Last Updated Jun 2, 2009 10:40 AM EDT
Sure, having a baby now has its issues. For starters, my child care costs will double at a time when my income is lower than it was five months ago. And while I might feel better taking on the added expense of another child if my husband's job was secure, it isn't. Like so many others, he works in an industry that's cutting back.
So why do I feel like now's the perfect time to have a baby? It's because the timing is right for our family for personal reasons. We also feel like we can't put a dollar sign on the joy of parenthood. Yes, parenting can be difficult, but the rewards are priceless. After all, who doesn't turn to mush when their child tells them he loves you?
I'm also comforted by the fact that I know this recession will eventually come to an end and the economy will recover. Indeed, we'll all see many economic cycles over our lifetimes. The key is to try to save enough money during the boom years so we have an easier time weathering the bust years.
The reality is that I don't have as much saved as I would like, if I take into consideration my new expenses. My current goal is to just stay above water without incurring any debt until the economy turns. But once my income recovers, you won't see me going on any shopping sprees for the baby. I'll probably continue to live on my current, modest budget and put anything extra toward replenishing my savings and setting up a 529 college savings plan for the new little one.
Would you start or expand your family during a recession? I'd love to hear your take. If you're already pregnant or have small children, you may find my new book, The Wall Street Journal. Financial Guidebook for New Parents, helpful.
Sleep Like a Baby image by peasap, CC 2.0.