Recently I was engaged in two different conversations that finally had me thinking about the same thing. The first conversation was with a very close friend, newly married and contemplating whether or not to have child in the near future. The second conversation was triggered by Aamir Khan’s baby news and the discussion revolved around surrogacy versus adoption. While I dwelled on both later in the silence of the night, it seemed to come around to the same question – why do we have children?
To most of us it is a natural progression – single to spouse to parent. The need to procreate is part of the human DNA some say. Survival of the race. Continuation of the family genes. Because we can.
It seems this day and age is many a times questioning this philosophy. I am sure it is not the first generation to raise questions but certainly the questions are being raised in a time where is no dearth of medium. You can reach out to anyone in any corner of the world and learn their view and share your own. So much so that as is the norm, someone somewhere has funded another curious soul to do a ‘study’ on such a question. A friend and college professor shared the results of one such study with his friends (and by share I mean he posted it on his Wall). Reactions were mostly unpleasant. He was still single but his friends had progressed to parent. And they were offended that even this one emotional bond between parent and child is not spared and is put under the microscope for convenient interpretations. Parents don’t find joy in parenting it said. It is too much of a chore and does not make economic sense it seems. I debunked it angrily too.
Yet, we all surely know someone who has decided to set aside a life of diapers and baby bottles for a career advancement or the time and space to travel the world. Whether a child and such choices are mutually exclusive is an entirely different debate all together. But they have made the fundamental decision that procreation is a choice and they are not interested.
I tried to tell my friend that there would never be a perfect time to start a family. A better time maybe but never perfect. And how it would complete them as a couple not isolate them. But my arguments were not very convincing, even to me. Perhaps because I never had to convince myself or my husband. There was no decision. It was decided. Even the second child was a natural progression.
At times when the road from spouse to mother looked like a mirage, I remember bringing up adoption. More as a conversation starter than an actual plan. The spouse was not interested. It would be our child only. Perhaps an early reaction because our situation was not so grim that this needed to be a real option.
But this explains why a 45-year-old man and 38-year-old woman would prefer surrogacy over adoption. My flesh and blood. Fear of the unknown. Fear of invisible medical history. Fear of untraceable genes. But as another friend pointed out, isnt life a vast unknown as is? How much do we really know about our ancestors? Yet there is a feeling of oneness, security and predictability.
I look at K and V. They are a little bit of me and little bit of him. But they are mostly K and V. Two lives that complete ours. Who knows what the future will bring. And what part of the past it will pick and choose from. Que Sera, Sera.