I read an article today about how couples are having fewer babies because of the downturn in the economy. This is comparable to the Great Depression where many Americans put off having children until the economy recovered. I posit that this is a mistake for the following reasons.

The average family in America will never have enough money to have children. It is estimated that it now costs over $200,000 (not including college) to raise a baby to the age of 18. Hence, I believe money should never play a factor in deciding if you should have a baby or not. Children provide so much more to you that you cannot put a value on it. You will once again experience life from their perspective—see a puppy for the first time, a cloud, a toy or dance and sing to any silly old song.

I myself recently had to wrestle with this decision, and I know how difficult it is to decide to bring a child into this world when your finances are uncertain. Yet, I know that if you wait to have kids until you have the money, then you never will have kids. Let’s face it: kids are expensive and their needs are incessant. We give them the most we can within our current financial situation without over-indulging them.

Recently, the trend has become to only have one child so that parents can give them everything they never had as a child. Some think that only one is all they can afford. I understand this argument. However, I think this is a mistake as well. Parents will over-indulge their child by giving them everything they want. Further, you rob the child of a sibling, someone who will be there for them when you are gone. Also, how will they learn the concept of sharing, sacrificing, putting others first, etc? There is only so much a play group can teach you. Is sharing for an hour a life lesson? Or is sharing all the time much more effective? Moreover, you rob your only child of a life-long friend(s). Let’s face it, how many life-long friends have you had? In addition, having only one child is selfish in itself. You want more freedom to live your life, yet still be a parent. It is easier to just have one child--only one little life to manage as opposed to multiple.

This brings up the point of delaying having children until later in life—longer than a year or two. I am against this as well. You have the most energy when you are young. Once you get in your 30’s and 40’s, most people have a routine to their life that they do not want disrupted. Also, do you really want to be in your 60’s when your child graduates high school? Don’t you want to live to see your grandchildren? I know we are living longer than ever before; however, don’t you want to be physically able to enjoy grandkids?

Some people mistakenly think that they will be more financially sound later in life so they wait until their 40’s to have kids. Nevertheless, the fertility rate is considerably less for women in their 40’s and you will end up spending thousands on fertility treatments.

My final argument is this: Is money really important to children? The fact of the matter is if they have a loving home environment where they are cherished for who they are and the basic needs in life (food, clothing, and shelter), kids don’t require much more. Sure, you can have more presents at Christmas or more after school activities like soccer and volleyball. But most of what more money enables for your children is of material value. Wouldn’t you rather have kids that you did activities with, spent quality time with, and kids that were satisfied with themselves as individual human beings instead of kids who are identified only with what they possess and kids who only care about which friend has the latest gadget?

Author's Bio: 

By: Jennifer Dionne. Her website is www.loveofparenting.com, a comprehensive view of pregnancy and parenting. She is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about helping other moms through the challenges of motherhood. If you would like more information about the pivotal decision of parenthood, her book “How to Have a Baby Your Way” (which is available through her website) will provide comprehensive information on the subject and answer any questions you may have.