Motherhood, The organised chaos

The case for having babies

Every time the elections or national day comes round, my levels of irritation shoot up to an unhealthy, blood boiling high.

(Granted, I do get irritated quite easily but still…)

This is when the government tries to talk down to us about falling birth rates and how Singaporeans are not procreating fast enough to replace the population.

Let’s get this straight: I desperately yearned for and had a baby not because I wanted to create a true blue Singaporean. I had a baby because I wanted one. I love children and I knew that having a child would bring immense joy to my life. Call it evolution, call it human instinct, call it whatever you want. Maybe there IS indeed a biological clock that’s ticking in me.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.

Conversely, many of us are not having children NOT because we find maternity leave too short. It’s not because the Baby Bonus is not enough. It’s none of these policies that are driving our decisions. The choice to have children or not is a personal one and should remain a personal one. Ramming policies and statistics down our throats is not going to push us to have one or more children.

Is that so difficult a concept for the government to understand?
So please, as my brother-in-law put it so eloquently, get out of our bedrooms.
Don’t turn something as personal as having children into some moralistic, paternalistic “national service” to the country.

**********

Recently, I have been thinking about having a second child. I’ve always wanted two kids. I love having a sister and I grew up among cousins so I don’t want Aidan to miss out on having the fun that I used to have. It’s sad enough that he will only have one cousin (my sister’s son, none of Mr Thick’s brothers have kids) although thankfully, Rai and him are close enough in age to be playmates. As the only baby on the paternal side of the family, I am constantly conscious of the fact that the likelihood of him being spoilt silly nilly is extremely high.

Also, I feel like my baby-making days are not quite over yet.

And still I hesitate.

Of course, biologically speaking, I am aware that our chances of conceiving are not great. I mean, just look at our history. Conceiving Aidan naturally was a stroke of luck and there is no guarantee that we can replicate that feat. At this point in time, I am uncertain if I will want to embark on assisted reproductive technologies again. Seven IUIs and one IVF is more than enough for a lifetime, thank you very much.

But more importantly, I don’t know if we will be able to bring up two kids in today’s climate.

I hate that by the time I get off from work, I barely have time to spend with Aidan before he is fed and put to bed by 830pm. It’s especially tough when Mr Thick works long hours and comes home to a sleeping baby. Twice the children means half the time spent with each kid and double the Mom guilt.

Also, my financial advisor had told us that the cost of tertiary education is likely to rise to S$100,000 by the time our kids go to university. Frankly speaking, neither Mr Thick nor I make that sort of moolah. If possible, I wouldn’t want my kids to be saddled with a fat bank loan the way I was even before I had even graduated. We hadn’t thought carefully about how much our expenses would escalate once we had Aidan and two is going to be even tougher.

So that is a dilemma. If I want to spend time with my kids, I would have to make a sacrifice in terms of my career. But doing so would mean that we take a hit financially.

How do we strike a balance?

8 thoughts on “The case for having babies”

  1. The thing about fertility is that once you have a baby, the chance of getting pregnant again is higher since your body is now tuned to baby making. Stop breast feeding (if you still are) and start shagging. I know of a number of friends who have had the same hard journey with their first and within 2 years have their 2nd (majority naturally). The bravest friend of mine had two 14 months apart!

    Re finances. How much is enough? My personal belief is that teaching values and using nature (parks, beaches) far outweigh material possessions or expensive classes. We are a product of our very pragmatic society so we worry about costs and perhaps keeping up with the Joneses. As for college tuition, it’s commendable to want to pay for them but if it doesn’t work out the way you want, it isn’t the end of the world.

    Follow your heart. (monetary) things will work themselves out.

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  2. My kids have been asking for a new sibling. We like to joke that we’ll adopt a 21-year old so he or she will be able to start earning money for the family immediately and save us the cost of rearing a new kid.

    Jokes aside, you said, “Twice the children means half the time spent with each kid and double the Mom guilt.” I’d like to add that it also means twice the expenses all around. This is why we are stopping at two. Unless the government revamps the education system while assuring every Singaporean child of the chance to go to university locally, I don’t think we are going to change our minds before our biological clocks stop ticking.

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  3. Exactly the point of the issue. The environment in SG doesn’t make it conducive for quality family time.

    While here in USA, I observed that alot of women give up working to be stay home mums. Perhaps Im not living in the city and more in the suburb so the mentality is different, there’s no high power career or whatsoever. But almost all chose to stay home and make do. It’s interesting. Is the std of living lower here? Maybe, but i think salary is not exactly high too. I guess it’s all a matter of how we want our lives? We’ve been educated to think a certain mode and to have a certain kind of lifestyle to be “comfortable”.

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  4. i say dont care abt the money or the lack of. just do it.
    they say time is just like cleavage, you just need to squeeze hard enough and you will have it. tiring i can imagine but at the end of the day, it should be worth it.
    but like what you said, it’s the decision for you & ur man to make.

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  5. @lilsnooze, only a fraction of mothers in the United States can even *think* about being a SAHM. You must live in a really nice suburb!

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  6. I also think financials will somehow work itself out. I think if u love kids so much its better to just have them instead of regretting later and being resentful. Esp with the heartache you’ve been through, I’m sure having kids will mean so much more to u. Let your heart rule on this one. As it is you’ve been great with aidan I doubt you’ll neglect the other one as much. 😉

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  7. you complained about the lack of time with your kids. hence, the maternity leave.
    you worry about finances. hence, the baby bonus.

    yes, having children is a personal decision. but when these decisions are collectively made by a large group, it becomes a national and economic issue.

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  8. Jo, please read properly lah. I said that for those who DON’T WANT KIDS, having more maternity leave and baby bonus would not entice them to have any. And if I want to have more kids personally, I will just go ahead and shag and make them, even if I am concerned about money. Also, longer maternity leave is not the answer, it’s better work-life balance, okay? Sorry lah, my engrish not powderful enough to explain.

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