Thursday, 22 November 2012


The women who think they're too clever to have babies

They're educated with dynamic careers - and believe motherhood is beneath them. Warning: their views make incendiary reading...

Louise Vesey has long approached her professional success with steely focus. After university she set herself up as an entrepreneur and built her own business.
She often works through the night in pursuit of excellence and believes one day she will become a millionaire.
Blessed with both brains and extraordinary drive, she already has plenty to show for her hard work. She has an expensive convertible car and wardrobes full of designer clothes. There is just one asset she cannot lay claim to: Louise, 34, doesn’t have children. There are no tiny feet running around her impressive three-bedroom converted home; no bedtime stories to make her smile or loving cuddles given with abandon.
Ambitious: Louise Vesey, left, and Margaret de Valois would rather keep their high-flying careers than become mothers
Ambitious: Louise Vesey, left, and Margaret de Valois would rather keep their high-flying careers than become mothers
Ambitious: Louise Vesey, left, and Margaret de Valois would rather keep their high-flying careers than become mothers

Yet being childless doesn’t make Louise feel incomplete. Quite the opposite, in fact.
‘I’ve never felt maternal and can’t think of anything worse than having children,’ she says. ‘I want to do clever things and reach my full potential. A child would get in my way.’ 

Louise is one of a new breed of middle-class women who, quite simply, consider themselves too clever to have children.
She has worked tirelessly to establish herself in the workplace and wants to enjoy the fruits of her success without any offspring to jeopardise it.
To Louise, the idea of ‘having it all’ is a myth. She is convinced motherhood would ruin her career and render her bored and miserable.
‘You can be too intelligent to have children,’ she says. ‘To reach your full intellectual potential you need to be childless. If you are a thinking woman it’s more sensible not to become a parent.’ 

'Having children alters a woman's personality. It makes them boring to me'
These are explosive and highly contentious sentiments but Louise is not the only one to voice them. A recent report revealed almost a quarter of women aged between 40 and 44 with a master’s degree don’t have children and that the more educated and successful a woman, the less likely she is to become a mother.
The report’s findings are highlighted by author Jessica Valenti in her new book, Why Have Kids?, in which she questions the widely held assumption that motherhood is fulfilling.
‘Child-rearing can be a tedious and thankless undertaking,’ says Valenti, while questioning whether smart women might be better off opting out altogether.
‘The majority of women who choose not to have children are among the most highly educated and successful. Perhaps it’s time to ask: do women who don’t have children know something that parents don’t?’
Certainly, motherhood can seem a lot less attractive to those with the most to lose. The drudgery of endless feeding and nappy changes is arguably easier to cope with if you haven’t had to give up a stimulating career to deal with it. If you can’t afford holidays in the first place, you’re less likely to object to the virtual house arrest that motherhood entails.
But, as therapist Marisa Peer says, the women who believe they are too clever for children will cost future generations dearly. ‘Recent studies show intellect is passed on through females not males. So for very bright women not to pass on those genes is a great shame.’
Eye-catching: Louise says not having children has kept her looking young
Eye-catching: Louise says not having children has kept her looking young
So why do some bright women decide having children is beneath them? Louise, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, says she has known since she was a teenager she had no wish to be a mother.  Her elder brother, a carer, and elder sister, a teacher, both have children — but she was always seen as the ambitious sibling who would put her career first. 
‘My father, who was a teacher, encouraged my independent attitude,’ says Louise. ‘I knew I wanted to make a success of my life and that wouldn’t involve having children.’
By 16, Louise had set up her own market stall selling porcelain flowers. After she graduated with a biology degree, she set up a nail bar business. Meanwhile, her friends started families.
‘One friend had to quit her job as an estate agent at 23 because she was pregnant,’ she says. ‘She was just getting into her stride, but she ended up on benefits. I could see the envy on her face as I opened my second nail bar. A similar thing has happened with two other close friends. It’s hardly surprising it put me off.’

