Kyith from Investment Moats had shared our November expenses report in a local facebook discussion group (thanks Kyith!) and it had generated a lot of feedback and discussion.
Well predominantly, it was about the cost of having a baby in Singapore, as well as how “minimalist” or not “minimalist” the pregnancy was.
I think in general, most people would think that a minimalist pregnancy is a low cost pregnancy. Which might not necessarily be the case….
More than a year ago, I wrote an article about “Minimalism during pregnancy”, which was in part inspired by my own experience and the experience of friends around me.
For us, minimalism means living with what we need, and not in excess, and that predominantly relates to stuff, although it might not be that case at all times.
However, that doesn’t mean we compromise on the quality of our living, and there are times that we do splurge for quality or “perceived quality”, so that we can get a better experience out of it.
Take for instance, the engagement of a confinement nanny. In fact, we didn’t have one when we had Ally but we thought we wanted to get one this time round.
When we had Ally, we were first time parents and there were a lot aspects of caring for a newborn that we were not equipped with. However, then, we didn’t think that it was necessary to hire a confinement nanny since there were many people out there who survived without one (even though among my friends, it was the norm to engage one) and Dave and I thought that we should be able to do so too.
Even though we did survive through ultimately, we had to go through loads of sleepless nights (and I felt extremely bad for Dave then who still had to go to work the next day) and also with recurring bouts of mastitis, it was something that was extremely painful to deal with and I recalled the agonising feeling I had when having to care for a newborn and learning everything, plus dealing with the mastitis fever and swelling. It was in a nutshell, an extremely agonising experience. However, looking back now, we really ought to give ourselves a pat on our shoulders how we managed to survive through that.
This time round, when I was pregnant with Ashton, we then decided to engage a confinement nanny. I was exclaiming to Dave that my friends who had engaged their services seemed so well-rested and radiant (compared to us then) and with a three-year old toddler (who requires as much work as a newborn, just in other ways), perhaps it might make sense for us to engage one this time round. Also, with our age, we would also want to get as much rest as possible as we no longer have the energy and strength compared to some younger parents.
As such, even though a confinement nanny does not come cheap, we are glad that we have engaged one. We are well-rested, the baby is well-taken care of, and we even have time to continue our blogging activities (which I can’t imagine doing so without her help).
Yes, it’s not a cheap engagement but we are willing to put in the money here for a better experience this time round.
In a separate anecdote, as noted earlier, many would equate a minimalist pregnancy to be that of a low cost pregnancy. Some suggested giving birth in a government hospital (which is perceived to be cheaper) and perhaps even birthing at home, so that you can save on the hospital and doctors’ fees etc.
I do not think the above the recommended, even though that might be how people in the past managed to deliver their babies. Of course, this would leave for a separate discussion but overall, it seems like most would interpret a minimalist pregnancy to be one that does not cost too much.
I do not see them as necessarily mutually exclusive. But at the same time, I do not think that a minimalist pregnancy means that it is a low cost one.
We practice minimalism so that we can remove our focus in life from stuff to people and experience, and because of that, we were able to cut down on our spending and ultimately, results in certain savings that we were able to reaped in the course of our journey. Having said that, we can be pretty generous in certain aspects :p (can refer to our previous expense reports for some examples).
All in all, pregnancy and parenthood should be an enjoyable experience for all of us. This experience should not be measured in monetary terms (although there are lots of articles out there that calculates the cost of raising a child).
Everyone’s circumstances are different and we are glad that our expenses reports did generate some healthy discussion. The interesting thing for us though, is to see how much more we had to pay (hospital and doctors’ fees) compared to when we had Ally three years ago, ceteris paribus. That perhaps, should be discussed in a separate post.