To Breed Or Not To Breed Is The Question


With advancing technology, material developments, availability of information and varied choices today, humans can desire to not procreate at all. No, it is definitely not an innate desire to help the government control the population nor a financial deterrent but a conscious desire and choice to not have children. Today, more and more couples are either delaying having kids or deciding to do away with the option of having kids. They may have their reasons to do so but does it make life any happier or healthier? Does not having a child make a person/couple miss out on something in life? Or, does the absence of a child have no significant effect on the current sophisticated, double income no kids kind of lifestyle? Does it do the concerned couple any good? Or, is it the most selfless choice according to modern standards where you don’t bring in a child if you don’t want to?

Is foregoing the procreation choice a healthy option?

For most married couples, having children comes as the next option, a healthy choice it seems having been followed for ages and also satiating the natural desire of most men and women. Earlier, with no birth control measures, children were born as and when nature deemed it so. Soon, with the invention and practice of birth control measures, people began using this option as it also gave them a sort of control over their lives in terms of emotional, physical and financial requirements. From 3-4 children it came down to ‘Hum Do. Humaare Do.’ Then, with dwindling resources, malnutrition and over population, the slogan came down to ‘Hum Do. Humaara Ek.’ Now, it seems even that ‘ek’ (one) is not very popular among certain groups of people who prefer to lead lives that give them more control over their resources, time and energy. A lot of couples who work and are doing considerably well in their jobs, having no time for kids, without an adequate family set-up at home prefer to concentrate on their professional and personal lives sans children. Society of course, is not so kind with such couples, nagging them and branding them as selfish and insecure. But, it is a fact that many couples prefer to delay if not fully do away with the choice of having kids.

Why do some married couples not want to have children? It might seem absurd to most of us who have children, have reared them and have grandchildren too. It seems the most natural thing to do. Isn’t it? Otherwise, why marry at all, someone might ask. If all you want to do is get together and have lots of fun together, then why get married, someone else might question. Let’s try to see this from the point of view of the couples not wanting to have their own children or even adopted children in their lives.

Ø Child rearing is too stressful and draining in terms of resources, time and energy. In short, a mentally and physically exhausting task.

Ø Having children means doing away (almost that is), with things you would rather do. You can’t take off on a whim with a child in tow. It is like sacrificing for a future that never comes.

Ø The amount of sacrifices and time invested in children need not always bring positive results. In fact, the same time and energy invested in work or relationships could bring great results (material, professional and personal). In fact, a project can be given up mid way but the same cannot be done with a child so, child rearing is more of a forced commitment.

Ø Not all persons are charted out to be parents. Some have it in them, some don’t.

Ø There is no logic in having a child if you cannot provide the time or financial comforts that the child deserves.

Ø Children should be borne for the right reasons, not for substituting your desire to have a play thing, an investment for the future or to gain acceptance in society.

Those against the whole modern concept of married couples exercising the right to have no children feel that it is against the law of nature to do so. Many feel that the joy that rearing children brings compensates for all the troubles (mental, physical or financial) that may rear their heads during the course of parenthood. The time and energy invested in bringing up a child does not go in vain as one learns to become patient, more mature and also value time due to the non availability of it while bringing up the child/children. Becoming a parent is a whole learning process which a childless couple doesn’t get the opportunity to do so. Opting to not have a child could become an expensive choice later on when you have realized all your freedom dreams and then suddenly want to have a child. Then, the fertility clock may not give you company! Another thing which people with kids say is that you cannot understand what it means to have a child until you have one. So, equating freedom with not having children is foolishness, they say.

Questions are many as there are people wanting to have children and those not wanting to have children. We become parents due to a host of reasons. Some of us become parents by default, some due to society pressure, others, due to the natural maternal/paternal urges within us. Someone wants a child for his/her old age, another to feel complete, still another to do away with loneliness or make a relationship happy. So, when couples knowing what they want, or at least deciding what they want come up with their own respective choices of not having children, must we criticize them? Will they be losing out on something valuable in the long run?

Do tell me.

