I had some sense that finding child care would be difficult, so at the very beginning of my pregnancy I started calling everywhere. It was very stressful to be pregnant be told that there was no space. Nobody was able to tell me there would be a space. I just heard “Maybe,” “You’re on the waitlist,” “You never know.” I didn’t know if I could go back to work.
But in the end we were lucky and we did find a space a couple months after the end of my maternity leave. We are happy to have it and it is good quality. But it’s still stressful because her spot is only confirmed until she is 3 years old. There’s a waitlist for the 3-5 facility, too.
And I knew that when we got child care was going to be expensive. But I didn’t realize that for our one child it would be about half my salary. If we had two children, child care would cost more than my salary. We manage to pay it right now, but for sure it affects our family plan.
We are in our early 30s and a lot of parents in our community in Vancouver are older than us. Many of them say they waited to save more money to have children, so they could by then afford to have only one parent staying home, since child care is too expensive and rarely accessible. Waiting so long, some of them admitted having had fertility issues, as there is a link between age and fertility. That is obviously a very undesirable outcome of our current childcare policies.
I am originally from Quebec. If we were there right now, I’m pretty sure that child care would not be a reason that we couldn’t have another child. If we were ready, we would do it. But right now we have to space it out because we can’t afford nearly $40,000 for child care. It’s really sad and not desirable to have people delaying birth because of child care.
We’re at the time of our career where we’re quite young and we’re not at the top of our career ladder. There are all these programs that are for parents to save money for university tuition, but we can’t even afford early education and care!