The past 31 weeks have been a roller coaster but one I would ride over and over again. My little Lucas Oliver wasn’t planned but the joy he has already brought my fiancé and me is indescribable. Some people would define unplanned pregnancy as “an accident, mistake, or premature,” however, I like to define it as “an exciting or remarkable experience.” And, as is often the case, experiences like these can often come with self-doubt, fear, and sacrifices but also love, peace, and joy.
Motherhood in general seems to be this way to me- hard but rewarding work. That’s something I have in common already with women who planned for their children. But my motherhood adventure so far does have its differences. My fiancé and I are making financial sacrifices we wouldn’t have had to make if we owned our own house or had been saving up for years to be ready for a child. In short we are having to adjust our expectations. That doesn’t mean we aren’t able to create a plan that works for our growing family though. After all, someone thought ahead when they designed pregnancy to last nine months. That’s nine months to freak out over being pregnant, to get your finances in order, to discover that you can still nest and have a super cute baby wall versus a full nursery room, and to have a kick butt baby shower so your little one can get all the things they need. So here are a few tips that are helping us transition from unplanned pregnancy to planned adventure:
It’s okay to freak out and be scared but you also have to have faith in yourself.
I was so terrified when I found out I was pregnant. So many questions ran through my mind. Are my fiancé and I ready? What will my family and friends think? Can we afford a child in DC? What about our summer vacation to the beach with our friends! In the end when something big happens in your life you are going to question everything but you can’t let that self-doubt or fear hold you back. It doesn’t matter what circumstance you find yourself in. Even if people around you aren’t supportive, you have to take the bull by the horns and believe in your own capabilities as not just a person but a woman. I mean, we grow human beings inside our bodies so there is nothing we can’t handle. So take time to freak out but don’t let it consume you. You have too much joy and love to gain!
You might have to make some financial sacrifices but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
The goal is to have your finances squared away and a plan before the baby is born. You don’t want to be going into debt or increasing your debt if I can be avoided with planning ahead. We had to cut back our going out budget, restructure student loans, research our eligibility for government assistance via the Women, Infant, and Children’s Program (because we pay taxes and deserve a cut too), decide if it was more cost effective for both parents to work or to have one parent stay home, and look for better paying jobs. You can still go out but it could take some budgeting. At happy hour maybe your partner gets one beer (or even better water) instead of their usual three to four beers. When out to dinner, maybe forgo the drinks and appetizers and stick with water and your entrées. Remember fun doesn’t always mean going out on the town and spending money. Having your friends over for dinner, game nights, or TV/movie nights can often be just as or even more enjoyable.
You have to keep an open mind and be flexible.
When my nesting instincts kicked in, I was very upset that I couldn’t have a full nursery due to our apartment size. However, with the help of Pinterest, Blogs, and Google I was able to adjust and imagine a beautiful space for my Lucas-- even if that space was just a wall in my bedroom. A great design tip I found was using wall decals. Ikea has affordable, minimalistic, and stylish baby furniture too. I didn’t have to have a Pottery Barn Kids crib set to create a stylish space my little Lucas and I would love. If there was something you think you might have to sacrifice, first do some research and talk with your SO/family/friends as there might be a feasible alternative.
Have a baby shower.
Now there are apparently a lot of strong opinions on baby showers from who should throw them to what you should wear. I say screw it all and do what you want. My fiancé and I wanted just one big co-ed baby shower with our friends and family there. I also wanted to help plan it. That being said, you do not want to nor can you really take on the full responsibility of throwing a baby shower. So reach out to your best friends and/or family and see what they are willing to help with. Some people like giving cash while others like getting specific things (i.e. cake, beer, shower outfit, etc.) It’s also helpful to have a close friend or relative to help with the planning and execution. Our shower was so much fun and we got almost everything we needed for our little one. Be sure to create a detailed registry with a wide range of items. We were even lucky enough to get our maternity pictures via the shower! A baby shower is not only about being showered with gifts, but a way for all of your friends and family to come together to show their love and support. There really is something about seeing your friends and family celebrate your little one that will uplift you. Especially if that little one wasn’t planned.
In the end remember to have fun and always believe in yourself! Your life has to make a lot of adjustments when you are expecting a little one, planned or not. Try not to get too stressed or caught up in it all and remember who you are doing it all for instead. Sing to your baby, talk to him or her, play games with them (Lucas and I like to play patty cake), and day dream about their personality and hair color because eventually the baby will come and you will go back to not being prepared ;)
Maternity and Baby Shower Photos by http://www.ariellegallione.com/