Advertisements

25 thoughts on “To Breed Or Not To Breed Is The Question

  1. Double income no kids DINKs as they are called should definitely have a choice to lead their life as they want. I guess those who are parents are basically envious of all those who are childless by choice due to their parenting responsibilities and later’s freedom of spirit. I tell them, “you have children good for you, they don’t have good for them.”

    I never had any strong maternal instinct but I am kind to other people’s children (believe me I have seen some really nasty parents, in my culture it is common to emotionally blackmail adult children). I decided early on not to ever have any biological children because:

    1. they come with no users manuals;
    2. their programming is hard;
    3. rebooting is not possible and
    4. there is no return or exchange policy (everyone knows I am pretty tech challenged)

    5. Earth is already over populated and more children especially in the developed world are destroying the earth with their ever increasing carbon foot print.

    I have no reservations or preferences about adopting based on rescue fantasies nor fulfilling my destiny. I don’t have to be a biological parent to experience parenting. I am a God parent to a two year old and have a 24 yr old spiritual son. With my Godchild I have been involved since her first ultrasound even though I have not met the child yet. Since this blessed child came into my life I am a different person, my actions are guided by the thought what example am I setting for her. What will she think of my actions when she grows up?

    Now comes the greater issue that is often thrown up in desi families, “continuity of family name.” In 2000 I visited Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib in New Delhi with friends. There on the walls were written verses in Gurmukhi. I asked an old person to explain it to me it made so much sense to me that I wrote it. It read:

    Ram Gayo, Ravan Gayo Jako Bhau Parvaar,
    Kaho Nanak Thir Kuchh Naheen Supney Jeeo Sansaar.

    If clans of mighty kings Rama and Ravan perished what am I thinking O Nanak, this world is like a dream that breaks on waking up. It changed direction of my life.

    If Rama and Ravana could not preserve their DNA and no one even cares if their progeny did anything mentionable, why bother. Just be happy without hurting others. If my decion to be childless is bothering others then it is their problem not mine.

    In the end to each their own… Who are we to judge.

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

  2. My god – you always write as if you are very very good and God almighty will be very pleased to have sent you to earth.

  3. Quite a thought provoking post this Shail. I have one biological child and have adopted another baby girl. It is indeed a joy to see them grow up, bond, deveop into individuals and can say wiht confidence that shaping and nurturing two individuals is a blessing in itself. But this does not mean those who choose to be childless are selfish or self centered. If that’s the way they wnat to live, so be it. Marriage, parenthood, and love cannot be forced on anybody.

  4. @Peace Warrior,

    I don’t know about God but I am taking this birth really seriously since I got the second chance. Don’t want to come back again and start all over again thus trying hard to close this account this time for good. I have my share of mess to clean 🙂

    I never claimed I am good or very good but I have definitely claimed lot many times I am not bad but very bad up in the face.

    @Sucharita Dutta-Asane,
    Salute to your great job of raising a examplary family. Happy parenting. We need more of such families and resolves around the world.

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

  5. I do have a view on this.

    One cannot be judgmental about issues like to breed or not to. Many couples who choose not to have a child, its entirely their wish. Although, I know that this is better said and easier to say than accept; partly because it is not as simple as it sounds. Marriage is an equal partnership (although it seldom is) and if both partners want it that way, so be it.

    Secondly, I LOVED what ‘Desi Girl’ told you, and the quote has changed my life’s direction today as well. Thoroughly inspirational and awe-filling.

    As for me, I’d love to have children post matrimony ! 🙂

  6. Dear V (Desi Girl),

    As usual, you have given your view point without mincing words!

    While I agree with your

    “Double income no kids DINKs as they are called should definitely have a choice to lead their life as they want”

    I don’t entirely agree with

    “I guess those who are parents are basically envious of all those who are childless by choice due to their parenting responsibilities and later’s freedom of spirit.”

    Yes, there are parents who might seem as if they are restricted in the way they lead their lives due to the responsibility of bringing up their children, but that percentage of parents are a miniscule lot. Who said parenting was easy? And who said that parenting did not give any joys. The problem is that many undecided/yet to be/don’t want to be parents see only the conflicts, the responsibility of bringing up a child. They don’t see anything else.

