Doesn’t that little baby look so incredibly adorable? Don’t you just want to take it home with you? Aren’t you looking forward to having a kid or two of your own?
Umm, thanks, but no thanks.
As a young woman in the American Midwest, it seems everyone is starting to get a touch of “baby fever.” Whether it’s a roommate cooing over an endless documentary on babies or pictures of wrinkled newborns stuffing my Facebook feed, I’m starting to get the hint. I am female, therefore I procreate.
Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of having kids, let alone raising them?
The Financial Factor
The bare minimum of raising a child from childhood to adulthood is $250,360. Seem steep? That’s enough to buy a nice house or apartment, and that number is just going to go up.
Not to mention that this figure doesn’t include summer camps, music lessons, car troubles, destroyed property, tutoring and so on. Oh, and you’re assuming this is an entirely healthy baby with no allergies (everyone does nowadays), perfect vision (glasses cost a ton!) or no disabilities whatsoever.
Before that, you have to get that baby born. And that might just bankrupt you, too; American births can range from $4,000 – $45,000. Thank you, money-mongering insurance agencies.
Everything involved in having a child – from the iconic ultrasound to the pain-reducing epidural – has a hefty fee. Even your hospital stay can add up to $6,000 per person, per night.
Oh, you didn’t know? The cute bundle in your arms counts as an extra occupant.
Here’s a statement of affairs from the New York Times:
From 2004 to 2010, the prices that insurers paid for childbirth — one of the most universal medical encounters — rose 49 percent for vaginal births and 41 percent for Caesarean sections in the United States, with average out-of-pocket costs rising fourfold…
… Women with insurance pay out of pocket an average of $3,400, according to a survey by Childbirth Connection, one of the groups behind the maternity costs report. Two decades ago, women typically paid nothing other than a small fee if they opted for a private hospital room or television.
Is it just me, or is this horrendously wrong? I couldn’t afford to have a baby, let alone raise one.
The Lifestyle Limitations
Yes, this is incredibly self-centered. But come on! The one thing I have learned from every mother, new and old, is this: everything changes when you have children. Everything.
No longer do you have the luxury of looking for that job you always wanted. Moving to a new abode – let alone a new city – is nigh impossible. Social life? You better have a long list of baby-sitters or CEO-grade nannies at your fingertips.
And I am *just* not ready for that. I can hardly handle being responsible enough to keep my thunder thighs in check. How could I possibly be responsible enough to raise a cooing, drooling baby to maturity (and hope they accomplish more than I ever could)?
Perhaps I could just “grow into” the role, others say. It’s a constant learning experience. No one is perfect. And besides, it’s my god-given duty… right?
The Biological Clock
This is enough to make me cry foul. Now you’re going to tell me that I better get my kids now, because childbirth is too complicated at age 35? You’re going to tell me that my little ovaries’ clocks are ticking down to zero and that I better cash in now?
Not only that, you are willing to sell me services so I can “extend” my fertility.
Oh puh-lease. Get over it.
I am going to have kids when I am good and ready. And that means not now. And that means, no, the new boyfriend is not my husband-to-be. At least, don’t expect that I’m already laying down wedding plans and picking out colors for the nursery walls.
And, last I checked, the human race is nowhere near extinction. In fact, population increases only point to a more crowded, less equitable society full of haves and have-nots. What kind of future is *that* for a child to look forward to?
The Right to be Different
Maybe in a few years I will feel differently. Not only am I growing into who I will become, my views on every aspect of life will change, too. And I hope that people can respect that. We don’t graduate from adolescence to be frozen in time. To be alive is to change. Maybe before I reach the tipping point of 35, I will already have a cooing bundle of cuteness in my arms.
More likely, that cooing bundle will have four paws and a black, wet nose.