The definition of a family differs. While for some couples, it’s complete after having kids, for others it could mean not having any children. The choice to have or not have a child is that of a couple. It’s their private matter, their autonomy and decision. The society that acts as a nosy parker must stop doing so and respect the decision of the couple, whatever that might be. Nikita takes a hard look into a burning issue, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
For many people, getting married means starting a family and having kids. For others, two people are a family. Parenthood has universally been acclaimed one of the most rewarding part of one’s life. It’s good that there are so many women who cherish the gift of creating a life inside their wombs but does it makes a woman any less woman if she chooses not to have kids?
When you’re a couple and you make the choice not to have kids, it becomes a revolutionary act for a society, which overwhelmingly endorses reproduction. Children grow up being told that they’ll become parents one day and parents expect to become grandparents The decision not to have children is a private matter. It’s really no one else’s business. Think of it in terms of asking people about other intimate aspects of their marriage. There are many reasons people don’t choose to have kids, and they don’t owe anyone any explanation.
But even though we expect everyone to reproduce, the number of childless people in the most developed countries is increasing. Our society openly rundown childless couple as ‘selfish’, ‘unnatural’ and even ‘incapable’. Reasons could be varied – impotency or infertility are just few of those.
To Have or Not to Have
People often have strong reasons for not having children. They’ve often made the decision more thoughtfully than the people who do chose to reproduce. Some of the people believe in not contributing anymore to the growing population of the world, others are concerned about enormous time and money required to have a baby and nurture a child. Some fully want to devote their lives to careers without any responsibility or diversions, others have had terrible relationships with their own parents, which stops them from bearing their own. It’s intriguing when people ask straightforwardly about a couple’s physical intimacy.
Double Salary, Less Expenses
We are living in a materialist society, which is largely dominated by ambitious people. They do not see any point in bearing a child, who they’d not be happy to have. We do not have to necessarily judge people who choose their careers prior to baby making. More importantly, nobody has a right to bring a life into this world, which would not be given the kind of love, attention, time and patience he/she deserves. There are people with no fixed incomes and no shelter and they keep on producing a child every year, which affects the economy largely. Are they doing any better for society by adding on to the population of those who would not be even given the necessary basic education?
Childless Couple are More Content with their Lives
For around 30 years, researchers have studied how having children affects a marriage, and the results are conclusive: the relationship between spouses suffers once kids come along.
Childless couple are happier and content with their lives than couples who have them. Children can impact your relationship with your partner, and not necessarily in a good way. No family is static, but rather always in motion. Thus, feelings can easily be influenced by the stresses of childhood, including health, sleep problems, discipline problems, fears and so forth.
If you have a troubled relationship, children will never solve your problems, but rather place more stress on an already burdened partnership
Gender-Stereotypes of Parenting
Most women are deciding not to bear children due to the gender bias towards mothers. It is mothers, not fathers, who bear the heaviest cost of becoming parents. Even when both parents work outside the home and even in marriages in which both spouses describe themselves as sharing the burden of household chores, most parents slide toward gender-stereotypical ways of parenting. Women are more likely to become the “on call” parent, the one who gets up in the night to bring a child a tissue.
As part of this pattern, new mothers tend to leave their jobs, which often leads fathers to feel more of the burden of financial responsibility. A common pattern emerges in which dads start spending more time and energy on outside work and moms start doing an increasing percentage of the childcare and housework. It piles up the feelings of frustration, guilt and distress for both parents.
New mothers often talk about their social isolation, becoming disconnected from friends and colleagues and how their world feels like its shrinking. All of these changes lead to fundamental and long-lasting effects on new mothers’ circle of support, including their spouses.
We, as a part of ever changing society have to think, is it absolutely mandatory for couples to produce children even if their priorities are different. Can we really become blind and assume that anyone who does not wants to have a baby is not capable of making it or worse they hate children? Our measures to control the population might not be half as powerful as the weapons we use against the ones, who do not want to add to it.
Pix sourced by author.
Nikita Goel is a Texas-based writer. She is actively associated with Aagaman Literary and Cultural Society’s English Publications. She has worked as the managing editor for Purple Hues. She has co-authored three books. Her poems have been published in five anthologies. She has been featured online on Readomania, Aagaman -The Arrival, Writers e-zine, Writing Geeks, Literary and Creativity Magazine. Her blog, Enchantress, has been adjudged India’s best blog for three consecutive years.