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Babies and Money | Catholic Life

Babies and Money

Are babies expensive? My parents would say no. After all, the cost of pregnancy is the food (you do not really need doctors appointments or tests!) and the food isn’t really that much. Six months worth of a slice of wholewheat bread and peanut butter per day is, um, ::pretends to do the math:: pretty cheap.

Medical supplies for a home-birth are easily available for less than $50.00. Things get a little more expensive once the baby is born. You can get hand-me-downs for just about everything other than the breast-milk. That will cost up to three slices of wholewheat bread with peanut butter.

So, conception through first birthday may be $200.00. Which is a lot of money, but still quite reasonable if you make sure to ask for peanut butter for Christmas and birthdays.

Are babies expensive? Obviously not!

The funny thing though, is that most people think of responsible parenting as far more than wholewheat bread, peanut butter, and a home-birth kit. This is not a problem in itself, but it becomes one when we assume that others share our blessings and judge them for not acting as we imagine that we would in their situation.

Is health insurance necessary for responsible parenthood? Only the couple can judge.

Many people who take the “accept babies and let God take care of the money” perspective seem to either have plenty of money without realizing it (and imagine that everyone else shares their resources!) or else have no problem with relying on the generosity of others (and again imagines that everyone else has parents ready and willing to provide anything a child might actually need).

I am past the far left in my views of what society as a whole should provide for children and I do not think that anyone should ever have to postpone pregnancy for financial reasons. But this is not reality, and most people are not my parents. Thus I cannot understand why anyone would want to pressure others into having children when they do not have the financial resources to pay for green leafy vegetables for the pregnant mother, safe car seats for the baby, and dentist-visits for the toddler.

If you think automatically assume that financial reasons for avoiding pregnancy are never legitimate then perhaps you should take a deeper look at your own life. It is likely that you are the one with extra resources to spare, and maybe you can find a way to give your $200 in coffee-money to someone who is willing to turn it into a healthy baby.

Because babies may not be expensive, but they certainty are not free.

4 Responses to “Babies and Money”

  1. Salome Ellen 21. Nov, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    While I agree with what you say, I also believe that in this (very rich by historical standards) culture, the norm is to believe that one has financial reasons when that is not actually true. Many couples “can’t afford a baby” but have premium cable, or payments on a more-than-they-need car, or “have to replace the dishwasher first.” The year our second daughter was born, our taxable income was in the three (3) digits!! (My husband was in college on VA Bill funding, which is non-taxable.) We had all the necessities — including green vegetables and car seats — but none of the luxuries, except a wonderful daughter!

    • Rae 22. Nov, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      I agree with you, but that does not mean that there are not some people who really do have a good (financial) reason to postpone pregnancy. Also, I don’t think that one is obligated to live at the lowest standard possible in order to afford the most children possible. I’d be happy to do it, but I don’t think it is a universal obligation.

  2. Kacie 22. Nov, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Wow, your parents are unique! Even if you can manage a super cheap (essentially medical care-free) birth, you have to continue in a very counter cultural lifestyle to spend so little.

    Our refugee friends that we met with this past week were amazed to hear us talk about our financial struggles around this birth – they had a baby and manage it because of medicaid. They said they had no idea how much they’d have to pay if they didn’t have medicaid.

    • Rae 23. Nov, 2010 at 5:59 am #

      I quite agree that my parents are unique. I am certainly not like them! :-) And I am so very glad that your friends has Medicaid to help!

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