Why couples are choosing to be child free

Why couples are choosing to be child free

Pooja Bedi

Pooja Bedi represents the uninhibited, strong willed, personally and professionally successful modern Indian woman who has donned many hats. Her prolific career spans the worl LESS

I’ve been reading a spate of articles recently about more and more couples choosing to be child free. Coming from an era where it was considered “abnormal” to not have or want a child it certainly piqued my interest to explore why. Reasons ranged from the financial strain of affording quality education to simply not wanting to be bogged down with the entire process and pressure of “good parenting” and having to fit within set parameters of “how to function” as a “good parent” and it’s non-stop needs and demands. Many wanted the freedom to travel, to relocate geographically with ease, to have time for hobbies and to not have to base their lives on a system that consumes you as a parent.

Though “the traditionals” may consider it selfish that individuals choose not to be a parent because it means taking on lifelong responsibility for another human being, many youngsters look beyond the “stereotype” of having children to be a “family”. For them, pets are responsibility enough! Apart from reasons of personal growth and freedom, there is also the aspect that there scores of youngsters who have seen first-hand the traumatic and abusive marriages of their parents and they don’t choose to inflict that on a child. Many Indian marriages stuck together despite abuse, neglect and incredible dysfunctionality “for the sake of the children”, not realising that the scars of being part of dysfunctional household did greater damage to their kids. From experience of having two children, ages 23 and 21 today, I acknowledge that kids are an investment, a huge investment, of time, energy, money, emotions and yes, they do come with a guaranteed list of compromises that you will have to make. Yes, the system surrounding having kids from the financial and time pressures of “good schooling”, expensive tuitions & gadgets, ensuring extra-curricular activities, nurturing their talents and interests above your own, being sucked into mentally exhausting “mom/parent clubs”, the unhealthy pressure of marks and additional credits, and the entire system that revolves around getting “premium education and higher degrees” takes over your life and becomes more about “your failure or success”. Wayyyyyyy too much daily pressure for decades of your life with no guarantees of the results of all that investment and compromise! But hey! I personally love kids! I’ve always wanted kids and I have no regrets having gone through the rigour of parenting (it’s lifelong!) though I can understand why couples today choose not to. This generation is attachment free. They want to rent, not buy a home, and have the freedom of moving on demand.

They prefer ola and uber to buying and maintaining a car. They prefer cheaper and beautiful furniture that will last a few years which they can replace as their tastes change rather than the cost & permanence of one solid chair for a lifetime. Times change, and with it, mindsets. It’s so easy to slip down a mechanical well-oiled path, but it’s liberating to break shackles of conformity and to march to the beat of your own drummer.

1. Is it normal to feel attachment and detachment at the same time? To feel the need to get close to someone and on days just be on your own?

“Me time” is very important and crucial to your individuality and personal growth. Laughter, sadness, success, failure, like, dislike, attachment, detachment…. Are all the ebb and flow of what it is to be human. You are ever changing and it’s both time with and without others that shape you and your journey ahead. There is no either/or in this journey, enjoy both, your outward and inward exploration.

2. Is Sharing memes and replying to insta stories the new way of communicating love? How real is this?

As real as it feels. Crush/ infatuation/love could be sharing a walk, a chocolate, a hand written letter, texts and for the generation next, it’s about communicating emotions through media they are conversant in. The good part is it’s all out in the open and done through words, visual and graphics which are great ways to express yourself and assess dynamics. It’s a great buffer as well, as rejection is hard to handle and you get to test waters if you’re an introvert and uncomfortable with face to conversations.

3. How can you tell if a guy likes you just as a friend or something more?

Don’t ask yourself what you want to hear, instead, focus, clear the emotions that cloud you and ask yourself what your intuition says every time you are together. If it’s mixed signals, stay friends until your intuition (not hormones) guides you further.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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