In the Catholic blogging world, it's quite common to see posts about how children really aren't that expensive, don't really have that many needs, etc. These are said, of course, to promote the idea of being open to life and that adding another child isn't as difficult as our society makes it out to be. And to an extent, I agree. Barring unforeseen incidents like health complications, inability to breastfeed, etc. a baby needs very little in his/her first couple years. Most baby necessities can be gotten secondhand for a fraction of the original price and there really aren't all that many necessities.
We gave away 99% of our baby stuff (and don't regret it at all) so I'm currently in the process of thinking through what we truly need and what we can skip. I don't think we'll need much and I have a feeling with generous friends and family, we be handed down or gifted all the true necessities.
But it's not the baby I'm worried about paying for, it's the pregnancy. Over the course of two years we've spent quite a bit to get to this point. Even though I labored at home with all my miscarriages, they still weren't cheap. Neither were the tests, surgery, and treatments. Now that I have a viable pregnancy, I'm taking hCG shots and progesterone which together cost over $500 per month. We've already met our insurance out of pocket maximum for the year, but hCG isn't covered by my insurance and we still have to pay the copay for prescriptions. Our insurance year ends May 31, and while we're grateful to have insurance coverage through David's teaching job through the end of July, our deductible starts over so during those two months, we'll be paying out of pocket anyway.
We're moving out of state in six weeks. David does not have a job lined up yet. (Though he's been applying for jobs for months so we're still hopeful he'll have one before the move.) It's seemingly a terrible time financially to have a baby. I'll admit that I've felt quite a bit of shame about being pregnant during such a difficult financial time. After all, it was our choice to try to conceive, even though it seemed unlikely I would get pregnant so quickly or stay pregnant.
Most of all though, more than shame or fear, I'm angry that what comes so easily to most women, what is supposed to come easily, came with a lot of pain and a hefty price tag for me. In some ways I feel like we've had to pay for a baby, that our child is more the result of doctor's bills than love between spouses.
I know I'm not alone in this. I know there are other women out there that have felt that they've had to pay for what should come naturally, should come free. So while I do believe that, in general, babies aren't an overwhelming financial burden, sometimes pregnancy is and being "open to life" can have a crippling cost.