I have been married for almost six years now and the question of whether I want to reproduce or not has crossed my mind a couple of times. Surprisingly, I have not had any pressure to do so from either of our families, despite being born in a normal Pakistani home. My mother often enquired and nudged in the first and second year, but now she lets it be. She said something about fallen it all on a deaf ear – I didn’t quite get it, sorry.
It’s not that I don’t like children. I do. I am crazy about my three nephews (see feature photo) and would take a bullet for them. But I won’t change their poo-filled diapers. I just can’t see myself doing it and not hating it. Things may have differed if I were living in Pakistan. The support system that your family and house help provides is priceless. As an expat, it all boils down to two people – one of them is at work for 11 hours a day and the other one ordered pizza for breakfast. Hardly parent material, and far from ready to make paramount life changes.
Let’s say if someone from my family were to travel and stay with me for a couple of months post baby-popping, there is ‘pain’ to think about – that one thing that no one can do on my behalf. From discomfort and aches throughout pregnancy to pushing a 10 pound heavy, 20 inches long, asymmetrical piece of meat from down there. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. I wish I could give that much in gold to every woman who has ever birthed a child, as there is nothing more monumental that a human being can do than produce another life. I, on the other hand, have a very abusive relationship with pain. We hate each other with a passion and there are explosives every time we meet. So, in order for me to mentally prepare myself to embrace pain that could last a couple of years (pregnancy, birthing, breast feeding, postpartum depression, mental exhaustion, physical exhaustion, and then some more), I really need to be motivated enough to take the leap. Which I am not.
And this brings me down to the crux of it all – why do I need to reproduce? At this point in life, if you ask me, my only reason would be boredom. A child would be amusing. But beyond that, there is nothing calling me to the dark, puke splattered side. There are no motherly strings being played at. There is no aggressive need to have someone carry on family’s name. I am not influenced by religious and cultural doctrines. I don’t think that it is fair to produce a child to plug in a void in my life. I believe that I need to be at a point in my life where I have surplus, so I can enrich a life that I have volunteered to look after.
Physically, I don’t think I am in such a great shape either. Just today, my best friend and I consciously decided to not talk about diseases, pains and aches, for a change. And what about the bills? I would like to be able to give my baby a childhood similar to what I had, if not better. And currently, my personal finance manager at CommerzBank will confirm that I am not there yet. Mother India is a staunch believer that a child brings his or her fortune, but I beg to differ. Unless my bank account has enough to support my child all the way through university, via private schooling, I am not ready. And you won’t believe who actually agrees with my baby-money-theory? My grandma-in-law! Not to the number on the cheque but she was the first one to tell me to only have a child when I can afford a good life for him/her. Talk about woke!
There is so much that I still want to do, see and experience. A child changes all that. That bub demands your complete attention and energy, and you are swiftly off the priority list – in your own life. Where do mums come up with such selflessness? Until I figure that out, keeping a close proximity with condoms just works better.
Maybe some women have an inherent nurturing capacity, and I seemed to have missed that station. I am 100% unapologetic about my choices when it comes to parenthood, and that is what has kept me sane throughout the last decade. That, and not answering calls of aunties who ask for khush khabris. I embrace my choices, in cooperation with the other half of this baby producing unit, and am happy. I have not written off child-rearing completely, because never say never, but I have vowed to not have it for the wrong reasons. And definitely not unless I am ready to give it my 100%.
That pizza for breakfast will also be my dinner. Just some random info to help your tide over this Friday evening.
Happy Women’s Day my friend.
If you are still up to some reading, check out these 11 reasons why people think I should have kids (it’s freaking hilarious!).