Why we chose to become parents in a bad economy #Becoming Parents#money#pregnancy March 22 | Guest post by Vivi Just days before we knew we were expecting… photo by Yoan Soilen. I am 27. My husband is 25. We both graduated a year and a half ago and between the two of us, have about $30,000 in student debt. We are a typical, just graduated, struggling with the crappy job market, twenty-something couple. Our jobs are not stable and we may have to move for work in a few months. We live a seven hour drive from our closest family and support system. We just got married. So… this seemed like the perfect time to try to have a baby. For serious. Many people who surround us are strong supporters of the "wait until…" theology of having children. Wait until you have a steady job. Wait until you own a house. Wait until you feel like you are older. While these are responsible ideals, our desire to "wait until" basically died when my dad landed in hospital. I remember visiting my Dad, covered in tubing, in obvious pain, trying to make light of his extremely close call. My then-boyfriend, now husband, commented later "I do not want to be retired, in the hospital, with a son just finishing high school." My dad was in his 40's when my younger brother popped into the picture. This conversation started another conversation — "How old do you want to be?" When my husband and I realized that we wanted to be young parents, we knew that time was a wastin'. Fast forward ten months: we got engaged, then married and have decided not to "try" to get pregnant but not use any protective counter measures. I was working a short term contract. Getting pregnant right away might make it difficult to get another job and my husband cannot support us both. Me getting pregnant could be a financially dangerous decision. But when would we be in a position of wealth? How many years in the future would it be before we were both working and had settled somewhere permanent? What if we had trouble conceiving? There was no guarantee it wouldn't take us years to have a baby — and then would we be able to afford fertility treatments? No crystal ball answered our questions. Finding out the sex of your baby: pros and cons Finding out the sex is one of those favourite sources of conversation for pregnant women and all who know them long into early parenthood: "Will... [more] I decided to give my rational mind a rest and ask my spiritual self to take over. I am pagan. I trust that I can bring positive energy to myself, that the universe has a divine plan for me, my husband, and our future family. So we decided to let the universe tell us when the best time to have a baby was. Realizing that I was pregnant was one of those really fabulous "oh shit" moments. As in "Holy man this is the most exciting thing that could happen" followed by "What are we going to do?" Three weeks after the wedding, we conceived. Realizing that I was pregnant was one of those really fabulous "oh shit" moments. As in "Holy man this is the most exciting thing that could happen" followed by "What are we going to do?" My contract was ending in 2 ½ months, my belly was showing early and I was throwing up all the time. Morning sickness does not help you consider new job opportunities. It basically helps you consider crawling into bed for eight weeks and not leaving until your nausea has passed. Then we started seriously wondering what the hell we were thinking — this is not the right time to have a baby! Once again, my very rational, loves numbers, extreme planning and oh-so-organized brain went on worry overdrive. I had to tap that part of myself on the shoulder and ask it to step aside. I started focusing on letting go of what I couldn't control, and letting our needs be known to the world. "Yes we are expecting!" "Yes this apartment does need some renovations to be suitable for a baby." "Yes I WILL need another job, and soon, I am pregnant!" "Yes we will need tons of free baby stuff — anyone have any?" Just weeks after letting the cat out of the bag, I have landed a contract that will take me to maternity leave, my husband has new job prospects lined up, my landlord has agreed to help us renovate our apartment and support has come flowing out from family and friends. Almost all the baby paraphenalia needed for the first year has been gifted from those who don't need theirs any more. I have allowed my organizational overdrive to start focusing on being able to afford a baby on the least amount of money. I have researched family tax incentives, baby bonuses, debt relief, maternity leave and every other possible financial resource that will be available to us once this baby is born. We have spent the extra time we have (since we are not working as much) sourcing and researching the cheapest options available for feeding, diapering and clothing a new child. We trust that years from now, when the child is older and more expensive, we will be in a more financially secure place because we will have to be. We have nested like crazy. We have downsized everything we own to free up space, traded labour for supplies with the landlord to renovate, used free or cheap resources to create a nursery/bedroom space — all while spending little to no money. We have our "worst case scenario" budget sorted out and discovered, to our surprise — we will still be able to eat, pay rent, afford our car and feed the cat. We trust