Analyzing the costs and benefits of having a kid: is it worth it?

Guest post by Lindsey Miller
run little hippie run!

As with all things you want, there is a cost, right? For example: I want to keep living in my house. The cost is having a job that I don’t love and that takes a lot of my time and energy away from me, my husband and my lil dandyLion biz. That is the cost I have to pay right now for various reasons — the benefit is living in a home I love with my husband.

Anyway, I’m not trying to get into that. I’m trying to determine in advance so as not to injure, harm or leave anyone unloved in my life, is the cost of having a child worth the benefit? Because to me, right now, it’s not. But I’m also aware that I cannot possibly determine costs or benefits fully in advance. For my whole life, I’ve been on the fence about kids… so I think about this a lot.

Costs to consider:

  • Financial: my husband just recently got a job after being unemployed for 2 years and 3 months. We have no savings and I am trying to launch a business. Is supporting another human a good idea? Doctor bills, clothing, food, medicine, gear, diapers and many other financial responsibilities will be large. Not to mention the child’s future, whatever that may bring. I’m assuming that my child is healthy and whole, but what if they’re not? More doctors, treatments, pain? Or personal health issues for myself or my spouse, like PCOS or other difficulty in conceiving that may require drugs, treatment, surgery, etc.?
  • Emotional: I rarely see my husband and my dogs as it is. I am happy to get six hours of sleep at night. I cannot work 24/7, I cannot be awake 24/7 and I cannot afford a night nurse/nanny at this time. Can I really be the best mom I can be under these circumstances? Post partum depression, craziness and other unhappiness to make me resentful, bitter? Tied down, too much responsibility and not enough fun? I realize I am not the most emotionally mature person, too. Another way to damage potential offspring.
  • Time: Like I said above, I have two full time jobs, three part time gigs, a husband who needs love and snuggles, dogs that need the same, a house that needs cleaning and laundry that needs doing. I struggle balancing all of this right now, much less a creature who needs my attention 24/7. It’s nothing personal, potential offspring. I’m trying to be realistic here.
  • Self: What if I lost all sense of myself? What if I lose my business? I’m not as worried about my body as I was before but what about all my dreams and plans? Will they even matter? What if I lost my spouse? Relationships are so hard and complicated. I am happy with my life as it is now, most of the time, and that has been a process. I am selfish and generally not sorry. I do whatever makes me fucking happy because it’s my life. And that’s all.

[Anticipated] Benefits

  • Endless love: The thought and concept of creating is overwhelming, powerful, very captivating and could be addictive. It could outweigh everything mentioned above. But it also could not work out that way.
  • Lots of fun: I grew up in a large rowdy household and my siblings are still some of my closest friends, as are my parents. We had an amazing time growing up and had lots of people to play with, imagine with, grow with, and learn with. Imagine being able to impart and share all of that with something so special!
  • Happy husband: My charming, smart hubby has wanted to be a dad his whole life. I have the ability to give him that, to bring him to that level of happiness and wholeness, completeness. Who wouldn’t do that for someone they love? (Again though: at what cost? Cost of all self?) This is a big issue right now — and one I don’t know if we’ll resolve.
  • Fuller, more complete life?: I’m on the fence about this as I know parents who wouldn’t be complete without their kids and parents that are the opposite. I don’t know which one I am, but I don’t want to find out I’m the resentful type after they’re here.

What factors did you consider before deciding whether or not to have a kid? Did the costs outweigh the benefits — or vice-versa?

Comments on Analyzing the costs and benefits of having a kid: is it worth it?

  1. I’m so happy to see this post!! I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and keep going back and forth, so I’m excited to see what people who’ve been there say. Thank you OBM and all the mama’s, papa’s & caregivers who answer!!

  2. I spent a lot of time deliberating before I decided to have a kid. I’m a planner and a sometimes worrier, so I feel you. But, I see a lot of worry and fear in your lists here, and not much attention to potential positives, or room for the unknown.
    What it came down to for me was this: 1) I have no idea what it will be like to have a kid. 2) I am reasonably well set up to support a kid financially (they require less than you think!) and in mind/body 3) I am certain I want a kid.
    Honestly, in the end, I think #3 is most important. I know others will disagree, but I don’t think you should have a kid unless you feel deep in your heart (under the fears), 100%, that you want to. Otherwise, there are plenty of other things to do with your time, effort, and life, which are equally worthwhile. Nobody has to have a kid, especially not for their spouse.

