Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In which I share financial details

Not too long ago, a woman on one of the pregnancy boards I read asked how much money we spent on things for the baby. The responses ranged from just over two thousand to several thousand dollars. I was blown away. Then I added it up.



$50Fat pants, for that pre-maternity wear stage
$150Maternity clothes: two tank tops, one sleeveless shirt, two pairs of shorts, eight pairs of undies
$12Umbrella stroller
$290Diaper supplies for one year: six dozen diapers, over one dozen covers, 15 diaper fasteners, 6 fleece inserts, two dozen flannel wipes
$15Fabric for baby wraps
$38Cyclez and Happy Heiny’s cloth postpartum pads
$42Stork S’port to help hold up my pregnant abdomen

It is kind of expensive. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that I was given…
  • several bags, boxes, and bins of maternity clothes (hundreds of dollars)
  • one relatively new infant car seat (at least $100)
  • one giant bag of Avent baby bottles, pacifiers, breast pads, and Lansinoh ($100 to $200, if I had to guess)
  • one infant bouncy seat ($20-ish)
  • one Exersaucer ($40)
  • one Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper ($150)
  • three fitted Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper sheets ($45)
  • one Boppy ($20)
  • several pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding books ($60)
  • one crib with mattress and bumpers ($200)
  • one changing table with pad and covers ($80)
  • one shitload of baby linens, including crib sheets, blankets, burp cloths, etc. (anywhere from $100 to $300)
…with no other solicitation than, “Hey, if you want it out of your house, I’ll put it to good use.” My main point here being that having a baby without a lot of money really is manageable.

I guess my other point is that this baby stuff is a real racket. Did you know that you can spend over $1000 on a stroller? Or as much on a baby’s bedroom set as an adult’s? It’s not hard to find families (online, of course) who think that the $160 they spent on a high chair was well worth it. Last time I checked, expensive high chairs don’t actually make dinner or feed the baby.

Babies R Us (where, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m registered) gave us a long list of things we “forgot” to put on the baby registry. We couldn’t possibly have intended to leave the store without:
  • wipes
  • bassinet
  • batteries
  • booster car seat
  • car seat base
  • convertible car seat
  • crib
  • diaper bag
  • diaper pail
  • diapers
  • exerciser
  • glider and ottoman
  • high chair
  • infant car seat
  • infant carrier
  • mattress
  • nursery monitor
  • stroller
  • swing
  • travel system
  • travel yard
  • walker
I mean, really. And don’t I want The Best for my baby? Isn’t it vitally important that my baby have nothing but The Best? Or is that a giant crock of shit that’s been flung at me by elitist liberals and conservatives alike? It’s not about being happy; it’s about upping the economy. It’s not about what’s really safe or fulfilling; it’s about being seen in the right places and at the right times. We’ll do just fine with our second-hand things, thanks.

And while we're in the Best Mommy Ever competition, let me just say that, yes, I have had non-communion wine, blue-veined cheese, soft cheese, unpasteurized cider, beer, coffee, tea, espresso, and a veritable truckload of chocolate. And I'm happy.


At 5:39 PM, Blogger Shelli said...

and if you look at the list of things we're willing to accept with a potential birthmom...

I'd be overjoyed if ALL she did was wine and cheese... :)

And we, too, will be VERY, VERY happy with ANY and ALL hand-me-downs.

(for the public recrod, if you will... our address is...)

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous rich said...

"blue-veined cheese"

I'll never understand this. Ever.

At 12:51 AM, Blogger alice, uptown said...

I think the car seat is mandatory if you want to bring Ebry home from the hospital. So, if you can get someone to buy you a good one (not being a mother, I wouldn't know one from another), go for it.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

Alice, the car seat is the second item I listed that someone already gave us.

At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious... how much did the conception of Ebry cost?

nosily yours,


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

Over $3,000. I can't be more specific right now... those are just the costs off the top of my head. It would be far over $10,000 if I didn't have very good and very generous health insurance.

At 5:43 AM, Blogger Yael - Ein Shem said...

You can not imagine (acutally maybe you can) the reactions we get when we say we don't have a baby monitor. I'm not sure I know what everything on your list is and I have three kids.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger betsyl said...

the one thing that i am planning on buying no matter what is a changing table. my exgf and her partner changed their kids on a bed, which is fine as far as the kids are concerned, but ow ow ow my back whenever i went over there to help out. my exgf also complained about her back hurting. fortunately, someone gave you one. whew. ;)

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Emilin said...

We're actually using a dresser for a changing table. The baby room is too small for (and we're to cheap to buy) another piece of furniture.

At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad to hear you have such good health insurance... still it would seem to me that starting 3000 dollars below most het couples' starting point does make a difference in the competing for buying things stakes.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I am almost tempted to have another child some day just to re-use some of this gear.

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FTR, I'm not the Lydia who asked how much Ebry's conception cost. Now that I know, I can't decide whether to be relieved that it wasn't more or appalled that it was so much.

I am spending hardly anything this time around, and aside from some maternity clothes it's discretionary spending on lacy diaper covers. The first one really socks you, though.


At 9:05 PM, Blogger the therapeutic writer said...

In the beginning, Rob asked "Is our child missing out because we don't have a match-matchy nursery for him?" I said "honey, the only one missing out is the retailers who didn't get our money."

He slept in our bed mostly. His crib was in our room. His clothes were in our closet and dresser. I changed diapers on the vanity in the bathroom (very long) or on the bed or the floor). My highchair only had two functions: a strap to hold him in safely and a tray to put his food on. I bought it brand new... $52. What more should a high chair do?

You can fall for every product out there, but pick and choose wisely. The crib was a gift and we went with one that converted to a toddler bed, and for us, that was well worth having. It's been used for 3 years already (and gone through 2 mattresses, but that's another story).

We skipped the "travel system" and got an umbrella stroller and I would pull up to the park, whip it out, put my child in and off I went, while I watched my friend T, struggle to get the car seat out, then attached to the stroller, then push that heavy mutha around the trails... she envied my little Eddie Bauer nylon stroller.

Take all the hand-me-downs you can get until the kid is old enough to care.

And FWIW: it doesn't matter how much it cost to conceive Ebry. S/he is priceless.


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