Debt Reduction, Everyday Living, Relationships, Where My Money Goes, work

Baby Talk: While We’re Still Waiting to Spawn

A few months ago, one of my cab drivers – a nice young woman who is a few years younger than me and has an infant of her own – asked me when my husband and I are going to start our own family. Ignoring the twinge in my ovaries when she said this I told her that we definitely want to start a family, we’re just waiting until we have a bit more money because having babies are expensive.

“No they’re not,” she said. “MinnesotaCare paid for everything when I had Junior.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my state’s system, “MinnesotaCare is a publicly subsidized program for Minnesota residents who do not have access to affordable health care coverage. The program serves an average of more than 100,000 people each month. It has been critical to Minnesota’s welfare reform strategy, helping people leave welfare and go to work without losing health care coverage.” (That’s from their website.)

MinnesotaCare is actually pretty nifty … like it says in the blurb up above, you don’t have to be unemployed to qualify – you can still work and still receive MinnesotaCare.

Now, being a cab driver doesn’t pay a whole heck of a lot here in my small town. Plus, it does not offer any benefits other than dental. So without knowing what my driver’s husband does for a living and why he doesn’t have benefits, it’s really great that my driver and her son are covered under this system.

But dammit – why is it that my husband and I have full-time jobs and we’re supposedly living the American dream, but we don’t feel like we can afford to make a baby? Well – mostly because I have really bad health insurance through my full-time job. It will save us from hopefully having to deal with bankruptcy lawyers in case of an emergency, but having a baby is not an emergency and neither of us want to dip into my husband’s savings so we can give our in-laws grandbabies (sorry mom and mom-in-law.).

We are being very smart about this: When Hubby’s full-time job goes from temporary to permanent, he will have a Cadillac of a healthcare plan that will make mine look like a Pinto. He will also be making more money which will make it possible for me to work from home (that’s a whole other scheme). But it’s not easy. One of my motivations when I was paying off my bad debt was that we could start a family soon thereafter. Yup – can’t do that yet.

In the meantime, we wait. This is something that my husband and I are very good at. But I will not be idle. I/We have been given this time for a reason. I’m trying to start some freelance stuff up so I have a network to draw from when our first child is born. This will mean additional income in the interim and when I am staying at home. It also gives me time to save money. MinnesotaCare or not – you can’t tell me that babies don’t cost money. Even if I convince my husband (and my in-laws, and my folks, and my friends … wait, and myself) that cloth diapers are the way to go, there are incidental costs that come with babies.

So in the meantime, it is time to clean out my office. For over two years, it’s been catch-all for the physical chaos of my life. When it’s time for us to have kids, it will be our nursery. And it will probably take more than nine months for me to clean it.

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5 thoughts on “Baby Talk: While We’re Still Waiting to Spawn

  1. You might want to look into a home midwife when you are ready, much cheaper than a hospital birth and if your insurance covers emergency troubles, still not going to bankrupt you should anything go wrong. (mine was something around 2K vs a 12K or more for a hospital birth)

    Though really there is no rush IMO.

  2. There is a somewhat old saying that goes something to the effect of : “If anyone/everyone waited until they could afford kids in order to have them, there would be no kids”

    Just a little food for thought

  3. It’s always a good idea to talk to the billing department of the hospital beforehand. Most have a sheet of birthing practices and costs. Then you can talk to your insurance co. and get an idea of what you are looking at. But waiting for better insurance is always a good idea. (Sidenote…pregnancy cannot be considered an existing condition so if you have to switch midway, it’s ok.)

    And babies don’t really cost much. It’s not until they are 2 and eating regular meals that you start to notice. You don’t have to buy the rice cereal, the jarred baby food, pricy disposable diapers. You don’t need the swing, bouncer, stroller, changing table, etc. All you need is a good bra for yourself. 🙂

    Funny story…I have two kids. Both delivered by a midwife, drug free labor, in a hospital under insurance coverage. My first I was in the hospital for 2 nights. Cost about $800.

    My second – same thing midwives, drug free labor – but I only stayed in the hospital ONE night. Home the next day. Total cost? Over $1,000. Different hospital, 3 years later. Oh and we had an extra $200 for the circumcision. (I know, too much information….but those little boys do cost more.)

    If I had another one I would probably birth at home, but it would be a bit scary for your first. And some insurance companies don’t cover that at all. When ever you do decide to go forward….watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born.”

  4. I totally relate to this post. I try not to, but I get really frustrated watching other people have babies when we can’t afford one. We’ve decided to wait until we’ve paid off the credit cards and the car, leaving the student loans for later. $17,000 more to go… *sigh* Hubby will probably want to have some money in the bank “just in case” because we’ve been without health insurance for a year now and don’t trust that we’ll be able to keep it once we get it. Darn layoffs… we’ve experienced two layoffs and one cut down to part time work in the last 1.5 years.

    Sorry for the rambling. Just wanted you to know you’re not the only one who can’t afford a baby! I hope that you guys can start trying soon, though.

  5. I think it’s rather ironic that people want to wait until they are out of debt to have a child, when a child will likely be the biggest expenditure they will ever take on. It takes six figures to raise a child to age 18 on average:
    http://moneycentral.msn.com/articles/family/kids/tlkidscost.asp

    Yes, there’s more than just financial considerations that come with children – they can bring much joy to your life. But I think there’s an increased awareness by women that they have more freedom and can meet their financial goals more easily without children. My own example – I went from renting, out of a job and living paycheck to paycheck 6 years ago to owning my own home (including a rental unit), my own business and a healthy emergency fund today. I could not have done all of those things if I’d had to support a child.

    I also know at least one couple who were waiting until they were financially ready to have a child…then they realized they were really waiting because they weren’t sure they wanted one, and the money was just a secondary reason.

    This comment is not meant to dissuade anyone from having a child…just food for thought. Everyone needs to make the choice that’s right for them.

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