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Elena Donovan Mauer

One Mom's Take On How Life Changes During Pregnancy

Katlyn, Allstate Agent and mom to one-year-old, Karys, is pregnant with her second baby. Here, she dishes her biggest pregnancy surprises and best advice.

Katlyn Eggar, St. Charles, Illinois

I wish I knew…about the strange symptoms that go beyond nausea and cankles.

I knew about morning sickness and swollen feet, but no one told me my eyesight could change, that I could have a permanent change in shoe size, or that I might have sinusitis off and on for months! The symptoms are weird, but it’s all so worth it every time you hear the heartbeat at a doctor’s appointment or see baby’s sweet face on the ultrasound.

I wish I knew…how important budgeting would be.

My husband and I rearranged our spending to make sure we had a margin in our budget for child care, so that I could return to work a few days a week instead of full-time after the birth. I used an online community that uses background checks to source our wonderful nanny. She even watches the baby while my husband and I go on weekly date nights.

I wish I knew…that college saving starts now.

We’re setting up a 529 plan for college tuition and expenses. Her personal savings account and future college savings will come from a portion of the birthday money and holiday money she’s given over the years. We plan to teach her to split her money into three categories: Spend, Save and Share. I definitely recommend tackling this before baby arrives, when you have more time on your hands! Otherwise, it gets put on the back burner between sleepless nights and pediatrician visits.

I wish I knew…that serious conversations are worth having.

A few months before our daughter was born, we made some changes to our life insurance policies to increase the coverage for myself and my husband. It was important to us to know that if either of us passed away, our daughter would still have financial security, be able to go to college, and do normal kid things like summer camp and dance classes. We also added something called a child rider to our policies in case something were to happen to her, to cover final expenses. This is not something any parent wants to consider, but we knew it was the wise choice financially. Now that it’s done, we don’t have to worry about it anymore!

I wish I knew…that the milestones happen even before baby arrives.

There were many special moments during my pregnancy. Some of my favorites were telling my mom she was going to be a grandma (I had to brace myself for the squeal!), picking out a beautiful shawl and bonnet for the going-home outfit, and the “babymoon” in downtown Chicago that my husband set up so we could get some alone time before baby arrived.

I wish I knew…that my relationship would grow, and I’d make new friends.

My husband and I set aside time to talk about our expectations as parents together, and that’s how we decided a weekly date night was going to be an important commitment for us to keep as a couple. I also joined a local mommy community online where I can post questions and get almost instant feedback from moms “in the trenches” when I need help and am not sure which options are best. I have learned a lot about teething, sleep schedules, strollers — you name it — from the moms on this board.

The Bump and Allstate Insurance Company teamed up to bring you Take It From Me—a series of personal stories (and real-world advice!) from couples and experts who’ve been there. To find a local Allstate agent who can advise you as you make big life changes, visit Allstate.com.