I’m getting to the point in this pregnancy where I feel like I want to start doing things to get ready for baby’s arrival. The list of things we’ve done so far is short:

  1. Get pregnant
  2. Start saving for maternity leave
  3. Find daycare for baby
  4. Paint the nursery
  5. Accept a few hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law
  6. Think about a registry
  7. Buy one onesie

I’m glad the list isn’t shorter than that, but I’m feeling ready to make it longer. In particular, I’d like to start getting what we need for the nursery and Lewis’ big boy room.

It is funny, because the list of things we need for the new baby is not terribly overwhelming in length – especially if it is a boy, because then we even have all the clothes! But because we’re going to end up partially re-furnishing two rooms this time around, the items that are left on the list are pretty big-ticket. And that feels overwhelming.

I hate to always circle back to finances, but it seems like the classic American problem when it comes to building a family – everything comes down to the money, since we have absolutely no safety-net built into the system. In other countries (or for people who are lucky with their employers in the US), the burden is lessened through paid parental leave, universal healthcare and subsidized childcare. For the majority of Americans? Good luck, it’s all on you. And what a sad state of things, because it seriously sucks some of the joy out of the experience.

Getting pregnant sparks all kinds of money related questions, like: how am I going to afford maternity leave? How am I going to pay for my health insurance while I’m not getting a paycheck, when it normally gets automatically deducted from each check? How am I going to afford the things we need for the nursery? Where is the money for more diapers going to come from? How will we afford the medical bills for the birth, when we’re still dealing with existing medical debt? How do we pay for the daycare bill with two kids? How do I handle all the new expenses when I end up with less take-home pay after adding the second kid to insurance?

And in our special case – how do I do all of that, while paying for a new car we shouldn’t have bought? (stupid stupid stupid stupid)

So I’m feeling ready to get ready for baby. But I have no idea how to approach it. Until I come up with a strategy, maybe I’ll put together a list of things that are free to do. Like getting rid of the 20+ year old twin mattresses (is that free? I hope that’s free), and emptying out the closet in the nursery (is that free? Figuring out a new storage solution feels like it might not be free).

As always, I’m sure I’ll figure out a plan to answer all of the questions about money. We didn’t declare bankruptcy when Lewis arrived, and I’m sure we won’t this time either. Will our credit card balances stay at zero like I’d hoped? Probably not. But we’ll all be fed, clothed, healthy, and will have places to rest our heads at night. So – big picture – everything will be perfect.

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