'Lots of friends my age with children look ten years older because they’re so sleep-deprived. When I see women out with their children they look so miserable'
Louise has had only two long-term relationships, neither of which sparked a maternal instinct. The first was between the ages of 20 and 22, with a miner. ‘He said I’d want to have his children one day. He tried to make me feel a way I didn’t and it created tension between us,’ she says.
Her second serious boyfriend — who she stayed with for four years from the age of 25 — was equally pushy. ‘He said I should want children, too,’ she says.
‘But all I wanted to do was work. Having a boyfriend became almost as much of an obstacle to my success as having a child would. And in any case, to have children you have to find the right man, when I don’t believe there is one out there who understands me.’
Even with her biological clock ticking in her early 30s, Louise says she didn’t feel under pressure. ‘I knew it wasn’t something I’d regret,’ she says.
‘A lot of women try to have a career and a family but you should fulfil your own life before you bring another person into the world.’
Three years ago, Louise set up a company creating apps for iPhones. She has a staff of three and often works 48-hour stretches. She thinks women who are mothers don’t understand her: 
‘I’ve always encountered jealousy from women because I’ve followed my ambition. Women who have children feel they’ve missed out.
‘Having children alters a woman’s personality. It makes them boring to me.’
There are other downsides to having children, she adds. ‘Lots of friends my age with children look ten years older because they’re so sleep-deprived. When I see women out with their children they look so miserable.’
In her book, Jessica Valenti, who is 34 and a mother of a two-year-old girl, argues that the happiness motherhood is purported to bring is largely a myth, as is the maternal instinct that is meant to make women naturally adept at motherhood.
Lifestyle choice: Kathryn Borg chose not to have children because she didn't want to be tied down
Lifestyle choice: Kathryn Borg chose not to have children because she didn't want to be tied down
She dismisses the claim that motherhood is the hardest job in the world as ‘a smart way to satiate unappreciated women’, and suggests women with active brains could put them to far better use than having babies. ‘How insulting is it to suggest the best thing women can do is raise other people to do incredible things?’ she asks.
Marisa Peer says she sees countless intelligent women who feel the same way: ‘Some are certain having a baby will ruin their relationship.
‘I see City women who worry about losing their bonus, and female doctors who feel they’ll never be able to advance when they’re caught up in childcare. To many women, motherhood looks an absolute slog.’
Nonetheless, the idea that women can be too clever to have children is not a popular one. When TV historian and Oxford graduate Lucy Worsley controversially claimed she had been ‘educated out of the reproductive system’ earlier this year, she sparked outrage from both working mothers and stay-at-home ones.
But Kathryn Borg, 50, who works as an international trade adviser and sits as a magistrate, says Worsley has a point.
‘If you’ve been well educated it’s easier not to have children — you see opportunities to take advantage of,’ she says. ‘So I suppose you can be educated out of reproduction.’
When Kathryn, from Hope Valley, in Derbyshire, married her boyfriend — a musician in the Forces — at 20, she thought she was destined for a traditional lifestyle.
But she reconsidered her desire to have children after being promoted to regional manager at the recruitment company where she then worked. ‘We bought a house and enjoyed an active social life,’ she says. ‘I realised I’d need to work to pay for it. Not having children started as a financial decision.’
But it soon became a lifestyle choice. ‘My husband was away a lot and I didn’t want to be stuck with a child in the evenings,’ says Kathryn.
‘I wasn’t prepared to change my life to have a child. Perhaps you would call it selfish. But why shouldn’t I think of myself?’

