Friday, February 1, 2013

THE Question (of children)!

(P.S. Walking on egg shells with this one. Please indulge.)

Where do I start? Maybe from when I was a child...

...So as a child, whenever I thought of my "future", at a personal level, I always imagined I'd be married and have kids. I don't know if this is something we all Indian kids grow up with, or atleast the 80s kids grew up with - this notion of a happy family unit being the focal point of living. As I became "worldly wise", I started questioning all these established social institutions of marriage, family, parenting... (even schooling, remember the famous lyrics: We don't need no education :D)

Okay, seriously, as I read about so many cultures, of worlds different from ours, of concepts alien to ours, comparisons were inevitable. Pros and cons were not always fair to "our" side. And while, we could joke about these established institution - having been brought up in primarily traditional family setup, a sincere  debate on the need or questioning the bases, would still be sacrilege. For example, I truly believe that marriage is nothing but a socially accepted form of living together. Family is defined by blood not by signed papers, but guess what? Ownership of wealth and property is defined by signatures - hence there has to be a formalization of relationships. But, when I fell in love, the obvious conclusion was marriage. I can't even begin to imagine if I had merely hinted that marriage would not be necessary. Ouch, never, not even jokingly.

Now, for most, the natural progression after marriage is kids. Yes, I'd always wanted to have kids, that never changed. But once, when long ago, somebody asked me, WHY, I found myself fumbling for the "right" answer. That discussion left me very unsettled. I could appreciate every reason given to me as to why that person did not want to have kids - all were very logical and very sensible. But that didn't seem to affect the fact that I wanted kids.

Surely, it wasn't social conditioning, or was it?

I could swear to death that I LOVE kids - but then why have "my own" - why can't I be happy playing with those around me?

Could it be the unconscious need to live ever after through your child/children. That human hubris that wants immortality. Or you want a successor to "inherit" your legacy? Naah, I think myself to be too practical for that, and I don't really have a kingdom in my will.

Continuing the human race, you say? Hogwash! There are enough people on this earth. If you don't have a child, the human race would not come to an end.

Some argue, to bring about new blood and new thought. Yeah right! How many of us want to have a child only because we want him or her to become like Mother Teresa or a world ruler.

Then, could it be that essentially we are narcissists - so when we see miniature versions of ourselves - we find them adorable and cute - and in a way returning the compliments to ourselves. We wanted the perfect life and we feel we will be able to see that in our children and hence live life once more, the way we wanted to.
But, surely, we know better, don't we - children are individuals in their own right - and they'll go in directions you cannot even fathom, and live lives we can not ever imagine.

Having children surely brings joy - unparalleled joy; but we all know that it also requires lot of compromises, sacrifices, and hard work. Why do we still brave all of that? Only to experience that happiness, which you anyways don't know of till you have a child, and yet you decide to have a child.

And while I continue to search for "THE" answer, I open it to you all. If you have children or want to have children, WHY?


  1. Because of yin and yang :) Because love/joy and love/sorrow are 2 sides of the same coin. Because u know u can't have one without the other. If u decide not to deal with the pain of having a child, then u let go of the joy as well. That's your choice...and no its never the same playing with anybody else's kids the way it is to live 24*7 with your own. But I also believe that having kids is fundamentally an egoistic and self-centered decision - what you said about having a little piece of you inhabit this earth is true.

    1. Yin and yang :) interesting. and isn't it ironical that we become selfless when kids come along, when having kids is actually selfish in itself :)

  2. I may be slightly radical here, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Bigger than the need to be loved, is the need to love. Now, finding ways to love people around them or do something for society is a tougher and unfamiliar terrain for most people. Therefore, they 'create' new responsibilities rather than take up some that need takers. Adoption, social work, pursuing causes...finding their meaning in life...that is too tough. Easier - create something to be busy, get busy and then be too busy to do anything for the world around. And also, giving off our money to charity after we die is unthinkable so there has to be an "heir" to leave it to :-) We could as well live well, earn well and donate and die and be done with it. I wonder why it is tough :-)

    1. hmm! i take your "take" on the subject :)

  3. I don't think we all have the same answer.. maybe there is something common at the core, i really dont know..
    I don't know how to tag the reasons why I will have kids one day. But i can write down the reasons itself..

    For one it is a sense of belonging - need to have something of our own(me and him) - like my job, my team, my country, my house.. like when i see families with little kids it seems complete in some inexplicable way.. and I want it - if not now, sometime later..

    Another reason is very specific to me - the fact that I lost my mother as a 5 year old and the pain that followed growing up without a mother.. maybe deep down i think having babies and raising them will fill that void. (on a diff note, don't worry, writing this did not hurt)

    And yet other and probably the most compelling reason is some instinct i cannot name.. when I see a baby or hear something about a baby there is surely something in me that stirs. Read it somewhere where the author called it "my uterus stirred" or something like that. Maybe maybe it is a natural instinct women feel or some hormones or just some fancy bullshit subconsiously registered in my head after reading cheesy stuff- i dont know and can't name it.

    1. that's the thing, we cant name it - but like u say there is something common at the core. thank you for sharing :)


Would love to hear what you've got to say!