Maybe when you pictured 'the future', it generally included a good car, a nice home, a decent holiday every now and again, and some kids thrown in for good measure. But starting a family was such an abstract concept - something that seemed so far away. Until now.
Now you actually feel ready to bring a whole new person into the world. So how do you begin preparing for this huge next step in life?
Building a savings plan is a great way to get ready for a baby. That's why we've put together this handy checklist of pre - and post-birth costs to consider to kick-start your planning - before anything else starts to kick.
Every pregnancy is as unique as every baby - there's no one perfect way to give birth, and definitely no one perfect way to parent. But that doesn't mean there isn't a great deal of wisdom that can be called upon to give yourself as smooth, comfortable and joyful a pregnancy as possible.
Taking pre-natal classes is one way to stay educated, learn techniques and feel empowered during every step of the pregnancy process. They're also an excellent opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings with other expectant parents, and while costs for these classes vary, they're often worth the peace of mind.
Whatever choices you make about the way you want to approach pregnancy, birth and the first few months of your child's life, your doctor will play an indispensable role in shaping that journey. Depending on the kind of care you seek, and your health insurance, these valuable visits can add up. But in planning your finances in advance, there's nothing like the comfort that comes with finding a good doctor; someone you can trust to monitor your health, offer their guidance and support you through every new development.
The months before and after your baby arrives should be a time for focusing on what's most important to you - not a time for worrying about any hospital fees you racked up. Estimating and organising the payments for hospital visits in advance will be one more way to ensure you can give all your attention to what really matters.
Baby clothes. Bottles. Bassinets. Bedding. Bibs. Bathing. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of essential bub-items starting with 'B' - let alone the rest of the alphabet. Yep, this tiny human is going to come with a gigantic list of daily needs - and you'll need to be prepared, have a play with our budget tracker here.
But fear not, there are just as many ways to keep on top of your baby shopping as there are bits to buy. There are heaps of one-stop-baby-essentials businesses out there, as well as countless online stores that will deliver quality goods straight to your door.