'Women take their maternity leave, then go back to work. What's the point? They can't get to know their own children'
She has never believed motherhood can be combined with a career. ‘Women at work would have children every year, take their maternity leave, then go back to work. What’s the point? They can’t get to know their own children.’
She was so adamant she didn’t want children that, at 25, she paid a private clinic to sterilise her. ‘I saw four GPs on the NHS first but they said I was too young,’ she says.
‘I was annoyed they didn’t think I knew my own mind. I was scared of getting pregnant, of losing control of my life and of it being controlled by somebody else.’
The decision inevitably put a strain on Kathryn’s relationship. ‘My husband wanted the option of having children in the future. We argued but nothing was going to change my mind.
‘If my decision meant us splitting up, then so be it. This was more important to me.’
Kathryn says the only person who ever questioned her views was her own mother, who died two years ago.
‘She was a housewife who espoused family values,’ says Kathryn. ‘I once overheard her telling our relatives that I couldn’t have children.
‘Implying I had a medical problem somehow made it more acceptable than simply saying I didn’t want them.’
Kathryn divorced her husband when she was 30 — because, she says, he was unfaithful, not because of their differing views on parenthood.
Single and child-free, her career soared. At 36, she took a second degree in law and at 39 she became a magistrate for her local Sheffield bench.
Juggling her job with life as a JP entails working until late in the evenings and at weekends, and has left her with little time to date, let alone procreate. 
Fed up: Many career women think motherhood will be boring (posed by model)
Fed up: Many career women think motherhood will be boring (posed by model)
‘I have lived with men over the years but I haven’t got time for relationships,’ says Kathryn.
‘Even now it’s too late I don’t regret my decision not to have children. There is so much I want to achieve.’
Yet according to Marisa Peer, many women do lament their decision. ‘One of the hardest things I have to deal with is women in their 50s who regret not having a baby,’ she says. ‘One of my clients, who had a huge hedge-fund career in the City, woke up one day and realised she hadn’t got anyone to leave this to, that when she died she had no one and it was all a bit pointless.’
But for some, it seems, the excitement of a rewarding and stimulating career is too addictive to relinquish.
Margaret de Valois, 36, from Bromley in Kent, runs the global pensions team for an international accounting firm in London and looks after pension schemes worth £2.5 billion.

43 per cent of university-educated women from Generation X (born between 1965 and 1978) are not mothers
‘I need intellectual stimulation of my career,’ she says. ‘I find being around other people who are intelligent fulfilling.
‘You have to have such a strong desire to have children to take on that responsibility. If that desire isn’t there, it isn’t a priority.’
A maths graduate and straight-A student, Margaret has known since she trained as an actuary in her early 20s that she didn’t want to have children. 
‘I wasn’t a mumsy type,’ she says. ‘I’ve never cooed over babies. I felt a lot of my friends were looking to marry men who would be good fathers, whereas I wanted to find a man I was in love with.’
She married at 25. Her husband also works in the City. ‘Having children wasn’t something we needed to discuss. He didn’t want children with me either. We knew it wasn’t on the agenda.’
Margaret, who is also a trained classical musician and sings with the London Philharmonic Choir, insists her life is full and satisfying. ‘We both have lots of friends and active social lives. I may not have children but I have a home, dogs and other relatives to spend my time with.’
She admits that in her early 30s she contemplated changing her mind. ‘When I got to 33, I asked myself if I should have children but realised I was thinking about motherhood in the way I’d think about a work project — as the sort of thing that needed to be done, not something I wanted,’ she says. 
‘I’ve spoken to so many women who love their children but said if you don’t really, really want children, then you shouldn’t have them.’
The perfection she demands of herself at work has also played a part. ‘I’d want to be the best mother, just as I’ve wanted to be the best at everything else I’ve done,’ she says.
‘There is a myth that women who don’t have children are selfish, but it’s not true. It’s just a lot of us would want to give our children 110 per cent just as we do with everything else in our lives.’
Her decision not to have children has affected who she mixes with socially. ‘I don’t particularly want to talk about what’s going on at the school gates,’ she says.
‘Women with children have different priorities and gravitate towards each other. My closest relationships are with other strong women in their 30s and 40s.’
One can only admire their resolve and self-belief, but at the same time, hope those brilliant minds do not change — when it’s too late.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Gambling on Rambling: With Child '11

Gambling on Rambling: With Child '11: My thoughts thunder And tears flow Hot Unabated... I cannot be calmed Outside the window Monsoon rages With rising p...

The Ashy Drongo (leisure and pleasure of being CF)

Glass ceiling or “maternal wall”?
Amrita Nandy

We mothers are often told “you can have it all”. What they do not tell us is “you can have it all… just not all at once.” I feel deep love for my child and a gnawing frustration with my ‘self.’ And sadly the two are linked
a blogger who quit work for full-time child care.

