Last Christmas when my friend visited with her daughter, she came to the conclusion that I do not like children. For some reason, it wasn’t a thing I had ever given much thought to. Outside of the occasional cooing over babies and making small talk about Ben10 with 6 year-olds, I didn’t think anything about children. Also, because I have never been bitten by the Broody Bug, I never felt that longing for a child of my own. So, when I got the verdict that I didn’t like kids, it made me think deeply about my position on children. Was it that I don’t like kids in general? Do I not like them at a certain age? Was it because I’ve not spent a lot of time with them to actually understand their needs and the different phases? Was it that I’d not been around children for long enough? Or do I just not like badly behaved kids whom I can’t scold without fear of their parents being offended? Do I not want to be around kids? Or was it a case of waiting till I have my own and watching the magic happen? It is truly worrisome. One minute I didn’t think there was something wrong with me, next minute I’m starting to feel inadequate. Oh God! Was I one of those people who didn’t want kids? Was it so terribly bad not to want kids?
The discussion about wanting kids is one of those things that is almost taken for granted by a lot of Nigerians. It’s the same way you meet someone and they assume you’re Christian. When you say you’re not they say ‘Oh you’re a Moslem then’. When you say ‘No, I’m not’, the next thing that comes is ‘Oh so what are you?’. The discussion about wanting children is something that many people don’t have because it is almost as if you should want kids by default. You hear things like ‘Why not. If your parents didn’t want children you wouldn’t exist’. However, I wonder if societal pressure is doing more harm than good by not allowing the open and honest discussion about children.
It is more detrimental in the long run to have children you don’t want and then end up raising them badly.
Parenting in itself is overwhelming. Apart from the financial requirement of raising children, there’s the responsibility that comes with ensuring that they’re healthy, they’re well grounded and psychologically balanced. If one is incapable of providing for a child, then is it still fair to pressure a person into procreating because it is ‘ordained by God’?
At a dinner with some friends yesterday, we had a conversation about wanting children and whether we (as Nigerians) are allowed to be honest about what we want. I said that it wasn’t something I’d thought of, but as a Nigerian my default answer was ‘Yes, I want children’. The alternative was probably going to end in a protracted and unnecessary argument that would probably end up being completely unproductive.
In the past, some people had children in order to have a kind of security for care in old age. However, history has shown that having children is not a guarantee of end of life care. For some people it is the need to carry on their legacy. I have a friend whose parents (both medical doctors) reminded him that they set up their medical practice in hope
read as expectation that he would take it over when he came of age. It didn’t happen – dude is a writer and doesn’t plan to ever stop being one.
As with all choices we make in life, it’s important that the motives are right. If you make a decision to do something, you should be true to yourself. Choices shouldn’t really be determined by societal pressure because at the end of the day, you are the one who will live with the end result of your life choices.
Share some of your views with us. Do you want kids? If so why? Have you had a relationship go awry because you had dissenting views on wanting kids. Do you think that wanting children or not is something that can only be determined after you have them – you know how they say that spirit of fatherhood just descends when you feel the child in your arms. Do you believe that wanting or not wanting children has anything to do with whether or not you will be a good parent?
Have a lovely week ahead. I’m terribly sorry this is coming so late. I woke up with a slamming headache and a bad tummy. Not a good way to start the week I tell ya, but I’ll live!
Peace, love & cupcakes.