    • One thing that helped me with the financial question was talking with my sister in law, who has 3 kids on a pretty minimal budget. It was super helpful to me to talk with her about what she felt the real necessities were. I think some amount of money is necessary for raising kids… but it’s a lot less than I used to think. (The tax benefits are pretty impressive, at least in my bracket. At this point I think we’re actually ahead financially of where we used to be, although I’m sure that’ll change as the toys and activities get bigger and more expensive.)

    • that all makes sense, except i think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a kid for your spouse. (obviously it’s circumstantial and there *can* be things wrong with it. and as you say, obviously no one *has to*.)

      i spent a lot of time wrestling with how culturally inappropriate that was, but i am completely confident in the decision to have kids because my wife wants to – a decision i never would have made otherwise.

  3. I think this is really true. I answered some of these questions for myself by deliberately shaping my life around having kids, starting several years before I had my daughter. When I applied for jobs I asked semi-subtle questions about how family-friendly they were. I dealt with my baby fever by starting a savings account for birth/baby costs.

    And now that I think about it, that probably made it easier to deal with my sense-of-self changes that happened once the baby was here. I’d been thinking of myself as a future parent for so long and shaping a lot of my life around that, that I guess it wasn’t as big of a shift to thinking of myself as a current parent.

    I do miss, for instance, being able to stop at the gym or the mall on the way home from work without needing to let anyone know. Or being able to go out spur of the moment without worrying about nap time. But you know what, those are going to be issues for the next ten years, 20 tops. I’ll have plenty of time post-kids to be spontaneous too. I try to avoid thinking of parenting issues as “my life will be this way forever” issues, because you know, they won’t. They’ll be this way for a short time and then they’ll change.

  4. I just have to quickly reply, I’m a UK gal, but lurk around OBM to try and help me think through everything you’ve just wrote. Thank you from me, for being honest and saying something people may frown upon i.e. thinking about kids in such a careful way, because you don’t want to neglect anybody present or future. I am a worrier and a planner and have been thinking the exact same thing this past year. I hide around here and see the good in having kids from the stories posted and also find the awesome tips for costs and patenting in general really useful,….in the end I came to the conclusion to wait until both me and husband were ready, and have just a little bit of cash stashed to soothe the planning stressy money side of my brain. I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I was just so glad to hear a kindred spirit, and I want to wish you good luck in whatever you decide and I hope this may be some slight comfort. πŸ™‚

  5. Great post! For me and my husband it’s 100% financial. I’ve got the dream job working for a non-profit but can’t seem to make ends meet when you add extra rent, health insurance and day care. Certainly can relate to the “Baby Crack” post πŸ˜‰

  6. For me I decided at age 30 that I wanted a child but I wasn’t financially secure AND I didn’t have someone suitable to tango with. I was talked out of doing it on my own and now NINE years later I’m married, more financially secure, and have a little someone growing in my belly. (At last! Woohoooo! :))

    I don’t think it costs as much as “they” say to raise a child [http://www.pennilessparenting.com is a great website with lots of tips] *BUT* I totally understand the peace of mind a bit of financial security can bring.

    Being financially stretched can make you more creative – for example: you have to make do without shop bought stuff so you make your own – but there’s only so much stretching you can take before you break. Depends where you are… stretched & managing with it creatively or stretched beyond that, stretched close to your breaking point. When I was managing, I was ready to have a child; when I was breaking, that would have been the last thing on my mind.

    Something else… if you are still in your twenties or early thirties, deciding whether or not to have a child might be something you could put off for a while giving you time to read more, talk more, think more and save more. You’ll know when it is the right time for you.

    • Glad you posted that!!! I’m 29 and constantly worried about getting too old which I know is 100% ridiculous. I’ve got my Saturn Return going on and Am ridiculously happily married and I’ve got all these HAVE BABY NOW urges going on. Turn off, damnit!!!

