Having a baby in our neoliberal times is often a very, very risky idea.
Before anything, expenses of raising a child is estimated at ~$245,000 by the time you got him into college. (source)
That is, if he can get out and get a stable job that will provide enough to make him independent. If he can’t, he will have to rely on you, like 60% of his peers in US (source), or 45% of his peers in Europe. (source)
All of these must happen while you and your partner spend 8 hours a day on average to raise the child – this is the average work-hours needed every day to raise a child, everything included ranging from the diaper-changing in early days, to taking them to school, teacher-parent meetings, anything else you can imagine. Unpaid, on top of the $245,000 expenses you need to make. Of course, for one kid only.
To raise a kid, you must forfeit approx ~20 years of your life and realize that you cannot pursue anything that does not come readily – career, traveling, and the like. There are people who are exceptions to this – but they don’t make a rule – not everyone is gratified by having stable jobs which are not stressful, not too time consuming, or a readily available support group (available parents, in-laws, sisters, brothers, friends) to help them. Actually if you count them in, it comes out that raising a child is not a two person job anymore in our times. And if you had any higher ideals and aspirations like aid work, higher education and research, writing a book or the like – which require serious energy and time – those are out of the question until after your kid is standing in life safely on his own feet.
Then there is insecurity and stress. The realities of fast-paced, uncertain life in the age of neoliberalism. Jobs are scarce, what is there is ever-increasing amount of work and ever-decreasing amount of pay with decreasing security and benefits – shareholders are smiling, while employees suffer. Stressful work environment in which you must always compete, work more for less, alongside people who are undergoing the same kind of stress as you.
Little time after work left for yourself, leave aside energy. Parents who can’t spare any time for themselves are under constant psychological pressure, which eventually reflects on the children. Even the children need to be put into a horse race from a very young age, to compete with each other for success in getting into good schools, then colleges, after which they will have to compete for the same jobs which are grinding their parents. Depression prescriptions galore, whereas ADHD diagnosis and medication in abundance.
On top of this, social security is destroyed, healthcare is privatized (if it already isnt), more demanded for less. We are not at the age where you could start working in a job and look towards a stable 30 years of life and a sure retirement. They are even going after people’s retirement funds.
So, a child needs to be raised in this environment, enduring all of these. More than that, a child will have to grow INTO this environment, facing all these problems himself. All of these combine into a set of factors that need to make young generations think very carefully before having children. And they actually are, and choosing not to have them. (source, source 2)
If you asked yourself whether you would like to be born into such a time and age, what would your answer be?
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