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I believe if someone does not want kids, it is OK for them to not fall for social pressure to have them. After all, it should be their decision!
Six years. That is how long it took me to really feel like a mother. As I put the boys to sleep, one on either side of me, cuddled close and their warm bodies breathing evenly, I realized how priceless this moment was.
Growing up and while in college, I had no older siblings or cousins who told me what it would be like. My oldest, now 6, was born in the United States and we had very little family and friends around. I was completely unprepared. I did not feel ‘unbounding love and joy’ when I first saw my son. Sure, I am a good mother but I never understood how some mothers felt these emotions. For a long time, I felt guilty. Maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe I won’t be a shining example of virtue and selflessness.
After two kids and a small network of great mom friends, I realize that it is OK to not feel anything. Infact, it is ok to not have kids and still lead a meaningful and happy life. A friend decided early on in her marriage that they will not have children. After standing up to pressure from well-meaning family and friends for several years, they are in a good place now. They are able to travel at the drop of a hat and can focus 100 per cent on their work and taking care of their extended family.
There is another good reason for not raising kids. We live in dangerous times where kids get shot in school, get abducted in crowded places or worse, get abused. Gone are the days when we could leave our kids with the ‘friendly’ neighbor. The mere thought of leaving my boys to roam alone in the neighborhood is frightening. No wonder helicopter parenting is on the rise accompanied by more tired and stressed parents. Parents of today need nerves of school, and very deep pockets.
According to a study done by ET Wealth in 2011, it will cost approximately Rs 54.75 lakh to raise a child from birth until they are 21 years old in India.
What does all this mean for young couples planning to raise a family or women who are being pressured for ‘good news’?
Ask yourself, WHY do you want kids? If it is to please family or get them off your back, think again. If you believe you are doing the world a favor by accepting God’s gift, remember that the world population stands at a staggering 7.2 billion. If you are hoping your child will be an ‘investment’ towards your care when you grow old, read these statistics.
On the topic of taking care of the elderly, I am reminded of my grandmother’s last few years. My grandmother was an extremely strong-willed woman who raised four kids after my grandfather passed away in his 30s. Growing up, I remember listening to songs and hearing stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. She made delicious sweets and was always telling us fascinating tales. When I was in college, my father retired, and we moved to my mother’s hometown. My father would banish my grandmother when people came visiting and stopped talking to her. When she fell sick, he refused to take her treatment seriously. My beloved grandmother passed away at home from ovarian cancer. I was away in another city and was told I need not come. Now, I look back and wonder what went through her mind in her final days? Why did my father treat her badly? Why wasn’t I around to look after her? As I look for answers, I want to be a good example for my kids and to not become dependent on them when I am old.
On a closing note, go into parenting with eyes open. Understand the commitments you need to make and assess your and your partners capabilities. Be courageous and listen to your heart.
“Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children and now I have six children and no theories.” – John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
Image source: shutterstock
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I am an Indian living in the United States. Family comprises my husband and two
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