer for 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. Unless you fit this bill, your employer is not required to give you a maternity leave. And your employer is never required to give you a paid leave. Check out what benefits you are given and plan accordingly (This is another reason why balancing your budget is so appropriate).
- Get a Will and Name a Guardian. It’s amazing how the birth of a child can bring your own mortality to the forefront. If you do nothing else to take care of your legal affairs, you should write a will. If you don’t make a will before your death, state law will determine who gets your property and a judge may decide who will raise your children. Advance directives help to make a terrible situation more bearable. It isn’t difficult as you might think, and finding an attorney to help you write a simple will doesn’t have to be expensive. Put your mind at ease and just get it done.
- Life Insurance. You’ve been evading the Northwestern Mutual nag for years. Well, now it might be time to take him up on that lunch date. Life insurance can provide a safety net for your children if you die. However, before buying a policy, you should carefully consider whether or not you really need it, what type of policy is best, and who should manage the proceeds on behalf of your children. Find an insurance salesman that you trust and have a candid talk about your family and financial affairs.
Now, we know that you are busy searching for the perfect mobile to go with your bedding, but Little Peanut won’t care if the mural on the nursery wall isn’t completed when he arrives. Tackle the big stuff first, and then spend the rest of your pregnancy debating whether to buy the ERGO or the Babybjorn.