My husband and I are happily married almost 14 years now and I would want to share our journey of coming to this decision of not having children! Yes you read that right, we decided to be childfree for life!!
I met my husband Dipu through a common friend. Dated for few years and got hitched. We discussed kids but barely, it wasn’t the most important thing for either of us, it was just a discussion. So how did we decide we aren’t going to be parents? Four years into our marriage and out of concern my parents said to me “You and Dipu need to decide if you’re having kids. You are not getting any younger.” We had put all types of stereotype arguments on rest as we weren’t sure. A few weeks later we started questioning ourselves, why do we need to have kids? What’s the purpose of having one? Why is it a necessity? The stigmas of not having a child – the answers were clear and loud, you cannot be dependent on a third life which has not come to life, decide your happiness. It’s a conditioned thing in mind. “sab kartey hai, toh mujhe bhi karna hai, we do it to repair our relationship with our spouse or we do it because everyone is doing it” attributing strings, notions and believing “A child makes a women complete.” Well, the idea of completeness is dangerous and I doubt there is any such thing in a life.
I believe if you are not content, you cannot nurture another life. It really didn’t make any sense except that it’s your own flesh and blood and the sense of belonging. But is that all? Does that feeling give us the certificate of knowing what this new life really needs? So we decided to choose openness over some false idea of completeness. It was not an easy decision but we were both on the same page that we were going to go down an unconventional path.
We also considered option for adoption but for that one needs to have that hunger or desire and we don’t feel the heart strings that we are called to that. “For years when people asked me do I have any medical conditions? I failed to explain them that it was about my choice and not an excuse, I just didn’t want children.” Most of the time we are not criticized for our choice because it is terrible but simply because it is different. Frequently asked question like who is going to take care of us when we are old (Buddhape ki latthi) or Khandaan aage kaise badhega? But do we really give birth for these unkind motives?
Those are hardly right reasons to have kids; they are not guarantee to a lifespan of happiness. It’s a mistake to assume having children means one will have a person to take care of them in their old age. Research shows not every adult child cares for their aging parents. People are fearful about their own death. To overpower that fear they seek to leave legacy- habitually in the form of children. But there are other types of legacies such as science, art and religion.
Arriving to a decision to not have children was not an easy one, when society always tells you should. Although most people desire to have children, there’s often a confusion why someone wouldn’t. But if you ask millennials their wish list and has changed. My mother never had this wish to travel the world as her exposure was limited, it never allowed her to pursue her dreams or desire to be financially independent giving equal shares of EMI for her house. I believe I would personally find it challenging to balance being a Supermom with a Supercareer. We just enjoy the life style we have and wanted to keep going this way.
People say we are missing out on something, that’s absolutely true but aren’t parents missing out on some phases of life childfree people enjoy. It’s impossible to have every experience in life. I am thankful that we are surrounded by people who understand that it’s a choice and respect the decision couples make without any judgement. ‘Be sure of your wary decisions and the Consequences you have to bear with it. Be it anything’
There is something very pure about motherhood and experiencing it in a lifetime is a blessing but I feel todays’ parenting is a bit confused with increasing challenges and overload of information influencing the balance between getting the best out of children without making them nervous. We do not know what to expect!
There are lots of mothers who handle their careers and motherhood well but I don’t see myself in those superwomen shoes. It’s not like I don’t like kids, it’s just that I don’t feel the need of planet having more because that’s one big thing we could do to cut our carbon footprint. ‘Not having children is an important contribution to humanity and my decision has reduced the population of 2050 by 3 to 5 people.’
It doesn’t really fulfil any kind of greater desire in me. If you don’t desire to have kids, don’t. If you do, do it right! We are already too many and suffering too much, why add more chaos to the mean and unfair human race. Why make one more of us go through the same cycle? The one who does not exist will never find the good and ugly part of this life anyway!
I hope this column assures you that you are not alone with going down to the path of living unconventional. I am an independent person and I don’t think I need children to be happy in life.
The next time if someone asks you why you don’t want children, ask them why they do. You can have an incredibly fulfilled happy life. It’s your life – Be proud of your choice!
Story by- Neha Dipu Vikram
Interviewed and written by Raavya Sarda