Monthly Archives: June 2011

How Much Does a Baby Really Cost? Reflections After the First Year

by Naomi Charles

I was pregnant for the first time, and feeling a bit anxious, so I asked my brother whose wife had a baby the previous year, “How much does it cost to have a baby on a monthly basis?” David said, “If you can afford a coffee a day, you can afford to have a baby.”

Well, my baby girl turned a year old yesterday, and I have kept track of all the money we spent on her and guess what? David was right. All told, we spent $641.00. That is $52.41 a month and $1.75 a day! (Isn’t that the price of a coffee these days?)

Now what does $1.75 a day include? Well, everything: diapers, baby food, clothes, presents, toiletries, official documents, medicine, and even her birthday party expenses.

So why did I bother to do this? I wanted to prove something. Many people say they can’t afford children unless they have all the education they want, a good career and a double-income family. Also, my research could save lives! Just last week I read that a father dropped a cinderblock on his newborn baby (born to his girlfriend in a car) because they already had a one year old and couldn’t afford another baby.

Many modern sources you look to will not give you the impression that having a baby is affordable. For example, babycenter.com indicates that, “You’ll spend almost $10,000 on your baby’s first year, according to the thousands of moms who took BabyCenter’s exclusive survey.” The CanadianFinanceBlog.com provides a “reasonable expectation” of the costs of the first year as $11, 025. The breakdown is Food: $1646, Clothing: $1879, Health Care: $154, Child Care: $4,990, Shelter, Furnishings, Household Operations: $2,356.

So how did I manage to spend so little on her first year? First, I was committed to being as economical as possible because I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Today, this is rare because many mothers feel they cannot manage the family finances without going back to work. There is also societal pressure to feel inadequate if you are not contributing a cheque each month. It’s the “just a mom” syndrome.

One thing many new moms don’t account for (and how can you?) is the generosity of everyone around you when you’re going to have a baby! Often babies in the womb and out seem to emit some sort of compulsion field that causes everyone around them to want to give something. I cried at my baby shower because I was so overwhelmed and I prayed that every baby would be so welcomed. If you are part of a community, whether it is your family, a church, your workplace or circle of friends, they will want to share with you when baby comes.

Another big money saver is cloth diapers. I know, you may be thinking, a lot of work, a lot of mess and rashes too. Well, I researched a good kind by talking to other moms who used  them, and when asked at my baby shower what I needed, I said Motherease cloth diapers. They have snaps, not pins! They were about $12 each and many women bought them, so I had a whole collection of one-size-fits-all and a few newborn ones, plus two covers of each size. I use them when we are at home and use disposable ones when we are out and for overnight.

I didn’t buy a bunch of baby equipment. The only thing I bought was a car seat for $50. I was given a high chair, a stroller and a play pen which she uses as a bed. It travels well. That’s all. I didn’t want a change table, (the floor is safer) or an exersaucer, but I was given a jolly jumper. I didn’t buy any toys. The funny thing is, toys are nice, but what babies really want to play with is real stuff, like Tupperware, car keys, books, and the baby wipe container. Why buy toys that will just add clutter? Plus, if you are home with your baby, you don’t need many toys to entertain them because YOU get to play with them!

I’m not sure who spends $1879 on baby clothing! Thrift stores are great and secondhand baby things often look brand new because the little tykes grow out of them so quickly. A person can also sew clothing to save money. It takes some time and energy during baby’s nap but if you can sew, go for it!

Okay, breastfeeding is key! Not only is it the BEST food for baby, but it’s a lot cheaper than formula. Not that it is easy, especially at the beginning when you are getting the hang of it, but don’t give up and get some good advice from nurses or experienced mothers. As you go on, it is comfortable and convenient, and your milk is ready to go whenever and wherever your baby needs it.

Also, after 6 months, as much as you can, have baby eat what you eat. Those jars of baby food must add up. Get a manual baby food grinder and when you sit down for supper, grind whatever they can eat. Gradually baby will transition to eating everything with the family.

I would budget $100 per month for baby and at the end of the month put what is left in a savings account for her. It’s been adding up. And guess what? The government gives you $100 a month for the Universal Child Care benefit plus there is family allowance. So how can we not afford a baby?

Every baby and situation is unique. One friend was not able to nurse and her baby required special expensive formula. But this mother is excellent at making the most of coupons so when she buys groceries, she can save up to $45 at a time. Each family finds their own money-saving skills.

A simple life, without too much stuff, can be very enjoyable. My daughter certainly isn’t deprived. She’s very happy, always looks cute, enjoys her food, her library books, going outside and playing with Mommy and Daddy. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much we enjoy her. Everyday she does something new and her smiles and laughter lift us up like nothing else. I look forward to spending these years with her discovering the whole world and the One who made it, for about the price of a coffee a day.

By the way, my little girl is going to be a big sister in a few months and I’m not worried about having 10,000 dollars in my pocket!

