Monday, April 25, 2011

Dollars and Sense

Popping in on a random day to add my 2 cents (is that a pun?) to Write Mind Open Heart's Dollars and $ense discussion.

Consider your now or future children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What, do you think, your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?

I don't think it will matter to them.  It's like telling your children, "Hey!  I changed your diapers!"  We know that was a way to communicate love, they see it as just your job.  I suspect it will be a running joke, but even that is hard to say.  We don't really talk about it now, but I imagine things like, "Sorry, we would love to help out with college, but we spent your college fund on your conception."

That said, it has impacted our lifestyle so that may have a long term impact on who they are.  We would have had more money for something if we didn't spend $70,000 plus on conceptions.

How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?

I suppose at age 7 I would give the conception cost, but at 18 I imagine rolling my eyes and just answering "Thousands and thousands" since I am sure the cost of raising them will still be more than the conception.  Gosh, I hope not, but I think I have seen statistics to show that is true.

When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?

I included everything we paid for directly: testing, IUI's, counseling, acupuncture, supplements.  I didn't include births, but I may have included the cost of Ernest's birth.  I did not include the cost of lost wages which due to a job change around the time of our son's death lead me to be unemployed for awhile and then marginally employed and then unemployed again (job was NOT compatible with a grieving, childless mother). 

If two children in a family “cost” different amounts, should that have any significance?

No, I see it as a total cost.  I do expect to have some fun with it however.  Perhaps referring to number 2 as our '$5,000 bonus baby'.

To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…?

With #1 (or #2 if you count the one that died) we were in the mode of "whatever it takes!" and I think the emotional impact would have stopped us before the financial.  We are still in our 'starter' house, so the financial impact has been a huge part, but I think we could have ran up a lot more debt before we called it quits.

Thankfully, or second and last was born from an FET and we don't want more.  Still, there are times when I think I might have had another kid it was free.  Doubtful, but just maybe.


Lori Lavender Luz said...

I'm so glad you joined in -- you bring up many variables and circumstances that should be addressed.

This is a terrific analogy:
It's like telling your children, "Hey! I changed your diapers!" We know that was a way to communicate love, they see it as just your job.

I'm glad that you intend to have some fun with your responses to your children and take it all not so seriously!

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Thanks so much for participating!

You and I spent the exact same amount -- a sad thing to have in common.

Sara said...

Great post. I agree that spending money to conceive children is just another form of parenting that happens to start before conception.

Anonymous said...

Great post!!x u really make a lot of sense

Anonymous said...

My son died too. His name was Sam. I lost quite a few pregnancies prior to that as well. I was off work on maternity leave and disability when he died because I had a C section. Your right grieving and trying to work are a crappy combination. We were really poor though so the impact financially....I can't recall. I was numb.

When you wondered what a kid would think about the money that you put out to conceive them I don't think they'd think anything about it at all so long as nobody else was being paid to conceive and then go away and not raise them. If I knew my parents invested a lot in medical treatment to conceive me I'd feel loved but only so long as they were the ones trying to conceive me. It feels nothing like love to think one of them would have had me with another person and paid that person to go away and not take care of me. It would feel like rejection from the absent bio parent and a complete disconnect with anyone who would ask someone to produce and walk away from their offspring as some form of charity.

So depending upon what you spent the money on I think it's fine to make the joke about the kid being expensive. If they share half your biology with you and it was an expensive path to conceive and reproduce with your partner but you ultimately overcame infertility and can't afford to send them to college I think its fine to tease them a little that's harmless.

Congratulations and sorry for the loss of your son earlier. I do know that hurts.