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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Children. why?

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I have a fair idea that questions like this are met with immense surprise, or shock or plain being non-plus. I have been experiencing this for some time, when I express my thoughts about having my own kids. Now that I am not newly married anymore, I am aware that this question is going to come to me from all directions and eat my mind out of peace. If not immediately, in few months. I have already been asked about this by some senior females( as expected) and this is going to be more in coming years. I have not expressed this idea to the senior members, but I some time discuss this with people my age, and most of them also have no idea what answer they should give. 

My question is "why do you want to have children?'

Most of them do not understand the question. After grasping it, many say, 'because you DO have children. Right? Everybody, who can, DOES have children." (which is not an answer, as much as a logical fallacy, still.) Some say, "Because I am married now" (which also has no direct connection with wanting to have children. You CAN have a child even without getting married, if your wish is so strong. Not socially acceptable though.) Some tell me that they love playing with children, and that is why they go the kid-route. OK  acceptable. (but you can always play with the nephews and nieces and neighbor's kids for  that matter, if it is just about playing.) A close friend of mine,a biologist, tells me that she wants them because a) she loves being with kids and b) that is the most natural human tendency. To reproduce. OK, much better than the previous answers. 

Still, I have not found a satisfactory answer to why does one want to have kids? Speaking for myself, I do not feel even a slightest need of having kids. (That has been my feeling for past few years, might change later though. Let us talk while it lasts.) I do not like being around kids, I do not like playing with them, I do not feel that I have any sort of bond with them ( well, some people do. I have seen how almost magical they are when they are with him or her.). To clarify, I am not scared of the whole child-bearing and delivery process, and even if I were, I could have adopted a kid. I do not feel like doing that either. 

Is it unnatural to feel that way? Is it going against the most natural instinct of reproduction? Or does that show lack of love or compassion? Or has it got something to do with age and wisdom? I have classmates, who are now mothers of 2 or 3 year olds. I also have a few friends, who got married by 29-30, and immediately had kids, coz of the biological clock ticking away. Was the need to have own children so overpowering, that they did not want to spend time on evolving the marriage? Or they als had kids, because, you know, everybody does.

In all this, My mother gave me a very good reason to have kids. She told me to think of having kids, as you then have something to look forward to for the rest of your life. As the marriage becomes older and more mature, and you sort of fall into routine, kids can be those who keep you engaged, keep you hopeful about life. Every day with kids, is a new day full of learning and developing yourself. I can largely buy this argument.And I will definitely think about this. 

Meanwhile, I would also like to know the answer to my question from you guys.The one with kids, please tell me why did you have them. The one without, tell me if you are planning to have them and why. Diverse opinions always help in forming an idea. And if at all, you share the same feeling like me, please tell me that as well. It's quite reassuring to know that you have a fellow sailing in the same boat :)  

p.s. we are not planning kids right away, neither are we deciding or debating on that. I have shared it as my thought. Respect it as it is. :D



8 comments:

Aaditya said...

I read your blog. In fact I was just talking to a few friends about the same topic this weekend.
There's a problem with why 'WE' (read: almost everyone) have children. I agree with all the answers that you gave (as in accept that they are the most common reasons).
But problem with most of them is that people don't realize that the children or 'babies they love playing with' grow up one day to become people. Real people with flesh, bones, dreams, issues, insecurities tendencies, diseases and talents. One can not or rather should not have children just because they love to 'play' with children or because 'that's what everyone does'. That's a terrible reason to bring somebody into the world and then figure (if possible) out what to do with that new life.
Given that we are at the top of evolution and also at the top of population chart, I think having babies can/ should be a rare, well thought, meaningful decision than just something that happens. People should know beforehand if they have (if not a full fledged plan at least a) direction for their children's lives, whether their own lives will change in a good or bad way and whether they feel the need to produce and get attached to a new life and it's entire responsibilities.

I personally am awesome with children (trust me.. not boasting.)
Doesn't change the fact that I hate most of the children above 6 yrs of age neither it changes the fact that I don't want children of my own (as you rightly said; at least that's the way I feel now, unless future changes it). Maybe doing something first, like everyone else and then figuring out what it means to you and your life is the 'evolved' 'humane' thing to do. To each their own.

Manisha Sathe - Gowaikar said...

Sneha, I have been having this debate with friends for a while and with myself for longer than that....

To clarify - now I cannot even imagine a life without my daughter, and would move heaven and earth for her...I often wonder if I had a child, more out of peer pressure, and the fact that everyone else had children, and I did not, so I must...like a coveted possession...and then when one turns desperate, one loses his / her sense of rational thinking....

Again, this is not personally against anyone who has children. I think in our society, we forget the most important right - the right to choose whether we truly want it or not....

And yes - I do agree with your mother too - these are similar thoughts to my own mother - children do give us a lot to look forward to.....

In fact, For my daughter - I often say that 'marrying and having children' need not be the ultimate aims of her existence - if she has a fulfilling career, I would still consider her 'settled'....only to be met with icy stares, and rebukes - "your thoughts will surely change when she becomes old enough" and similar ones....

Shraddha said...

Hey Sneha,
Congratulations on the blog and a cute tagline first of all.

Be reassured, plenty in your boat mate. :)
Having children is such a personal, dual decision. Societal pressure is huge and most couples, married ones i.e almost do it as a 'natural' progression of their marriages; possibly fulfilling all the reasons your mother talked about.

However, the societal pressure is scary to say the least!

Sneha Gore said...

vaze- precisely. Having children is a non-retractable step. You can leave the job if you do not like it. You can not leave children once you have them! I guess, continuing on your lines, I would try to have atleast a rough plan for my children
But again, one is the products of his or her time. So thinking in future and making a plan would be tough thing to do :)

Sneha Gore said...

manisha tai- well, that career vs children is an ancient debate for women. Our moms and other women from her time tried doing both. But does it still have to be true?
I am not saying I am a woman who will sacrifice all aspects of personal life and carve a career. I like people. But is that the reason enough to have kids
?

Sneha Gore said...

shraddha- reassuring to know that there is a gang in the boat :)

beagle said...

Sneha, I am aware that amongst those that have thought about this question (rather than just as an afterthought), guys and girls have a polarized opinion. Yet, I believe there are plenty in your boat. Not me, but my very close sister. By definition, such decisions are as much if not more 'opinionated' than 'logical'. My two cents for quite a conversation you have stirred with your blogpost on facebook and here!

Simply put, I would like to have kids to see them (atleast provide them an opportunity to) do and excel in aspects I wish I could. That is not the same as 'dictating' their life/career, etc. Its like providing them 'lego kit' and hoping they do a better job of building something than I did/ will do. Maybe there is some selfishly driven motivation to see in them the child that I wanted to be myself ... and so to see them evolve to be better individuals... In that sense, this is different from 'charity'!

Waiting 'to let marriage evolve' or something along those lines is to me not a good enough reason to not have kids. However, I strongly feel that not having kids is preferable to becoming a parent even though one is not mentally or psychologically prepared for it, since the latter situation may affect the child for his/her entire life, its almost sinful according to me!

Nevertheless, as they say, opinions are like kids, your own are better! ;p

Pradnya said...

I agree with your thoughts in this blog. I was just thinking... How many of us (read: all women of the world) have this space for thinking about whether they want a child. How many of us know that it's their choice after all, and how many of us make that choice.. when we can...!?