      • On the other hand, I’m 25 and we’re planning on having more than one child, and having looked at the hard data on age and fertility (like this: http://www.babycenter.com/0_chart-the-effect-of-age-on-fertility_6155.bc) we’re starting to realize we can’t wait forever if we want biological children. Not that it’s impossible to get pregnant after 35, but our odds of success go down and our likelyhood of ending up spending money on things like fertility treatments go up.

        • It is definitely NOT impossible to get pregnant after 35, but one major thing to be considered are the risks/ disadvantages that come with having a baby at a more advanced age. My aunt and I recently had children only months apart from each other, she is 15 years older than I am and has most assuredly had a harder time with everything due to either her age, or the fact that she is also a worrier/ stresser. The pregnancy wasn’t an easy one, delivery was terribly hard for her (directly related to having a first child so late in life according to her doctors) and her daughter was very fussy the first few months (stressed parent= stressed baby= unhappy fussy baby). Financially it really is easy to have a child if you buy smart for it, because you don’t need all that much or have to spend all that much in order to get by, but in the end if you aren’t 100% sure you actually WANT one, try and think of what you would do if you became pregnant unexpectedly. In the end if you wouldn’t be happy having a child then that child wouldn’t get all the love and attention it deserves and needs right? I was knocked up unexpectedly at a fairly young age, with not a penny saved and living month to month mostly, but it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. The love and happiness is unexpressable, but I would have a much harder time if I didn’t have the love and support that I do from my family. Everything is a give and take, some people wait until it feels right, or they feel prepared, then never end up having children, but if you have a child before you are prepared and cannot emotionally support them, then that’s not fair to the child either.

          These days people worry about the money too much, and not enough about the emotional. Either way you decide, a huge kudos to you for actually taking that into consideration πŸ˜€ (sorry for rambling a tad)

  7. This is something that my hubby and I talk more about now (and I get asked about). Currently, we aren’t in a place in our lives where we feel like we could realistically have enough time and energy for a child (not to mention money, which we could make happen). My dude is a student and working part time, plus an artist. I’m currently working a term job. We aren’t in a secure position for either one of us to commit to staying at home even for 6 months. We would make it work if it happened but… it would be easier if things were more stable.

    I have an amazing example of a friend who didn’t get to plan. She was unexpectedly pregnant and they made it work (with a lot of help from family). I think a big question has to be about your support network. That can outweigh a lot of the other questions too. Do you have family and friends who would be able to help out? That has gotten my friend and her husband through a lot of tight times in the past and I marvel that they made it all work and now have their second child and some very busy plans in the future.

  8. Honestly, we went over “have we done everything we want to do as just the two of us?” And “have we gotten the crazy partying out of our systems?” With everything else, we had brief discussions that mostly ended in “we’ll make it work, we always do.” But we both really wanted to be parents, the only question was when. Honestly, I do feel the benefits outweigh the costs. People always talk about how much kids cost, but it’s always in a lump sum. If we didn’t have a child, the money would be going to booze, eating out more often, and going out to movies and concerts more often – all fun things when that’s what we wanted to be doing. But now we want to hang out at home most of the time and watch the little human being we made discover the world for the first time. We still get out (she has grandparents who love to babysit), but we’re always happy to come home to the baby and that tells me we were ready.

    • I love “have we done everything we want to do as just the two of us?” and “have we gotten the crazy partying out of our systems?”.

      As someone who didn’t plan to have a child I struggle with trying to make time to go to school and do things that I feel still need to do in order to make my life complete. I also started partying because my new boyfriend was into drinking on the weekends, partying and other things. It didn’t last long, mainly because it makes you feel like a pretty horrible parent, and waking up early with a hangover is no fun, especially with a crying child. To me it was new and I never had the chance to be able to experience what it was like to go out and party.

  9. For some people I suppose weighing costs and benefits is a good way to decide. For me, it seemed all wrong. I always hated when people said, “but it’s all worth it…” I’m not faulting those who want to analyze it (because I analyze everything else in my life in this fashion) but this was one instance where I decided to make the decision simpler. In my opinion, having a child is something you do because you have something to GIVE, not because you expect to gain.

