Thursday September 4 2014

Who said children are a must-have in marriage?

By Mike Ssegawa

We live in a society that questions couples who spend years together, but without children.
“When will you have children?” they ask.
I must say that is one idiotic question no one should ever ask any one.

Why would you be bothered about someone having no children? If you want children, go and have yours.
True, children are good company, also true that the only way to live eternally is by having children. But like it is with marriage, people should get children when they want, and notably, when they are able to raise them. It is terrible to have children you are unable to raise.

However, I am speaking for people who say: “We want our peace”.
The couple may want to travel the world, pursue their education dreams, research, etc and the children may be stumbling blocks to their pursuits.

Raising children is not easy. Sometimes, they can be a nuisance for example, when they fight, you must turn into a police officer, judge, and sometimes, prison warden to return sanity in the house.
Imagine buying brand new sofa sets, only to return in the evening when the little man has cut them with a razorblade, or he has broken your plasma screen because he wants to see who is talking inside.

It is worse when they fall sick; you cannot sleep when the baby is on a drip, or awaiting an operation. And that is before you start paying their fees, and other bills.
Thinking about all that, I hurt for my neighbour who did not have any support in his old age.

He had six children, but he lived all alone. It was upon neighbours to offer him assistance when they found out he was sick.
It is so painful to learn that you will die a lonely person, as though one who never begot children. Wouldn’t it have been better to invest that money in something more sensible? Something that could pay for an assistant to cater to you in your old age?
That is what went through my mind when this old man died, and I only discovered days later from a neighbour who had not seen him come out for his sunbathing ritual.

And when his children turned up, they started fighting for his property like they had spent a fortune looking after him!
I understand what you are thinking now; that the joy of raising children overshadows the ills and pains that comes with it. But how about that child who may beat you up for refusing to give them their inheritance, were they worth the pangs of birth and hustle of raising them?

That is why I have stopped posing that “Why?” question when I met people who tell me in my face that they do not want children.
You may therefore pity the hundreds asking for baby miracles and the women who steal babies to satisfy their husband’s demands. I have come to understand that a couple or individual who chooses not to have children is not necessarily selfish as some people may think. And I have come to respect such choices.

If you are the kind who wants no children, ignore the naysayers. Do the same to those in-laws who call you names like sterile or barren. Live your life the way you want to. I also know that children are not the purpose of marriage, but, a bonus.
So, if a couple chooses to live their lives free of the children, they are not waiting to hear your “adopt an orphan” sympathies. They are okay.