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Is pregnancy and parenting a money game?
Whether you’re a parent or expecting, money seems to empty your wallet at every turn, says Kim Norton.
Sham Fertility Treatments

If you’re struggling to fall pregnant there are any number of sham treatments available promising to help, but evidence for them is thin or non existent.  Interestingly you’ll always need a few treatments and may need to buy all sorts of supplements and other products too.  Read up a bit, and when you do an internet search, use the term “criticism of…” to do your search.  Also remember that testimonials from Joyce in Boksburg and Mary from Port Elizabeth might not be true or if the people really exist, their pregnancies could have been from conventional fertility treatment but attributed to the alternative procedure done at the same time, or could just be pure coincidence.  When you’re desperate, it is easy for a smooth talker to convince you that their treatment will be worth your while and not just a bank account emptying exercise.

Not so essential essentials

Then you’re pregnant.  Every shop and magazine has lists of essentials – most of which are anything but.  Every family lives a different lifestyle – for some a wrap makes their lives easier, others can’t live without their pram, some people are happy to change poo nappies on their white duvet, others like a changing table, some co-sleep with their babies, others use a bed next to their bed, others a crib and some a cot or camp cot – and what you think you’ll do before baby arrives might not be what you end up doing afterwards.  Talk to friends and family who have had children, ask why a particular product was so essential or so useless to that family. Things that will only be used for a few weeks can be borrowed or hired, things that will only be needed when your child is 6 months or so can be bought when needed. 

Personally, my essentials were good ante-natal classes, a doula, a baby wrap, a sling and a mei tai carrier, a car seat, a single bed, a wide breastfeeding cushion (not one of those little half moon jobbies), disposable nappies, wet wipes, books with bright colours and contrasts, a changing table and mat (and a spare), a nappy bag and some clothes for my baby.  Others might look at that list and laugh at it being so little, still others may look and wonder why I had so much stuff.  I wish I’d never bought a cot or camp cot, a carry cot, a pram or those soft blanket bears with silky tags that my babies showed no interest in holding or sleeping with.

Actually, my baby came with far too many manuals

I love it when people joke that babies don’t come with manuals.  Oh my goodness – baby books rain down on you from everyone you know.  Most leaving you a sobbing wreck wondering why your baby cat naps rather than sleeps in long stretches, feeds frequently and cries if you put it down but is quite happy on an outing to the shops without a blanket draped over its head in a pram.  Only once you get through the tears do you discover your baby is quite normal and most babies haven’t read the books.  Some books are quite helpful in small or large parts, but read them with a hefty pinch of salt.

You’ll stunt your baby’s development without these classes

Apparently your baby needs to go swimming, be massaged, play music, climb gym apparatus, play in organised groups, sing, work on their gross and fine motor skills and learn to cook a soufflé… Or else! The classes are fun, but choose one or two that fit with your budget and interests, they’re a great place to meet other moms, but your baby won’t suffer without them.  Some, like swimming can wait until your child is older – they don’t have to do everything all at once. 

What do you feel you shouldn’t have parted with your money for?

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