Should We Have Children?

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One of my young friends, recently married to a highly successful professional asked me this question while discussing some personal matters with me.

I did not take even a moment to answer in the affirmative because parenting is such a joy and something without an equivalent in human emotional well being.

The discussion however turned towards more practical matters like the careers, sacrifices to be made by one or both of them, financial implications etc, and at the end of it all, we came to the conclusion that it would be better if they waited a while to approach the topic again.

The reason for the postponement revolves around two major factors, current liabilities that the two of them are committed to in terms of loans taken to finance their education, followed by the loans taken to finance the purchase of their accommodation, furniture, vehicles etc; and the high cost of the process of bringing up a child or children considering the expenses involved in the confinement, early stages of parenting, followed by the cost of educating the child/ren.

None of the items listed for discussion could have been omitted and sheer logic prevailed at the end.

Like other older people, I too sounded like a nostalgia nut when I talked about my own and Urmeela’s experiences bringing Ranjan into the world and seeing him grow up. But the world has moved on since those days, and the young people now are not willing to undergo the kind of lives we had to go through for that pleasure. They would rather sacrifice parenting so that they could have a standard of living that is so attractive now.

During my parents’ time producing children was like taking out insurance for one’s old age in a society that did not have and still does not have for the vast majority of Indians the safety network that the West offers. In our time, it was for the pleasure of having children and both motives have now been overtaken by sheer economics to say no to parenting!

I think that it is very sad. What about you?

24 thoughts on “Should We Have Children?”

  1. i guess it isn’t true for everyone but for me, the financial sacrifices of having children are irrelevant in the context of what they have given me. having said that, my family of four kids isnt really sustainable in an overpopulated world so i am relieved to hear that some people are more restrained than i am
    kylie recently posted..Wild Books

    1. Kylie, I see where you come from. Unlike this particular pair, I know of some others who have opted for children early on in their marriages so that they are still young enough to enjoy life when the children are grown up. This is an observation that I did make to my friend.

  2. Had we known about Lynn’s HD I doubt we would have had children. Otherwise the answer would be absolutely for many reasons. As it turns out, honestly I am not particularly good at parenting – Lynn was much better.

    1. I was just a sounding board Grannymar. I just helped him to come to grips with something that has been bothering him for some time. In India, young couple are constantly under pressure to produce grandchildren.

  3. I was interested in my first thought when first reading your post Ramana: I thought “No!”. In this uncertain world I think people are mad to have children. Seriously. We are hurtling ever faster into extinction and why bring children into the world. And overpopulation alone is frightening. I still think “No”. what you don’t have you don’t miss and children are a gamble.
    XO
    WWW
    wisewebwoman recently posted..The Shambling Underclass.

    1. Absolutely a gamble indeed. For every successful parenting story there will be an unsuccessful one too! And in present times, it is a big strain apart from anything else. I have young people within my family of both persuasion.

  4. Can a question be any more difficult than this one? 😕

    To begin with, WiseWebWoman and GrannyMar both make valid points. Perhaps more times than not it is the “heat of the moment” that makes the choice for us and not some rational, thought out decision.

    I have no children but I consider myself extremely fortunate. Marriage did not work out for me and I am thankful every day that a child was not brought into the world to endure all that a child endures through a broken home. I have first-hand experience at that.

    Then of course there is the financial issue. For the thoughtful and prudent person, these things are surely taken into serious consideration and the decision to procreate is addressed from that perspective. Unfortunately, here in the United States the working folks have to contribute taxes to the government, both national and state, who in turn spend a portion of those taxes to subsidize those who have their children with no forethought whatsoever, financial or otherwise.

    A husband and wife, regardless of the blessing a child brings, are immediately encumbered with a responsibility that far outweighs that which they even have for each other. And for the average family it weighs in on almost every decision they face, both directly and indirectly whether it be a weekend trip to the beach or a new home.

    I often miss the child that I never had in so many ways, but in the end I have to find solace that I spared them from the many ills that they definitely would have had to endure and negotiate in the world that we have made for them.
    Alan G recently posted..Taking it to the limit… and beyond!

    1. Alan, I can relate. My late wife and I always regretted not having one more child preferably a daughter. We have perhaps over compensated for that with our son and all the girls in the family but it has been a pleasure doing that. I am now quite used to being without grand children whereas my siblings have all become grand parents. We are good at adapting. “So be it!”

        1. I have one Anne in my life who is the most delightful person I have known! She is what you call a Southern Belle from Louisiana and has made the biggest blunder of her life by marrying my youngest brother.

  5. well….
    i think we’d all agree… many of the problems of the world now are caused by sheer overpopulation. we’re breeding like rabbits!
    but that said… replacing oneself and one’s other in the gene pool is not so bad! it’s that silly family who have 19 and are still wanting more!
    good grief! why not give a little child who’s already here a chance and a home?
    also… there’s an old saying… “if you wait til you can afford it you’ll never have one!”
    like you said… at least over here… there are no such things as a ‘starter’ home … they want the biggest and the best. IMMEDIATELY.
    and cars and more TV’s and all the bells and whistles of the technological life. so….. in light of that… you probably gave him the wisest advice!
    tammyj recently posted..the real enemy

  6. I, like Kylie, am one of the rabbit breeders having had 4 children. My children came close to keeping the “Only replace yourselves” motto, however, we do have one extra one and the world will be better for having him in it. That said, children are not for everyone. As my husband says, I wouldn’t take a million dollars for any of them and wouldn’t give a nickel for another.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Grace by Acceptance

    1. I would give the proverbial arm and a leg for a daughter but don’t have to because I have been blessed with great daughters in law and nieces. Sometimes, just some times, I wish that Ranjan had been a daughter. You know like, when he blasts me for some minor silliness!

  7. Kaitlin and Torben aren’t having children and it seems to work for them. Having one child was ideal for me. But certainly your friends are smart not to have children until they get out of debt.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Fitting In

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