Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Stand

The state is trying its darnedest best to persuade the citizens to raise our 1.29 fertility rate. I scan the list of carrots and I sigh. Money is the government's response. Typical of everything else. No matter how great the state benefits increase in order to persuade me to have children, it will never be seductive enough. For me, it's not about the money. It's about educating the children, imparting values and letting them carve their own paths in life. It's about the environment I want for these children to grow up in.

The man and I are both excellent academic products of this country's top-class education system. We've been put through the elitist grind. I'm fairly sure both of us do not wish to subject any offspring of ours through the same agony. In this system, if my said future children have a lesser IQ, they're going to have a mediocre life throughout. In this system, god forbid if they're special children with special needs- because the social structure and support for children and adults with special needs in this country suck. I'm not convinced that this is the environment I want to nurture said offspring in.

We are realistic. If our said offspring don't have the trust fund money to give them a freedom of choice in their life paths, they are going to be miserable. We know. Because we are damn lucky to have doting parents. However, we are certainly not motivated to pay it forward to put our hard-earned money into a bloody trust fund for said future offspring to squander.

Look, I view the decision to have children as a personal choice. I don't forsee fulfilment in becoming a mother. I don't see it as part and parcel of life. I view it as a project I prefer not to accept. I don't see it as my responsibility. Not when I have a choice about it. I don't owe it to anyone to have children. It's my life and my body, for crying out loud.

On the one hand, at least the government is trying some form of encouragement. Unlike some brainless acquaintances I have who only make useless remarks. I hate people who encourage me to have kids and think it's so easy to build a family. Hello, if you're not contributing to my kids' trust funds or childcare, shut the fuck up.

Don't tell me if other people can do it, I can. That's the most insipid sweeping statement ever. I'm not 'other people'. I've never done what other people do anyway. Yes. I very possibly can make myself fit into that mould, but at what cost? If I have a baby, I will view this creature as my responsibility. I'm supposed to feed it and keep it alive at the very least. Unlike typical families, I do not have a network of caregivers to tap on. I salute working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Both are jobs with different scopes. If put in that position, there is no way I can competently cope with my work and manage a wailing baby. Neither can I fully and willingly embrace a new job scope and identity as a stay-at-home mother. 

If I ever lose my marbles and create a little monster with my genes, you'll never see a finer example of pre-partum depression.


Cavalock said...

Exactly! 100% agree

Anonymous said...

Singapore runs like a business organisation. Everyone is a pawn, dispensable. Give birth at command. Meritocratic rewards apply. Hire foreign talents either for cost efficiency, or to suck out their goodness. bottomline is money. And then they train us to think that money is all that matters, they provide us so called "comfort" so we'll always remain politically apathetic.

I will not say anymore, i self-censor. =P


Anonymous said...

HAH! gotcha! you mean to say you squander your parents' money on frivolities?!

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

I think the latest baby bonus package will serve to push people who are somewhat ready to have kids to take the plunge. I doubt it will actually encourage those like yourself who have already decided not to have any. Roboman has been responding to people who tell us to have kids soon by asking if they want to help take care of them =P I don't know if I tahan being a SAHM. I'll have to find out!

Anonymous said...

Haha, are the brainless acquaintances still alive? =p

It's a very personal choice. It's not as if I'm going jump into bed the minute I hear the increase in Baby Bonus or the maternity leave. But I foresee the gahmen's going to go down this road for quite a while.

kachunknorge said...

Neber say neber, but same logic as my retail therapy logic also applies. capische?

Anonymous said...

haha! gosh! i remember how you would say it with so much determination =) i miss u imp!!

imp said...

cavalock: eeck.

lovexlb: heheh. we could go on abt it forever i's good and it's a trade-off. i gotta admit that i am politically apathetic.

jazzgal: I DIDN"T! well, not really anyway.

corsage: definitely. if you're inclined towards having little bubs, i gotta say that the packages help stretch the dollars a long way. i'll babysit and promise to feed ur kid!

moo: hahaha. yes. alive. bleah. but if you do want kids, it's a pretty good deal...

kachunknorge: we got this biological clock too. doh! but if i ever want kids, i want to adopt. i don't need to like get pregnant and have my own kid.

zephyr: SQUEAL! where the hell have u been?!!! i miss u too!! LOTS! u better not be thinner than the last time i saw you.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like that your decision is "given such circumstances such social conditions i will not have kids" and instead of "kids are monsters, parenthood is hell and therefore i will not have kids".
do you genuinely like or dislike the idea of being a parent?

dsowerg said...