    • Thank you for pointing this out … I feel that it would be possibly very dangerous for both parents and child to expect some kind of “Gain” or “plus” to come out of having a child. Setting up expectations like that is unfair to the kid. I’m sure the Original Poster did not mean it like that, and of course it is a topic to consider very, very seriously … but ultimately, you cannot expect a kid to “add” to your relationship or your life. My son adds incredibly joy to my life and I love him devotedly — but if my idea was that I had him BECAUSE of these “benefits,” I could so easily become resentful of him when he isn’t convenient or if he faces problems down the road. So I would discourage THAT sort of analysis.

  10. I am so happy to see this post! I am going to be 31 this year, I’m happily married, not great financially but leaps and bounds better than I was 2 years ago and I’ve been trying to make this decision for years.

    We’ve gotten pretty close before; talking, planning, within a few months of “go time” and then I start to second guess the decision and we say “Let’s wait til next year”. I’m afraid sometimes that I’ll do that every time and then it will be too late… let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger.

    What makes me reasonably sure I want children is that when I try to picture a future without them, all I feel is sadness. And what makes me think that it’s about time now is that there’s something missing in my life that used to be filled with all the “fun” (partying, traveling, etc) which is now only a temporary band-aid.

    I’m scared to death of all the same things; financial and emotional stress, resentment, health issues, losing myself, and well, let’s admit it… LABOR. But I think what it comes down to is I’m thinking TOO hard about it. I can’t predict the future but I know that no matter what comes my way I’ll make it work and I’ll enjoy life regardless.

    Now, if only I would accidentally get knocked up so I could stop obsessing about “if” and get to the “when”! πŸ™‚

  11. I love my daughter more than I have ever loved anything. She brings sunshine and peace into my life, making all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love watching her grow and learn and I cannot wait to see where she decides to go with her life.

    That being said, we were not as prepared as I thought we were to have a child. My daughter was born fifteen months ago with severe heart defects. I never imagined that my child would need two open heart surgeries in one year, with more to come in the future. I was completely floored by the extra emotional and physical stress this would add to our lives. Fortunately, we live in Los Angeles and she is able to receive some of the best medical care available. My husband and I are teachers and both her surgeries have managed to fall during the summer months (the next one in two weeks). On the other hand, as young teachers in California, our jobs are very volatile.

    The financial side has not been as bad as I thought, but we have very generous families. My husband’s family has been able to help us out with inexpensive child care (a very loving tia and her abuela). My father was able to lend us some money during her first surgery so that neither of us had to teach summer school. Had it not been for these factors, things would be much, much harder.

    I still struggle with my decision to bring a child into this world. Although birth defects are often unpredictable and I did everything right during my pregnancy, I still blame myself for what happened to her. I wonder if it was pure selfishness to create her, but she is such a happy baby and enjoys life so much that I must banish that thought. My daughter will probably need a heart transplant in middle age, and I still haven’t come to terms with all of the challenges she will face as she grows up. All I can do is love her and raise her to be an involved citizen of the world. I want her to find passions and pursue those passions and as such, have a positive impact on the world around her. Isn’t that why children exist?

    I’m sorry to go on and on and on, but this post really struck me at my core. Good luck with your baby planning!

    • Love this post. Good luck to your daughter — and to you as parents — with her upcoming surgery.

  12. We’ve been trying to become parents for the last eight years – 4 years of trying to conceive including infertility treatment, 4 years of trying to adopt in a very anti-adoption country.

    So this is a conversation we’ve had again and again and again. We know we’d be okay if we can’t have children, but what made us really sure we want to keep going through this crap was doing foster care. I know it’s not an option for everyone, but it gave us a much clearer idea of what our life would look like with children in it and what we’d really need to change. My husband was surprised at how quickly he became attached (wrapped around their little fingers) and he realised he’d really want to be home from work earlier and would want to put aside some things that matter to him now, because he’d rather spend that time having dinner together, reading bedtime stories and watching Hannah Montana on Saturday mornings. For me, I realised how much I’d need to rely on others – not being able to use a babysitter at all made me desperate to have my Mum approved to look after the kid for an hour or so a week. I also know what a big softie my husband is and how most of the discipline will fall to me. We were also inundated with support from friends and family which was really reassuring.

    Of course, foster care is challenging & rewarding in many other more important ways as well, but I doubt we would have persisted so long if we hadn’t had those experiences. Being a foster carer isn’t the same as being a parent, but it’s taught us so much about who we are, what’s important to us, and what our strengths and weaknesses in caring for young people are. It’s really been priceless in many many ways.