The angst of this woman reflects the age-old tussle between work and motherhood. Living rooms, office corridors and increasingly Indian ‘mommy blogs’, websites, Facebook and Twitter have become popular sites of such throttled expression by “working mothers” (a term so widely used, it does not even sound odd till you try “working father”). So potent is the Cult of Motherhood that stay-at-home mothers report feeling less capable and wasted for not working, the working ones feel guilty and selfish for not being home with the kids and yet each camp disapproves of the others’ choices. While the ‘flexi-jobs’ phenomenon promises to ease women’s burden, but one hopes it does not inadvertently perpetuate women’s care-giving roles.

Of all the women with full-time jobs, it is the mothers, especially those in the private sector, who seem to be the worst-hit. Besides high-pressure work and long hours is the ‘intensive mothering’ wave that seems to have gained credence among certain circles. Dr. Ravinder Kaur, Professor, Sociology and Social Anthropology at IIT Delhi, states “It is largely the aspiring middle class that is involved in this…they are doing what has been called "concerted cultivation"-- the focus is on upward mobility through various strategies one of which is making children, especially sons, successful in their careers”.

On the other hand, human resource professionals gingerly admit a slight apprehension about mother employees: “During interviews, we like to know if women have care takers at home for their kids so that there is clarity about job requirements on both sides. It is not that we do not want mothers but they may not prefer such high-stress jobs”, shares a senior recruitment manager at an MNC. But it is no secret that
‘good jobs’ go to ‘good workers’ often defined as those who work fulltime (read long hours) and full force.  Culturally normative obligations of a good mother seem disjointed with the obligations of an ideal, committed worker. In The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued, Crittenden has argued that mothers are discriminated against in terms of wages in some Western workplaces; Joan C. Williams, a researcher at the Washington College of Law calls this the “maternal wall”. 

In their tireless efforts to give their best shot in every role, women resort to various strategies. Some
make care-giving arrangements with elderly parents or in-laws. Middle and upper-middle class women hire nannies. A 38 year old banker in Mumbai says “My parents look after my son during the day but they are unhappy that I spend little time with the child. A full-time job gives me everything but time. But they condone and approve of my husband’s longer absence from the house while I am made to feel guilty! Why do I have to choose between work and child?” Her 10 year old son has a whole team to people to look after him—maternal grandparents, a cook, a daily tutor to help with homework and studies and a driver at his disposal. Yet, guilt is a big issue among working mothers. A Gurgaon-based HR professional with 13 years of full-time work in the petro-chemical, engineering and BPO sector shares her approach to the conundrum: “When my kids were toddlers, I would accompany them to the park only on weekends. The questions and comments by other mothers implied that I neglected my kids. I used to cry a lot. Over the years I have learnt I must live for myself too. I decided to have a flexible job only when my kids were adolescents because I think the more they grow, the more they need you”. No wonder the tagline of is “Problems, Stress and the Guilt They face”. Women’s Web, an online magazine for Indian women, even ran a “Mommy Guilt” contest! The prize: A copy of the book Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most & Raise Happier Kids.

It is often assumed that outside the competitive environs of the private sector, work pace is slower. Teaching is particularly thought of as a ‘softer’ job for women who intend to marry and raise a family. Meenu, a senior teacher at a Mumbai-based school shares, “That school teachers have it easier is a myth! I start my day at 5.30 AM and end it at 11.30 PM despite having a part-time domestic helper at home. I may be home a couple of hours earlier than a full-time worker but then I have to do far more. There are more expectations from school teacher mothers because we are seen to have more time”. Sarita, an Assistant Professor in a Delhi University College, is a single/unmarried adoptive mother, thinks that “All mothers -- married or not -- are ultimately single mothers. Care giving is seen as a woman’s job”. Speaking from her experience of mothering and academia, she states that it was not very difficult for her: “I have flexibility and not nine-to-five regime and have many more holidays. My colleagues helped me by re-arranging the timings of my classes”. So can flexibility be the panacea?

