A friend sent me this viral Reddit post earlier this week. It’s about a woman considering divorce after her husband insisted she be financially responsible for the cost of birthing their baby, which came out to about $8,000.
It’s unclear if it’s real or fiction, but either way, I found it horrifying on multiple fronts. Beyond this husband being ruthless (to put it very mildly), I think a lot of people, including me, were surprised to learn how much childbirth can cost in the United States.
A lot of my friends are getting pregnant right now, and while we talk about a lot of the joys and struggles that come with that, we haven’t really talked about the financial implications. Though one friend recently mentioned she’s weighing paying for a doula, which can cost upward of $3,000.
I guess these costs shouldn’t be too surprising given our health care system, but it feels especially significant when you weigh it against the fact that childbirth is the top reason for hospitalization among American women, and nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned.
And now that millions of Americans no longer have access to abortion, one can infer that more people are finding themselves in a position of not being able to afford to give birth. According to another KFF study, about a third of households wouldn’t be able to cover the medical bills that come with childbirth. In many cases, it’s putting people in debt before they even begin to care for their baby, which obviously comes with a whole host of expenses.
The cost of starting a family is something our team has been interested in for a while, and we’re in the process of producing a couple episodes on that topic for next season. (Those episodes should be in your feeds in May!) More specifically, we’re looking into what happens when you decide to sell your eggs, along with the emotional and financial implications of adoption. We’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to share these episodes with you!
Defend your splurge
Tell us why you bought that thing — we won’t judge
Tell us how you treated yourself lately, your rationale for it and send a photo — we'll include the best one in our newsletter! This week, senior producer Zoë Saunders tells us what she’s been up to between seasons of the show.
I was vacationing in Ireland last week and took a tour of the historic Guinness factory. I usually try to steer clear of obvious tourist traps like this, but my local friends insisted that the tour was surprisingly good craic (Irish for “fun times”). And they weren’t wrong! I learned all about roasting barley and barrel making, among other things. The tour culminated in a visit to the factory’s sky bar, with an impressive panoramic view of Dublin. That’s where my partner and I were persuaded to shell out an additional €8 (about $8.50) to have
our photo taken and printed on the foamy head of a pint of Guinness. That’s an expensive pint of beer and possibly the stupidest gimmick I’ve ever spent money on, but I have zero regrets. What a silly once-in-a-lifetime experience that brought us much joy in the moment, and we’ll be laughing at the memory for years to come.
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This Is Uncomfortable” is produced by Reema Khrais, Zoë Saunders, Alice Wilder, Peter Balonon-Rosen, Hannah Harris Green, Marque Greene and Yvonne Marquez. Digital producer Tony Wagner made this newsletter.