Coming to the next convention – procreation and parenting. The internet community has juggled this long-existing idea of testing to-be-parents to see if they are capable of raising children. It’s similar to the licensing-system which certifies a person’s capacity for certain jobs or even driving on the roads. Even though it might not be a viable idea, I am totally up for it. For the simple reason that bad parents are often just people who have been pushed into a role they never wanted or could never handle. So it made me wonder how different it would be if childbirth and parenting was viewed as active choices.
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Many Indian families had this ongoing culture of marrying early and recklessly making enough kids to start an anganwadi. These large families would then hand-over the role of parenting the bunch of children to the eldest child. I have seen families with 6 -12 children where the eldest child would helplessly become a parent to children they never made, while the parents remain detached from them. Looking after a child is no child’s play. And so, there’s a whole generation after generation of children who wouldn’t have seen or known healthy parenting all their lives.
This is one reason why I hold immense respect for parents who have raised their children to be good people. It takes patience to deal with children. And a hell of a lot of learning and unlearning to practice conscious parenting. For parents who have carried the burden of generational trauma, it’s an even more challenging task to be the chain-breaker for your child’s sake.
Parenting demands a lot, and it’s impossible to deliver what is needed 24/7. And while it’s not about winning the best parent award, being a decent human for your child to watch and learn from is something that should never be compromised with.
At this point, I hope the reader understands why I believe childbirth should be left as an individual choice rather than a rabbit hole of must-dos set by society.
No Kid-ding Around
Bringing a child into this world requires parents to build a secure environment for them by all means. Financially, emotionally, patiently, and other-lys. It sure can transform a person into the best possible version. But there’s also an equally good chance of being a terrible version. It’s like a classic ‘Give Yourself Goosebumps’ novel where they give you choices, and one mistake would land your best friend in a dark pit.
At this point, I would also like to establish that kids are not multipurpose beings.
- They are not something that would magically fix broken relationships
- They are not anybody’s punching bags
- Definitely not mistakes or accidents
- They should not have to become second-hand parents to the batches of kids produced
- Not a forced plan based on societal norms
- Not your future insurance plan
- And this may surprise many, but children do not really owe their parents anything.
In a loving relationship between a parent and a child, there should never be space for the child to feel like they have to serve you by bringing them into the world.
Children should be children. And when they can be just that, it’d be a nicer place for them and everyone else to live in.
A Crash Course In The Form Of Anime
While I might not completely understand the struggles and joys of parenting, I would wish that everyone had the luxury to view it as a choice. A conscious choice that can be taken up when one genuinely wants a child and is truly capable of taking care of them.
Kotaro Lives Alone is an anime that interestingly captures all these elements. The protagonist is a 4-year-old Kotaro who lives alone and is unusually mature for his age. For the longest time, “You’re so mature for your age” was viewed as a compliment for kids. This show gives the much-needed reality check with the dialogue, “Kids shouldn’t have to be so mature. They should enjoy their childhood.” Maturity among children is not always a good sign. Sometimes, it means they were placed in an environment that forced them out of their childhood to behave maturely.
As each episode progresses, the audience gets the hindsight that Kotaro was neglected, abused, and abandoned by his parents for being born out of an unplanned pregnancy. Left to fend for himself, the 4-year-old behaves more mature than any other kid his age.
Throughout the series, they have explored parenting and how it impacts children and their future selves. Several characters present this idea in their distinctive ways.
Sir Karino, a laid-back manga artist, becomes Kotaro’s guardian and shadow from Day 1. He showed that even the most irresponsible person who survives on prize money could pull himself together to care for a child.
Another tenant, Takei, is terrified of children due to her childhood trauma. She sweats profusely just by being in the same room with a child. She is a character written against the traditional conventions of women being natural-born nurturers. And these are a few portrayals I hope to see more in media.
Kotaro Lives Alone is an eye-opener that will strike you in the form of a cute 4-year-old who takes his anime and newspaper subscriptions seriously. Regardless of your contradictions to my opinions on childbirth, I highly suggest you watch this series.
Happiness Is Not A One-Size Fits All
As a former child who currently refuses to produce another set of kunyikaal(s), this is all that I hope everyone understood:
It is your choice if you would like to have children. It is NOT your choice that should dictate if someone else should also make babies like you would.
They say parenting is one of the biggest joys in life. Then there are science daily journals with findings that a quarter of adults don’t want children, and they’re still happy.
Lesson for the day: Stop looking for happiness in societal conventions and online science journals.
Just like everything else, there is no set pattern or guideline that would help you find happiness. Some people are very happy with their spouses and children. And some people are happiest with seven cats and a glass of vodka. Both happiness ought to be celebrated.