When we made the decision to have a third child there were a lot of unknowns. We knew that we would be moving at some point but didn’t know when or where we would be living. Not to mention who my doctor or midwife would be. How would we afford the medications I would need to take through my pregnancy? We went through the questions and doubts numerous times but felt at peace that it would be ok.
So then skip a head a year and we started talking about having a fourth child. We knew that now with 3 other children and a mortgage that we would need to be on really good financial footing before we took on the financial responsibility of another child.
Tip #1 Plan As Far Ahead As You Can
This isn’t always possible as issues such as infertility, surprise pregnancies, illness, disability and other issues can prevent planning. Yet, whatever planning you are able to do will be a benefit to you in the long term.
The first thing we did was take stock of what the cost would be to have a another child. We knew that the cost for my medications (Fragmin, Diclectin, Zofran) would be well over $100 a month even with partial drug coverage (they actually ended up being over $400 a month!) and that I would need help for at least the first 8 weeks after giving birth. We sat down and looked at all of our options. In the end we decided that I would return to work full time and assess in 6 months time if we would go ahead and have a 4th child or not. This would provide us with some extra income, more drug coverage and I would be eligible for up to 50 weeks of paid maternity/parental leave after giving birth. Re-entering the workforce full time was not a decision that we made lightly and it had it’s own implications financially, emotionally and family wise.
Things didn’t work out perfectly but I did find a full-time job and life went on. Seven months after going back to work we made the decision that we would try to have a 4th child and we put the next step of our financial plans in motion.
Nilesh had received his citizenship and that meant that he was eligible for parental leave. If he took it then he would receive just 55% of his regular pay. We needed to find a way to make up the remaining income in order for him to stay home after Kaitlyn was born.
We slowly started buying items that the baby would need. We started our diaper collection even before I was pregnant and by the time baby arrived we had just about all the diapers we would need until the baby was ready to potty train. (We use cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night). We shopped second-hand stores, sales and borrowed items that we would need. We stocked our freezer and pantry slowly as well as grew our personal and household item stockpiles.
Tip #2 Be Creative
Our original plan was for Nilesh to use 4 weeks of vacation and overtime then apply for 8 weeks of parental leave. However, he ended up using all of the vacation and overtime up during periods where my hyperemesis gravidarum was the worst.
In order to make up that income shortfall we had to get creative. I immediately started saving my PC points, Checkout51 rebates, Snapsaves rebates, and Shoppers Optimum points.
I ended up redeeming my shoppers points, my PC points, using my rebate cheques, using coupons along with eating from our pantry and freezer the first month after baby was born. This allowed us to spend almost nothing on food out of pocket that first month. Our stockpile for personal items such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, dish soap, shampoo etc lasted us the full 3 months.
When my husbands co-workers threw us a baby shower lunch and asked what we needed we asked for a gift card for the local grocery store. This was a huge blessing and very generous of his co-workers. By asking for a non-traditional gift we were able to buy another 2 weeks of groceries without paying out of pocket.
Tip #3 Find Ways To Cut Costs Now
Upon making the decision to have another child we immediately reduced our expenses as much as possible. We drove less, cut back on ‘unnecessary’ things and did more DIY and free things in our community. We expanded our garden and reduced our energy and heating costs. This not only saved us money but allowed us to slowly become accustom to a simpler lifestyle that we would need to adapt to once baby was born.
Tip #4 Save More Than You Think You Will Need
Kaitlyn was born on a Tuesday and that following Friday was Nilesh’s payday. We had planned on him receiving a reduced paycheck however Friday came and went with no pay. Because he had started his leave mid pay period his pay cheque had been recalled. This was not something we had planned for. In fact, it ended up being weeks before that pay came. And when it did it was only a portion of it while they tried to figure out just how much he should have been paid. The day after Kaitlyn was born my husband filled out the application for EI benefits for parental leave. We knew that the paperwork could take up to 6 weeks to process. However, we got thrown another curve ball when that 6 week time frame came and went. After many, many calls to the EI office Nilesh finally received his first benefits payment almost 8 weeks after baby was born. All together we went almost 10 weeks with just approximately 1 week of his pay.
Lesson learned. Having an extra 2 to 4 weeks of money saved up just in case is a must! I was so grateful that we had prepared in other financial ways a head of time.
Having my husband home those first few months of Kaitlyn’s life was wonderful. I had time to bond with her, he got to bond with her, I had help with the daily grind of parenthood and we both had more time with our other children. If you are pregnant or are planning on having a child in the future it is very much worth the planning to have dad home the first few weeks.
What about you~ did your partner stay home after the birth of your child(ren)? What did you do to prepare for that time?