    Edited to add: Please don’t think that being under 35 means getting knocked up won’t be an issue. We found out we had fertility issues when I was 21, he was 24. It happens. And it’s horrible.

  13. My daughter is nearly two now and I had her when I was 28. Me and my husband definitely wanted a baby and had already had a good amount of just us time and partying time under our belts. I have good health insurance so the cost hasn’t been much, with all the prenatal visits, birth, and well baby visits at no cost. Clothes and food are cheap, daycare is horrifically expensive. I had post partum depression, but because my HMO offered classes before my daughter was born I was able to recognize the signs and get help right away.

    I could not fathom how much I would love my daughter and how much my marriage would change (in a good way).

    That said, the first three months felt like living hell. Sleep deprivation is used as torture for a reason. I am hesitant to have a second child because the newborn stage was so awful for me, and my daughter was colicky and had acid reflux. Once we got past that, everything became much better and eventually wonderful. If you have good health insurance and family close by to help (I had my sister and parents) then I would say that you would likely be in a good situation to go for it.

    Being a parent is harder than you think but it’s also more rewarding than you think.

    The

  14. My daughter is nearly two now and I had her when I was 28. Me and my husband definitely wanted a baby and had already had a good amount of just us time and partying time under our belts. I have good health insurance so the cost hasn’t been much, with all the prenatal visits, birth, and well baby visits at no cost. Clothes and food are cheap, daycare is horrifically expensive. I had post partum depression, but because my HMO offered classes before my daughter was born I was able to recognize the signs and get help right away.

    I could not fathom how much I would love my daughter and how much my marriage would change (in a good way).

    That said, the first three months felt like living hell. Sleep deprivation is used as torture for a reason. I am hesitant to have a second child because the newborn stage was so awful for me, and my daughter was colicky and had acid reflux. Once we got past that, everything became much better and eventually wonderful. If you have good health insurance and family close by to help (I had my sister and parents) then I would say that you would likely be in a good situation to go for it.

    Being a parent is harder than you think but it’s also more rewarding than you think.

  15. You know, this post is so on time… I’m not in the same boat, but at a very similar crossroad. I have two children from a long ago marriage… My daughter will be 18 in a little over a month, my son will be 16… And I want a baby. I’m only 35, if anyone is curious. My partner, who has longed to be a parent, is with me on this, but as I struggle with college costs for my near adult, I wonder if I want to be facing this at 55. Because I have this perspective, I am trying to see if this is truly what I want, and as an engineer (and a barely employed one, at that) I love any opportunity to break issues down into logic. I’ve given myself a year to make a decision, and to get in shape. I figure, either way, I’m better prepared for whatever decision I make.

    I wish you luck in your decision making, and clarity. This is not an easy decision, and ultimately, it’s yours to make. Whatever you do, I feel you’ll do well since there is a ton of intent in your message here. <3

  16. Having a kid is totally not practical, unless you’re super rich. If you don’t feel like you MUST HAVE A CHILD despite all of the downsides, you aren’t ready, *in my opinion.* I went through most of my life not wanting kids. When I changed my mind, I REALLY changed it. Not having money, not being able to go out… I started making excuses to myself for why those things didn’t matter. I can honestly say I don’t regret our timing, although it’s hard to be objective once you have and love that child!

    It IS hard though. I work at home, and my hours were dramatically cut. My kid is 2 and I still don’t work half as much as I used to. My husband and I fight more about money as a result… but we also make up faster because fighting and parenting together sucks. So we’re less stubborn. Even when I was pregnant, I went out with a friend at least once a week. Now it’s not even once a month. And don’t get me started on my body. But if you’re ready, you’ll have read all of that and rationalized your way past all of those issues!

    • I went through the first 25 years of my life totally sure I’d never have bio children (even as a little girl I had adopted baby dolls). My husband was supportive and we planned on adoption. Then I suddenly changed my mind.

      The same thing– when I changed my mind BOY DID I CHANGE MY MIND. We waited a year before we started trying– just to make sure it wasn’t crazy hormones and that it was something I really wanted to do. Then it took us about a year to get pregnant. Now I’m pregnant and I just can’t wait to meet our baby!