that years from now, when the child is older and more expensive, we will be in a more financially secure place because we will have to be. We have started a savings fund for a house and one for this child's education. We have a solid plan (Excel file and all!) on how we are going to afford to live and pay off our student loans. We have our families' joy and support, even if it comes from a distance. The more we have focused ourselves on the joy of expecting a child, the less the money has been a problem. We have counted our blessings as more and more opportunities present themselves to provide us with a good life for this soon-to-be child. We no longer question choosing to have our baby now. This was the time to have our first child. Difficult economy or no — this is the perfect time for us to welcome a new baby. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Vivi I am a frugal as hell, cat molesting, bird watching, BBC loving soon to be mom and recent graduate. I live in northern Ontario (Canada!) and am watching my belly grow daily. PREVIOUS How do you choose a birthing technique? NEXT I'm living the freelancing work-from-home parent dream… sort of Toggle comments [ 45 ] Comment navigation ← Older Comments *waves to fellow canadians* I think people waaay overanalyze and plan kids. You are right, there will never be a perfect time. Just the time that feels right for you. At first we wanted to wait until my husband finished university but heck, we just dove in a year after the wedding (it did motivate us a tad that I was 37 haha), pretty did everything at the same time, house, bump etc. I find things just fall in place as they need to and since babies grow us so crazily fast, you just need to ask around and there are always tons of people willing to just give baby stuff away. Or you can find great deals on want ads of people just wanting to get rid of it. And yes cloth diapering, clothes swaps with other parents etc. all really help. It does worry me that I`ll be in my 60s when my son leaves the home (meep) but I really enjoyed the 20s and 30s and am actually glad I 'settled down' later. Though I could have seen myself doing the opposite, getting it 'out of the way' in my early 20s. Thank you for sharing this with us! 0 agree Thanks for posting this! My husband and I waited and planned for years and then finally decided it was the "right time" to have a baby- only to find out when I was 8 weeks pregnant that I would be loosing my job in May (baby's due at the beginning of September). Clearly there is no perfect time- you just have to go for it and then make the best of it! 0 agree Great article, we decided to get pregnant soon after getting married despite living on my museum curator income (not large; it's the kind of career you do because you love it, not to get rich) and having a similar amount of student debt. We also didn't know when we WOULD be "well off", and didn't want to keep putting off having a baby until we were ancient. 0 agree So true. When my husband recently ended up on disability for a serious illness, we decided that was the time to have a baby. Financially it seemed a little crazy, but he won't be on disability forever and when else could we both be home nearly full-time with our kid? That made up for any kinks in the money department. My mom had my brother in her 40's, and my husband was adopted when his parents were in their late 30's/early 40's as well. Seeing how old they are now as grandparents – and with my brother just now graduating high school with a mom in her 60's – made me really want to do the kid thing now. Honestly, I barely have the energy at 25 – I have no idea how older couples manage! When our kids are grown, we fantasize about lavish cruises and overseas vacations in our golden (but not too golden!) years. 0 agree My husband and I are in a situation similar to yours. I am 29 and he is 27. His job is permanent but he has only worked there for a year and a half so his salary is still small. As for me, after a decade of minimum-wage jobs, I finally got hired at a government office (my lifelong dream), but currently jumping from one 6-month illness replacement to another, without any job security when the permanent employee comes back. We live in a 3rd floor walk-up. Many people have told us to wait until we own a house and until my job is permanent. But this can take years. How old would I be? My mother had me at 29, and I remember how tired she was when it was time to deal with my teenage-crisis years. So I decided to stop my birth control pill, partly because after 12 years of use it was taking a toll on my health, but also because my husband and I realized that there is no "right time". We in North America have been conditioned, by the media and by our surroundings, that it absolutely takes certain things to be able to have a family: a certain type of house, car, job, etc. I don't think growing up in a 2-bedroom apartment in the city instead of a suburban house will wreck my children's future. And if my government job doesn't re-hire me after my maternity leave because I was still a temp., well, I'll be a stay-at-home-mom and we'll live as frugally as we did when my husband was a student and I was working minimum-wage. We are not actively trying just yet, but we are aware that condoms can and do break. I just recently started the babycrack, and I would welcome this child into the