Sunday Blues
Art-a-Month September

Thinking about a baby


Chris and I think we might be ready to have a baby in about three years. But imagining how different our life will be with a baby can seem overwhelming. I know it will impact our relationship, our finances, and how we spend our free time (if we have free time!), among other things. At the same time, it's a change I'm excited about. It seems like I've always known that I'd want to have a baby someday and I know Chris will be an amazing parent. It'll be so fun to share the adventure of parenthood with him!

When we were first married, about a year and a half ago, Chris wasn't too excited to talk about babies. Although he knew he'd want to have a baby someday, he wasn't ready to start thinking about it yet. I also wasn't ready to have a baby but began reading about pregnancy, babies, and parenthood. For me, all my reading and planning isn't because I'm ready to have a baby, it's how I approach big changes. Plus, I just find those topics really fascinating!

Over time, Chris has become completely open to baby-centered discussions and even watched this movie and this movie with me. He just needed time to to realize that I was also in no hurry to be pregnant. Something that has helped frame our discussions recently was an online course Saracreated called Purposeful Conception. The class and discussion board provided information and reflections on preparing "our minds, bodies, and lives for pregnancy." I found it to be really useful and informative, even though we weren't planning on having a baby in the near future. As a result, Chris and I have had a lot of great conversations about how having a baby will change our lives.

To us, one of the most intimidating impacts a baby will have is on our finances. We like to budget down to the dollar and give ourselves plenty of cushion. A baby will likely throw our budget for a loop!

Ideally, I'd love it if I could stay at home full time for a year or more when we have a baby, and Chris is supportive of this scenario. But this would mean living off of Chris's salary alone. On top of that, we wouldn't want to be forced to give up going out to eat or traveling entirely once we have a baby and it's essential that we are still able to save money.

In three years Chris will *hopefully* be given tenure at the university where he works will also get a raise of $8,000 to $10,000. To see how the numbers might look we used our current budget to put together a hypothetical budget for when we have a baby. We saw quickly that it's not feasible to have a baby and live off of Chris's salary alone, even if he got a raise. We would be about $1,500 short per month.

At this point we're not sure how we'll overcome that gap. In our budget we did not anticipate Chris getting any other raises other than the tenure raise so it's possible he might be making more money in three years than we planned. It's also possible that I could work part-time instead of staying at home full time.

So right now, it seems that the equation for baby finances has no right answer. Luckily we have some time to think about it - there will definitely be a lot to consider before we're parents!