    Again, not becoming a parent is an individual and personal choice. Nothing wrong in that at all. But to attribute a person reflecting on DINKs’ decision to envy?

    I need to only smile and wonder at your points that seem to make children a part of some object or instrument.

    1.they come with no users manuals;
    2. their programming is hard;
    3. rebooting is not possible and
    4. there is no return or exchange policy

    They are souls, we need to realize that. Not having them is fine but to attribute not having them for the reasons above is simply amusing and insensitive.

    As far as ‘continuity of name’ is concerned, I don’t believe in it either. Children must not be conceived and bred for such a reason.

  7. Peace Warrior :
    My god – you always write as if you are very very good and God almighty will be very pleased to have sent you to earth.

    Hi Peace Warrior,

    Sorry, I don’t get it. Is this comment for my blog or for Desi Girl? You both seem to know each other.

  8. Sucharita Dutta-Asane :
    Quite a thought provoking post this Shail. I have one biological child and have adopted another baby girl. It is indeed a joy to see them grow up, bond, deveop into individuals and can say wiht confidence that shaping and nurturing two individuals is a blessing in itself. But this does not mean those who choose to be childless are selfish or self centered. If that’s the way they wnat to live, so be it. Marriage, parenthood, and love cannot be forced on anybody.

    Hi Suchi,

    Yes, I agree. People who decide to not have children are not necessarily insensitive or self-centered. They just want to lead their lives without children. That’s it. Nothing wrong in that.

    But I need to really appreciate the choices you have made. Of experiencing parenthood with a biological and an adopted child. People can talk but not all have the courage to do what you are doing.

    Just as leading a life without children could not be forced upon you, applying the same principle, couples cannot be forced to become parents if they don’t want to!
    Right O!

  9. Sneha :
    I do have a view on this.
    One cannot be judgmental about issues like to breed or not to. Many couples who choose not to have a child, its entirely their wish. Although, I know that this is better said and easier to say than accept; partly because it is not as simple as it sounds. Marriage is an equal partnership (although it seldom is) and if both partners want it that way, so be it.
    Secondly, I LOVED what ‘Desi Girl’ told you, and the quote has changed my life’s direction today as well. Thoroughly inspirational and awe-filling.
    As for me, I’d love to have children post matrimony !

    Hi Sneha,

    Nice to see what you mentioned. Post matrimony a lot of things change in life. Even people seem to change making you wonder, ‘is this the same man/woman I once knew?’ Hopefully, more and more couples will be persistent in their choices (I hope, wise choices:)) and enjoy their married lives with or without children.

    Al the best to you.

  10. Sonal Shree :
    Am really confused in this decision like most DINKs.

    Hi Sonal,

    Don’t worry. As time passes we become more clearer in our desires and choices. Having children is not bad nor is not having children. Priorities matter in life. And if having the joys of parenthood figures as a priority (at least, one of the priorities) in your life then fine.

    Indulging in both (having children and not having children) is no sin. All you got to do is think what you and your spouse want from life!

    Best!

  11. Thanks Shail for raising this again. Well I’m not sure of people’s response to my chioces, but I am very sure of my choices. Lets be honest and ask one simple question – what is it that have we given to our parents or taken from them in this lifetime? would they have been better off without us? frankly there is no easy answers…but one thing is for sure the expectations which parents and children have fom each other could result in a lot of heart ache (intentional or unintentional).
    I agree with desi girl that child rearing does not have to be preceeded by child bearing…i guess that’s the stand which I and my husband have chosen…people can say whatever they wish to…don’t we advocate for free choice for our career, life partrner, so why not kids also…

  12. Prerna :
    Thanks Shail for raising this again. Well I’m not sure of people’s response to my chioces, but I am very sure of my choices. Lets be honest and ask one simple question – what is it that have we given to our parents or taken from them in this lifetime? would they have been better off without us? frankly there is no easy answers…but one thing is for sure the expectations which parents and children have fom each other could result in a lot of heart ache (intentional or unintentional).
    I agree with desi girl that child rearing does not have to be preceeded by child bearing…i guess that’s the stand which I and my husband have chosen…people can say whatever they wish to…don’t we advocate for free choice for our career, life partrner, so why not kids also…

    Hi Prerna,

    That you are sure about your priorities and choices in life is in itself a good thing. Because, most of us sail through lives without knowing what we want or don’t want.

