To become or not – a parent.

Yesterday, I came across this article.

It talks about how many couples seem to be opting not have children – for various reasons. While some viewpoints support the idea, there was one viewpoint that caught my eye.

But how natural or unnatural is it for a couple to not have kids? “It’s not a socio-culturally natural way of living,” says Dr Bhavna Barmi, senior clinical psychologist and marital therapist at Escorts Heart Institute, “as physiologically, the body has a child-bearing capacity which should be optimised.” 

Surely, just because the body has a ‘child-bearing capacity’ it is not necessary to have children? What about the mind? What about not wanting to have children, does that not matter at all? If we have to do everything the body is designed to, then why ‘contraception’?

The article also reminded me of a somebody who was glorifying motherhood on Facebook. She mentioned something to the effect that women will always be ‘greater’ than men because only women can be ‘mothers’. It begged the question, what about women who don’t want to be mothers? Going by this logic, the only redeeming feature women has, is the ability to become a mother!

You hear so many people glorifying motherhood, that it makes me wonder how it makes those feel who have decided for whatever reasons, to not have children. The moment the ‘expected’ amount of time goes by after one is married, the hints, the gentle reminders start on how we need to become parents, on how it is time to have a child. And god forbid, if the child does not make an appearance soon enough to make the society happy! Whether one is ready for it or not,whether one wants to become a parent or not, is besides the point. It makes me wonder how many people decide to have a baby because of these external factors.

Having a baby is treated as a fix-all in so many cases – if your marriage is not working out, have a baby, that will fix it! A friend was lamenting on a friend of hers who was literally asked to leave the house by her husband. It was arranged marriage and her husband was just not interested in being married, apparently. She had supportive parents who supported her fully, yet when she discovered that she was pregnant,ย  she chose to go back to her husband because she felt that a baby would change things. This despite her parents and her close friends counseling her to think before taking this step. Apparently she strongly believed that a child would make a massive difference.

It also makes me wonder why being in a relationship is considered so important, that she went back into a relationship where she was told that she was ‘unwanted’! Not just that, she even thought that bringing a child into a relationship like this was a good idea.

Haven’t we all heard of irresponsible men, of whom people say, ‘Get him married off, he will get change once responsibility comes upon him’. I don’t understand this. A person who clearly has problems, or is not mature enough to handle his life, will get mature and responsible just because he has entered a new relationship? Does it ever work? Well, it might for some, while for others the poor wife might have to bear the brunt of it.

Any relationship, be it marriage or having a child, after all being a father or a mother is starting off a whole new relationship, isn’t it, needs to thought out. Instead of going by what society dictates, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people decided based on what they wanted from life? If couples are deciding against having babies, well, more power to them. Whatever be the reason. I hear people say, ‘oh all she is bothered about is her career’, or ‘what do they think they will do with all this money’! Surely, that is their lookout. If someone wants to focus on their career – so what? And what of a homemaker, who does not want a child? Surely that is possible. I personally know someone who is a homemaker and they have decided not to have children. I think it is remarkable that they have thought it through, and have decided based on what makes sense to them. If only every child that came into this world came because the parents truly wanted to have a child, not just because that is what is expected – by others.

If couples feel that they are not ready for a child or that they do not feel the need to be parents, I respect them for having that clarity of thought, than having a child, and then feeling cheated or wishing that they had waited more.

Not having children is far better than having a child and then regretting it, or worse, not being in a position to give the child the love and security that makes for happy childhood and a secure, confident adulthood.

59 thoughts on “To become or not – a parent.

      • Am bk ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› Sry got stuck with something sday ๐Ÿ™‚

        ‘that it makes me wonder how it makes those feel who have decided for whatever reasons, to not have children’

        U know what bothers me more? If a couple want but have not been able to have one ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

          • ‘It makes me wonder how many people decide to have a baby because of these external factors.’