Yes, thinks the team of “working mothers” at Fleximoms, a career advisory for women who wish to work flexibly. At a community meeting organized by Fleximoms in Gurgaon, BlackBerry-toting women who had quit work to be full-time care-givers at home discuss challenges, issues and solutions. From a twenty-something mother of a three month-old baby to a 50-year old Chartered Accountant, these women are looking for jobs and “lost identities”; they admitted “feeling brain-dead at home” and “fuming about the luxury of sitting at home”. They had doubts over “part-time” work, its pay patterns vis-à-vis work load and the non-serious, almost “recreational” aura it carries. Fleximoms Co-Founder, Anita Vasudeva, clarifies that ‘flexible’ jobs “unlike part-time jobs, connotes a larger spectrum of innovative possibilities ranging from flexible hours/days/ or projects weeks to working from home and so on. The idea behind Fleximoms is to bridge the vast gap between the untapped pool of skilled women professionals and businesses’ need for experienced workers at remote locations. And it seems to work for some like Linda, a senior advertising professional in Bangalore. She quit full-time work for child-care even when she was perched to fly higher in the professional ladder: “I did not want to neglect my kids. Been working flexi hours ever since…it allows me to do it all, including singing in a concert and direct a play! I am happy”.

While flexi hours do end the tortuous grind of daily jugglery for women, it seems at best an interim solution. Hoorahs for the maternity leave and the paternity leave have long died down. We did not take to crèches very well. Some look down upon all non-workers and mothers sadly continue to be counted among them. Housekeeping and care giving are still seen as women’s work but women have started to demand help and their space. Whatever happened to “work-life balance”, a term often bandied about in corporate town halls? Time for gender roles paradigms to shit. Flexi-roles anyone?

(Some names have been changed).

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Got 'Good News'?

I just got a raise

We bought our dream car

The pretty lake terrace apartment is finally ours!

Come December and we are off to Rio

I am 2 kilos lighter

It’s our 7th wedding anniversary

Doesn’t all of the above qualify as Good News? Apparently no, even if you are heady from exuberance you must remember that it’s not good news unless it originates in the womb. Unless you announce to the world the victorious saga of the single sperm that spearheads a tumultuous series of biological chain reactions that alter everything from your physical appearance to perception. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no mood to belittle procreation and displace it from grace. Neither am I cowering to throw open my innards for any such experiment in the name of ‘creation’. I just don’t feel the need for it! Period!

Babies are cute but plump cheeks and bobbing heads have never managed to create even an iota of longing in me to court the cradle. In my early years, I loathed playing house-house with the neighbourhood girls who would lovingly cradle and feed dolls with instinctive ease. Those were my first signs of the CFBC syndrome and thank heavens it went unnoticed and saved me the trauma of a maternal-feeling-inducing bootcamp where naysayers are converted with military precision.

I survived but they found me out. And now there’s war. Everyday I dodge bullets of suspicion, missiles of derogatory adjectives and canon balls of emotional blackmail. My reproductive system has become an exhibit, my condom closet is up for inspection, my sex life can be the topic of boardroom discussions. Fortune tellers are being actively sought, the Gods are being appeased, examples of happy ‘complete’ families are being thrown on our faces…the list is innovatively exhaustive.

But the good newsis, I’ll not succumb! 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


