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US Birthrate and Fertility Rates Dropping, Many Possible Reasons

I have been reading about the US’s declining birthrate along with the older generation reaching retirement age. The people they quoted acted worried about a smaller working population vs larger retired, disabled and sick/aging population. They named everything from women now choosing to put off having kids leading to a decline in fertility rates to Planned Parenthood and similar resources that help women plan out and prevent pregnancies. Paul Ryan even went as far as saying he did his part and had three kids.

What are the main reasons that keep coming up in discussions where choosing to either put off or avoid having kids is the subject?

The top reasons seem to be lack of good, affordable healthcare- even a lot of people working full time with degrees seem to have trouble affording the costs of paying insurance, deductibles and copays. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a decent insurance, the US has a higher mortality rate for both pregnant women and babies than a lot of other developed countries.

The costs associated with having kids also plays a huge role- it costs over 200k to raise a child and most of the time daycare for one child alone will cost over 20k a year. I know we were looking into daycares locally (low cost of living area) and decided not to because it would literally eat my whole paycheck. Daycares are also getting to be less trustable. They offer assistance, but also now allow random women to put in to run day cares out of their homes.  It’s frequently on the news about daycare providers harming kids, having drug paraphernalia and dangerous items (knives etc) out in easy reach and occasionally, they have gone as far as having children die in their care. This happens at the shady lower cost as well as higher, upper scale daycares so can you really trust daycares?

Maternity pay/leave is another higher up on the chart- most places do not pay adequately nor do they seem to give long enough leave to make it worth using. If you get pregnant while working in a lot of different places, if you already have temporary disability insurance, and have been working for over a year you can get paid 6 week leave. If you work less than a year and are not paying into it prior to getting pregnant, you’re out of luck unless the store also has maternity leave benefits mapped out and you’re eligible.

High costs of rent and cost of living in general– Couple that with the next on the list, stagnant and low incomes and you have large numbers of people who can barely pay back their astronomical loans while paying all other bills and you have the recipe for holding off on having kids. The costs of living continue to climb while wages are staying the same overall.

Women now have the option to have kids or not– this is a huge factor I’m sure. Women now have the options of birth control, they can go to college and focus on their career instead of getting married and staying home and not every women who grows up is forced by society to have kids (or be outcast).

But with the positive, negative can come in as well- women have choices now and there have been studies linking later maternal age can lead to infertility and other complications.

There have also been suggestions that fertility rates are dropping some maybe due to environment and others may be due to the later start dates for starting families and having kids but there have been studies that as a whole, rates are dropping.

There are many different opinions, ideas and reasons that people are holding off on having kids and that may not be a bad thing. Our population right now is aging, but after that generation leaves, won’t it start to even out again? Gen X started having less kids than the boomers did and now we’re down to a birthrate of 1.8 as of 2016. It is no longer needed to have a lot of kids to ensure the survival of your family’s genetics and it’s no longer that cheap to raise kids.

What reasons do you think I have missed?

 

 

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Not sure if this is a fail or success

My girls and I decided to attempt bath bombs this afternoon. They had fun mixing and making a mess, they loved using one in the bath but they turned out nothing like they were supposed to. They crumble in my hand and I’m having to keep them in the mold until used. I think I know what I did wrong and we still have stuff for more, but would it be a success since they had fun or a fail since it didnt work right?

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I never thought a bowel movement would excite me

I was always beyond disgusted about the whole concept. I still can’t say p**p without gagging but my 7 year old was born and we began a battle around a year with constipation. She’ll get so backed up at times, she has been hospitalized. There are times she’ll be so constipated, she’ll cry while doing it. Now, even though we do have medication help (Miralax), she is able to without the tears- and she’s now going on her own without prompting. That itself seems to be an accomplishment since I’ve seen quite a few kids with her condition who aren’t potty trained at all.

My youngest is the opposite, any animal cheese or milk and she’ll have diarrhea. We are finally getting the hang of her (more expensive) diet, and it’s paying off.  She’ is now having more solid and less runny blow outs.

 

If you had told me when I was 20 that in 10 years, I would be monitoring and discussing poop with anyone (doctors etc), I’d have said you were out of your mind. I guess having kids changes things. I still almost puke when I smell vomit, but I can clean it up and deal with (kids) puking on me. I also can change a diaper (lost a job because I couldn’t change diapers- well, wouldn’t) and my oldest was my first diaper changing experience (and how I learned that boys aren’t the only ones who can pee straight up in the air…)

 

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Rules of my home

No matter how old you are or who you are, nobody is to lick the cat

There will be no throwing of chairs or any other objects at the cat

The cat is to be pet on demand and fed every time someone goes into the kitchen. The cat food is FOR the cat, it is not meant for human consumption.

No licking windows

No licking walls

No licking anything

These are the rules for all whom enter my home, no exceptions- even the tiny people who live here.

I never thought I would have those rules until I had kids… I never even thought I would have to say “dont lick the cat.”

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A few things 30 year old me wishes 22 year old newly pregnant me had known.