            I had a colleague Smiths who ws forcing his wife that they shud hv a baby soon after which they can be free from all qs, when she was not at all ready for it then ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

            • I ws abt to say I have gr8 respect for ppl who have clarity of thought and saw that u hv said the same too. Completely agree with u ๐Ÿ™‚ U know how many ppl comment on us bcoz we r in the 5th yr of married life and have not given any gud news yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t even make bahanas. Just tell them that we will have one when we want to, not to answer their questions.

              Nice post Smiths ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. the “body has a โ€˜child-bearing capacityโ€™” reminds me of Vidya Balan’s dialogue from the movie PAA….she says to her patient who has some gyneac problems..she says that “it’s just the way of nature to tell you that what you’re doing is not right..delaying the child birth or no child birth is abnormal for the system”

    Yes, it might be abnormal for the system – but unless somebody is mentally prepared, I think it is not right to have a child.

    Coming to your question ‘why contraception?’ why because it’s to control the number of children which is quiet logical or one would end up having so many children and no physical or mental capacity of bearing and bringing them up..contraception will surely put a stop to producing children but not the other natural needs of the body …and when they say body is designed to produce children it doesn’t how even 1 child completes the natural function of the body..

    Of course, i do understand that ๐Ÿ™‚ But technically the body is capable of having more than one or two children – right? But because it has become culturally acceptable to practice contraception, nobody questions it. Think about a scenario – a few decades back, when a child is ‘bhagwan ki den’ – when more the merrier was the norm. I am sure contraception did meet a lot of opposition when it first came into being. What I am saying is that the choice of having one child, two children or no children are really no different – at the basic level.

    I would differ a bit here in the interpretation of the facebook status of your friend..I guess what we can take out of it is women will always have this one-up than men because they can bring life to this world…

    I don’t really agree with that. After all, there has to be a man for a child to come into being- even if it is a sperm donor, don’t you think? Yes, women do go through a lot of trouble, but I hate to see it as a one-up-manship. Motherhood is beyond bringing a child into the world.

    I agree totally…societal norms and pressures are most of the times the reason why a couple chooses to bear a child which is totally my view it’s couple’s personal choice and they should go ahead with it only when they are physically,mentally and financially sound for the new chapter in their relationship !


    Why the female took the decision of going back to a broken relationship is purely because of society, dependency and low for today’s women like you and me might never take this decision specially with the baby-be whatsoever because we are educated,we have self-respect and we can be independent…it hurts a lot to hear about women who can walk out of the relationship where they have no respect yet they chose to stay back !

    True.. I wish people did not feel that desperation to go into a sad relationship.

    Ultimately what you said is right “Not having children is far better than having a child and then regretting it, or worse, not being in a position to give the child the love and security that makes for happy childhood and a secure, confident adulthood”

      • came back to say that sometimes there are couples who are capable to bring up a child yet they decide not to go ahead with it..fair enough..they are free to chose..but for these couples I agree with what the first paragraph of your post says and the dialogue that I’ve mentioned..motherhood and parenting are wonderful things to experience and if one is capable in all ways then why not go for it would be my question !

        I really feel that it is a personal decision. Some people just don’t feel the need for a child in their lives- and I respect that. Parenthood is something which one should get into, only if one is sure.. What is wonderful to us, might not be wonderful to someone else, no?

        • yes right…my question is only based on ‘why not experience it?’ but surely I would never press anyone to have children or detest them because they chose not having any children…as I said..apni apni choice hai…being clear about your decisions and sticking to them is important-be it having children or not having them ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I think its a personal decision too. They need to be ready for it – capability is like what? Health, finance? They are important but most important is the qs whether u want to have one!

          Motherhood is beyond bringing a child into the world. – Well said Smiths ๐Ÿ™‚

    • well true that the man too has an equal contribution in conception but ultimately woman is blessed with the capacity to bear the child..that’s what I meant ๐Ÿ™‚

      @contraception: lol I know that you know why contraception ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Totally love this post. Having been married for more than 4 years, we always got the look from older relatives who wondered why we weren’t ‘able’ to produce children. It is only when I got pregnant that people stopped! Even now that I am pregnant, there are constant reminders of how the second one needs to be soon after!