I'm glad my mom was honest enough with me to tell me parenthood and having children was not as hyped up as it is.

She had a hard time bringing us up and she supports my decision not to have children.

My view is this - since I'm expected to care for my aged parents as well (gahmen too stingy), well, it's either parents or children. I'm not going to kill myself trying to juggle both.

Plus I really see no good reason for having children. None.

imp said...

kikare: i'm not hot about the idea of being a parent. and even more so under this set of social circumstances. if i were living in another country where i'm comfortable with its schools and social policies, i might be persuaded to believe in the ideal that love bears fruit and have a child. but i need not bear and birth it. i'm very much for adopting then.

eveline: many many still view having children as a 'must', rite of passage thing. there're many of us who don't view it as such. and boo to those who convince us that there's a biological clock ticking away. i don't experience that. i'm already 30. the girlfriends feel the same too. of course we have those friends who want children too. but that's them. we get to play with the kids!

wildgoose said...

I so agree with you. As if the thought of feeding myself and my parents in their old age not enough for me. :p
But you're lucky your girlfriends feel the same. Most of my frens are in the "go forth and multiply" camp. Bleah.

imp said...

wildgoose: heh. u get to play with the kids!! it's really a lifestyle shift lah. only if you think u can do it.

Anonymous said...

Well, the carrots certainly didn't make me want to have another baby right away! :P

I really have no idea how supportive the employer will be. It will take a change in mindset to accepting 4-mths of absence, which is a quarter of a financial year!
Imagine "those singles" who have to cover the duties...gasp, they will have more to gripe about and moan about not having a social life. And then SDU have to step in!

imp said...

lilsnooze: it's more to that. i think looking after a child takes alot out of the parents. and i really don't how to react if i've to cover a colleague for 4mths and the boss rejects my leave application for 2 months off.

kachunknorge said...

Exactly!! It's a pity too many couples who can't have children reject adoption outright. The tick-tocks get so loud that they can't hear anything else, and certain entities ignore the concept of "Quit being a Nanny Nag!"

dsowerg said...

If the employer can allocate the new mother's work among other colleagues, that's still not too bad but if he dumps everything onto one person, I'd be super pissed!

I once had to stand in for someone for two entire months (medical leave) and while it's not her fault that she had to be away, my question was why didn't the boss employ a temp during that period!

What would really piss me off is someone gets pregnant, goes on maternity leave, and comes back and complain about not getting short-changed for performance remuneration. I mean nobody forced you to get pregnant and be away for a few months lor!

As for adoption, I'd really rather adopt little animals from the SPCA, actually (haha).

dsowerg said...

Too many typos in previous post... sorry.

"...comes back and complains about [deleted] getting short-changed for performance remuneration..."

Jo Ling said...

sorry babes! I have been so busy. I have missed out on so many posts!!

With regards to parenthood, I would say that you are not YET ready, that's all. Doesn't really matter what society dictates, once you are ready and really want a child, you will want it so badly that none of this societal thingy really matter. Like you said, it's personal. So it should not be affected by external factors. You create the kind of environment that you want your child to grow up in. You decide what's best for him or her. You allow him or her to guide you in your decision making.

For example, Kelly studies in a competitive environment where majority of the children attend all sorts of classes out of school hours. Do I want her to follow the herd or do I allow her to just hang out at home and go for the classes that she really enjoys? As long as we parents do not succumb to the "herd mentality" or the "kiasu" mentality, then the environment is something that we can create for our children. :)

Having said that, I cannot deny that a lot a lot a lot (to the power of infinity) of sacrifices have to be made, to make way for parenthood. You have no idea how grudging I was when I was a new parent. Now, of course, I don't feel that way anymore. It's as if, it's given! Acceptance. Part of life or something. :)

imp said...

eveline: i really don't like the extra mth maternity leave idea. why didn't they let this 4th mth be decided between the dad or the mom? or take 2 weeks each?! DOH.

jo: new perspective. that the parents can create the environment.. i dunno if this works in sgp though. maybe if i don't live here.....hah.

dsowerg said...

I might have wanted children once upon a time, but that was because I didn't really think about it and assumed it was what everybody did. After being asked to reconsider, I did. Took me six months of agony, a lot of reading and introspection before making a decision.

It was not easy because it was as permanent as going "the other way" (i.e. having children). If I decided not to have children, I was prepared to go for permanent sterilisation. In the end, my partner did go for sterilisation (vasectomy).

So it's not a case of "not yet". For some people it's a definite no. Please accord us some respect for our decision.

imp said...

eveline: yup. and not make us feel like social miscreants. the decision is not made in haste for sure.