I have had a total of three pregnancies- my first ended at 28 weeks with a partial abruption and severe pre-eclampisa. She was only 1lb 11.5ozs and 13 inches long and spent a total of 8 1/2 months in NICU. She’s now a small but healthy 7 year old. My second was relatively uncomplicated but we lost her. She was born at 36 weeks due to me going into a painless labor and I wasn’t allowed by the doctors to go into labor. She died of a condition called Anencephaly (absence of the skull) and lived for 3 hours after birth.

My third was totally complication free and she was born at 37 weeks (once again, due to the complications of my oldest) and was 7lbs11ozs and 21 inches long- they told us she would have been a 9-10lb baby if she was born term.

I had each baby at 23, 25 and 27 years, I’m 30 now so I have spent almost my full adult life being called “mommy.”

I read all the books, blogs and joined all the support forums I could find. What to Expect was my bible through my first pregnancy and through her early years but nothing could prepare me for the almost 9 months of hell I was in for after having my baby.

When I was 22 and newly married, I found out I was pregnant. I was young, naive and even though I knew it was a huge sacrifice, I had a glorified image of pregnancy and motherhood. I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park and that I wouldn’t have near the freedom I had before but I still imagined taking the baby to baby and me classes, taking her out in cute little outfits with friends (since most of mine, at that time were also pregnant or new mommies) and late night cuddles. I thought of play dates and hanging out with friends would simply end up taking place at kid friendly places instead of bars. I had no idea what the dark side of pregnancy involved. I had heard of conditions like Pre-Eclampsia but the thought never crossed my mind that it could happen to me.

I was asked the question “What would 30 year old me go back and tell newly pregnant 22 year old me?” so here are a few pieces of advice I wish I had listened to or received when I was pregnant, especially when I was pregnant with my two older.

  1. Take folic acid- lots of it. I didn’t realize how important it really was. I did make sure my pre-natals had it, but that was it. After dealing with Pre-E and losing another baby to Anencephaly, I joined a support group for people who lost babies to the disorder and that was when I read about folic acid and how vital it is to healthy pregnancies. I also learned about the MTHFR and after asking for a simple blood test, I found out I had a more severe form of the lesser mutation- which means my body only processes about 7% of the folic acid I eat.
  2. Swelling all over to the point where you do not look human IS NOT NORMAL. Don’t call Labor and delivery, go in to the ER to get checked- especially if swelling in the hands and face comes with headache and lightheadedness or any other sign of high blood pressure. Pre-Eclampsia is serious, but can be managed if it’s caught early on.
  3. Lay off the baby books- especially if you have a preemie- seriously, cut it out. If your baby doesn’t develop by the books (either advanced or behind) they will stress you out more than help- it’s nice to know what “normal” development is, but if you start playing comparisons, it will make you lose your mind.
  4. Go ahead and complain about the morning sickness, crampy feelings, bloated feeling, headaches, mood swings, exhaustion and everything else- being pregnant sucks and it’s ok to not enjoy the symptoms- it’s the end result we all want.
  5. Do not freak out after being given the epidural. It doesn’t make all feeling go away- just the pain.
  6. Enjoy the last little bit of freedom- the sleepless nights do not last long (be a few months, they WILL sleep through the night) but that small window of time in between feels like an eternity- and there will be times you will wake up freaked out in the middle of the night because your baby sighed and you thought they were choking- that is normal.

As of right now, those first three pieces of advice are the most important things I wish I had known. I know I could never know, but I feel that if I had known to start taking folic acid before we started trying, our middle daughter would be here with us- about to turn 5.

After my kids were born, there are things I wish I had known.

1. My social life would die. I always had an active social life from college on out- but between location differences between my friends, weeding out the bad influences and age differences between our kids, I have lost touch with most of my old friends. Lack of time tends to get in the way of meeting new people in similar situations (although, working moms with working husbands and busy schedules may not be the types I’d want to meet when it comes to play dates and getting kids together). It’s not bad losing social life- If your old friends were bad influences (into drinking/drugs/etc) but it does rub off on your kids as they get older and have a lower interest in being around other kids.

2. Don’t let your kid sleep in your bed with you. Even just one night. Our 7 year old fell out of her big girl bed two times in one night when she was 3. We allowed her to sleep with us that night. She’s now 7 and we still can’t get her out of our bed (we could, but she actually panics at the thought of sleeping alone). We know she’s spoiled, but fear and anxiety is real and is a real problem when part of a child’s special needs is that they have trouble communicating with others.

3. Having special needs kids changes how you interact with all areas of your life. I’d love to take her to parties and to movies- and sometimes she does great. Other times, we will spend the full night in the bathroom with me trying to calm her down. We do not know how she will react to any given social interaction and sensory overload is a real problem. It has taken me 30 years to know and handle my own issues (loud noises- mainly, loud crowds, she has the same)

I recently read about one business starting a sensory sensitive day and I’m going to have to try taking her. I want to get her around more “normal” developing children, but other special needs kids tend to get on well with her- either way, she’s starting to take interest in socializing so we need to nurture it.

 

I may create a continuation of this post when I think of more. I know there are probably a lot of things that have slipped my mind. What are some things you wish you had known when you were newly pregnant?

