Having a Baby - Costs and Benefits

Are you Having a Baby?

When it comes to having a baby, there are both costs and benefits.

The decision whether or not to have a child (or to grow your family) is a very personal decision. It depends on a myriad of factors, each of which can tip the balance in one direction or the other.

If you are pregnant or considering trying to conceive, the question of whether it is a "good" decision is one that only you can answer yourself, or together with your partner. Your friends, your mother, or your neighbor down the street shouldn't have a say as to whether you get pregnant. One exception of course is if you are under 18 and still living at home. Then, you might have to answer to mom.

Are you going to be having a baby?
Are you going to be having a baby? | Source

What Should be Considered Before Having a Baby

Your Health

You should have a thorough medical examination before trying to conceive, to make sure that you are in good health. Some chronic conditions can interfere with your ability to conceive (i.e. endometriosis, thyroid conditions, etc.) Your doctor can provide more information. It would be best to know starting out. If you are a smoker, use illegal drugs, or drink heavily, these bad habits should be stopped, as well. Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 6 months before you want to start getting pregnant. Because of the risk of accidental pregnancies, studies are now recommending that all women of childbearing age (15-45) take prenatal vitamins. In addition to considerations with respect to pregnancy, chronic health conditions or diseases may impact your ability to care for your child long term. For example, if you have had cancer, but it is in remission, what if it comes back? What would your prognosis be? How long would your child have with his or her parent?

Your Age

Younger women generally have an easier time conceiving, but may not be financially ready or have stable life circumstances to allow for the demands of a baby. On the other hand, older women lose fertility over the years and the risk of miscarriage, Down's Syndrome and other complications rises. What is the "right" time to have a baby? Only you can answer that question. If you are adopting a baby later in life, do the math and consider your age at certain milestones: high school graduation, college graduation, age 30 (potential marriage).

Your Finances

Its startling: One estimate provides that a child born in the year 2000 will cost approximately $165,000 to raise to age 18. With inflation factors, that rises to over $235,000. For just one child.

Lots of kids = lots of work AND lots of fun!
Lots of kids = lots of work AND lots of fun! | Source

Considerations Before you Conceive a Baby or Adopt

Your Job Situation

Finances and jobs tend to go hand-in-hand. But the career consideration has another dimension. If you are a woman, rising through the ranks in your company, or an entrepreneur, consider the potential impact a child may have. Balancing motherhood and career is an oxymoron. There is no balance. The best you can expect is to try to squeeze more hours out of an already packed day. But don't despair. Many, many women manage to work out of the home and happily raise a family. It can be done.

Your Partner - do you have one - will he or she contribute financially and socially to the child's upbringing?

Believe me, four hands are better than two. Study after study shows that children brought up in two parent households fare better than those that don't. However, even a connection to the other parent is better than nothing, in most circumstances. Participation in the child's life is important and foundational for self-esteem. Given the high cost of raising a child, discussed above, both parents should be contributing financially. If you have concerns or questions in this regard about a current situation, you should contact an attorney or social worker. If you have a "gut feeling" that your partner may not be as excited about becoming a parent as you, and thus may not be a part of your child's life after he or she comes into the world, this is something to seriously consider before making your decision.

Your Life Stability

Are you paying off student loans, living on Top Ramen and living in a tiny studio apartment with a bicycle as your only means of transportation? You may want to wait a few years until you have some better stability. Likewise, if you anticipate a major job change, a relocation, or other life disruption in the year ahead, a baby will not fit in well and will cause undue stress for both of you. Be patient. It will be a much more positive experience if you wait.

Other Family Members

Will you have the help of Mom or Grandma - or maybe a nearby Aunt to help pick up the slack? Relatives, if they are willing and able to help, can be invaluable not only during the early infant and toddler years, but also during the hectic carpooling years. If you have a job, a pet, or more than one child, you will soon be pulled in so many directions you'll soon wish you could get your hands on one of those "time-turners" from the Harry Potter books. Babysitters can only help so much, and they are expensive. Free is a good price, plus you know that relatives are reliable and love your child, probably almost as much as you do.

