A Born Free Baby
by Mary Eileen Finch
“I’d love to have more children, but babies are just too expensive!” a friend of mine recently said.
I hear this often and I always smile and bite my tongue. My eight-year-old daughter however, is not so restrained. She replied, “Well, our babies are free!”
She’s right of course; we’ve learned that having a baby doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, just like hundreds of years ago before modern medicine, formula and Toys ‘R Us. Before parents felt guilty if they didn’t have a nursery over-decorated with baby furniture and Disney characters. Before the invention of swings, playpens, and walkers. Before designer baby clothes and sterling silver pacifiers. Before having a baby became so commercialized.
Our third child was born this June, basically free of charge. We had no prenatal or delivery cost, no baby checkups fees, no money was spent on formula or bottles, we did not buy a crib, bassinet, stroller, playpen, swing, walker etc. We do not buy disposable diapers or wipes, and we did not spend any money on baby clothes.
Prenatal or delivery cost: Free because our baby was born at home, unassisted with just my husband and I.
Baby checkup fees: Free because my children have never been to a doctor. They have all been vegan since conception, thus are very healthy and have never been sick or had a need for medical treatment.
Feeding our baby: Free because he is breastfeed from the breast only; since he is never away from me he has no need for formula, bottles, etc.
Crib: Our baby co-sleeps with us so we have no need for a crib or bassinet.
Baby bath: Our baby bathes with me so we have no need for a baby bath.
Other baby items: Our baby is carried in a sling/baby wrap snuggled close to my heart so we have no need for strollers, playpens, swings, walkers etc.
Diapers: Our baby wears cloth diapers and is cleaned with cloth wipes so there is no need to buy disposables.
Clothes: Our baby wears gently used clothing that was passed on to us by mothers of older babies.
Babies truly are priceless!
I visit often with an 85-year-old woman who has lived in our small town, on a farm without running water or electricity, her whole life. I asked her what she did to prepare for her babies. She explained, “In those days we didn’t do anything. You didn’t get checkups when you were pregnant. When my labor started I sent for the doctor and he came. Afterwards we gave him a few chickens as payment. I sewed flour sacks into diapers and clothes. I carried the baby in my arms all day and night and it slept with me in my bed. Of course I breastfed, there wasn’t any other option. We didn’t, couldn’t actually, buy anything for the babies. We probably only had a few dollars a year in actual cash.”
“So you practiced attachment parenting then?” I asked
“Well, I don’t know what that is, never heard of it. I just did what I did because it was the right way to do it, the only way,” she said.
Maybe we should all turn to the past when it comes to raising our children.
WHAT A BABY COSTS
By Edgar Guest
“How much do babies cost?” said he
The other night upon my knee;
And then I said: “They cost a lot;
A lot of watching by a cot,
A lot of sleepless hours and care,
A lot of heartache and despair,
A lot of fear and trying dread,
And sometimes many tears are shed
In payment for our babies small,
But every one is worth it all.
“For babies people have to pay
A heavy price from day to day –
There is no way to get one cheap.
Why, sometimes when they’re fast asleep
You have to get up in the night
And go and see that they’re all right.
But what they cost in constant care
And worry, does not half compare
With what they bring of joy and bliss –
You’d pay much more for just a kiss.
“Who buys a baby has to pay
A portion of the bill each day;
He has to give his time and thought
Unto the little one he’s bought.
He has to stand a lot of pain
Inside his heart and not complain
; And pay with lonely days and sad
For all the happy hours he’s had.
All this a baby costs, and yet
His smile is worth it all, you bet.”