It started Thursday morning... NPR featured a story on women in their 40s having to face the fact that they waited too long to try to have kids. Your fertility plummets once you hit 25. Thanks, just what a 32-year-old wants to hear.
Then, Thursday night, "Whitney" (or, that show that you watch because you are too lazy to try to change the channel after The Office... taking place in Chicago, my ass) had the plot line of Whitney coming to terms with her own ticking biological clock.
To make matters worse, it turns out that laptops are destroying sperm. So just in case I am that 10% of women who can still have a kid in her late 30s, my husband's late nights researching may have screwed up our chances. That is, if BPA that our parents consumed in the 1970s did not mess with our reproductive systems so that we never had a chance.
Here we are. Torn. Do we have a child before we are financially stable, or do we not have kids? Are we supposed to be responsible parents or not parents? Raising a child today can cost a quarter million dollars per child for 18 years, not including college. The cost of child care alone would be 33% of our household income. Any responsible person would not doom a child to poverty. If we're going to have a continuing problem of Americans delaying childbirth until it is too late due to financial realities, then it is time to think about the economic costs that this entails. Just child care alone is rapidly becoming a cost that middle income families cannot afford at $13K per year when the average household income is $48K pretax, and they cannot make ends meet on one income to have one parent provide care. Add food, an extra bedroom to the house, a sedan or minivan, strollers, clothes, and a safe place to sleep, and really - who can afford to have kids on $48K per year?