      In the year of waiting we put together a savings that was quickly blown when our only car decided to more or less blow up. I’m a server and my husband is in grad school– he was supposed to have a year left but will actually be graduating this summer with no job hammered down just yet. Needless to say the timing couldn’t be worse, but when I saw that positive pregnancy test I suddenly developed this “everything will work out” attitude. We’re hard workers, creative and we love each other. I just suddenly have no doubt that this is the right thing for us, and somehow the right time.

      You can plan every detail and still have the carpet pulled out from under you. Sometimes you’ve just gotta follow your gut.

  17. I think you just know when the time is right. There is always going to be something like work or finances that you dealing with. If you want a child then there is nothing that will really stop you. At least that is how it was for me. I’m a workaholic. I run three businesses – one non profit, one production company and one sex toy company – and used to travel at least two weeks out of every month for work, sometimes more. But when I wanted a child there was nothing stopping me. You make the adjustments that are needed. I had staff and interns working at my dining room table just a couple weeks after my daughter birth and I still will orchestrate a board meeting while nursing my daughter. I even spoke at Berkeley with my daughter suckling away in a sling only 3 weeks post partum. That is what worked for me. My daughter always comes before work but I honestly think her birth has helped me to better prioritize and make better businesses decisions. For the first 9 months post partum I didn’t really travel for work but now I’m on the road about 7 days a month and my daughter gets to spend time with daddy. Listen to your heart and your gut and your uterus. And do what feels good to you. Just know that your life will change drastically but it doesn’t mean that you can’t balance being awesome at work and an awesome mom. I’ve learned that change can be amazing. Life with a child can be amazing. Life with out a child can be amazing too.

  18. Lucky for us, we mistakenly got knocked up so the run around of me wanting children and him never wanting children never really had to have a serious talk. He was scared shitless for a million reasons and he meant he NEVER wanted children. All that fear left the instant he first met our son. (Secretly I thanked the higher power) We have hardly any money for us but our son never goes without food, clothes or a home and honestly, that is all that matters to us in the end.

    It is a hard decision to make if you are ready to take all the baggage that comes along. We want another but this time, we are having to wait until we live in a bigger house, have better jobs, etc. Who knows how long that will take.

  19. You can never consider every possibility. ‘What if my spouse dies?’ I mean, what if a tornado picks up your house? Things happen, with or without a child. You’ll never have “enough” money or time or energy to have a kid. There’s no magic level. That said, the only reason you need not to have a kid is the fact that you don’t want to. I agree with the previous poster who said you don’t have a child to gain something. It’s not for everyone and for those that it is, the ‘right’ timing is different for everyone.

  20. I’m also very much on the fence, and unfortunately I don’t have all that much time. In my chosen career path (academia) it’s typically easier to have at least your first child while still in grad school getting your PhD. Having children during the tenure search/process is usually seen as a deterrent, particularly in male dominated areas as they assume someone else will be primary caregiver.

    In addition to that, I have PCOS so my chance of conceiving is reduced. I may be 22 right now, but if we want kids, we’ll probably have to have them within the next 7 years!

    Thanks for your pro and con list though. I think I’d add being able to see someone learn EVERYTHING to a pro. The learning process is fascinating, and something I’ve always enjoyed observing – and I really enjoy teaching in general!

    Like you, I also have a great family and we were always close. That is a huge motivating factor in wanting children as I find it quite hard to see a future that’s not like that.

    • I have PCOS and got pregnant my second month of trying! It doesn’t mean you’ll for sure have problems. We do have an increased risk of miscarriage though. I had some terrifying bleeding. But I went back on metformin and it stopped. Anyway, good luck whatever you decide to do!

  21. We were in the “right” place to have our kids – both gainfully employed, on an upward trajectory, really really wanted kids, had a support network, everything. We had our daughter, and 2.5 years later our son. One year after that my husband, the primary earner, lost his job, and then one year after that, was diagnosed with cancer. (He is since in remission and back at work, but things are beyond tough).

    No doubt about it, things are much much harder now than the would have been because of the kids. But we have never ever regretted having them. In fact, even though they make it harder, they have been the light in a lot of darkness. (And even though they’re whining _right now_).

