Nearly Halfway: What Pregnancy Has Cost Me So Far
It was with more than twinge of envy that I read Mrs. Frugalwoods’ post from June about how she had managed to get by, even at 16 weeks pregnant, without buying any maternity clothes.
There are plenty of folks who’ll tell you to ignore the small stuff in your budget (not sure what they define as “small”–I listed a $2.13 expense last month), but I totally disagree with that lackadaisical mentality. Taking your eye off “the small stuff” is a surefire way for you to still wonder just why exactly you’re not hitting your savings or debt repayment goals every month.
The small stuff adds up.
I haven’t gone on shopping sprees; I haven’t so much as set foot in a Motherhood Maternity store. But clothes — including “the small stuff” — have nonetheless made up a chunk of the money I’ve had to lay out so far on behalf of the growing creature I call Sprout.
Herewith, four+ months in, an accounting:
The first brand I tried, Rainbow Light ($11 at Target), I chose after research into both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Some vitamins require that you take two or more a day, which, naturally, makes them more expensive in the long run, so I wanted ones that weren’t super expensive and yet could help Sprout develop the ideal number of digits and vertebrae. Rainbow Light was the highest ranked one-a-day prenatal vitamin on the shelf that cost less than $15 a bottle. Sold.
Unfortunately, the vitamins themselves were dry, foul-tasting lozenges that took forever to choke down. Babygirl, seeing my distress, got into the habit of crawling onto a chair next to me and holding my hand when I began the five-minute long process of trying to swallow one pill. I kept thinking it would get easier; it didn’t. And soon I noticed that, even after Sprout stopped making me nauseous, the vitamins continued to. I quit the vitamins and instantly felt better. Except for the guilt, that is.
Can I just not take prenatal vitamins? Doesn’t Michael Pollan say to live like people who WOULD take vitamins and save your money? Maybe they’re a myth, yet one more example of the Pregnancy Industrial Complex.
I asked my midwife at the beginning of my 2nd trimester if I could ditch them. I eat healthy. I exercise. Sprout already has a spine.
“Sorry,” she said. She suggested I try another brand and/or shift to taking them at night. “Oh,” she added, “and get some extra Vitamin D while you’re at it.”
After more research and some grumbling, I settled on one-a-day multis from Nature Made (on sale for $20 for two bottles at Duane Reade). They’re coated and smaller, so they go down for easily, and they haven’t yet caused me to puke in a trash can on Flatbush Avenue. #Winning
Oh, and little Vitamin D globules ($6). I hope Sprout enjoys all that ingested sunshine.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m an Obamacare poster child, which means that, by default, Sprout is too. I have Bronze Level, high-deductible coverage via Oscar, and, after my initial visit to the midwife, the first pregnancy-related bill I received — which was, btw, a model of conciseness and clarity — told me in one paragraph on one page that I owed $0. That was a pleasant surprise. Please, send me more bills telling me I owe nothing! It’s a great feeling to open that envelope.
The second envelope just came on Friday and it was rather thicker. Even though the documents inside was written in what I now recognize to be Oscar’s admirably straightforward style, I still couldn’t make sense of them. The prices cited for four more standard-issue services ranged from $0 again (thanks!) to $950 with no explanation for why one would be so little and the other so much.
I’m going to call tomorrow and see whether I can get a clearer answer, but if the papers are to be believed, for four months of totally normal pregnancy care costs, I will be responsible for a total of ($200 + $950 + $78 + $0) = $1228.
I can’t wait to see what the 20 week Anatomy Scan costs me!
Presumptive Total: $1228
A fall/winter pregnancy means that I need more this time around: more layers; more things that are warm and, thus, expensive.
Mrs. Frugalwoods’ secret is hand-me-downs. I too love hand-me-downs. The trouble is, I have no source for them: no older sisters, no local BFF who was recently delivered of a child. One no-longer-pregnant woman my size who I approached had gotten her wardrobe on loan and was expected to return it. The others, who I am in contact with via the Park Slope Parents listserv, expect people to pay for their used clothes.
For the most part, that’s what I’ve done. I claimed one good-sized bag o’ stuff from a woman a couple of neighborhoods away for $75. We have, it turns out, similar taste in dresses but quite different taste in pants. Still, the bag came with a couple of sweaters, a pair of leggings, a pair of tights, and some tank tops, and I’m grateful.
I went to a neighborhood swap, too, and, under duress, since the room was fuller than a can of peas, grabbed some more tank tops, an ill-fitting shirt, a couple of skirts I’m not sure what to do with, something that could be a sweater, and a pair of jeans that don’t really fit. Maybe I’ll get to a point where I’m so past vanity I don’t care.
At Target, I picked up a Belly Band ($20) so that I could wear my own jeans for as long as possible, and online, I got three larger bras ($98 total) and one larger sports bra ($38).
I still need to get a coat and I’m haunting various listservs in hope of securing one.
That means that, at the not-quite-halfway point, my out of pocket total, so far, is $268, with an additional $1228 that I will probably be expected to pay.
At least I’ve saved on tampons.