A couple of weeks back, a question was posted on one of my yahoo groups - "Why do you want to have children?" It resulted to a treasure trove of ideas and sentiments spanning a wide range of opinions and experiences. Although a majority of those who responded were passionate about their decision to become parents and bring a child or children into this world, there was a minority group who were quite candid in sharing their reasons for either delaying parenthood or deciding not to have children at all.
I'm sure the sentiments of the minority group came as a shock to most who read them...after all, deciding to delay having children or not having them is an unusual ideology in our overpopulated society . You see, in Philippine society, it's quite typical for people to comment (mostly without tact) on the "childless" state of couples known to be married for sometime already. It's as if the ability to have children is a measure of one's worth as a man or a woman. Blame it on the strict Catholic upbringing of most or maybe the "machismo" thinking brought about by centuries of colonization. Thankfully, young couples of today are getting to be more vocal and candid about how they want to live their married lives. Gone are the days when couples were mere extensions or shadows of their parents'/grandparents' beliefs and practices. A point from the minority group that struck me the most was about the choice of being childFREE than childLESS - driving the point that even as a couple (husband and wife), they stand as a complete family unit already. Children don't need to complete their family unit since having each other already makes them complete. Deciding not to have children doesn't make any man or woman any less of who they are, nor does it show a void that needs to be filled, the couple simply wants to have a married life that doesn't have children in the equation.
Children shouldn't be seen or regarded as factors that complete a family but rather as gifts that give married life a whole new dimension. The fact remains that parents are only God's stewards in helping bring up children. In the end, they will live their own lives and make decisions for themselves and all that's left would be the couple. The man and woman begin their lives together as one and also end that life as one. Whatever that comes between can be regarded as the "confetti" of their lives...good until the children leave the nest.
I'll say the same thing I did on my post at the yahoo group: parenting is a choice. The decision to have or not to have children, how many and how often is solely up to the couple. It is their life, after all and they do not have to answer to anyone else except to themselves and their God.