Are you ever really ready for a baby?

Let’s face it, when new parents find out they are pregnant for the first time, so many things flash through their minds!

How will we afford a baby?

Is our house big enough?

Will mom stay home to care for the baby or should we hire a nanny or look for a daycare?

These are all questions my husband and I faced three years ago, when I got a surprise announcement from my doctor at a routine check up! We lived in a cute little house on the water (and by little I mean 700 square feet), with our two big dogs, PJ and Scooby. We loved the view and the rent was cheap, but where would we find room for a nursery? With some cleaning out and creative furniture selections (small scale and multi-purpose), we converted our 8×9 second bedroom into the perfect place for baby to call home! As you can see by this picture, the room was so small I could not even stay inside the room to get the pic! This is the best angle I could get from the door, but we made it cute and welcoming for our new baby, Gracie.

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Not knowing how much a baby would actually cost, we decided collectively that we would be OK as long as both of us continued to work. And, at the time, I worked for a very supportive women-only fitness center that had free child-care for members and employees. With yet another hurdle overcome, we felt pretty good about this whole baby thing and decided we could do it! (Not that we had a choice at this point, but at least we were more comfortable about the idea!)

Fast-forward nine months, and after a scheduled C-section on an early morning in January 2011, we were blessed to welcome a new baby girl, Gracie. She was perfect and healthy and beautiful! We were home within a couple of days, and I started my recovery while caring for and nursing our little angel. Since I was quite fit throughout my pregnancy(1/2 marathon at 34 weeks pregnant, plus Spin and Kettlebell instructor right to the end!) I bounced back pretty quickly and had time to focus on learning how to be a mom. Did you know that babies don’t come with instruction manuals:-)? But as you can see by the sigh of relief on my face, I was so happy for Gracie’s arrival and thrilled to be done with my pregnancy!

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With my 2 weeks of paid/vacation time off, I had planned to take an additional 2 weeks unpaid, and get back to work despite my doctor’s requests. I had a meeting with my boss to meet the baby and catch up, etc… and found out that a few crucial things to my position were changing – one of them being new childcare policies only for children 6 months and older! There were a few other things too, but have never liked speaking negatively about my employers, and won’t start now! So these circumstances led me and my husband back to those fearful questions that loomed over us early in our pregnancy. I didn’t quit right away, but we knew that would be the ultimate decision, so I scrambled to find some alternatives that would allow me to bring my newborn to work.

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We overcame the housing hurdle and came up with a basic financial plan, and jumped 2 feet first into this roller-coaster life called Parenthood. Were we ready? Heck no! But I don’t think anyone is truly ever ready for a baby. Even the most diligent, well-read, and prepared parents-to-be have to learn things along the way. Make sure to stay tuned for my next post all about bringing Gracie to work with me!

What was it like for you when you first found out you were pregnant? What books did you read to prepare? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!

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