  3. Lovely header and awesome post!!! Couldn’t agree more. To have kids or not is a totally personal decision, and having children can certainly not be the ‘cure all’!!! I think people should have kids only when they feel ready enough to give time and effort to raising that child. Otherwise, what’s the point in only giving birth and then letting the kids languish for want of love and attention?!!

    • Thanks Pals. ‘Otherwise, whatโ€™s the point in only giving birth and then letting the kids languish for want of love and attention?!!’ Exactly my point!

    • Very true!! In fact, so many couples stick together only for the sake of the child… I want to believe that its the right thing to do… But, I guess, once it is beyond a certain level, even children should not be the reason to stick around.

      I think children understand very well, when things are not quite right between the parents. It is far better to separate than bring up children in a toxic environment, don’t you think?

      BTW, did you guys read that TOI article of a software engineer who murdered his wife and then cut her body into 70 pieces and stashed them in the freezer!! It was extremely disturbing!!

      I saw the article – but did not read it- why? Why would someone do that?

  4. Amit forwarded me that article and we smiled. Ppl do have the noses to poke into other’s businesses and then get offended when someone gives them something nasty but matter of fact back in face. I simply smile it off.

    Good for you, Tara! That’s what they deserve!

    Isn’t it just natural to have a baby of ur own as n when u can and want to? with due respect to parents doing justice to their roles, i think I will always have a lil more of it for those who chose to give their love and support to the ones who have nobody of their own…

    Couldn’t agree more! And lovely to see you here again, Tara ๐Ÿ™‚
    in our group of friends we are among the last few couples who are still on the other side of the crease.. so i find this an interesting subject.

  5. โ€˜child-bearing capacityโ€™ and lack of education is what has lead to the population explosion in a large part of the world! It leads to undernourished kids, over worked parents, financial strains, lack of education.. and the cycle continues. I cant beleive a Doctor would make such a futile claim. Urgh!

    I know! We would expect better from a medical professional!

    I love this post… very well written.. I was nodding my head to each and every point. Motherhood is glorified.. a few years ago careers were and a few years before familylife was.. It goes on and on. A girl today can easiy be one or all of the above.


    Kids, pressure to have kids, and then have more kids is all ‘society norms’. Very few can withstand the pressure… or rather say.. ‘whatever’ and not let it affect them.
    One thing I completely agree with is- new dynamics with a baby being born. If the couple is not well tuned to begin with, having a kid sooner might negatively impact it, or they get stuck in a loveless marriage for the sake of kids or it gets acrimonious and thus not pretty for anyone involved.

    ‘If the couple is not well tuned to begin with, having a kid sooner might negatively impact it, or they get stuck in a loveless marriage for the sake of kids or it gets acrimonious and thus not pretty for anyone involved. ‘ – Exactly! Such a sad situation, isn’t it?

    Staying single, getting separated, being gay, having kids, focusing on kids/career/family is all very personal and a lot to do with choice which sadly people cant excercise due to ‘society’. Society exists because we let it exist in our minds.

    ‘ Society exists because we let it exist in our minds.’ – Well said, Garima!

  6. I dont know why we indians and our family has this idea that within a few months of marriage life the couple shud announce something , and if that does not come then all sort of things are said .. the continous question when when when whe n…

    I know! It is so exasperating, isn’t it?

    I think its up to the TWO to decide when they are ready there are a lot of responsibilities involved with bring a child in this world..

    No two ways about it!

    But on other side i have also seen that more and more couples prefer NOt to have kids these days they feel more happier … I have two such examples in my family who dont want Kids and Talking to others this is becoming quiet common now , where young couples dont want kids …

    I think it is fine, if that is what they want. After all, who is a better judge that them as to what makes their life complete?

    Lovely post really enjoyed reading it …

    Thanks Bikram!

