Nobody’s ever ready for a child

There was an opinion piece in the Straits Times (22 June 2016). “Children will make you richer, not poorer”, which ST featured on their FB page with this blurb: “Are children worth the sacrifice?”

I read the article, which was a personal perspective of one man helping his emigrant aunt overseas when her husband passed away… which got him to thinking about social networks of support… which led him to decide that children were on the whole a greater advantage than disadvantage.

At least one other comment said the article was shallow. I thought so too. I also realised that the author was not a father.

The problem was the article analysed children as cost-benefit, advantages-disadvantages, functional/instrumental components of one’s life.

So I commented:

If you are weighing the decision to have a child and whether you are rich enough or too poor to have a child, you’re not ready to have children.
If you are swayed by testimonies of parents who tell you that children make you richer not poorer, you’re not ready.
If you wonder if children are worth the sacrifice, you’re not ready.
If you wonder if having a child will give your life meaning, you’re not ready.
If you hope that the child will make your marriage stronger, you’re not ready.
If you’ve had a dog or a cat as a “trial baby” for some time, and you think you can now handle a baby, you’re not ready.
If you wish to have a child so he/she can have the opportunities you never had, you’re not ready.
If you think that you have finally put your life in order, achieved everything you want to achieve, and is ready for a child, you’re still not ready.

In truth, you will NEVER really be ready for a child! (No one ever is. If they say they were, they are lying.)

… But have one anyway.

Or two.

Or five.

Just be ready to have your heart stolen when your child first falls asleep in your arms. Be ready for the first fan of your voice when you sing to your child in that voice of yours that have been compared to the sound of a nightingale being sucked into a vacuum cleaner… A loud vacuum cleaner. Just be prepared to wonder how something so small, so tiny, so useless, so poopy, so drooly, so demanding, so needy, so incoherent, can fill your heart and bring so much joy to you.


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