Father-to-Be Anxious About Cost and Responsibility

How do we prepare for and manage the expenses that come with having a baby? My wife and I were ecstatic when we discovered we were pregnant, but now reality has set in. I’m feeling very anxious about the challenge of supporting and caring for a child. Can you help?

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The words of Jesus, which are true at all times and in every area of life, come to mind: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).

Take it from us: From a certain perspective you can never be fully prepared for the arrival of a new baby. But don’t panic! You can be proactive about getting ready for the changes headed your way.

Consider the basics.

Designate a room in your home or a corner of your bedroom as a nursery. If you have the money, you can paint it, decorate it, and fit it out with a simple crib, a changing table, and a good supply of diapers and baby clothes.

Talk about creating a budget or spending plan, discuss ways of accommodating your lifestyle to your priorities, and think about how you can increase your income. Put aside some money in a savings account, and decide whether and when mom will return to work after the birth.

Take a class in parenting at your church or the local medical center. Read good books on the subject together. And find a couple further along on this journey who’s willing to share their parenting experiences and encouragement.

Get on the same page.

Take time to talk with your spouse about fundamental beliefs and commitments. Your transition to parenthood will be smoother and easier for everyone if the two of you share the same values, expectations, and outlook.

Don’t try to predict life.

We often hear pollsters and other “experts” say things like, “It takes X amount of money to raise a child from birth to age 18.” But the truth of the matter is that nobody has any real way of knowing this. There are too many wild cards in marriage, parenting, and life in general.

Even if you and your wife somehow saved enough money to pay for everything a child could ever want or need, it could easily be wiped out by job loss, a medical emergency, or a plunge in the stock market. Americans don’t like living with that kind of insecurity, but it’s an unavoidable part of the human condition.

The solution isn’t to protect yourself in worldly terms but to trust in God who knows our needs better than we do and who is infinitely able to sustain us in both good times and bad.

Evaluate assumptions and expectations.

What are you picturing when you talk about “supporting and caring for a child?” Exactly what does it mean to you to be good parents? Does it involve buying the most expensive car seat or reserving a place for your child in the poshest day care or most exclusive private school?

Make sure you aren’t letting your ideas on these subjects be shaped by cultural ideas, peer pressure, ads, or other people’s opinions. Remember that those influences are usually unrealistic and ridiculous. Never forget that God knows you and cares about you and that you are accountable to Him alone. 

If you’d like to discuss this at greater length with a member of our staff, call our Counseling department for a free consultation. Our licensed counselors will be happy to help in any way they can.

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