    I would advie get married , know each other for 3 04 years cause before marriage things aare different after marriage its different even if you know the person for long … and THEN decide what you want to ITS A PERSONAL choice always ….

    Absolutely! I agree.

  7. I don’t know why women glorify motherhood – sure it’s a great thing but fatherhood is too…Fathers don’t love their children any less just because they are physiologically unable to bear children…I sometimes think that some women who go on and on about motherhood are somewhat insecure and use it to justify their existence…

    I know, Bones! I agree with you! I feel the same – it is as if they feel the need to justify their existence! Sad, isn’t it?

  8. totally agree with what you are saying..If a couple doesnt want to have children..Great,but saddling the child with emotional baggage after it is born is a terrible thing to do. And the secret hints and nudging after the “appropriate” number of years after marriage is over is just plain irritating..Wish people would grow up and leave others alone.. Having or not having a baby is a personal decision that only the couple has a say over,but unfortunately in India its more a communal decision.Arghh!! I cant rant enough about this topic

  9. Excellent post. My sentiments exactly. My husband and I have had a lot of arguments on this. His take is “they are missing something” and mine is “how do u know”? Lets face it, for all the glorification done abt parenting, no one ever tells how hard a slog it is. If someone had told me in ruthless detail how hard it would be to raise kids, I’m not sure I would have had mine ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ‘Lets face it, for all the glorification done abt parenting, no one ever tells how hard a slog it is’ – Oh yes!

      And I think not everyone feels the need to have a child or bring up a child. Each to his own, I would say..

  10. *applauds*

    I totally respect people who decide not to have kids. Like you, I think it’s way better than all the irresponsible parents out there who should’ve been interviewed before sperm met egg and made a life they were irresponsible for. You know I did that post on “Is she still a mother?”

    Yes, and I loved your post and the answers! Just giving birth does not make a mother and not giving birth does not not make someone a mother, does it?

    Adoptive parents are interviewed and counseled and prepared, and many reach out to support groups…I think this should be made mandatory for anyone becoming a parent in any which way!!

    Absolutely! Couldn’t agree more. Atleast there should be some sort of awareness in the couples deciding to become parents, any way.

  11. If we have to do everything the body is designed to, then why โ€˜contraceptionโ€™?

    Brilliantly put, Smithu. That is just crapโ€ฆ I remember this scene in Paa too, where Vidyaโ€™s character who is a doc, and also a mother, gets a couple consulting her, and she says the ladyโ€™s biological clock is ticking, itโ€™s asking her to have a child, hence whatever the issues were. And then she goes on to say that being a mom can really change your lifeโ€ฆto try it. All very nice, but I just was looking around to see if anyone found this fundamentally skewing towards society normsโ€ฆand the compulsion to โ€œbe a momโ€. Doesn’t this give a message that your body will go through troubles if you don’t become a mom when it asks you to?! And that, with all the “science” i know, is full faff!!!

    I know! I have heard this logic too! Crazy, isn’t it? The kind of blind belief people have in these things. They don’t even think of the child coming into this world..

    Yeah, I know of quite a few friends who became parents because โ€œitโ€™s been a while since they got marriedโ€. Gosh, what about being psychologically and financially prepared? Now everything revolves around saving for the child. And this would have been the case later, now it’s like they’re racing against time… as the kid is growing up! ๐Ÿ˜

    Sad, isn’t it? Why ? I think the peer pressure and societal pressure adds to it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    If there are issues in the marriage, the last thing to do is get another life into the messโ€ฆto witness and bear the pandemonium! Worse… grow up with a screwed up outlook to life, self-confidence, marriage… People just donโ€™t give thought to psyche of the poor kid!! What will he / she grow up to be like?

    I know! And there are so many examples around! Yet, people insist that having children will sort it all out ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Your last para sums it up beautifully Smithuโ€ฆ children canโ€™t be treated as a society status or your
    ticket to โ€œfitting inโ€.

    I wish even parents of couples would stop with the โ€œwhat about usโ€ฆ.we want to be grandparentsโ€ drama!!!

