A lot of parents have no idea such a huge cost is coming — until they have no other choice.
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We all know that babies are expensive. I mean, I don't even have kids and I know this. Want to be able to feed, clothe, and maybe even bathe your baby? Better pay up. But there's one price tag that takes a lot of new parents completely by surprise: the cost of day care.



Hold up, whaaaaat? Yep, up to $24,000 per year. Granted, that's on the highest end of the spectrum, but the state averages are equally upsetting. Full-time infant care in Washington, D.C., averages $21,948 per year; in Massachusetts, the average is $16,549; in New York, it's $14,508.


That's Lynette Farga, who runs the organization Child Care Aware.

You may be thinking, "Wow, day care's gotta be almost more expensive than college!" BINGO. In many states, it is.


Holy crap. What does all this mean for moms and dads? And for anyone thinking about becoming a mom or dad at any point in, well, ever? In some cases, it means folks are having to quit their job to stay home with the baby because the cost of day care is higher than the parent's salary.


Tiffany's a mom who had to quit her job at Walmart to take care of her second daughter.

In other cases, the cost of childcare means folks are having to stay at home with their baby and stay up late into the night working.


Say whaaaaat?

This is not OK. The cost of childcare is not okay.

What are we going to do about it? Organizations like Child Care Aware advocate a better, more affordable, national childcare system. And thanks to their efforts and those of many other similar organizations, President Obama even addressed the cost of childcare in his 2015 State of the Union address.

Finally, the issue of childcare affordability is on the map.

To hear more from the parents featured here, check out the full story on "PBS NewsHour" in the video below:

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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