Babies cry - sometimes a lot!
Babies cry - sometimes a lot! | Source

Costs and Drawbacks of Having a Baby

  • Cost/Expense - "start-up costs" are extraordinary (car seats, formula, bottles, breast milk pumps)
  • Time/Energy - 24 hours in a day = 18-20 spent on a newborn. School aged children require homework supervision and carpooling to extracurricular activities.
  • Impact on Scheduling - less flexibility
  • Potential impact on Career
  • Vacations - need to arrange for childcare, or increased expense if you bring them along
  • Babysitters - need to arrange in advance before going out on a date
  • Increased grocery bills, utility bills, gas bills
  • Increased car insurance when your child learns to drive
  • College savings
  • Housework at least triples - even with only one child (laundry, dishes, toys)
  • Crying babies
  • Terrible 2's
  • Teenage attitude

Vacations are a lot different when you have kids
Vacations are a lot different when you have kids | Source
Kids can give you a reason to go to Disneyland (and hug Pooh Bear)
Kids can give you a reason to go to Disneyland (and hug Pooh Bear) | Source
Kids give you the opportunity to dance along with the Village People
Kids give you the opportunity to dance along with the Village People | Source
With children, weekends can be filled with sports and other activities (not usually your own!)
With children, weekends can be filled with sports and other activities (not usually your own!) | Source

Benefits of Having a Baby

  • Fingerprint art
  • Toothless smiles
  • Cooing grandmothers
  • Wobbly first steps
  • Tucking them in at night - whispers and soft kisses
  • Staring at a sleeping child from the bedroom door
  • Marveling at another notch in the door jam after a recent growth spurt
  • A reason to go to Disneyland again
  • Re-discovery of your favorite childhood books
  • The soft, sweet smell of a newborn's head
  • Swelling pride when you attend sports events, theater performances or recitals - or all of the above!
  • Joy of being able to heal a scraped knee with a kiss and a lollipop
  • Experiencing the true magic of the holidays again, and believing in Santa Claus once more
  • Showing them the YMCA dance - and watching them perform!
  • Snowball fights
  • Enjoying the unique personality of your child, and wondering where he or she comes up with such amazing questions
  • Stargazing
  • Knowing that when you turn 90, your grandchildren will be there to help you blow out the candles
  • The feeling of the deepest love you'll probably ever know

The list is endless.... if you are a parent, please add your own blessings!

Grandmothers just cannot get enough baby love
Grandmothers just cannot get enough baby love | Source

More by this Author


Comments 42 comments

Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa

Awww, this is really sweet. Thanks, Steph - I've been having the baby urges lately, but not really sure how that will fit into our lives just yet. This helps to put it all into a little more perspective. I'd love to hear more feedback from others!

Have you read any of the books above? I'm wondering what you recommend . . .


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Anytime Kat07! Its a big undertaking, but obviously I believe the benefits outweigh the costs! I've read a lot of books. The good ole standby is What to Expect When You're Expecting. I've also read the Happiest Baby on the Block books and Raising Cain. Actually, the best work-family balance book I read was a novel. I've got to remember the title and then I'll put it up there too. It was a great read! Good luck!


Blogger Mom profile image

Blogger Mom 8 years ago from Northeast, US

Your article made me smile...thanks for the great read! =)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco

Every woman considering motherhood should read this - very well thought out and informative. It's always best to be prepared for such important, life-changing events!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Blogger Mom and livelonger. I really appreciate the comments.


Encourager profile image

Encourager 8 years ago from Cotswolds, UK

We have one grand daughter of 2 years 3 months. Great to spend time with her. But we are 100 miles apart! Know exactly what you say about Grand parents! Excellent advice all round.


seamus profile image

seamus 8 years ago

Some sound advice. Thanks for the hub. You mention that many women work out of the home and raise a happy family. That could be a good hub topic!


canon a650 8 years ago

so lovely baby :)


Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Wow. I hadn't read this one until now. I understand why you are proud of it.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Absolutely a great hub...I don't know why my comment didn't show up the first time I read your hub.

