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Imagine a family which may not have enough money to raise a child. If it is a son, they’ll somehow make both ends meet. But if it is a daughter?
There has been a recent incident reported in the news, of a labourer couple having sold their 2 month old daughter for INR 3,000 (Yes. Just that. Probably the cost of the the jeans you are wearing now or the flower vase on your table) because they were unable to feed her, with no income during lockdown.
This makes me wonder about the complete lack of education about sexual health and birth control. Especially in overpopulated countries like India, every class of the society should consider thinking about birth control.
Before you dash at my gate saying “Babies are gifts of God; we want our family to continue”, I’m not telling you not to have kids. In fact, nobody can tell anybody how many kids to have. It is a very personal decision.
What is to be discussed is how we ignore, neglect and even shame the idea of birth control.
Many people have kids because it has been already two years of marriage, they would anyway have to have a kid, the woman is growing old and what not. This notion, or rather compulsion to have kids is afflicting women in ways more than one.
Can you ever fathom carrying a baby in your body for 270 days and having to give her away to someone, because you can’t raise her anymore?
We can avoid these ghastly incidents if we encouraged healthy conversation about birth control.
Having a kid is an amazing feeling that compares to none. So why ruin it by taking hasty decisions? Use birth control measures until you are physically, mentally, emotionally and financially ready to be a parent. It is really that simple.
We must talk more about how to take planned decisions and not have kids because of societal pressure. There is no shame in accepting that at this moment, you can’t have a kid and you should wait till you get financial stability. We all love our kids to death but sorry, love won’t pay the rent.
Talk to people within your family, friends and neighbours about the importance of birth control. If someone is uneducated, it is the responsibility of us educated people to share our knowledge. We all know people who earn subsistence money and are planning to have a kid or have one already. Tell them the importance of planned parenting.
We live in a society where not having kids is almost equal to a violation. Even if the couple is smart enough to wait for the right time, a hundred voices will be whispering behind them. They’ll rightfully assume that something is wrong with the girl and that’s why they aren’t having kids.
A woman’s body goes through a million changes when she gets pregnant. If she doesn’t have enough money for pregnancy care, nutrition, childbirth surgery, new born baby food, (let alone the costs of raising a child) how can we pressurize her to get pregnant?
Apart from pregnancy, it is also a leading cause for abandoning babies. Imagine a family which apparently doesn’t have money to raise a child. If it is a son, they’ll somehow make both ends meet. But if it is a daughter? They would rather choose a dustbin or railway platform or sell her. And even if it is a son, how long will they take care of him with their meagre wages? He’ll surely become a child labourer.
Ever wondered why we have so many dropouts from school? Because, the parents can’t pay their fees. It would be better to have one child and educate the child properly than to have 2 kids and make them both drop out. Or worse, the male child is allowed to study and the female is not.
Many of the problems we are facing today can be addressed if we spoke about birth control and planned parenting.
Also, super-rich people who have 5-6 kids unplannedly are a part of the problem. You have lots of money, very good. But are you emotionally willing to be a parent? Money alone can’t raise a child. If you have lots of money but are currently unwilling to be a parent, you can sponsor an orphan. I don’t know about anybody else but the orphan would respect you like a parent.
When planning to have a kid, we must contemplate the next 30 years of our life, at least. Sadly, we don’t.
If everybody had healthy discussions about parenting, if the impact of pregnancy on a woman’s body is understood, if women are encouraged to postpone childbirth until the right time (instead of reprimanding her to give the family a heir), many lives will be better. Many more kids will go to school than to factories. Many girls will spend their infanthood in cradles and not in dustbins.
Image source: shutterstock
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