When weighing up the options for conceiving a third child, among the consideration for how much less sleep I will get, the inevitable stagnation of my career, the possibility of having to go through yet another Thomas the Tank Engine phase; nonetheless there's a lot I can get rosy tinted about: getting a seat on the tube for nine months; the freshly baked baby head smell; six months rocking double G tits.
But it is the impact on my wallet that is my biggest consideration.
It's not so much the cost of childcare that gets me, although, going on last year's predictions, the current cost of raising a child to 21 is some £222,458, a 58% rise on a decade ago.
It's not even that by 2033, the year a child conceived now would turn 18, the UK is looking like a pretty bleak place to be. The disturbing vision of a dystopian future phrophesised by doomsdayers is one in which great swatches of Britain is under water, a housing crisis is pushed to breaking point by a UK population pushing 72 billion, not to mention the Chinese communist party ruling the world. Perish the thought. But what really has me reaching for my daily dose of Yasmin is the predicted cost of sending said child to university.
By 2033, the cost of sending a child to university will have risen to just shy of £150,000, which on the average will take 5 years to earn, eating notwithstanding. So unless my bitcoin investment starts performing, my (already existing) kids had better get used to the idea of being blue collar (although what that means these days now we've outsourced blue collar jobs to the Poles is anyone's guess), entrepreneurs or or joining the army because an academic future ain't happening on my wallet.
If this isn't social engineering of some sort, I don't know what is. When you crunch the numbers it sure takes the romance out of the idea of a large brood. We've all heard the arguments from the likes of David Attenborough against having more than a replacement family, with his rather unsavoury 'stop at two' campaign, which likens human life to a 'plague on this planet'.
But ideas like this rather places the onus of population control on anyone with half a brain, future insight and more than likely a bit more ambition than the rest of us. The problem is that the high cost of education is only going to put off people from having children who value education, and fear their children won't have the same (or better - some hope these days!) access to higher education that they enjoyed, which seems a bit rum when you consider David Cameron's purported welfare gap where those on the dole have a financial incentive to have more children while those in work are forced to stop having children because they simply cannot afford to.
I don't want to go all Daily Mail/ Benefits Street/ Third Reich on you, but all things being equal, it seems like the people most inclined to have smaller families for the good of humanity are also those who have higher educational aspirations for their kids, which doesn't bode well for the gene pool.
Anyway, on that clanger, perhaps it's just the effects of the pill making me me feel a little pessimistic about the future. But right now, I'm hoping that my eight year old, Jonah, learns to code in time for a Tech City skills gap to reach such a cavernous hole that internships become a thing of the past and companies start recruiting out of school. And that cat memes evolve to the point where five year old Ava can make a living miaowing*
But it may be more force of necessity that both my children bypass uni altogether and forge a living without jumping through the ridiculous educational hoops I had to, than a return to a jobs market where a degree isn't a prerequisite for the average call centre operative.
So anyway, until the cost of living crisis abates (and despite the media going nuts about it ending last week, I'm still buying basics) and I can upgrade my weekly food shop from Lidl to Asda (actually I LOVE Lidl, but you know what I mean) I guess I'll be keeping my womb to myself.
*It's not that I have low expectations for my daughter. It's just that so far, her greatest and most long lived preoccupation has been animal impersonation, so I'm basing my aspirations for her based on those she currently exhibits.
According to Reuters, there is a growing fad in South Korea called 'gastronomic voyeurism', where people pay to watch someone else eat, with one woman earning £9000 a month chowing down on camera. I'm willing to bet that somewhere, people command high sums for dressing in fur onsies and playing with virtual wool. So if my daughter wants to be a cat when she grows up, I'm right behind her.