To Have or Not To Have Babies Is The Question

This week's TIME cover talks about the future of babies and the progress in science of fertility. 

In a time and age where traditional heterogeneous, monogamous marriage has come into real scrutiny, talk of having kids seems to be still a far fetched idea. Yet, the earth, the economy, the society so much depends on people having sex and reciprocating their next self onto the world. If you really start bringing Neitzsche into the equation, then you would want to think the whole point of existence, the point of ambition and the point of everything to do is about sex. Which also means a by product of that could be, well, babies. 

Japan and Korea will both be facing a serious crisis in manpower in not too far future

Advanced economies are currently in a shit storm when it comes to that. It's expensive to have a kid.  It's expensive to live. It's expensive to do anything anyways. They say. In some weird way that's true. Cost of living is high, careers are at top, top priority and social life is based more and more on the internet. Add to the fact that pets have a near baby-like treatment and you will soon see the logic of having to take care of kids is a far more troublesome one. 

Reverse that to only 40km away from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu in the remote village of Amalbesi where I got to join a group of Kathmandu University faculty and students as part of a electrification project [HERE], things are different. Our host had six kids with one on the way. One kid took care of the younger one and the younger one took care of the youngest. They were everywhere, free as can be, without any supervision, education or clothes. 

Having seen both end of the spectrum, I am utterly in cultural, then reverse cultural shock. While babies are being concentrated on households that hardly look like they can afford one, they have plentiful. For households that looks as though they can afford a few, they have none. What in the world is happening?

She was pregnant when we were there in Nepal

There are certain things that explain what's going on in that village. Family planning is non existent. Preferential treatment of boys is evident. Women are not respected as they should be. The women who cooked meals for us on a daily basis could hardly do anything but cook meals. Everytime, Every single day for everyone in the family. The women I got to meet and greet in Korea and Japan would have been absolutely aghast at her situation. The "you should treat women equally" types even more so. Furthermore, they get married very young, and so the cycle organically repeats.

There are certain things that explain what's going on in Japan and Korea also. Education levels are at extremes. Cost and development means both sexes have to share equal responsibility even though there's a wage gap. And when I say equal, I mean equal at work. Equal in careers. And when you are young and ambitious and a bit motivated, kids are just something you put off for the future. When the future is present, that shifts into further future. Besides, abortion is always an option worst case.  

Progressive, outspoken and highly independent women also want a certain freedom to themselves. As one article on this week's TIME points out, the writer was able to divorce because they didn't have kids. "It was easier," she writes, "the transition was smoother." I guess you can rationalize and explain anything at this point. Without much evidence to prove this, I also think they have a hard time finding of opposite sex because of the standards they impose and the standards that guys show. Obviously there's not going to be much mingling there. 

A categorically comical imbalance of surplus on one end and scarcity in other. 

That point aside, for all the people I know who have kids, and the once I have talked to say it's the best thing ever (besides having to clean and not get much sleep, they add). This could well be their "bond hormone" oxytocin influenced brains talking. Yet, you can never doubt their affection, care and love. It's genuine; you can see that in their eyes. 

What's interesting though is that if they would want kids again, their frank answer is no. It's a small sample size I tested the question on but it was an emphatic no nonetheless. 

I guess the debate on the million dollar question continues then. The best I can muster out is that there's doesn't seem to be a right answer. 


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