Monday, June 5, 2017

Surprise Pregnancy 101

In a perfect world, we always know what to expect. We are able to make decisions, plan for the future, and then everything happens the exact way that we planned it.  
But sometimes? Life doesn’t quite work out that way.

Perhaps the biggest - happiest - surprise that any woman can go through is the surprise pregnancy. It’s not what you were planning at this point in your life, but nothing stops you from feeling that rush of delight. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, there’s nothing to make your life change for the better like discovering that you’re pregnant.

With all of the delights of a surprise pregnancy, there’s a few concerns there too. This isn’t something you planned; while you wouldn’t change it for the world, you also have a bit of catching up to do. Some of that is mental; you and your partner need to rethink the next year or so of your life to make the adjustment to impending parenthood. That might mean postponing plans or doing things differently from how you had originally intended them to be. Sacrifices being made for all the right reasons, but still nevertheless sacrifices.

The joy of impending parenthood might be enough to pull you through those concerns, though. The one thing that the anticipation of a bundle of joy can’t control is your reaction to your utter lack of preparedness. When couples try for a baby, they tend to have all their ideas, plans, and - crucially - their finances in hand for when the pregnancy test gives them good news. Without that planning, you can suddenly feel like you’ve got a huge amount of catching up to do - and you might be doing it while experiencing the first flutters of morning sickness, too. Talk about rough timing.

So, given that you’ve a baby on the way and there’s some catching up to do, what’s the quickest way to get up to speed? Perhaps the best method of coping with an unexpected pregnancy is to quickly run through a few questions with yourself. By finding out if you can or can’t answer these, you’ll quickly discover the areas where you need to catch up, and the ones you already have covered. So without further ado…

What Are Your Maternity Benefits Like? 
If you work, then clarifying the situation with your employment contract should be first on the list. This will be easier if you have already had a baby while working for the same company as you currently do, but can be tougher to navigate if you’re a first time parent.

Tip: Don’t let your boss find out you’re expecting through office gossip or by being told in a general announcement. Always take a moment to go and tell them privately, not least so they can then run through the benefits with you and answer your “what happens next” questions. This is also worth doing if your pregnancy is very young; you’re unlikely to feel comfortable making a big general announcement before the 12-week mark.

Do You Have Enough Room? 
If you live in a family-sized home already, then you can probably cope. If, however, you and your significant other have been living in a one-bedroom apartment, you might have a problem.

If you found out about the pregnancy early enough, then don’t panic: you still have enough time to ensure everything is in place by the time labor comes around. There’s obviously a financial aspect to consider here; this is an area you need to investigate too. The pressing concern, however, is for where you’re going to live.

For the sake of your health so you don’t have to worry, it’s useful to consider unsecured loans and other methods of quick funding that can help you move into a more suitable property. If you have found out about the pregnancy really early, there’s time for you to look for a new place to buy and use the extra cash to help with moving costs. If you rent, then you’re going to need money for a new deposit. Either way, ensuring you have some extra cash on hand can really help to lighten the stress load.

Tip: If this is your first pregnancy and you live in a small apartment, then why not consider co-sleeping rather than rushing to move as soon as possible? There are benefits to sharing a room with your baby, so it’s definitely worth thinking about if you don’t want to go through the whole upheaval of a sudden move while you’re expecting.

You should consider the rest of your financial strategy, also. Try and couple this with the discussion on maternity leave above, but it’s good to have a decent grip on the overall facts and figures when you have the housing question resolved.

What Is Your Health Insurance Coverage? 
As you probably know, health insurance varies so much it’s almost impossible to guess anything that unites two policies. So you know exactly what to expect, a good run through of your coverage is an essential part of being ready for baby.

If you find your health coverage is wanting, then you do have the problem that you are already pregnant - any new policy that you take out is not going to cover the pregnancy. Don’t be tempted to fib about the conception date, either - that’s fraud and could lead to jail time if you’re found out.

Tip: Talk to clinics and hospitals close to you if your coverage isn’t idal. They might be able to offer pre-payment plans that you can begin to contribute to immediately, so you don’t have to worry about racking up debt after you have given birth.

Do You Know What You Need To Do? 
There is always the risk of an absence of knowledge when it comes to pregnancy, especially one that’s not been planned. For first time mothers, there’s a lot to learn, so you need to start cramming!

Even if you’ve had kids before, that’s not to say it’s going to be a breeze this time. You’ve got some learning to do too. For example, if you had a C-section with one of your earlier babies, do you want the same again or do you want to try VBAC? Or if you’re an older Mom when your happy surprise occurs, do you know what you need to be especially aware of?

Furnishing yourself with the answer to this and all of the other questions can make a huge difference to how you feel. Spend a weekend absorbing and learning what needs to be learned, and then just enjoy it. It’s the happiest surprise there is, so enjoy your pregnancy and look forward to motherhood!