Apparently, when it comes to maternity care costs in this country, I lucked out big time. Seven years ago, when I found myself pregnant for the first time, I had just switched from my own insurance to my husband’s much better one, and had only one, $25 co-payment for the entirety of my pregnancy — including the delivery. That’s it. Twenty-five dollars got me multiple visits with my midwife and a hospital birth (albeit a short one — I was in and out of the hospital in 10 hours, my choice).
Yet, my experience is certainly not the norm when it comes to maternity care costs in this country. The New York Times recently looked into why the U.S. has the most expensive maternity care in the world … despite not necessarily being at the top when it comes to quality of care. The facts are both absolutely terrifying and downright maddening. According to the Times article, prenatal and delivery charges can cost upwards of $50,000, depending on whether the mom-to-be has insurance or needs a C-section. Even for those with insurance, there is still the possibility of a costly birth, especially if your policy does not include maternity care coverage. Keep reading »
A lot of parents play the guilt card if you don’t visit enough. You never write! You never call, either! But China will actually fine you or throw you in jail for not stopping by to visit Mom and Dad. The country is having some pretty big problems with its population: as the number of people over 60 years old exceeds 194 million, the government is looking for new ways to ensure that children care for their aging parents. In an attempt to solve this problem, a new phrasing of an existing law came into effect this week that threatens fines or jail time for grown children who do not visit their elderly parents enough. What exactly does “enough” mean? The law isn’t clear. And how does the Chinese government plan to catch people who aren’t visiting enough? Are parents supposed to rat out their kids? Clearly this law is a direct result of China’s “one child policy” which has been in effect for the past 30 years. There are far too many elderly people for the young and able to support. Even in individual families, it is a huge burden on a single child to take care of both of his or her parents. The Chinese government mostly hopes that this law will serve to encourage children to visit their elderly parents, but there’s a good chance it’ll just vastly increase the number of lawbreakers in China. [The Christian Science Monitor] [Annoyed Asian woman photo via Shutterstock]
I was a child of the ’80s (and part of the ’90s), which means I had plenty of exposure to what parenthood would really be like from iconic greats like Diane Keaton, Tom Selleck, Michael Keaton, Kirstie Alley, and Goldie Hawn. When I had kids, I was fully expecting to be a Manhattan exec turned baby food inventor just like J.C. Wiatt in “Baby Boom.” It didn’t quite go down like that when I had my daughter a couple of decades later. My husband and I were both work-at-home, stay-at-home parents who knew nothing about making baby food.
Movies from the ’80s made parenting seem like a terrifying, identity-erasing abyss full of diapers and bottles. The reality is a lot less dramatic, really. Sure, there are diapers and bottles and plenty of really difficult times, but I’ve learned parenting is an endurance test. It’s about blending elements of your pre and post-parent life together. But still, I learned some valuable lessons from my favorite 80′s movies. Here are a few of my favorites and what they taught me…
I’ve done a lot of questionable things inside of a Starbucks, usually involving an uncontrollable bout of hanger, but these people really take the cake. (A slice of iced lemon pound cake, that is.) Jennifer James and Mark Dixon of West Haven, Connecticut, are letting Starbucks customers choose their baby name. Dixon works in downtown New Haven and the couple frequents a Starbucks near the New Haven Green. Apparently a lot. So much so that they placed paper cups near the registers asking customers to cast a vote for their child’s birth name: “Help us chose our son’s (first) name, Jackson or Logan.” Customers voted on the names given, but also added write-ins, including Chaz, Webster, Lincoln and Jebediah. But ultimately, 1,800 voters at Starbucks have spoken and they have chosen Logan as the name. Little Logan Jackson Dixon is due in September. There’s no word yet on whether they’ll outsource other parenting decisions — cloth diapers or disposables! breastfeeding or formula! — to Frappuccino drinkers as well. [New Haven Register] [Starbucks logo via Shutterstock]
Every now and then the unthinkable happens and a baby is born to a mother that didn’t even know she was pregnant. Such stories are often met with skepticism because in most cases, pregnancy is a incredibly obvious condition. The big bellies. The lack of a period. The cravings for pickles and tiramisu. In a few instances, however, mothers really seem to not know they are pregnant until that baby was coming down the vaginal canal. Here are some of the strangest cases. [Surprised baby photo via Shutterstock]