Baby Steps – On Having Children

I read articles by intellectuals who say that they do not want to raise a child in times of a crippling water crisis. I think back to the times my mom claims that she had me because “why not” and picked my name off little paper chits that my aunt wrote.

Children require time, effort, incredible patience, deliberation, and lots of money to raise. Two years ago, if you put me in quarantine with an annoying baby, only one of us would make it out alive. Mostly me. Having my partner’s kid around for a while has helped.

People laugh about marriages that happen over zoom during Covid19 — however, the tragedy has left people co-parenting over phone screens today, raising their children from hundreds of miles apart. Even without extenuating circumstances, there is a lot to worry about when it comes to children.

Fully-grown adults with massive financial commitments to their name and little family support are living in new cities with the hope of trying to make ends meet — Goodluck fitting another human being into the equation. I have always secretly loved the idea of raising (not birthing) a kid. I never believed it was pragmatic, though.

My aunt said, “You will be fine once you have them” I have imagined this script in my head in which I finally have a child and don’t feel “fine” like my aunt promised me. I then wrap my pristine-looking infant daughter in a little bow and leave her outside the said aunt’s doorstep as a return gift for her unwarranted advice. My point is — this is a personal journey and anyone’s rant, including mine, is best taken with a pinch of salt.

Recently, my partner and I got into a full-blown-out argument about adopting a dog. As my partner listed multiple reasons as to why we just cannot afford one— given how much I work and how much he travels, I had an epiphany. I wasn’t fighting to prove that my life was compatible with a dog. I was looking for tangible support to make my life consistent with a dog. And in the light of this, my heart sank as I thought about more children.

Do I want to bring/raise more children in this world when I am not sure we have the resources for it — both at a macro and a micro-level (had to use my degree somewhere!). Yes, I probably do.

However, there were certain things I had to tell myself for this one thought to not become an existential crisis in the time of a lockdown.

Understanding that biology is the least of what makes anyone a mother — to a certain extent removes the time pressure of a ticking biological clock. I have no pressure to sort out things tomorrow, the next month or over the next year. I have time and space to think and re-think my decisions.

The next part, which is harder, is to accept and embrace is the fact that if I were taking any route other than the “I don’t know how many eggs are left” path, there would be no divine interventions to know when the right time is. It is only with open communication and introspection that I would ever conclude.

And on another unwarranted note with an air of privilege, sometimes when something that you want looks impossible given how things are in your life, you must work to change your life instead of moping around about said impossible thing.

And lastly? It is putting to rest the children thought for a while and thinking about how to adopt a dog.

Ironically, this is what I call baby steps.


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