I agree with you that children come with a high pricetag not just monetary but I honestly think they're worth every dime, effort, and unfortunately heartache too.

Super HUB regards Zsuzsy


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

HOw did I miss this one, Steph? This really is one of your best. Love it. :)


recoveringredneck profile image

recoveringredneck 8 years ago from Idaho

All valid points. Ultimately I agree with you the decision to have or not have a child is nobody's decision but you and your spouse/partner. However I have seen time and again people who have children who shouldn't be parents for a variety of reasons, and of course those who would make excellent parents and have a deep desire to be and sadly enough cant. It's hard to except sometimes. I personally know a couple who are in the process of having their kids taken away because of neglect and abuse. They have four kids and their family kept telling them not to have more because they could barely take care of the ones they had, but they took no measures to prevent more pregnancies and now they are going to lose it all. There is a lot more to it but that's the short version.


nWoAdi profile image

nWoAdi 8 years ago from Singapore

Childrens are indeed blessings from God. They are the ones that will bring balance to the force, or in this case the family. I love reading your article. All the infos are really being laid out properly. Anywhere it seems that Grandparents are the ones that tends to spoilt the child the most but in a good way. Their love given to their GrandKids are incomparable. =)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Indeed, I agree - children are blessings from God - each and every one of them. I never knew I would have 4 kids, but they are all so wonderful. Grandparents are a very special part of my childrens' lives, just as mine were when I was growing up. Cheers!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

A great hub- to few people seem to have babies because its the done thing, or grandparents want them to or their friends are all doing it. Idecided not to have kids when I was about 10 and at 47 have never regretted not doing - although the costs of the pill ads up over a lifetime its nothing like the cost of a child!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Lissie - so great to hear from you! I have a few friends like you who decided never to have kids. I would never judge them (nor they, me). Its such a personal decision, and very unique to each individual. Congrats for making the right decision! How else could you have traveled, blogged, etc.? Best, Steph


lissa 7 years ago

I feel life is hard enough without having kids. So why have them? But what if ur husband wants them and u don't...???


James Ginn profile image

James Ginn 7 years ago from Ohio

Great photos and a really good article. I started later in life, thinking I wasn't ready. I was forty before we had our first and I now have 3 all under the age of four. My wife was 28 when we had our first and I am glad I didn't think about all the potential drawbacks or we may have never pulled the trigger. I will say this: I don't think you should "wait until you're ready." If you want children, have them. If you aren't really sure, you can come up with a million reasons not to. Just my 2 cents. Thank you.


DAlfor profile image

DAlfor 6 years ago from Redmond, WA

what a cute little baby you got there!


GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 6 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

I love kids! Great hub with awesome pictures!


cbris52 profile image

cbris52 6 years ago

GREAT Hub!


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

What I learned when I became a mom- there is NO right time or way to plan for a baby. Before my daughter I had a career, made good money, had a plan, great health, etc and after baby (2.5 yrs later) I am not working, living on only my husband's income, now have a chronic illness, and have no plans. Actually, being 32 when I had my daughter, I wish I had never heard anybody say to me how I should wait until the time is "right". I wish I was younger when I had my daughter. I may have had no career in my early 20's, but now in my mid 30's and back to square one. I am further behind (no career) than I was back in my 20's.

Planning is a crock- you can never be prepared. I never planned on my daughter getting sick at daycare so often or my job being so inflexible or my husband's job being inflexible or for my health problems. I think mental preparation is more important than material. By mental I mean willing to be less selfish, weathering the sick times, losing a lot of sleep, and learning the art of resiliency during the many ups and downs of parenthood.


w_elizabeth profile image

w_elizabeth 6 years ago

very comprehensive analysis..but nonetheless, having a baby remains a glorious blessing. Nice hub!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I agree with you w_elizabeth- babies are a wonderful blessing! :)


belliott profile image

belliott 6 years ago

Great Hub with well thought out advise. Covers many of the things that need to be considered when thinking about having a baby. I love the pictures.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you belliott - as a mom of four children, it was pretty easy to write. The photos were just as much fun to take... great subjects. ;-)


Debbie Gee profile image

Debbie Gee 6 years ago from California

Don't forget to check with your State for help, like with Women, Infants and Children's programs. Nice Hub!


