I am aware that as soon as I became a first-time mother, many eyes turned towards me praying and hoping for a much-needed sibling. This started when I was holding a week old baby in my lap.

Nonetheless, I get why people – relatives as well as strangers wait for a sibling and there is a reason why the sibling quota is still not filled. I have encountered many times this embarrassing yet unavoidable situation where I am being lectured for a much-needed brother for my daughter.

There are two sides of a coin but I like to just balance it somehow without being partial to myself or my child. Lately, I got very good examples of this situation which made me write about this unnerving topic.
Scenario 1.

The old lady in her 80’s who couldn’t even walk or talk handed me the packet of rusk ( a type of dry sweet bread) that I needed for the prasad for the temple. She saw my 4-year-old daughter sitting comfortably in my lap, which is so normal for my kid (the perks of being a daughter of an attachment parenting supporter mother). All of a sudden she asked if my daughter was a boy?

My daughter had her long hair tied in a neat braid and she also flaunted her red dress, she had never imagined she would look like a boy to anyone. After all, she had paid extra attention to her look for this outing to her favorite temple.

The old lady was waiting for a response and I was ready to respond too. I told her that my daughter is my son. Without getting annoyed at her statement, I smiled and the old lady came to her point.

She came to give me the change and I wanted to leave her some tips, but she came close to me and held my hand and like a guardian angel she poured her heart out. She suggested that a minimum of two kids is a must. She also backed up her statement by saying that the daughter would need someone to tie rakhi and that in future all the relatives will part ways for sure and then once the parents die, the daughter will have no support. A brother would be required at this point and thus, we must plan another child soon.

The old lady’s hands were still trembling and I was thinking to move on towards the temple but she persisted that she has said those words (to a stranger, without knowing any background) while we were the en-route temple, thus the words should be taken seriously like God’s own. She had teary eyes like she wanted to tell her own story.

I smiled, took the change from her and visited the temple. I loved looking at my daughter without any regret of not giving her a sibling – a brother in particular. I might have said something very bizarre but true to the old lady that – my daughter is my son.

Yes, we are raising our only child both as a daughter and as a son. We buy her dolls as well as bikes, we like to see her dance as well as do karate and swim. Raising a girl child without any bias or discrimination is simple. We have gotten used to it now.
Scenario 2.

The taxi driver was driving us to the airport for the tenth time and we knew that he lived in a nearby village and that he had two sons.

A while after we taxied, he spoke to my husband while I was cat-napping in the back seat. He was telling about the life lessons he has learned.

His income was only Rs. 5000 a month and with this kind of driving job, he bought his wife a second hand used scootey so that she could run errands on her own.

That’s so cool I thought.

The driver opened up more. His voice intonation had changed to more like that of a person who had been under a lot of pressure. He was financially crushed and almost broke when two of his boys got into a private school. This left him with no saving and recently due to his low income, his son’s school fee was overdue.

Don’t go for a second child. One is enough ” he said.

In today’s world, where expenses are skyrocketing and there is so much insecurity in the jobs, raising two kids is a task in itself.

He might have been in a better situation if he had just one kid.

He might have undoubled the expenses that are troubling him day and night. He has been doing overtime to earn more to achieve the normal income level for a family of four. His stress levels might have been less when he had to pay a fee for just one kid.

He wasn’t happy that he had two sons. Instead, he was self traumatic and undoubtedly showing us the real-life scenario of having kids more than you can raise financially as well as emotionally.

Verdict:

The conclusion is that the time has changed, the expenses have increased. The old times look good when our grandparents had 6 kids too. This is today we are talking about. Cost of raising a kid in this fast-paced expensive world is higher than before. Each one has a different perspective on having kids. Some choose to stay without kids too. Let us respect everyone’s decision before “asking” them to go for another kid.

What is your take on this matter?

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