No. of Recommendations: 5

I'm just a lurker here, and a new parent ... but I do have some recent lessons learned.

1) Planning ahead for kids, vis-a-vis work, balancing career, and all that, is a great idea. I suggest a large cash nest-egg as the best way to prepare.

2) Things are almost guaranteed not to go according to plan. Yours or anyone else's (parents, friends, whomever).

3) You have to be committed to living your life with your partner, and with your kid(s) no matter what happens. If you have that, it doesn't matter anyway, you'll just learn to cope with whatever curve balls come hurtling toward your head. Remember to duck.

Once upon a time my wife and I both had high paying careers. Then she lost her job, we got pregnant, I lost *my* job, and we are now winging it day-by-day with our totally awesome new baby. My wife is *extremely* healthy ... marathon runner, health nut, etc. ... despite this, and a textbook pregnancy the whole way, her labor was extremely difficult and ended in a c-section. Our baby was in the NICU for 3 days (thankfully it was only three) and 10 weeks later everyone is happy and healthy. Well, to a point. My wife is fine, but still can't jog even around the block yet without pain (which is a huge deal for her, believe me).

Number two of a million other anecdotes: A co-worker of mine has a wife who is pregnant with multiples. She has been diagnosed with cancer, and has a brain tumor among others in her body. The babies will be c-sectioned at around 33 weeks so the cancer doesn't spread to them, and she will also have a brain operation. The *best* case scenario is that both parents will be home alive one day, with several preemies, after a couple months in NICU, and gigantic medical bills. (I had ONE baby in NICU for 3 days, and the total hospital charge was north of $30,000. Our share after insurance was 1/10th of that... so do the math for two months and 3 babies?! And throw in a brain surgery and chemo... thank heavens for insurance!!).

Number three: A family friend has been on bed-rest since her water broke around week 24 of pregnancy, and has been in the hospital a couple of straight months now ... but the baby is still doing OK...

Number four: Another co-worker and his wife both commute an hour to work (and sometimes longer). Their son is 1 1/2 now and is in daycare every day M-F. They're all fine.


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