world, "right time" or not. 0 agree I love this post. My almost-husband wants to have kids soon because he's thirty and doesn't want to be old when the kids are growing up. I want kids soon because I'm broody as all get out. We *need* to wait a couple of years in order to make certain things possible for my career and so on, but this is a great reminder that things will never be exactly perfect, so when the time feels right just go for it! I like that a lot 1 agrees oh how everything that you said resonates with me! my husband and I got married 13 months ago. initially we thought we'd enjoy married life together or 3-5 yrs before we started trying to have kids. however, at the same time we weren't trying NOT to get pregnant (i don't use birth control, and i'm allergic to latex and can't imagine using lamb skin condoms. eek). 6 months after getting married I found out I was pregnant. although it was a little bit of a surprise, and after I had a brief moment of panic (we're not ready, we're just now going back to school, we live in a one bedroom apt, we have 12k in debt, we just adopted a puppy, we JUST got married…etc) we found this to be the perfect time to have kids. i'm 24 and my husband is 29. we both agree that we don't want to be in our 50's still raising kids much like my parents (mom's 58, dad's 54, and my sister just went off to college this year). we're so glad that by the time our kid is grown and ready for college we'll still be under the age of 50. we'll try for one more before my husband turns 32, and if it doesn't happen, we'll turn off the plumbing (his idea, not mine). we moved into a two bedroom apt, we've paid down debt some, we're looking into buy a home at the end of the year, my husband is continuing his education so get can move on to a better job, bought most baby items used, or gotten them for free from friends and i've gotten my puppy used to being around kids. you just make things work, and like you said, hopefully in 5-6 yrs we too will be in a more stable place for when things really start getting expensive. of course some people don't understand how you can want to have a kid in "troubling times", but we'll do everything we can to provide our kid with what they need and of course, love is free. good luck to you and your husband. you sound like you'll do just great!!! 0 agree A couple years ago my husband and I were financially stable and then the rug was pulled out from under us literally weeks after conceiving our daughter. We managed and now things are good again, but living in Ontario and not having to worry about paying doctors bills was a big plus. I gained a much needed sense of appreciation for OHIP. 0 agree This could not have come at a better time! I have a stable, but part-time job, and my husband has a good job, but we aren't wealthy by any means. We have a fair amount of debt and live in a one-bedroom apartment. We got married in Sept 2008. We always wanted to be younger parents (I'm turning 26, hubby is 27) but weren't sure when the right time was. Two years ago, my Poppy-who I was very close to-passed away suddenly. It was a huge shock. I realized that there never would be a "perfect time" and that life was so, so short. My husband and I started trying right away. After infertility treatments and two miscarriages I'm now 13 weeks pregnant. It was not easy for me to get (or stay) pregnant, and I'm SO thankful we didn't put off trying to have a baby any longer. I know we have a difficult, but extremely rewarding path ahead of us, and I can't wait to experience the joy of being a parent. 0 agree Oh thank you so much for writing this! Hubby and I are in a very similar situation but we both have stable jobs – however the cost of living where we are is astronomical. I am always getting in my own way so hearing that getting out of the way is possible makes me happy! 0 agree Thank you for writing this. My partner and I are using the last of our savings account to afford fertility treatments. I've been worried from day 1 about our decision. Would people think we were being irresponsible? Would they think we didn't want our baby, because NO ONE could possibly try for a baby on our income? Seeing other people make the same decision, and having it turn out exactly the way we are hoping it will, makes me feel so much better. Good luck with your new little family, Vivi! 0 agree I am grateful for this post. My husband and I are 35 and (almost) 34 respectively and we have been married 8 months. He is about to start a PhD and I am in a part-time Rabbinical School program that "takes as long as it takes". We are loving the work we are doing and will be doing and we know we are not set to make much money for at least a number of years yet. And still, it feels like it's time to start trying. We are studying abroad this year for our "studymoon" and our plan is to come home to Toronto, get an apartment, confirm the income that we expect from his PhD (Goddess-willing he will get in) and my part-time job and then stop using birth control. I am anxious about my age and afraid of what the "responsible" people in our lives will say about our choice but I trust that our community of friends (so many of whom are having babies or have young kids) will want to give us their stuff and that we will make it work. This post is so affirming. Thank you! 0 agree Comment navigation ← Older Comments Comments are closed.