    Expectation from children or from parent can really kill. Yes!

    As I had mentioned earlier, it is a personal choice and if husband and wife are happy with it then, great! We don’t need to bother about what the world says. Duniya ko bolne kee aadat hai, good or bad. We can’t possibly lead our lives depending on what the world/society says.

    But yes, we need to be sure of our choices and priorities from deep within our minds, hearts and souls.

  13. Bhargavi :
    Nice analysis Shal,
    I also feel it is one’s own choice.
    Just as marriage has become one’s choice now-a-days, from child marriage, arranged marriage, love marriage and now some with ‘live-together’..this is also according to one’s own situations and thoughts.

  14. Hi Shail,

    I read each and every point you’ve written and I’m stunned at your analytical skill.

    But sometimes I wonder if it will really be possible to raise kids after some years. Even at this point the world is proving inadequate for the growing population. Add to that the ever increasing problems of corruption and pollution. I say having a child is a big responsibility and it has to be taken by taking all these points in consideration.

    The part in which you said that the child may not turn out to be a fruitful investment, I feel the problem lies in the upbringing of the child. If parents are too busy in their life and the child does not get its regular doses of sanskaars, he is bound to go rogue… IN the end everyone has a life of their own. And our own life always has priority over the life of others.

  15. Shail,

    You missed the humor in the reasons I mentioned as the smiley did not appear 🙂 .

    The parents I have come across both in personal life and professional often get bogged and wonder why they had children. Some have even gone ahead and cursed them. Others have said mean words or blamed them for their own failed dreams. This happens more so when women endure abusive marriages for the sake of children and then children start abusing mothers because that is what they imbibed. Yes, parenthood is challenging as one learns along the way. That is the reason I used the phrase “children don’t come with manuals.”

    About mincing words, I don’t I guess you are offended.

    I have no clue who @peacewarrior is I am pretty sure who I am. 🙂

    About continuity of family name you and I may not be concerned but that was the whole story of Ramayana and Mahabharata be it progeny through Yajanas or Niyogas. Even today numerous women are illtreated not only by families but strangers because they do not have children.

    @Sneha,
    That day I wrote down few of those verses. Here is another one that guides me through:

    Chinta Taki Kijiye Jo Anhoni Hoye,
    Ehe Marag Sansar ko Nanak Thir Nahin Koye.

    Worry only about something that has never happened,
    In this world O Nanak, there is nothing for ever. (Thus I am not the first and I won’t be the last so just be happy.)

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

  16. Bhargavi :

    Bhargavi :
    Nice analysis Shal,
    I also feel it is one’s own choice.
    Just as marriage has become one’s choice now-a-days, from child marriage, arranged marriage, love marriage and now some with ‘live-together’..this is also according to one’s own situations and thoughts.

    Hi Bhargavi,
    Good to see you here. Yes, today, unlike in earlier times, we have more freedom and more choices. Earlier, we were tagged down with very few choices. Sometimes, there were no choices at all. Again, it is a freedom of thought/expression and action. Many couples today feel more free without children. For them, children are a liability be it for their careers, personal lives, etc.
    And I agree when you say that this decision could arise due to a particular situation. In fact, I would think this to be an effect of personal experiences in life that tend to help you make the decisions that you do later.
    Again, for whatever reason, having children or not is a personal choice and if the couple is comfortable with this, there should be no problem.

  17. Saurabh Panshikar :

    Hi Shail,

    I read each and every point you’ve written and I’m stunned at your analytical skill.

    But sometimes I wonder if it will really be possible to raise kids after some years. Even at this point the world is proving inadequate for the growing population. Add to that the ever increasing problems of corruption and pollution. I say having a child is a big responsibility and it has to be taken by taking all these points in consideration.

    The part in which you said that the child may not turn out to be a fruitful investment, I feel the problem lies in the upbringing of the child. If parents are too busy in their life and the child does not get its regular doses of sanskaars, he is bound to go rogue… IN the end everyone has a life of their own. And our own life always has priority over the life of others.

