Millennial and Gen Z people have been having kids later on average than previous generations. And as the cost of seemingly everything has been going up, it's not surprising that financial concerns are the reason why many of us are delaying or forgoing parenthood.
It's common for our older relatives to say encouraging things like, "It's never the right time," or urge us to give them grandkids and figure out the money later. To show the other side of the story, I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who feel like they're being priced out of parenthood to share their stories. Here's what they had to say:
1."We’re both teachers. The housing market around us is stupid high. It only allows us to afford a 600-square-foot studio apartment with a Murphy bed on our teacher salaries. We can’t afford to move into something even with one bedroom, let alone afford childcare. We love kids, but I guess the kids we have on our rosters at school will do."
2."My husband and I are lucky in that we could afford to care for a child, but it is increasingly looking like we will need to spend at least $30k to even get one. After seven miscarriages and in our mid-30s, we are staring down the staggering cost and uncertainty that comes with IVF. It is devastating because we so want to be parents. I work with children, I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and it kills me that we may never get to experience it."
3."My husband and I are from different countries, and spent years living far apart. We finally got married in the country where he is currently studying, but it's taking a long time to get our work and residency permits sorted out. In the meantime, our savings are going toward lawyers, processing fees, and keeping afloat until we have the necessary permits and certifications to work here. The whole process has taken years, and as we are getting into our mid-30s, I am worried we won't have the stability to start a family before it becomes difficult or dangerous because of our ages."
4."My husband and I are going through this right now. We both really want to have kids. We're both almost 30 and have been married for two years. We just bought a house, so that alone is a huge financial stressor. But on paper we're perfect to have kids, we have a house, jobs, supportive families. But every time we talk about starting to try for kids, the first question is always 'Can we afford it right now?' It's very disheartening for us."
5."My husband and I got married a few years ago and agreed, first a house, then a baby. But we live in Southern California, and our house ended up being a million-dollar fixer upper. We now realize we don’t have the funds for a baby. By the time we’ll have enough money, it’ll be a high-risk geriatric pregnancy (I have chronic health things that make it high risk). So even if we have enough money to raise the kid, we won’t have the funds to get pregnant AND raise the kid. So once the next house project is done, we’ll probably get a puppy instead."
6."While me and my husband are celebrating because we are fortunate to be able to pay our student loans before they came due again in October, I don't believe we can afford kids. We were able to buy a very small, reasonably priced house while interest rates were low in 2020. We got a VA loan on the house and share one car. We both make decent incomes and both work full time to afford what we have (and we live quite frugally). We simply do not have an extra disposable $1,500 (a lowball estimate since I am not including healthcare, formula, diapers etc., only daycare) a month to spend on childcare, despite our sacrifices and work."
"We do not have family to rely on to help us with any kids. Because of this lack of support, we are hesitant. You need to build a nest before you lay an egg. Our nest just burned to the ground from paying student loans. I blame corporate greed. It certainly isn't a lack of intelligence or hard work on our parts."
7."We currently make about $80k combined in a city where a high income like that doesn't matter. I'm finishing my bachelor's, and am fully responsible for paying my loans back, I understand that. Its the interest that will rob me of that extra income. But if I would get pregnant now? We'd survive, but that baby will lose out on so much. And I know, because I'm an adult whose parents never took that into consideration. I am supportive of anyone's choice to have children whether their income lines up with their dreams, or not. However, I know what it is like to grow up in poverty and how those circumstances affect me even now, in my 30s."
8."I've always wanted kids. I held off in my 20s because I was not financially stable enough. In my 30s, I looked into solo parenting via IVF; I couldn't afford it then, either, as my work wasn't stable enough to properly care for a child. Now I'm in my 40s, worried that I might never manage to have kids at all, because I'm still not making enough despite existing in a mid-career-level pay grade. Nor am I the type to get randomly knocked up out of nowhere. I've looked into fostering or adopting children with a friend (who is my age and also wants kids), but we can't afford that option, either. Housing costs are too high, even with our salaries combined. This makes me fairly depressed, as I genuinely want to meet my children. I want to help them explore and improve this world; I want to hear their ideas and dreams. I've only so much time left... I guess we shall see how it goes."
9."My partner and I are both 30 and have been talking about having kids. I have student loan debt, and we live in an apartment. We have decent jobs, but with everything going up in price, it’s not the responsible thing to do. It’s heartbreaking that it might not be in the cards for us."
10."I have a chronic heart condition (manageable and surgically treated twice), and had a defibrillator implanted just after I turned 30. With this device in me for the long haul, I was encouraged by my doctor to not get pregnant/carry a baby. It's been devastating to work through as I've always wanted children. Now my options are surrogacy or adoption, both of which can be very, very expensive, not to mention potentially include a very long wait time. I already have a mountain of student debt, and I never imagined actually *getting* a child would be the most expensive part of raising a family. I don't know what I'll do, but it's weighing heavily on me now."
11."After two failed adoptions from foster care and being off birth control for 2.5 years, we finally saw a fertility specialist. I had undiagnosed fertility and did eight medicated rounds, four rounds of IUIs, and finally IVF. IVF was a lot cheaper than adoption so we went that route, even though we initially said we wouldn’t because nothing fertility-related is covered by our insurance. Thankfully, we went that route because that’s the only way we found out I had stage 1 endometrial cancer."
"I had to have a full hysterectomy but was able to keep my ovaries. We were able to get one embryo from IVF and hope to do surrogacy, but we really need more than one embryo for our RE to feel comfortable with that. The cost to do another round of IVF and surrogacy through a very dear friend is just under $30k. We’ve already spent over $20k on fertility-related interventions, and of that, $14.59 was covered by insurance. It’s absolutely heartbreaking."
12."I've been married for nine years to my husband (37). We both have master's-level qualifications, own our home, and have good jobs, but when I was furloughed during the pandemic, we decided to prolong waiting. I'm glad we did. Our bills have gone up exponentially, mainly for energy. Food prices have risen massively, and though we've tried really hard to skimp and save, there hasn't been a month since March 2020 when we haven't been out of money by payday. I'm sick of living month to month, and adding a baby into the mix would be impossible. I've lost hope of having a family, and it's caused friction with my parents, who were relying on me for grandchildren (as if it wasn't hard enough to come to terms with)."
13."My husband and I have a combined income of $150k/year, and we still only see ways to make ends meet instead of thrive with kids. Can we survive having a child? Sure, but the safe, stable, and secure life we want to provide to our kids is not within reach. We've talked at length with our friends that have kids about their expenses, and there are so many factors that I don't know where to begin."
14."We have a 3-year-old daughter, and although we’d love to expand our family, it’s just not possible due to daycare costs. It’s almost the same amount as our mortgage. There is no way we could afford two in daycare, so we have to wait until our toddler starts kindergarten before we can consider having a second. It’s really unfortunate because I always thought we would have children closer in age."
15."My husband and I, previous to getting married, were dead set on not having kids. But about two years into our marriage, we had a pregnancy scare, where we were almost positive that I was pregnant. We started imagining our baby, the life we would live, how we would raise it, and got very excited, only to find out that I wasn't actually pregnant."
"That was really difficult, because we had already started planning, and this was what we wanted. But once we found out that it wasn't real, we had to make a decision if we were going to start trying for a baby, and right now, it's just way too expensive. So it's the responsible decision to wait until we're financially able, but it really sucks. I also had a friend announce she was pregnant two days after we found out that we weren't."