I have to be honest: saying this post is about our financial priorities is a little misleading.
I mean, yes. Our financial priorities will be part of it — this is, after all, a personal finance blog.
But it’s only one element.
I have been working on this post for a while now. It was my intention to have it finished a few weeks ago, but things changed.
Almost four weeks later, they are still changing but things are starting to feel more manageable. So I wanted to pop in to give a bit of an explanation about what’s been going on.
You probably think I’m going to tell you I’m pregnant.
On March 14, Jeff and I welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world.
To say our lives — and our financial priorities — have changed would be an understatement.
My pregnancy experience, in brief
I found out I was pregnant at the end of July. I was about five weeks along at that point.
For the most part, my pregnancy was pretty unremarkable. After getting through the fatigue and nausea of first trimester, I felt good. The only “complication” sprung up at 32 weeks, when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It sucked, especially at first, but after a few tweaks to my diet and an evening insulin prescription, it was mostly under control.
Even without previous pregnancies to compare it to, I know the experience was different due to the whole global pandemic business.
I went to all my appointments alone. We told friends and family primarily over video chats and phone calls due to lockdown restrictions. And while we did have a get together with some friends toward the end of pregnancy, there were questions about whether that would even be possible due to the virus.
I worked until 36 weeks, stopping only when discussions about induction at 38-39 weeks began. Ultimately, my induction was booked for 38 weeks and six days. At first I was bummed, thinking I missed the chance to work a little longer. Ultimately, it was for the best; my water broke at 37 weeks and four days and she was born the next morning.
We ended up staying in the hospital for seven days. I’m not going to get into details, except to say this was unexpected. We were discharged the day before our scheduled induction and have spent the last several days adjusting to life at home.
It’s been challenging and hectic and we’re operating on very little sleep, but it’s been good.
Why I kept my pregnancy offline
Long before getting pregnant, I decided when/if I did, I would keep it offline as much as possible. I had a few reasons for this.
- I wanted to have a low-key pregnancy
This was my main reason for keeping my pregnancy offline. I’m an introvert and I don’t like being the centre of attention. The combination of keeping my pregnancy offline and the pandemic made it easy to have a low-key pregnancy.
- Our daughter’s privacy
Along with keeping the details of my pregnancy offline, I’m also planning to keep our daughter offline as much as possible. We are not sharing any photos online and for the purpose of the blog and most social media, she’ll be referred to as Baby J.
This is not meant to shade those who share details about their kids online — you do you! But personally, I want to wait until our daughter can have a say when it comes to her online presence.
- I don’t know what others are going through
Finally, I kept my pregnancy offline because I knew how hard it was for me to see pregnancy announcements when we weren’t pregnant. Even though we weren’t trying, exactly, it didn’t make it any easier to see so many people around me making their announcements.
Again, I’m not trying to throw shade at people who make pregnancy announcements. I totally understand wanting celebrate the news with friends and family and honestly, it is a lot easier to make an announcement than to have to explain things over and over again. This is just a personal thing on my end.
How this changes our financial priorities
Obviously, this has and will continue to have an impact on our financial priorities.
While the pandemic played a part in the decision to shift focus from paying back the student loan to increasing our emergency fund, the pregnancy also influenced this significantly. I am very grateful for Canada’s maternity and parental leave benefits, but reality is I will be making a lot less money on leave (even with the top-up my employer offers for the first five months). Losing more than half my income will have an impact on our finances.
When I set out financial priorities and goals for 2021, I wanted to boost our emergency fund to $10K. Shortly before I went into labour, we reached that target — and I am glad we did, because the extra cash came in handy during the first few weeks. I’d say the account is sitting at about $9,500 right now. In the coming weeks, we will add to it to get it back to $10K. Understanding our finances will be changing, having some money set aside makes me feel so much more secure.
Our new addition will also impact our financial priorities as we move forward. We currently rent a two bedroom apartment and while it works for now, we know we will outgrow the space. Working toward homeownership has been a goal of ours for the last couple years and I anticipate we’ll be looking to buy something toward the end of this year. Additionally, we intend to open and immediately begin contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan for our daughter. When I return to work in 2022, we’ll be adding a new expense to our budget: daycare.
What about the student loan?
We will continue making minimum payments on the student loan. This is what we’ve been doing since the end of September and what we will continue to do moving forward.
Yes, it means it will take longer to finish paying it off — we’re looking at about three years. Would it be nice to pay it off sooner? Sure. But honestly, I’m not too down about it. We have made a LOT of progress with our finances over the years and I feel good about the position we’re in now. Getting debt-free is still very much a goal of mine, but it’s always only been one of my financial priorities.
Sometimes, other things are simply more important.
What does this mean for the blog?
Well, first of all, it means things are going to continue to be a little quiet here as I adjust to life as a mom.
Can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Wow.
I considered drafting posts to schedule in advance and/or reaching out for guest posts but between work and the ups and downs of the last trimester, it just didn’t happen. My current plan is to be off until May at the earliest. That could change, depending on how things go.
When I return, I will have some posts related to the financial side of the whole having a baby business, but my goal is to not shift my content too far in that direction. I suspect there may be posts about baby/mom-related things from time to time, just not all the time.
Much like I did not share my pregnancy online, I also won’t be sharing significant details about our daughter. This is a decision I made a long time ago. This includes photos as well as her name. For the purpose of posts here, she will be referred to as Baby J.
That being said, it might take some time for me to get back to my regular, twice-a-week schedule…if I get back to it at all. That’s the goal, but I’m trying to be realistic about it. So please bear with me.
So…that’s what’s been going on in my world.
For those who were aware of the pregnancy, thank you for helping me keep it off social media. This applies mostly to folks who know me offline, but there were some folks online who were aware, too. Not that I think anyone would have been rushing to post about it otherwise, but I appreciated the discretion.
And for those of you who continue to stop by even though my posting has been a little more sporadic over the last several months (yes, this was part of the reason for my extended summer break) — thank you. I appreciate your patience, both so far and as we adjust to life as a family of three.
I promise I’ll be back soon.