    Oh yes! That is even worse! Why on earth is that even considered a criteria, is beyond me!

  12. And you know, there’s this myth that PCOS condition is cured when you become a mother! Tho scientifically the reason many women get better after a kid is coz the ovaries have a 9 month rest when pregnant. But that is not a sure-shot cure…

    And yet, so many ppl have told me “when you’ll be a mom, you will be fine”

    what a reason to have a kid… so i can be rid of a medical condition!

    I know! I have heard this too! Any gynec problem and people pass it off saying, it will be fine ‘once you have a child’! Crazy, isn’t it? Of all the reasons to have a child!

  13. Absolutely agree, Smits! To be or not to be a parent is a personal choice of the couple concerned and not something for the society to decide.


    Even if the parents are capable of having a child, unless they WANT one, I dont think its fair to bring him/her into their world. Theres a huge difference betwee ‘CAN’ and WANT. What you can may not always be what you want.

    ‘Can’ and ‘want’ are two different things. And unless we want it – we should not do it – just because we can!

    “If couples feel that they are not ready for a child or that they do not feel the need to be parents, I respect them for having that clarity of thought, than having a child, and then feeling cheated or wishing that they had waited more.” I respect them too. Imagine how unfair it would have been unfair to the child if they were to regret the decision to bring him/her into this world ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I know! And there are several people like that – who feel cheated of a different life. And I hink the child does get to know , in one way or the other.

  14. Love this post Smitha! You have said everything I keep saying over and over…I don’t understand why if a couple choose to not have kids, it is seen as abnormal…and this is in every culture. Same with a woman choosing to not be in a relationship…I don’t think I can add more…you’ve said it all.

    Yes, you are right – it is the same in every culture – at some level or the other. The pressures might start at different time, but the expectations are the same – more or less.

  15. Excellent post smitha.

    If a couple opted of not having kids,its there life.Having kids and giving them a good life is very tough decision to take and the couple need much time as well to understand each other and then go for kids.

    ‘the couple need much time as well to understand each other and then go for kids.’ – Absolutely!

    If a girl/boy decides of not getting married here parents tell her what people say,so even to get married a girl/boy has to think of what people say.My cousin decided of not getting married but the way the relatives treat her made her go into isolation,he hardly attends parties and get togethers,she says if i come i will be asked 100 question why i didn’t get married…..

    That is so sad, isn’t it? How can people behave like this! People just have to dig their noses into other people’s business! So sad that your cousin has to go through all this rubbish. Why can’t people just accept it as her decision and leave it at that?

  16. Wonderful post smitha… Whenever I get engaged I’ll forward this link to my in laws so that I don’t have to explain the any thing… ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS – lovely header… ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. The decision to have a child or not or when to have one should rest with the couple. Just because one is born with a uterous does not mean that she has to produce a child!
    but then I do wonder what prompts some not to have children.. guess their life is complete without children while for some of us it would never be ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I guess some people feel very apprehensive about bringing a child into their lives.. Some have been scarred by their own childhoods, some just feel very complete without children in their lives. I think there are plenty of reasons why they opt out, you know.

  18. how did I miss this post????? never came in my reader ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I agree with u when u say that the choice is ones own whether we wanna have a child or not there is no debate to that but also there is some truth in what the lady has written…. I was discussing this my doctor friend couple of months back and she said during pregnancy and post delivery there are a lot of changes which happen in our bodies (he he we all know that) which are almost essential to a healthy post menopausal life… there are certain and harmones and chemicals that are generated which shield us from a lot of problems

    but than I guess u loss some u gain some… u gained the independence u wanted, u got the choice u wanted and u lost the benifits that it could have given otherwise…

    great post smitha

  19. here for the first time. love the camaraderie. u’ll see me often now ๐Ÿ™‚

    as for the topic of discussion, everything that had to be said has been said by many people above already ๐Ÿ™‚ to each his own..that’s all..

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