The post about having kids when not financially stable has drawn a number of comments. We post some of those comments and some of the feedback is either so poorly written, obnoxious, inappropriate, etc. that we would never post it. (As we are starting to allow blog comments to “go through”) Regardless, to expand on the topic due to the amount of feedback received, there are maybe a few scenarios of having kids.
One scenario is when someone or a couple want to have a baby when they are not financially stable to begin with. We get many emails and forum requests from these type of parents or single moms or dads. Real life examples of this, including but are not limited too.
- The individual/couple who just decided to have a baby even though they do not have a home (maybe they live with relatives or roommates) or they or their partner (if they have one) is not employed or they are in a low paying job.
- The people have kids even though they are working low paying jobs with no career prospects, and the jobs are so low paying that they can barely support themselves much less a baby or growing child.
- The individual/couple decide to have another baby, even though they already have multiple kids (we see people with 4+ kids) and they may be in a low paying or unstable job and have zero chance to afford the kids they already have. Or maybe they are out of work.
- The single mother who decides to have one kid or another baby even though they are single and were struggling.
And countless other examples. We see these this scenario of emails or forum postings all the time, and you can read just a fraction of them in the forum. They can come from a married couple who is unstable and have another baby, a single mom who is pregnant and is already struggling (whether with kids or not), and countless other situations.
The point is some individual, or couple, can decide to have a baby when they have limited/no chance to afford them as babies/kids are so expensive. These are the stories that are true tragedies…those who consciously decide to have a baby when they have no means to pay the bills or afford a kid. As the kid/baby/child is the one who is in effect punished and will more then likely have few opportunities due to the parents poor financial decision or lifestyle.
A second scenario will be the person/couple in a healthy, long term relationship in which they both have saved money, have decent paying jobs with benefits, no/limited debt, etc. and financially planned on a baby. Then something happened to their previously strong relationship and then their partner (most likely male) left. Even if the male pays child support (which we get emails of some/many who don’t) it still places a hardship on the partner with the kid (most likely mother).
Examples can be one partner walking out on the other; affairs; couple growing apart after years together; substance abuse or mental health issues arise years into a relationship; suicide years into relationship (the most recent stats on suicide rates released this week are terrible); etc.
I came from a situation like this, when years after I was born my dad’s drinking “caught up to him” and ended the relationship. It is tough on the kid, the parent who is still “in the picture” and everyone involved.
However, before the partners had a baby, everything was good both financially and relationship wise prior to the baby being born. Then, like so many relationships, it just fell apart years down the road. Maybe when the “baby” is older or what not the relationship ended. These situations unfortunately do happen, especially considering that most marriages end in divorce. These are tough, and the parent who sticks around to help raise the kid should be commended.
Maybe a third scenario will be those partners who have a kid but they are in an already unhealthy relationship. Maybe the couple fights, it is short term relationship, one or more partners is unstable, toxic leaving situation, abuse, etc. Then they think having a baby will make them or their relationship stronger and/or more fulfilled. But the reality is that since raising a kid is super hard to do (most difficult thing?), the baby is the final nail in the coffin for the unhealthy relationship and the relationship ends, thus leaving the kid with one parent.
We see requests like this too….people who say they were in a relationship for mere weeks or months and decided to have a baby, partners who fought but had a baby, etc. As sadly too many people/couples think having a baby will make them (or just one of them) happier. The truth is from studies that it almost never does make a person or couple happier or relationship stronger. These too are sad for the kid…to be brought into an emotionally and financially unstable situation.
Maybe another scenario is once again the couple/person in a healthy, long term relationship in which they both have saved money, have decent paying jobs with benefits, etc. and financially planned on a baby. But then a financial crisis or something horrible comes up. A difficult and/or tragic life event.
Maybe one partner becomes disabled and can no longer work; someone tragically dies an early death; the economy collapses and people lose jobs; etc. These scenarios too are sad as the parents life circumstances unexpectedly changed and they can no longer afford the kid due to the life crisis that was most likely out of their control.
We see all sorts of examples that fall into these four categories. There are others too, but those are probably the most common. Sometimes an example also falls into one or more scenarios. Or we are not often sure which scenarios is the case.
Good news – better decisions being made?
Regardless, the good news is that the stats say that people are planning much better than generations ago and even years ago. It is good news as this may help reduce poverty levels, help the kid get the resources they need as age, and there are countless other benefits to stable, healthy decisions being made. Birthrates among Hispanics are also plummeting as the NY Times indicates in this article, and this article reaffirms many more people are focusing on careers and financial stability over pumping out babies.
As the stats show that single parents (especially mothers due to larger societal factors that we write about like woman not having same opportunities or income as men, lack child support, etc.) are some of the leading drivers of poverty.
The average age for birth is being pushed back (even to their early to mid 30s in major cities), and most people (especially women) are saying they want to establish a strong career first. The number of babies being born to each couple/woman is also decreasing, with fertility rates at record low. The number of partners not having babies at all is also increasing.
The fact is more people/couples are focusing on their financial wellbeing, careers, financial matters first, before they have kids…if they ever have kids at all. This may bode well for poverty levels in the US.