Chapter 8. EVERYTHING ELSE

It's 3 a.m. and Kumiko is in bed and wide awake while her husband sleeps beside her. This morning she took a home pregnancy test and—surprise—it came back positive. It has been a beautiful, memorable day full of intermingled feelings of excitement and apprehension.

And it's the apprehension keeping Kumiko up. After today's eventful news, it's finally dawning on her that her financial picture is about to change in many new and unfamiliar ways. Now she can't keep her thoughts from spinning away.

To begin with, Kumiko just started a new job last week as an executive assistant for a commercial mortgage firm, and she is worried about breaking the news of her impending maternity leave to the new boss. She's also wondering how her little family will get by on the 55 percent of her current salary that Employment Insurance (EI) provides for that first year of parental leave. Kumiko and her husband are already struggling to pay the mortgage on their four-bedroom, two-bath home.

She worries about finding ways to pay for new baby clothes and save for her child's university education (she knows there's something out there called an RESP, but has no idea what it means), and Kumiko thinks it's time she and her husband Brian re-evaluate their life insurance policies and even draft a will. But what will that cost?

"It's amazing how nuts I made myself that night worrying about everything. The next morning I called my mom and she calmed me down. 'It will all work out. It always ...

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