I remember the relief and joy when I heard the term “Childfree” for the first time, I felt that it conveyed my attitude better than the self-deprecating ‘child-less’. Would you ever call an intelligent, beautiful, smart, fun-loving, and not-to-mention humble, happy-go-lucky woman who is completely at peace with herself and the world as “anything”-less? Other than, probably, stress-less or worry-less! In my eyes without a child I am only ‘more’ of everything that I personally value.  Till I hadn’t heard of CF, it irked me that I might get labeled as something I am clearly not: Child-less. Not anymore though, now there are three kinds of people in the world:
1.       childfree-by-choice,
2.       childfree-by-chance , and
3.       parents;
All three have the equal right to live happily with their heads held high. The point is: no one is childless anymore; and having a child is a just a preference, it is not an obligation. (Even the people who were called “childless” in the old times aren’t to be pitied, I have personally seen many such ‘erstwhile’ childless couples live an enriching and fulfilled lives till their very end; but this is besides the point.)
Many people choose to be free of kids for different reasons, but one thing that is common with all of them is the reactions they evoke from their friends, families and even strangers. We get to hear responses ranging from dis-belief, shock, anger, denial, ridicule, hate, hurt, sorrow, pity (ewww!)  to  jealousy . It kind of makes you wonder what’s ailing your loved-ones, where did all the love and affection suddenly disappear? Sadly, often, we get defensive in the onslaught of such negativity.
In times like these it helps to remember that although the people’s perception of you might have altered, but the love of your friends and family would not really change, in fact it is the same love that is causing them to be the rain on your party. They are un-necessarily, yet genuinely, concerned that you have made a wrong choice; and they’d do anything, including ramming their fists up your comfort zones, to dissuade you from it. However earnestly you may talk about the wisdom of being child-free you have to accept the fact that many of your loved ones will never really completely understand or agree with you on this. The more they love you the more they’d trouble your peace.  I personally find here, as in the face of any adversity, we just need to keep calm and hold on to our wits. Little disagreement is in fact good for any healthy relationship; it gives us a chance to be in that relationship and also to be ourselves.  A combination of infinite patience and sense of humour is a potent cure for all evil. It can be a weapon and it can be a shield; used either way it can effectively save you from getting hurt by others and, more importantly, it keeps you from causing any dent in your social-circle “without compromising on your peace”.
The divide between the parents and CFBC will always be there, but let us remember that since CF have more time and more peace of mind from not having a brat-infested home, it would be nice to help the ward-weary parents now and then. Be their missing link to fun and peace.  The onus is on us to give the resemblance of some sanity to the world; try to clean the unholy-mess they are creating for their unsuspecting little bachchas to inherit.  Not just the blah-bys but their pah-rents should be thankful that some of us have the good sense of using our minds instead of our wombs.
CannyKan:There is no mystery half as alluring as a woman secretly smiling to herself.”

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Why/not Kids?

How many couples actually sit down and debate (rationally) on - why kids?

I’ve found no compelling reason or explanation from most (current/impending) parents on why they have kids…granted – you could be lucky and the little chap might turn to be handy – could have gotten that elusive gene! What are the odds?

A long way back and perhaps with the Mormons and the Amish –there’s the valid need to have a steady supply of labor to till the lands, build furniture etc
But modern society?

Why have them? 

I’ve listed out broad categories for reasons of parenthood (or impending parenthood)

1.      Viewing Marriage or courtship as a natural precursor to procreation – i.e. an expected outcome; these are the guys who find it difficult to convince people that their kids aren’t actually bastards – ahem – let me re-phrase; Marriage Date: 1 Jan 2000; New addition to the family: 25th August 2000…do the math!

2.      POF or (Proof of Fertility); very common in developing countries where you have modernists leaning towards curbing population growth while parents and in-laws start despairing if there’s no ‘good news’ forthcoming. Forget the fact that – earlier – not being able to have kids got the woman blamed plenty; even if the husband had a sperm count 100. Something similar to (1) except here – the impetus is more socio-environmental that assumed. 

3.      Narcissism – the need to look at your replica and think – “I gave life – I’m god!!! Whoopee”! Look at Tennis playing Williams sisters – their father probably proudly thinks the same – “They look JUST like me!”

4.      Someone to hold your bed-pan when you’re pushing 103; I mean – don’t you need someone when you get old? Er – there ARE cheaper ways you know??

5.      Mistake

a.       ‘He knew, She didn’t’ or vice versa (One of them still fits in one of the above categories); or both – those additional tequila rounds did them in…
b.      ‘Uh – how did it happen?’ – the kind who make reading Agony Aunt/Uncle columns worth a read – “my girlfriend kissed my cheek – will she get pregnant?” or the type who ought to be neutered before being let out in public

6.      Short term solution to current problem

a.       Bored of marriage – Old School – completely bored with partner – need to strengthen the bond – what better glue than the threat of child support in addition to alimony?
b.      Partner has awful breath – easier way than getting away with “Not tonight Dear” for plus-minus 4 months 

7.      Taking the bible a little too seriously – “Go forth and multiply” was not to be taken literally; the first time people took it literally God sent a flood and Noah had to build an ark; we don’t want a repeat of that – most acts of nature are actually meant to ‘balance’ mankind’s follies …

8.      Genuine interest in having kids – possibly a rare group – the others who claim to fall in this category are guided subconsciously by other factors – like the above points

They are high maintenance – in today’s economic scenario –the financial implications are enormous. Plus, you could dedicate your entire life to actually nurturing Ted Bunty’s or Hitler’s reincarnation – give you heartburn when they act no different from your pet dog and get your neighbor (or her daughter) pregnant (while unmarried or married to someone else) or basically start doing what I’m doing – wondering why people have kids!