    I really think that the saying is true (for most people, and assuming that you want kids) that you won’t regret the kids that you have, but you very well might regret the kids that you don’t.

  22. Costs:
    -Full control over my life, body (while pregnant), and time. Before there really wasn’t anyone or anything whose needs TOTALLY eclipsed mine… now there is (though there’s certainly room for my needs and for control over my life still).
    … and really, that just about covers the costs. I can still do what I want, but it takes a lot more planning and toleration of uncertainty, and some things (like scuba diving, for the time being) are too hard to make work while my baby is young.

    We’re probably lucky, but the financial side of things has been no biggie at all. We live in a country with socialized medicine, and between the handout that we got from our government when we had a baby and the tax breaks from the US gov, plus all the gifts and hand-me-downs we’ve gotten from family and friends, we really haven’t spent much more money so far than we would have normally! (Baby is 8 mos old.) I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid buying clothes, toys, etc. We make do with hand-me-downs, multi-purpose things (like a convertible carseat instead of a baby seat), etc. She has a lot of toys but not a SEA of toys like so many other kids, and her favorites are things like metal bowls from the kitchen (great drums!).

    Benefits: Hard to put into words without sounding cliche, but huge. Joy. Meaning. Laughter. Connection. Life feels just… more intense and full and rich now. I laugh and play more. I live much more in the moment. I procrastinate less. I get up earlier (and it’s actually nice, though I never thought I would say that). My connection with my husband is deeper. We appreciate the moments when we DO get to do things because they aren’t a given anymore. There are definitely crappy and tough moments, but the joyful ones totally outweigh them.

    • Have to agree with your pro list. Especially the better relationship with my husband. Having a child brought out this extremely gentle and tender side of him that, admittedly, is irresistable. It also proved to me that he was an equal partner in life with me. And our sex life has improved by leaps and bounds because finding the time and energy at the same time means it’s always spontaneous.

  23. I understand your pros and cons list, and I KNOW I would have made a similar list one day if our little girl wasn’t a surprise πŸ™‚ That being said, the perfect time to start something never arrives. So if you’ve weighed the cost vs benefits and come to a full decision that you DO want a little one, just go for it and you guys will make it work. Don’t dive into it just for your partner though – that sounds like a recipe for resentment.

    Also, I TOTALLY feel like I have a more complete life now that I have my daughter. I don’t define myself by her, I love my job and my hobbies, and I still have a sense of myself – but she has given my life more of a purpose than anything else ever has.

  24. i know this is a difficult question, but is there anyone out there who regrets having a kid? this is what i’m terrified of….i really don’t want to end up resenting my child’s exsistence if i ever have one. i’m 27 and have made similar cost/benefit, pro/con lists….and i’m just worried the anticipated pros will fall flat and i’ll be stuck with a kid i don’t want because that would be horrible for both parent and kid.

    • Since no one has replied to you I’m going to be honest. I think every parent has their moments. There are those times when your child is teething/not sleeping/grumpy/just being a pain for days to weeks at a time and it wears you down and with the busyness of life you start thinking god this would be so much easier without kids or even the times when you really want to do something but can’t because you have a child to look after. It doesn’t mean you would wish them away but at times it can be hard. I can say though those times are normally fleeting may last a day then your darling child gives you a hug/kiss/does something cute/rubs your leg cos they can see your stressed and it all melts away and you go back “i love you with all my heart and can’t see my life without you”. There are times I don’t like my daughter and that ok I still love her.

      We had our daughter when I was 22 my husband 27 she was a planned accident, I found out I was pregnant just after my husband got offered a job in wellington (nz we were living in dunedin) and we had just started organising the move. We have no family up here at it has been hard but you always work out a way and as clichΓ© as that sounds you really do.
      I don’t think a pros and con list fully works for having a child, I think if you are resorting to a pros and cons lists your not fully ready.

  25. I think that considering all aspects of parenting is good because it can be easy to have a baby because “that’s what people do” without determining whether you want to do it or not. There is enormous social pressure to have children. It’s pretty much an assumption for a lot of people so it can be easier to get swept up in it than it is to get swept up in a lot of other “that’s what people do” things.

    I do yet the sense though that, if someone wants to have a baby, they’ll get through the pro and con list and decide that it doesn’t matter in the end. They want a baby.

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