Half Body, Whole Life

by Dante De Luca

Today’s story is about a woman named Rose Siggins; I am sure many of you are familiar with her story. Siggins was born with a medical condition called sacral agenesis, which means that she is missing the lower part of her spinal column. Her useless legs were amputated when she was a child in order to increase her mobility. Despite all this, she has lived a full and fairly normal life. She appeared in the 2005 documentary The Woman with Half a Body by the British Channel 5 in their series Extraordinary People and in the documentary Born Different: Unbelievable Medical Conditions on E! Entertainment Television in 2010.

What is all this doing on our pro-life blog, you ask? Well, not only is Siggins remarkable for the many obstacles she’s overcome due to her medical condition, but she is also a shining example of a woman who chose life despite overwhelming circumstances:

 “Two years into their relationship, Rose discovered that she was pregnant. Rose’s pregnancy was extraordinary and ground-breaking, no-one with Sacral Agenesis had ever given birth. The only doctor who didn’t advise Rose to have an abortion was Dr. Wilson who says “This couple have committed themselves to a pregnancy and she is, basically, laying her life on the line because nobody knows what this means, no-one has lived this experience before. With the first counselling with Rose and David I was very specific and told them that they have to know that if they move forward with this that she could die.” The main concerns were with her lungs being compressed, as the baby was likely to grow up the way because of her short stature. The other concern was how she would tolerate a caesarean delivery, because the baby was lying transversely she would have to be opened across the top, a true 19th century caesarean delivery. Rose told her mum that if there were any complications and there was a choice between her life and the baby’s, she should choose the baby.”

For the rest of her story, I present you with this article: part one and part two. You can also watch what I think is the Channel 5 documentary The Woman with Half a Body here.

A Call to Action

by Paul T

I have been avidly watching the news surrounding many states down south that have taken action to cut funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Their activism should serve as a wake up call to pro-lifers in Canada, as we seem to have forgotten about how to go about making abortion unthinkable. Following a very successful March for Life, we should not be afraid to take it to the next level and lobby our provincial governments to take action. Politicians everywhere are perfectly content if the abortion issue remains muted or silenced, as it allows them to evade controversy. In reality, controversy and democracy must coexist for any progress to be made in our society. Wake up, Canada! It’s time to unite and show the government we mean business. Can you imagine the impact of all of Canada’s pro-life force mobilizing to lobby their governments? It would be a victory in itself to have that force actively participating in democracy and to finally take action on the worst human rights crime of all time. Don’t wait for someone to tell you! Write to your MP, your MPP, your MLA, your MNA, and ask them where they stand on this issue. Finally, urge them to take action on this, or you will continue to lobby them to offer alternatives to abortion for women in need of real support.

Some Speech with Your Freedom

by Kate Larson

Ah, freedom of speech. I was glad to have it at the March for Life, on May 12, and glad to see it used well. I saw many positive things at the march, including a crowd of 15,000, according to reports, a toddler serenely holding a “We Choose Life” sign as big as he was, and people gathered on sidewalks and at the windows of office buildings looking on and sometimes waving at us as the march went by. I hadn’t noticed the latter in previous years and it seemed encouraging. In fact, the whole event was very encouraging, as was the accurate and fairly positive, though not front-page, coverage it received the next day in the Ottawa Citizen. I also saw something that set me thinking about freedom and speech. There was a small pro-choice contingent on the Hill this year, and among the usual slogans, someone was holding a sign saying “I Hate Life.” I don’t know whether it was meant to be a joke, a personal cry for help, or just an attempt to attract attention, but it struck me. It struck me then as tasteless or sad or callous, depending on his intention, but it strikes me now as being the only pro-choice sign I noticed that actually addressed what the day was supposed to be about – life.

Common slogans such as “My Body, My Choice” or “A Woman’s Right to Choose,” which were the types of things I saw on pro-choice signs at the march, don’t make sense when taken at face value. Making choices is a constant in our lives. No one needs to argue for the ability to make any kind of choice because as humans we naturally are able to choose to do whatever we want to do. There are always consequences or outside pressures which make us more or less likely to choose one thing over another, but our actual ability to choose is not under threat. By the same token, the ability to make choices does not need to be enshrined as a right because it is already inalienable. I realize that these kinds of slogans generally mean “I Support Abortion” or “Keep Abortion Legal,” but they don’t explicitly say that. They are hiding a point behind an abstract idea. They are taking advantage of freedom of speech but not saying anything.

I don’t know if the person holding the “I Hate Life” sign really does hate life. I hope not. I suspect not, too, as most people hesitate to be that vulnerable with serious emotions. If he does, I feel sad for him, but also admire his clarity. He is saying what he really means, not hiding behind euphemisms or platitudes. By the same token, the march was a testament to clarity. Signs such as “Abortion Kills a Human Being” and “I Regret My Abortion” meant just that. Hopefully they gave people on the sidewalks and in the office windows something to really think about.