My wife and I made one of the biggest decisions in our life, on the sixth month of our marriage. We decided that we are not having (human) babies.
This was not a decision that was born out of a whim. We gave it a lot of thought, we weighed our options, we considered all possibilities, and we finally took the plunge. It still took six more months or so, until we were ready to announce it – by then, we were more sure of it than ever.
As the first year of our marriage got over, our life saw quite a few (welcoming) changes. Archana and I used to work jobs we were not exactly fond of. We both put in our papers, and decided to take up careers that align better with our passions. Within no time, I joined Automattic (my dream company), and Archana became a Freelance Bridal Makeup Artist. Having lived all our lives in a single city (Trivandrum, India), we took yet another leap of faith – and moved to Kochi (a city we both loved). Our new jobs gave us more financial freedom, and the independence to lead a better, rich, and more flexible lifestyle (after a year of literal struggle). Life was good!
We finally gathered courage, and announced our decision to our immediate friends and family.
We feared the worst – and that’s exactly what happened. The reactions were a mix of anger, advice, condescension, ridicule, and were followed-up with awkward questions (I mean, super-awkward and intrusive questions about our sex life, reproductive health, and more). We only had some of our closest friends to support us whole heartedly, and we needed their support more than ever. It left us with a traumatic experience – which was so bad that it started adversely affecting our mental health. However, adversities were not new to us; to quote Bane himself we were “born in it, and moulded by it”. We worked together, and we came out of it, strong and resolute about our decision – more than ever!
That being said, our decision to be child-free was specific only to human babies – both of us had a compassion for the flora and fauna, we still yearned to have children, but of the furry kind. The mental blocks that we had to go through, as a result of announcing our decision prevented us from following our dream – at least, for a short while.
However, as we became strong – we lost our inhibitions, and yes, within no time – our dream came true!
On the 29th of October, 2017 – when our first baby – Ikru, a beautiful persian kitten came home. We bought him from a pet shop in the city. We were overjoyed! Our little furry baby was everything we had asked for – he loved us unconditionally, we took care of him as our little son.
Exactly, a week later – on the 6th of November, 2017 – we had our second baby – Boo! We had a feeling that Ikru felt lonesome, as a single pet. He needed a companion of his own kind (maybe we needed one too). Boo (who happened to be Ikru’s nephew from his mother’s side – as we would learn later), happily followed suit to our little apartment.
Since then, we’ve lived a life of untold bliss with our furry babies! ❤
They fulfil our lives – and they complete us in every possible way. They love us unconditionally, and they stand by us through thick and thin, through joy and sorrow, through pain and pleasure… If it’s a bad day at work for me, Boo would sense something wrong and would snuggle up next to my feet, and offer comfort with his purring. As Archana comes home tired after a hectic day of dressing up yet another stunning bride, Ikru climbs upon to her lap and kneads on her legs, trying his best to massage his mother!
(Everything you’ve heard of cats being ungrateful is a lie, by the way – is a lie).
It’s been over six months since we’ve had these little furballs of love, as our babies, and a little around three years, since we made the huge decision in our life. Despite multiple proclamations in social media, despite an article about us being published in a major national newspaper, despite multiple sessions of clarifications, explanations and what not – as I know from reliable sources, we are still being ridiculed. People pass snide comments about us – sometimes they take the liberty to do this in front of us.
Each snide remark, and each malicious comment, only gives us the strength to stick on to our decision, which is ensconced for eternity. But sometimes, it hurts – especially when these comments come from people you care.
The people that pass such comments firmly believe that having children is a natural process of being human. In a way they are right. Reproduction is an evolutionary technique pioneered by nature, to ensure that all species survive and thrive. This argument was valid back in the day and age when humankind was less in numbers. That’s not the situation today – there’s seven billion of us, and counting – and this itself has bludgeoned into a problem, that developing countries like India, are trying to solve.
Ergo, what was once a necessity, and evolutionary need, is now a choice.
Sadly enough, people don’t seem to realize this.
Having and raising children in these troubled times is not an easy task. It’s a job by its own right, and it is not an easy one. Most of the time, the job is negatively biased towards the mother – who bears the brunt of child rearing, and ends up sacrificing their life. Urban myth tries to glorify motherhood with sappy stories, and manipulated fiction – but try swapping roles with the mother of a newborn/toddler/teenager for a day, and you’ll realize that you’ve been on kool-aid all the while! Historically, fathers (or parents occupying the male gender role) have had things easier (at the risk of generalization). But fathers (yes, even those who don’t share equal parenting responsibilities) see their lives change, after a kid is born – and this is not always for the better.
My intention is not to demean or denigrate parenthood (I strongly believe that parenting requires equal effort from both partners though). But like any other job, parenting requires commitment and dedication from both partners – frankly speaking this is not something that every person is cut out for. Conceiving a child only takes a few minutes, giving birth to a child, and moulding them into a human being that capable of contributing to the goodness of the world around them – is a gargantuan task, and I’m not even exaggerating.
Thankfully enough, parenting human children is a choice – like almost anything else in life. After careful thought, we felt strongly that this is a decision that we would rather not take .
Ergo, we (gladly) exercised our decision NOT to have human kids.
Ikru and Boo mean the world to us – they are our raison d’être. Their unconditional love for us gives us the strength to traverse troubled waters in our lives with smiles on our faces!
My discourse on the choice to not have kids brings me to the corollary – the option where a couple decides to have children, because they want to – because they yearn to, because it’s a choice they consciously made, with full consent of both partners.
As one half of a child-free couple, I strongly support parenthood based on choice – it’s one of the most beautiful things this life has to offer!
When you choose to have and rear a baby with your partner, because both of you want one, it is a decision that you will work hard towards, and that both of you will give your 100% to. It’s a project – where you are not only giving birth to a human being, but raising them to become a fully grown adult. You do your best to give them the best life. Thanks to the care, and the effort you put in as parents, your child would grow to become a responsible human being, who would contribute to the betterment of the world!
The world needs more and more of such children!
Children who are born out of consensual decisions from their parents.
Children that are well-bred, and well-raised.
Children that were not born as ‘insurance policies’ that would take care of their parents in their old age.
Children that don’t have a neglected childhood and are far away from the wrong side of the social spectrum.
Children that strive to make the world a better place with their lives.
Children, that will only have human children because they chose to…
The Last Ink Drop
This post would not have been possible, had it not been for my younger son – Boo, who spent quite a bit of time, to proofread it for me. Here’s a photo of him, at it:
Thank you, Boo baby! 😻