    Dear Saurabh,
    Hi. Thanks for the appreciation. Yes, bringing up children is a real responsibility especially when we have all the problems that you mentioned. But, we have turned out okay, haven’t we even when our parents had fewer choices, less facilities and even lesser resources. Today, science and technology has advanced so much that bringing up a child is made easier if we only stick to the basics of child rearing that our parents used for us.

    I agree 100% when you say that the values in a child are instilled by a parent and a parent must have time for that which sadly, many working parents don’t have. That’s why they hesitate to become parents. Doing social service is one thing. Bringing up a good citizen in your child another.

  18. girlsguidetosurvival :

    Shail,

    You missed the humor in the reasons I mentioned as the smiley did not appear :) .

    The parents I have come across both in personal life and professional often get bogged and wonder why they had children. Some have even gone ahead and cursed them. Others have said mean words or blamed them for their own failed dreams. This happens more so when women endure abusive marriages for the sake of children and then children start abusing mothers because that is what they imbibed. Yes, parenthood is challenging as one learns along the way. That is the reason I used the phrase “children don’t come with manuals.”

    About mincing words, I don’t I guess you are offended.

    I have no clue who @peacewarrior is I am pretty sure who I am. :)

    About continuity of family name you and I may not be concerned but that was the whole story of Ramayana and Mahabharata be it progeny through Yajanas or Niyogas. Even today numerous women are illtreated not only by families but strangers because they do not have children.

    @Sneha,
    That day I wrote down few of those verses. Here is another one that guides me through:

    Chinta Taki Kijiye Jo Anhoni Hoye,
    Ehe Marag Sansar ko Nanak Thir Nahin Koye.

    Worry only about something that has never happened,
    In this world O Nanak, there is nothing for ever. (Thus I am not the first and I won’t be the last so just be happy.)

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

    Hi V (Desi Girl),

    I am not at all offended by your comments. The detailed reply only goes to show that you take time out to think deeply and answer. Views differ, all need not have the same ideas/thoughts, etc. And an objective writer will not allow any kind of comment to disturb her:)

    The world can be prejudiced and cruel with persons who don’t have children due to whatever reason. It’s the world/society’s choice. We must not allow that to influence our actions. Again, there are parents who feel disillusioned when their children don’t turn out the way they wanted them to be. The fault lies not with the child, but with the parent who did not take care when it should have been done. So, if one is sure of oneself then, parenting can be comparatively less difficult and if one isn’t, then bringing up a child can become a war for life!

  19. Thanks Shail for discussing about this sensitive topic. Glad to find wide ranging views of our friends. Interesting to know the views of ‘Desi Girl’. Such thought provoking comments add more value to your blog.

    If our parents had thought along such lines, we would not have been here to discuss this topic. Many parents during their old age have begun to feel that they have spent major portion of their life caring for their children’s life. Parents must also plan for their own welfare also so that they can stand on their own legs if required. It is left to each individual to decide based on their personal situation.

  20. A.Hari :
    Thanks Shail for discussing about this sensitive topic. Glad to find wide ranging views of our friends. Interesting to know the views of ‘Desi Girl’. Such thought provoking comments add more value to your blog.
    If our parents had thought along such lines, we would not have been here to discuss this topic. Many parents during their old age have begun to feel that they have spent major portion of their life caring for their children’s life. Parents must also plan for their own welfare also so that they can stand on their own legs if required. It is left to each individual to decide based on their personal situation.

    Thanks Hari. Nice you liked the article and also appreciated the feedback that many friends have contributed. Yes, we would not have been here in case our parents thought the way people are doing now-a-days. But then, values, priorities are all changing. What was good yesterday doesn’t seem to gel with many youngsters today. People want less of commitment, more of freedom, less of restriction, more of independence.

    Finally, it all boils down to personal choice in this particular issue.

  21. Wow…. When I read your posts, I always feels that why didn’t I feel it before??? 🙂 🙂 Yor always provokes a thought on everyone reading you… Kudos…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s