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Why Having Kids To Satisfy Elders’ Wishes Or As Insurance For One’s Old Age Is A Bad Idea

Posted: December 12, 2016

As a young married woman, have you been asked, “So, any good news“? Take the call only when you are ready for it, for having kids is no child’s play.

Been married for X number of years – So where is the good news? If this question hasn’t been thrown at you time and again and you live in India, I would be gobsmacked. The age to marry, to procreate, then procreate again, so that your child has a sibling, everything seems to be decided by society here, isn’t it?

There are many couples who unfortunately cannot conceive, and they pray and try every possible way to become parents. But there are some – who do not want to have kids by choice. I see this trend of DINK( Double Income No Kids) on the rise. Though I am always conscious not to raise the “good news” question before anyone, I sometimes do take the liberty with good friends.

One such colleague whom I knew well since a couple of years, was married for close to 3 years. When I asked her casually about having kids, she promptly replied – neither she nor her spouse are very fond of kids, so they are not thinking of having one. On thinking about this – I wondered but how can one not love kids? How can a couple not think of having kids? It baffled me.

Today when I am a mother of a 10 month old, I have truly understood what it takes to be a parent. The cuteness factor apart, one gets much more than one has bargained for. It doesn’t baffle me anymore. In fact I respect her decision and it seems perfectly ok.

In case you have any doubts, I love being a parent and love my Angel to the moon. Motherhood has changed my life in a big way, and I do not have a shred of doubt about it being the right thing for me. I have always adored kids though I now truly realise what it is being a parent. One thing I was clear about though is having kids.

No conflict here – coming back to my colleague’s case, what I respect her for is not having kids when she didn’t intend to. I have seen lot of couples who though are personally not inclined towards having kids end up having them due to societal pressure (to prove that they are not impotent, see we are one complete family now, Mummy Daddy Baby) or to please their parents (beta my Aakhri Icha – last wish) or because they believe that they need someone to take care of them in their old age.

Have you heard of any lamer excuse? I would think having kids when you are not ready or just don’t want one – is the worse thing you can do to yourself and the baby. I have personally seen such people being unhappy and passing on the same unhappy spirit to the child as well.

Then they hire an entourage of nannies, cooks, teachers to groom and raise the child, while they try to enjoy their life and live it the way they like, the kid craves for their attention, doesn’t get it and one fine day, he doesn’t need it. So why do you want a baby then?

I read an interesting article which raised this issue – it said rather than society asking people to justify why they don’t want a baby and trying to coax them to have one, the people who want to have a baby should be asked to justify why they want one.

Very often people don’t think twice, it’s just the most natural thing to do right. So why do we need to justify it, blasphemous! The point I am making here is – are you asking yourself if you are ready to have a child?

Ready emotionally, physically, financially in all respects? Parenting is a full time job – are you ready in the true sense to be available 24*7 for someone, put them to sleep while you sacrifice your sleep, tend to an ailing child, put up with his tantrums, try feeding him a meal while he runs around and refuses to open his mouth, as he grows be responsible for his studies, help him with his project work, and did you say what about me?

Well, forget about me time, does that even exist once you are a parent? There’s so much more to parenting and it’s a job for a lifetime, so think and think well before you take the plunge. I can vouch for it that it’s a beautiful journey. It has made me laugh, made me cry, brought out this new facet of writing in me that I never knew even existed, and though it’s a challenge to find time for myself, hubby-wife time, movie time, eating my meal in peace time – I could still not think of having it any other way.

Lets not forget – a little child brought into the world by us looks up to us for care and support for a good part of her life. We can give our best only when we are ready for it. It’s important to make a conscious decision and in case you decide in the affirmative or decide to wait longer, both are perfectly legitimate options.

It also calls for us as a society to stop putting undue pressure on couples and let them decide when they want to give us the ‘good news’.

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  1. Excellent post Akshata- in the modern context it is very important to have this discussion from the point of view of population control, eco-preservation and the extreme demands of modern day living!
    At the outset let us be brutally honest that getting pregnant is the most obvious outcome of unprotected sex. This remains the same whether this is before or after marriage. Whenever people in sexual relationships hesitate to have the important discussion about contraception and take the necessary precautions BEFORE having sex, they most often do end up getting pregnant even when they aren’t ready to take the next step to handle the consequence of their actions. This is also very much the case for married couples. The only difference is that unmarried couples/women are far more likely than married ones to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Contrary to popularly projected notions, unprepared married couples who go ahead with a pregnancy and have a baby are not more noble or wonderful as human beings, simply because they did not terminate an unwanted pregnancy. An unwanted pregnancy (whatever be the reason) is NOT more likely to suddenly and magically transform married people into amazing parents just as it won’t do any such thing for unmarried people. So like you rightly point out having a child/children, first and foremost should be seen as the huge responsibility it really is, rather than any other romanticised ideal society often chooses to imagine or project it as. It takes considerable planning, sacrifice and co-operation to parent a child efficiently and responsibly, so it is imperative that parents be prepared and willing to do so even before getting pregnant. Like you also rightly point out, if planned and with an effective support system (which comes both from financial and familial security) parenting can be rewarding. Thus being ready for it ensures a better chance at doing a good job of the task at hand and feeling fulfilled doing this task. However as we have ourselves often felt as parents, even under these circumstances, parenting remains a challenge from time to time- because to tend to(clothe, feed, educate, support) and give care to another human being in a suitable,wholesome manner throughout the parenting experience of one’s lifetime, is an always evolving role in rapidly changing times with rapidly expanding expectations. Therefore its logical that only people who are capable, open, ready and willing to take up this responsibility need become parents. Others who do not see themselves in the parenting role should be allowed to live their lives (free of being unnecessarily and negatively judged) -the way they choose- be it as singles or married without kids. Surely in a country like India with a problem of over population, we have absolutely no need to worry at all that our race will get extinct if we do not ensure that every single married couple is having baby/ies and thus contributing to the population!!!!

  2. Excellent post Akshita. This is not only because I am married for more than 2 years and is myself a victim of societal pressure but also because I actually believe that the decision of procreating should be couple’s mutual decision and none of the external idea/thought/wish should influence that decision.

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