Is A Party More Important Than Your Baby?
According to valuepenguin.com the average cost of a wedding in Columbus, Ohio is $153 per guest or $21,466. Whew! That is an impressive total. When I got married in 2004 my husband and I had a DIY Southern Ohio shindig for 200 guests that, including the Rehearsal Dinner and 3 day Bahamian Honeymoon, cost just under $6,000. I'm a thrifty gal though.
Many people do not blink at spending $50, $100, or more per guest for the biggest party of their lives. This is "Your Day," the "Big Day." Yet, when we look at our divorce rates a young couple marrying for the first time today has a lifetime divorce risk of 40 percent, "unless current trends change significantly." We can extrapolate that people are willing to spend an exorbitant amount of money; more than a very nice vehicle, a down payment on a decent house or nice condo, or the cost of one year of college, on a single event, one which has only a 60% success rate?
Don't get me wrong: I love weddings. I did a brief stint as a bridal consultant and I was very good at it. I enjoyed helping a bride find her perfect dress and decking out the wedding party. In college I catered for 4 years and worked SO many weddings. My history in event planning also gives weddings in a special place in my heart.
What I don't understand though, is the willingness to pay that much for one "Big Day," but a general, dare I say, stinginess when it comes to the most important day of your life, the birth of your child.
Childbirth is expensive. The out of pocket cost of an uncomplicated vaginal birth can range from a couple thousand dollars to $30,000. In Central Ohio your total out of pocket costs for a home birth are roughly $4,000. When you compare these costs to the cost of a wedding it just doesn't stack up. That is simply the base costs to bringing a baby into the world. Additionally, parents worry about obtaining a mountain of baby gear (next week I'll post my top 10 list for the baby crap you actually need and what to not waste your money on).
In reality, that designer crib and matching rocking recliner won't really get used much the first few months of baby's life. For the "4th trimester" - that lovely newborn adjustment period, there is very little a baby needs beyond his mother, her partner or support person, nourishment, and some diapers.
Instead of maxing out your credit cards on stuff that will rarely be used or encouraging your family to pile up the cute baby gear, maybe you should invest in your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.
Investing in your Pregnancy
Find a great care provider you like and trust - not necessarily the cheapest.
Take a childbirth education class (invest your time, effort, and money - my classes range from $100-$525).
Get prenatal massages - this is the time to treat yourself!
Investing in your Birth
Hire a Birth Doula! (Check out one of my favorite blogs for the evidence for labor support. ) My Labor Support Service costs just $700 and payment plans are available! I can even set up an online payment option so friends and family can contribute.
Pick a great birth location - not necessarily the cheapest.
Investing in your Postpartum
Hire a Postpartum Doula - get yourself the support you deserve (and most likely won't receive from well meaning family and friends). My Postpartum Support Service is just $25 an hour. If you pre-purchase 12 hours you get an hour free! Again, I can set-up an online payment option so friends and family can contribute.
Plan your Postpartum - allow friends and family to help by providing meals, helping out with siblings
If you are planning on cloth diapering - get a service for the first few months. Some even offer gift certificates.
Plan for Placenta Encapsulation to support yourself hormonally postpartum.
"Wait a Minute! I'm adding this up and your'e talking about $2000 or more!"
You're right! I do, however, offer bundled packages starting at $1200. Let's think about this for a minute. For $1200 you're getting labor support, basic childbirth education, placenta encapsulation, and 12 hours of postpartum support. That is at least 6 weeks of continuous care during one of the most important times of your life. All of this from someone who will absolutely support you in your choices, enable you to be your best self, and help ease your transition to parenthood, without judgement or agendas. When you look at it that way investing $2,900 in my most expensive package doesn't seem so extravagant.
What is personalized, continuous care, support, and education worth to you? Is your child and making sure he or she has the best possible start in life with parents who are totally supported worth 1/10th the cost of that big party you might have thrown a few years back?