While you're worrying about swollen ankles, kicks in unexpected places, and how you'll weather childbirth, your partner may be focused on finances. He may suddenly fret about losing his job, worry that he can't cover the bills while you take unpaid maternity leave, or feel frantic about paying for college. This sudden breadwinning zeal is a normal rite of passage for most dads-to-be, though you may feel somewhat abandoned if your partner is suddenly working longer hours when you're feeling needy.
It may help calm your partner down if the two of you put all your financial cards on the table to see what sort of hand you have. Do you have a plan for retirement? Are your credit cards paid up? Have you thought about how you're going to pay for diapers, baby equipment, formula, and out-of-pocket expenses for visits to the pediatrician?
Financial planning isn't the most romantic activity in the world, but it's a great way to take stress out of your relationship now, before the baby arrives. Yes, there's sticker shock involved. Who knew they could charge that much for a package of diapers you're just going to throw away? And the thought of college bills might send you both running for the smelling salts. However, you don't have to pay for 21 years of family life all at once. Begin by making a list of things you really can't live without and a list of things you'd rather not do without. Then track your spending, month by month, to see if you can start living according to a budget. See a financial planner together if the two of you are having a tough time deciding on priorities.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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