Candid, not Candied

Sunday, 1 December 2013

To have or not to have

a baby part II is the biggest question that looms over new parents. Much like a sword hovering over; it keeps haunting day in day out. Not to mention parents and relatives who, albeit subtly, won't leave a chance to "remind" you (in case you are forgetting!).

What indeed are you supposed to do? When you are torn in between practicality of inflation laced life and life long guilt of not providing a sibling to your kid; decision making becomes tough.

I am at the threshold of all this. Now that Aarnavi is almost 2, the question looks at me in the face.

Since whenever I thought of my family life, I have always wanted two kids - one of each gender. Probably because that was how we were - myself and V. Kiran, on the other hand, was gonna be happy with just one. This was the time before Aarnavi was born, when we did "the talks" about kids. The whole of first year we have debated on and off - 1 v/s 2. The husband was worried about finances and I couldn't imagine that my still-to-be-conceived-baby would not have a sibling. I tried making him see the advantages of having a sibling. After all, he has a baby sister too who he loves to pieces.

'I cannot imagine my life without V. Can you imagine your childhood without N?' I would ask him continually. Even then he maintained his stand, while reminding me that what I am talking about is still a long way to go. There would be times when he would just give in to my wishful whining. (I guess it was to make me stop discussing the said topic)

After Aarnavi's arrival, opinions took a firmer shape. He was dead against having another baby. Seeing me suffer through the pains and miseries of pregnancy (which was perhaps ones of the easiest ones that women have) and post-partum, he wouldn't hear a word from me. And coming to me, even with all that I went through, I couldn't accept what he said. But then I decided it was best not to bring it up.

As the months passed, the pain, discomfort and even memories of them started to fade away. Aarnavi's growing up was a magical time. She was an ideal baby of sorts. Her milestones were bang on. Her schedule was fixed. She was a happy baby who despite turning our world upside down, kept us hooked. This time, in fact, acted as a catalyst for Kiran to change his mind. Since we were in the US with no help from parents or in laws; he go to be hands-on father.  His involvement with Aarnavi made him rethink the decision. The amount of satisfaction he felt in seeing her grow was apparent. He realised it wasn't enough. And he finally accepted that there would indeed be a baby 2 for us.

Many parents are happy with their first born. They have their reasons, and I believe they are justified. Each one knows what they can handle and what they cannot. It is true that in today's world, having two children is nothing short of a luxury. It isn't just "giving a playmate". As parents we are responsible for their upbringing - which means a lot of money. To make two ends meet is not an easy task.

And it isn't just money, there are few other grave things too. Like when I spoke to some of my friends on whether they would go for a second baby, many said they couldn't imagine going through those 9 months again. Others say they are oscillating between the two options. Still others are yet to recover from the shock of motherhood. As expected, these reasons are smacked down by mothers and aunties who have gone ahead having 2 kids or more. "Haven't we had babies?" is their smug question. I find it very daunting that such ladies are so indifferent to the pains of motherhood. I wonder why they won't try to understand the word "enough".

The fact that decisions are not respected gets on my nerves. From 'when to have the first kid' to 'what age difference is ideal between 2 siblings' - every damn question is under the limelight. No matter how wisely you have come to a mutual decision depending the best on your emotional preparedness, physical health and financial graph, it is always shot down by unsolicited "expert advice" doled out by previous parents.

We have decided to have the second baby (down the line), instead of all the extra luxuries that we could have otherwise afforded. We have come to decisions of our own, and have are not budging from it, whatever anyone says.

It is human to form opinions and pass judgment. But the least we can do is to be sensible and keep them to ourselves unless expressly asked. Such are sensitive topics and there can be no right or wrong. It is an individual family decision, and no outsider should be contributing to it.

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