Q: My husband and I just found out we’re expecting our third child. We’re thrilled to have another baby, but the timing is bad — I just lost my job. The stress is starting to impact my feelings about this pregnancy. How do I stay positive?
A: First of all, congratulations! Though a surprise, it sounds like you and your husband are excited to have a third on the way. All pregnancies, even when planned and under the best of circumstances, bring a certain level of doubt, fear and stress. A baby is a huge change and an adjustment for the entire family. Most families are never fully prepared or ready for a new baby. Here are a few ideas to begin preparing financially:
1. Create a budget. Begin by tracking all your expenses for one month. Include everything you spend on bills, groceries and even those lattes. Then start looking at fixed monthly items like rent, and what items are adjustable such as groceries.
2. Cut extra expenses. Go through your adjustable column and see what you can cut back on. Call your creditors and see if you can qualify for a lower rate. Often times you can call your car insurance or utilities and they may be able to offer you extra deals.
3. Increase your income. Be creative in ways to look for extra cash. Some people have rented out an extra room or found side jobs to earn extra money. Ask yourself if you can make money off your favorite hobby. A quick way to get extra cash is to do some spring cleaning and sell off any unused/unwanted items in your house. Have a garage sale or use Craigslist. Go to children’s thrift stores to sell and buy things for the new baby.
4. Have a baby shower. Though it may be unconventional for your third child, many people are having multiple baby showers. Take up your friend’s offer to host one for you. Many people are happy to help and are excited to celebrate a new baby. Register for things like diapers or set up a college fund online to which people can contribute.
5. Medical Insurance. The medical expenses of pregnancy and delivery can be very costly. Make sure you can get on your husband’s insurance plan or look into other options as soon as possible.
The most important thing you can do for you and your baby is to relax and enjoy! Research shows that babies are impacted by their mother’s stress levels and may have long-term implications to chronic exposure of high stress. When your mind starts to think negatively, take a deep breath and focus on the positive. Trust that everything will work out the way it should.
Susan Kelsey, LMFT, RPT-S is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in Costa Mesa, Calif. specializing in play therapy for families and children. Learn more or find a therapist near you at CounselingCalifornia.com. Susan Kelsey can be found at www.susankelseymft.com.