A closer look at the state of your finances should probably be the first step when you are deciding whether or when to try to conceive. Can you afford to have a baby?
How secure is your job?
We're reading all about "mompreneurs" everywhere these days, but can you really bring a full income in selling home-made baby carriers on etsy, or having a cupcake business? As a homeschooling and work-at-home mother, I know that finding a job an actual job, that becomes reality that allows you to spend time with your kids is almost impossible. What do these words have to do with job security? You may not even want to work from home, after all. This seemingly never-ending and ever-deepening world recession may well mean that your current job is not secure, even if you feel it is. Mothers with young kids are undesirable employees to most employers, and your financial future may be at risk if you have small children. Contrary to recent media reports, it is highly unlikely that you will just be able to pick up a mompreneur venture and to earn a steady living that way.
Childcare vs staying at home
Though many daycare centers offer sibling discounts, it is well-documented that many mothers (women still get less pay than men, on average) who work essentially work to pay for their child's daycare facility. This situation may ease a little once your kids are in school, if you are planning to enroll them in public school. Or it may be even worse, with tons of extracurricular activities that you somehow need to pay for. That's a whole other topic though, so back to staying at home vs working outside of the home. In this economic climate, neither of these two options may cut it, and you may end up with the same amount of disposable income as you would if only one parent would go to work. This is something that requires a closer look, both at your deepest wishes and the financial possibilities.
Healthcare costs soar during pregnancy, and prenatal care plus labor and delivery can send you straight into bankruptcy if you have to pay for them out of pocket especially if you need a cesarean section, or if your baby needs to stay in the NICU for a while. Healthcare costs do not stop with those events, unfortunately. Every couple should find out all about different insurance possibilities and work out their insurance plans. Pregnancy is often seen as a preexisting condition, so you may have trouble getting insured when you are expecting, or it could be really expensive. If you are a low-income couple, you should also look into different forms of government assistance that may be available to you, such as Medicaid, WIC, and equivalent programs.
What does your newborn need? If you read the average list for parents to-be, you'll be convinced you need lots of diapers, clothes, baby creams, a stroller, a baby bath, nursery furniture and bedding, vibrating swings, a moses basket, a baby carrier, a car seat, playpens, and the same stuff again for both sets of grandparents. The fact is that you don't need most of that stuff, and even if you want it, you can avoid spending several thousand dollars by purchasing second-hand things. Babies are not expensive; they can be really cheap if you need them to be. Babies don't cost much money, but raising a child for the next (at least) 18 years will. Don't worry about baby gear, and see a financial planner for long-term advice instead. Before you do, you will need to sit down and talk about your hopes for the future. Are you going to support your children through college? How many children do you think you would like to have? What are your career plans for the next few decades? Are you willing to live frugally, or do you want to maintain a more comfortable lifestyle?