Lilyraine 6 years ago

Thanks for that...it made me smile. The part about the Holidays and believing in Santa again-thats the kind of magic that makes parenting worthwhile. :)


maeharrison profile image

maeharrison 6 years ago from london

wow the baby at the beginning of the article is really cute! and thank you for the valuable information you have given.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Mae (my own daughter as a baby... ;-)


Carly 6 years ago

Steph...I am a mother of three (7, 3, and 14 months) I am also a registered nurse who works three twelves. I am recently feeling the urge for just one more child. Is there any advise you can give for going from three mids to four?


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Carly - well, I went from 2 to 4 in one night. :) However, when the twins were born, my boys were 5 and 3. I would say that by the time your fourth arrives, your oldest should be quite helpful. Your 14-month old will be into the 2s, as well. Personally, I would wait until your youngest will be closer to 3 if you can - especially with your work schedule. At the same time, if you love children and have strong parenting skills and support, then that weighs in the balance of letting nature take its course. Best to you and your family!

p.s. my kids are now 12, 10, 7 and 7. I'm thrilled to have this wonderful family


ggerner profile image

ggerner 6 years ago

Very practical advise. Many wannabe parents would benefit from reading this post. The decision to have a baby is not one to be taken lightly.


ellacor profile image

ellacor 6 years ago

Great practical advice, thanks.


CatrionaS profile image

CatrionaS 6 years ago from England

Love this article. It made me smile reading all the best bits of having kids section. My eldest is almost 3 and he is such a character already. It makes me laugh when they pull a face or do something that completely reminds me of my husband or I. It's a bit scary (in a good way) to see how many personality traits they pick up from us parents. My boys definitely make me want to be a better person. Thanks for making me smile after a sleepless night!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Having a baby definitely has its amazing, heart-warming moments. Congratulations on parenthood!


hudlife profile image

hudlife 6 years ago from South Carolina

Wow! What a great, and thorough, exploration into the pros and cons of having children. I think almost every parent would say that the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot.

Thanks for posting!


Mary Richards 5 years ago

Thank you, thank you for this article! I am aware of the hardships mentioned and the blessings – my husband seems to be much more in the dark about the whole thing. His attitude is – it will be fun and I just do what I think will be fun in life. I hear over and over again there is no right time to have a child, but I want so badly to know when would be a good time for me. So far, that feeling has eluded me and I’m beginning to get scared I’ll run out of time. I always thought I'd have children, but now I am 35 and my career is finally taking off. I have worked SO hard to be where I'm at now and I am poised for major success and have already had my fair share. I really love what I do for a living, it is my life’s dream and ambition, and I am worried that having a baby now will hinder what I've worked that last 15 years for. Why oh why is modern life so complicated and why must we compromise between career love and motherhood? (In modern society and from what I’ve witnessed, by the time many women are ‘ready’ to be a parent, it's often too late! For future generations, perhaps science will develop further so we can push the biological cut off date back a bit! ;)) I want to hear stories of women who felt it was the right time, who really knew it was a good time to be a mom, and the universe just gently tapped them on the shoulder. As for women I know, I can only think of 2 out of the 10 who were really planning on having children, for the rest, it was, “Uh oh, I’m pregnant!” Only two of those women are also successful in their careers and only have one child. So it really does appear to be almost an either or choice from where I stand.


TPSicotte profile image

TPSicotte 5 years ago from The Great White North

You mean people really think this stuff through. Well maybe a few will after they read this hub. Great stuff.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi TPSicotte - it would be great if everyone very carefully considered the costs and benefits of having a baby before heading down that path. Its an individual decision that should take many factors into consideration. Thanks for the comment - Best, Steph


Alex 3 years ago

Very informative :D

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working