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To be or not to be ….a parent | Archana Balaji

I still remember a couple of months into marriage, neighbors and relatives would call upon my family to check if I was pregnant, due to the firm belief that its good to be mother early.

Parent featureSubsequent to being a parent and not so long back, I was asked, “don’t you think you should go for a second child, considering that you have only one daughter. She should have a sibling!”

I completely understand the age old norms that it is better to have two children since both can be company for each other. As such, it is also better to be an early mother so that most of the upbringing of the children is over whilst the mother is young. These norms may certainly have been true a few years back and may be relevant for some even today but may not be true or relevant for many others.

So who decides what is relevant and right? The couple, of course.

What may be right for one couple may not be right for the other. To have a child immediately after marriage or later depends on so many factors such as how settled the couple is in their career/s or financially and what age group they belong. Further, are they confident of taking responsibility of another life and how is the support system for child rearing? These and many other factors should be the deciding criteria for a couple to decide when is the right time for them to have a child. No social pressures or external factors should determine “when” to have a child.

The next is whether one should stop at a single child or should go in for the next one so that the first one has company. Again most ideal would be to have two kids as the elders would say. But then it is for the couple to decide since with this decision comes lot of added responsibility of having enough support system, time allotted to both kids and of course financial strength in today’s day and age is also a must.

I have seen couples who go in for a second child purely for the above said reason and for few years till such time the second child grows up their life is a frenzy, especially the mother’s. If the lady is in employment, she has to give up her career or the children are left to the maids for their day-to-day needs. Don’t go in for second child or more out of peer or family pressure. You need to be confident of shouldering this responsibility with utmost devotion.

Of late, you may come across couples who have made a conscious decision not to become a parent, maybe because of respective career ambitions or financial reasons, no maternal/paternal instinct or not being ready to go through the rigmarol of raising the children. They are probably making a correct decision for themselves rather than having a child and feeling that the child is cramping their lifestyle or leaving the child with the maid to be raised.

As with life’s other big decisions, the decisions on being a parent and to be parent of one or more, needs enough deliberations and decisions taken with eyes wide open. If you are heading on parenting pathway it is a must that you both are equally committed and ready to go through the ups and downs along the way, as a team. The foundation to this would be being financially sound and having a balanced life. If you think parenting is not for you then ensure both of you are on same platform before this major decision is made.

Remember that parenting is a choice, not an obligation, and may not be for everyone. So exercise the right CHOICE for yourself.

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