No one can ever be completely prepared for anything. Ask first-time moms to be how they found out they were pregnant, and this would surely be part of their narrative.
As for me, I had a hunch I was pregnant when one afternoon I didn’t want to take the coffee my colleague offered at work. I thought it was odd that I stopped by the pharmacy on the way home to buy myself a pregnancy kit. I was both excited and anxious that I prayed, “God, if now is Your perfect time, I’d be really happy to take this new role.” I left the pregnancy kit on the sink and looked away for what seemed like forever. It was probably my earliest maternal instinct kicking in that I was almost sure two lines would appear. When they did, I held my tears back, approached my husband, and stretched out my right hand with the pregnancy kit bearing the news that our lives are about to change. What were supposed to be words came out as tears and the longest, tightest hug we ever shared. When the tears were over, a million and one thoughts came rushing in as if on cue. On top of the list was, “What do we do next?”
What do first-time parents even need to prepare for? Here are some things that gave my husband and I a bit of peace of mind as we go through the nine-month journey. I hope this helps you, too!
Starting a family is like turning the faucet handle of expenses. From my first prenatal checkup to my supplements, laboratory requests, regular ultrasounds and scans on top of many others, money was leaving our pockets fast. We also needed to compute the hospital birth cost and the amount we need for our baby’s things upon arrival. Our savings helped us attend to one expense at a time.
While our savings help us get through our growing monthly expenses, it’s a must for us to have extra funds coming in for the unexpected. In my case, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM), and that required regular consultations with an endocrinologist, and a blood glucose monitor so I can watch my sugar intake. My freelance writing and tutorial gigs, as well as my husband’s side hustle as a financial advisor, help fund these expenses.
Long before my pregnancy, I made it clear to my husband that I wanted to work from home so I can be a more present mom when the time comes. Since I was still working onsite at the time I found out I was having a baby, I had to make a huge adjustment especially because the doctor advised me to be on bed rest during the first trimester. My husband and I talked about our home and work dynamics, and he fully supports my dream to work from home. Thankfully, I eventually found a new job that offers a full work-from-home setup so I can work comfortably, and rest whenever needed.
When we were newlyweds, we always pointed out how empty our rented house looks like, that when one of our ninongs visited, he told us, “Don’t worry, as soon as you have kids, you won’t have enough space for everything!” True enough, my husband and I had recently let go of mountains of books, clothes, and other excesses to make space for our baby’s things. Until now, we are still trying to reconfigure how our space will accommodate a crib, new drawers, trolleys, and carts!
Our headspace as a newlywed couple is a lot different from our headspace now as parents-to-be. Since that night we found out about my pregnancy, we started to anticipate the changes in this new chapter of our lives. We make time to talk about where each of us needs help and support. We allowed this new season to “sink in” gradually, not rushing anything, learning along the way, and preparing ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
As teachers, my husband and I understand the importance of being active and present parents in the formation of a child. During meals, we talk about values formation, plans for education, and health and nutrition. We’re aware it might be all different when our baby comes, but it’s never too bad to have a list as a reference, to begin with!