Not having the fertility you expect nor the money you require for little things like buying groceries and avoiding debt that will take decades to dig yourself out of sucks donkey dong, no question. But it’s not all bad. Oh no: some good things can come out of that curiously cruel combination — or rather, some not-so-great things, though much desired at one time, might be avoided. Ah, the virtue of “simplicity” through forced inability to purchase anything!
Without further snark (who am I kidding: with much further snark), here are five “must have” baby things I did not waste money on, not having the funds to do so before figuring out I wouldn’t need it thanks to countless hours spent researching online because computers at least did what I told them as opposed to ovaries which persistently and cruelly ignored my pleas to work properly.
5 Would-Have-Been-Useless Things I Avoided Buying Thanks to Infertility and Poverty
1. A crib. Bed sharing? Not only far safer than many “public safety” organizations (often crib-lobby-backed) would have you believe, but also actually the biological default for humanity. Sure, it doesn’t work for every baby nor every family, but me? I’d slept with my partner every night for half a decade, I’d shared my bed with a long line of cats and dogs, I curled up every night around a baby-sized stuffed bear nearly as old and rather rattier than I, I was used to the obnoxious nighttime noises of my kidney-damaged geriatric poodle: I could cosleep. That quarter-circle-shaped utterly impractical if frankly gorgeous $2000 crib? We could pass.
2. A stroller. Living in the Pacific Northwest meant there was no weather reason to need a stroller even in the worst of summer, as some of my Texan friends did. Being more or less sound of body meant the 8lb/3.6kg (or, as it turned out, nearly 10.5lb/4.7kg) weight of a properly worn newborn would be no strain at all, and if at some point down the line the kid or our bodies decided we needed a conveyance on wheels, well, we’d get something then. And in the meantime, practicing carries with my long-suffering stuffed bear served to sate slightly my inner baby-obsessing-beast.
3. Crotch-dangling carriers and over-padded closed-tail slings. In the way-back olden days of five years ago, the over-engineered be-buckled devices known none-too-affectionately as crotch-danglers were The Must Have strapping-baby-to-body device, and the alternative was a sling available in a wide range of pastel-with-ducks color schemes and an unfortunate name reminiscent of slang for a brassier. (Nowadays the significantly better if still imperfect and overpriced ERGObaby carrier is nudging the crotch-danglers out of the Must Have lists — if not yet the lion’s share of the market outside Hippiedom Central otherwise known as Portland — and there are a number of lovely, sophisticated, dare-I-say-sexy slings in national distribution.)
I, however, when faced with those two options, dug deeper and found the frankly-a-little-frightening world of babywearing, and learned how to safely and securely make a carrier better than anything available on the mass market for less than $10, or in a pinch wear an infant in a large beach towel, a pair of sweatpants, or — I am not making this up — a pillowcase and a length of duck-tape. But that didn’t stop me for asking my mom for a $130 organic wrap.
4. Baby monitors. I know we’re the only parents in a 500 mile radius who don’t use them (even Her Crunchy Highness Hathor the Cowgoddess has a set), but when one’s plan includes cosleeping at night and babywearing the rest of the time, and one doesn’t really have house enough or older children enough for the noise of a gritchy baby to get lost in, what’s the point? Other than to pick up arguments and intrigue and hot sex noises from others’ monitors, and that’s what we have bad TV shows for.
5. Moses basket. There was a time, and no I could not tell you why, that the thought of a hooded basket with handles in which a serenely sleeping baby could be carried around the house and set next to wherever one was, it was understood, sewing or spinning or plucking a died-of-joyful-self-sacrifice goose sent me in to sepia-colored swoons for hours at a time. I am sure there are situations in which they’re a godsend, but if I’d had the money to indulge at the time of my obsession, I would now be the less-than-proud owner of a sweet and sentimental hooded and handled laundry basket. Or cat carrier.
That’s my list of the big-ticket items we successfully dodged due to utterly-depressing (if thankfully incomplete) infertility and soul-crushing (if thankfully temporary) poverty. If we were to start over now, we’d still avoid each of those (though we might succumb to a few more triple-digit-dollar baby carriers), but if I’d have the budget and the lack of research time pre-permission-to-buy-baby-things-by-virtue-of-gestating-assiduously, each one would have found their way into our home.
I won’t say I’m glad for sub-par fertility or a long period of poverty, but though it sucked donkey dong at the time, at least I’m not stuck with a herd of hay-chewing fertilizer-producers from buying every pony my heart fleetingly desired.
Your turn: what “must-haves” did you do fine without? What money wasters are gathering dust in your spare room? Or, what big-ticket purchase were you surprised to find useful? What unaffordable object would you have given, or would still give, at least a small piece of your soul for?