Should We Have Children?


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?