Should I Have A Baby?
Enter Your Details To Find Out If You Should Have A Baby
Should you have a baby?
The question of "Should I have a baby?" is sometimes a difficult question to ask, but fortunately, it's got a very simple answer: "No. Hell no."
Absolutely not. Why would you do that?
Do you not enjoy your free-time? How about having money?
Do you hate yourself? Is that it?
We're kidding! Of course. Mostly.
There are a lot of reasons to run screaming away from the miracle of childbirth, but very few of them fit into a handy calculator. So before you go into our answer for "should you have a child," let's answer a more difficult question: "can you afford to have a child?"
Using This Baby Calculator
In order for us to help you figure out if you can afford to have a child, we're going to need some information from you first.
Household Status: Just like you put on your taxes, write whether you're married or single.
Household Income: How much do you and your household bring home per year, combined?
Region: Using the four biggest cultural/geographic regions of the US (Northeast, South, Midwest, West), we're able to estimate the difference in costs of living based on your location.
Are You Insured: The effect of this one is mostly on costs of delivering the baby, but prenatal medical expenses are also a factor here.
Save For College: Are you going to hold on to some money for your child's college, or just hope they get some really good scholarships?
Existing Debt Payments: Do you have your own debt to deal with outside of a mortgage (Think credit card, auto, or school loans, but not a home loan)?
We've linked to some of the sources we used to calculate each item above, but in order to make these numbers work we also needed to know average monthly expenses for your household, and specifically what percentages of income went toward those different expenses. Lastly, to calculate taxes based on income, we used this tax data from Tax Foundation.
There are a couple of caveats to this calculator. For one thing, your college savings are just for your first year of savings, and don't account for inflation — meaning that those savings will need to either go up every year or else start at a higher rate in the first place.
Second of all, we're assuming a few things about who you are and where you are in your life. This calculator is primarily meant for those in their 20s to early 40s who are looking to have their first child, so anyone who's already had a kid may find this calculator doesn't quite match up with their own realities.
So, if you're looking for a barebones answer to the question of whether or not you can afford to have a child, the above calculator should do a pretty good job of helping you visualize some of the expenses you'll be confronted with.
However, let's say you already know that you can afford a kid, or you at least think you can. Then the question changes from whether or not you can have a kid to whether or not you should. And again, this is a tough question to answer — it depends a lot on who you are and where you are in your own life and personal development.
It depends on how you were raised, how and where you grew up, what kind of socio-economic situation you were born into and the kind of opportunities you can afford to give your own child. It depends on your relationship with your parents, and your parents' relationships with one another. It depends on a huge, extraordinary number of things, so many that it's tough to give an answer one way or another.
But if you're looking for someone to give a specific answer, we're more than happy to offer you a big fat "no."
Should You Really Have a Baby?
Almost half of all women between the ages of 15 and 44 have no children, a percentage which has been steadily rising since the 70s. Of these women, at least 36% of them said that they did not want kids, and almost 20% were still on the fence.
The fact that fewer people are having children is almost certainly helped by the fact that sex education is better than it's ever been (although still not great), that contraceptives are more widely available, and that abortion (while still a controversial, highly politicized issue) is becoming less and less stigmatized as time goes on.
But this only explains how people who don't want kids are able to physically make that decision. For what sort of reasons might someone make this decision in the first place?
For one thing, how about the fact that having a kid will pretty likely make you feel terrible about yourself. Studies have shown that while self-esteem in general tends to rise as people get older, self-esteem takes a big and sudden hit as soon as a couple pops out a kid.
Women are hurt most of all, with the sloping decline of their self-esteem occurring at a much faster rate than men's. This overall decline may be because much of the knowledge and experience that we accrue as we get older — knowledge which contributes to our sense of self-esteem and worth — is all called into question after the arrival of a child. It's a whole new world that you'll likely have no experience in, and your sudden lack of transferable skills can make you start questioning a lot of things about your own capabilities.
For another thing — and as this calculator should make eminently clear — children are prohibitively expensive. From both a time and a money standpoint, children are an enormous drain on a person's or household's resources, and at the end of the day, they just don't fit into every individual's lifestyle. Some people are careerists who (even if they have a partner) don't have the time to devote to a child, some are barely scraping by just paying for their own expenses, and some people just don't want to fit a child into the lives they've created for themselves.
Despite the jokes we've made in this article, there's also no need to paint everyone who doesn't want children as being people who don't like children. A majority of child-free women in the study mentioned earlier still said that children were a big part of their lives — they weren't avoiding having kids because they didn't necessarily want to interact with or care for children, they just didn't want to have any personally.
And last, but not least, if you are indeed currently consulting an internet calculator about whether or not you should make the major life decision to make a totally brand new human person, then it's distinctly possible that maybe you're not in the best headspace. You know?
Like, seriously. Take a walk or something. Or try yoga. Yoga's pretty good. Clears the mind. Keeps you fresh. Go to a restaurant and eat some pasta. And while you're spontaneously doing all this, think about how difficult it would be for you to spontaneously do any of these things if you had a tiny screaming human being whose life literally depended on you.
But anyway, children are a gift.