 

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Well, we have the diagnosis for our 2 year old- lactose intolerant

She said we are doing all the right things and told us about the lactose chart and that lactaid milk does still have a lactose content.

I just wish she reacted like I do so we wouldn’t have to worry so much but she also told us the hard part was already done. Now, we just have to get past this picky eating phase and get her to do more than pick at her food then start playing.

I love the toddler phase… so much fun but so annoying as well. Why can’t we have one child who loves all food? On the bright side, we have 2 who love chicken and fish and they both eat salad, love fruit and moderate themselves with sweets. On the bad side- they both pick at their food more than eat and leave more unate food most of the time.

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Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

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We took my 2 year old to the ER a few weeks ago. 

We were told to keep her away from dairy and her diarrhea (reason we took her) was likely caused by a virus. Well, we took her off dairy and her diarrhea cleared up. We reintroduced it many times and the very last time my mom attempted to give her cows milk, she spit it out and didn’t want to drink it. Each time it has given her diarrhea. It’s lasted way more than 10 days (did test positive for a virus- this specific one lasts 10 days and it’s been well over that and she still gets diarrhea when she eats yogurt, most cheese, ice cream or milk. She’s also developing a taste for my gluten free snacks instead of normal. I have read picky eating can be a sign of a food intolerance. We are pretty sure lactose intolerance (I am) because the diarrhea has been a recurrent issue her whole life. We have an order to have her tested for Celiac due to my medical issues, her sisters gene and her symptoms. 

If she isn’t able to to back to cows milk, it’ll be all three of us women in the house who don’t drink it. Her older sister could easily live without dairy and I’m lactose intolerant myself. 

This is a whole lot of fun going through the tests, dealing with the diaper and trying to figure all this stuff out. Even with the medical help, it is still too long a process. 

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I never thought I’d be the type to let myself go after a marriage and these past 2 years (last year and this year) I’m getting myself back.

I have been with my husband almost 8 years now. Before he and I met, when I was younger, it would take me over an hour just to leave my house. My hair, make up, clothes and everything had to be perfect. After we had our first baby, I had an extra 60lbs (went from 125 to 198 at the end of my first- complicated- pregnancy) and I started stress eating (before that, if I was stressed, I couldn’t eat). I managed to lose 10lbs down to 180 but stuck. I did workouts sporadically but the stress turned to fatigue and even laziness.

With my second pregnancy (the one we lost) my weight stayed the same after the baby was born and I was too depressed to really work on it.

By the time I had my third, I gained up to 220- higher than I ever weighed and was a size 18. This time, I was more active but my thyroid went into hyper due to the toxic cyst and I lost 30lbs in the first 6 weeks and another 20 recently. Now that I’m down to about 170 and a size 14/16 I’m gaining the motivation to continue.

After I had my first baby, I continued with my hair, make up and skin routine but over time, lost it.

In the past few months, I’m working on changing myself. I realized a while back I let myself go so now I’m working on undoing the damage before it becomes harder.

My daily skin routine now involves pre cleanse and cleansing, sometimes exfoliating (not every day- usually 3 times a week to every other day), spraying my face with either rose water or Dermalogica’s Multi-Active toner, moisturizer, then I’ll put on a mask 1-2 times a week. That’s my evening before bedtime routine. My morning routine is the same but after the moisturizer, I’ll put my make up on. That full routine can keep my eczema from acting up too bad. I have found that to keep it down, exfoliating and moisturizing is key.

I’ve studied skin care professionally (I’m a licensed skin therapist) so keeping my skin next to perfect is key. Luckily for me, when my eczema breaks out, it’s mostly still skin colored but the itching does me in. I still get compliments on my skin on a daily basis- I get rid of zits immediately, don’t have black heads and you would have to look at my skin under a magnifying glass to see my pores- my skin has been my pride and thanks to that, I still look as young as I did when I met my husband. I’m heavier now, but I’m also working on losing that (I did make it from 130 to 220, I’m back down to 170 and working on losing the last 40lbs if possible). I’m down 50lbs from 220 to 170 from two years ago (hit my peak weight at the very end of my last pregnancy- but there will be no more pregnancies so I can focus on losing the last bit)

I’m also looking at what types of workouts are best for people with Osteo arthritis and Ehler Danlos Syndrome to try to get my body toned back up.

I’ve been working on trying to get back to how I was in college. Back then, I was active and felt great. I also looked better. I’m not sure how to handle my thinning and really dry hair (the wrong shampoos grease my hair up and make it look wet, when it dries it dries like straw. It’s hard having greasy skin in that one area of my body but then having dry hair. The thyroid issues don’t help at all.)
The selected image is what I looked like in October. I’m hoping to get back to a slightly older version of what I looked like when I met my husband. I’m not trying to look like a teen again (or very young adult) since I’ll be 30 this week, I just want to be about the same size, weight and to feel good again.

The first picture was taken right before my husband and I met (same week)

The one with the hat was shortly after we got together, before I got pregnant and the third was our first Christmas with our new baby (she was 9 months old)