Nothing’s certain in this world – I think the Japanese & the Chinese have it right – they have the government giving incentives for Kids– it’s a vicious circle – the government of course on its part sees a huge threat to the exchequer and is just trying to establish a steady pool of future tax-payers...

The world’s becoming a horrible place to be in – chances of our being able to colonize space and make Mars habitable seems unlikely (assuming the Americans suddenly realize they’re wasting precious tax-payers’money sending toy-rovers). Global warming, crime rates, poverty, inflation, irrational bosses – all reasons to use save your potential kids from the trouble!

And what choice do the kids have in this matter? Poor sods –we should all wait for a time when sperm and the egg have a mutual discussion prior to fusing, does my half of the zygote agree to take on the troubles of being raised by the two adults who just did what they did? That’s nano-revolution for you!

 PS The "working title" for this blog was "Super-Expensive Home Nurses"

Friday, 2 November 2012


“I am childfree by choice” she says hesitatingly- almost apologizing for her ‘shameful’ confession.

“By choice? Really?” balks one of the women in the group. “Believe me, you have no idea what you’re missing. You are thirty five already. Just take the plunge else when you want one, you won’t be able to have one!!”

She has been warned yet again.

The other two women exchange glances and arrive at a decision- she is stupid. Too obsessed with her own happiness, too interested in making money, too selfish to be socialized with.

We have often heard that motherhood makes a woman complete. But what if the maternal gene gave us the slip? What if we feel not an iota of craving to have a little chortling, chuckling angel to call our own? Should we be pulled up for this perceivable folly in our characters, be politely ignored in parties and gatherings by the hostile gang of other more ‘complete’ women?

The truth is that men don’t have it so hard. “We don’t want kids EVER” they announce happily to all and sundry without a thought of how the audience rushes to judge their wives (and not them).

Parents refuse to believe that we do not want a child. They obsess over the fact that we are rushing past the fertile years without a worry. They are also pretty sure that there is a physical defect that we are ashamed to admit.

“Come with us to the fertility clinic” they say carefully “these days everything is possible. IV treatment, surrogates-and if nothing works, there is always adoption!”

They weep, they council, they do a whole lot of super expensive pujas to help us tide over the ‘Rahu Ketu’ effect and gift them a grandchild pronto! To them we are not ‘settled’ till the family is ‘complete’.

We feel hassled when around them because any discussion on any god damned topic, is bound to lead to the one we dread most.

So we have our phases. Sometimes we avoid them and feel terribly guilty at having to do so in their sunset years; sometimes we insinuate that they are interfering and feel guilty about saying that. On other occasions we just work ourselves into a fake rage and leave. Yeah, we feel guilty even then.

The bottom line is that it is not very easy being older and child free. Unless you are built with a thicker hide and care two hoots about what people think-or then have a family that does not question this very unusual decision- be prepared to get affected by the uncharitable judgment of people around you.

But India is a huge country and surely there are tons of others like us grappling with the same challenges? Well it is time to mobilize our forces. If anything, the country should be proud of the fact that we are helping contain the upward spiral of population.

You  are invited to share on this forum, your reasons and experiences, to ask questions that bother you (possible medical problems for women, lack of care during old age, loneliness et al) provide answers if you have them, discuss relevant topics like the social stigma, fear of old age and even the possible loneliness.

The aim of the forum will be to help answer most queries, and provide you with insight on dealing with the common fears and challenges-and build a community that supports itself. Once we have a larger number of visitors, we will attempt to take it to a higher level of integration.

So dear likeminded people, come and speak your minds, narrate your stories or simply vent- because whatever be its eventual course, this is a fate of our own choosing- and we owe it to ourselves to be certain, to be sure and to be convinced enough to not feel compelled to justify our decision.