It is usual for married couples to think of having kids and raising a family. The ones who don’t do it are usually suspected of not being able to conceive, invariably.
I had 4 reasons why I didn’t want to have kids, and one of them would even sound very silly today. Fortunately, after about a year or two into marriage, my wife was convinced of my reasons and up till today, we never regretted not having children.
Let me start with the first silly reason. Back in the early 1990’s, if you are from the younger generation, you are probably not aware that there were quite a lot of people who weren’t sure we will live beyond year 2000. The pastors in my church were preaching about the end of the world as early as mid 1980’s, and there was no escape from regular end-times messages and the constant reminder that time was short to save the world from their unbelief. In 1991, I was deeply influenced by Grant Jeffrey’s book titled “Armageddon – Appointment with Destiny”. He wrote quite convincingly using 8 different prophetic time cycles in the Bible to show that the second coming of Christ would be in the year 2000. The great tribulation was supposed to start around 1997. Of course we all know, now, that this didn’t happen. Back then, I didn’t accept it as 100% accurate, but it was still a possibility, and it would be a good reason not to have kids as the sufferrings would be very great during the tribulation. It didn’t help that Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and fitted the prophecy of wars during the endtime. Also in 1993, remarkably Yasser Arafat, PLO chairman signed a peace treaty with Israel and set off alarms in my head! What a coincidence for it to be signed 7 years before 2000! Well, on hindsight now, these were all false alarms but back then the possibility of the world ending in 2000 sounded quite logical to me. This reason proved to be unneceessary, but well I still had 3 other reasons.
Life for many in the previous generations was poor, and I was in one of them. Most of us grow up to be normal adults though, so that didn’t cause any permanent damage. But working life in Singapore has never been easy, and the culture of overwork here is so rampant. At the same time, one can easily see how children in Singapore suffer in their growing-up with too much studies and little play. I also vividly remember my times as a student having to slog almost all year-round to prepare for exams. So, in a way, I didn’t see that life was good, and I really wish that I wasn’t born. I don’t mean that the rich have it better because I see that the poor and the rich having different problems. The root of unhappiness for me was work, but a world that nobody needs to work just cannot work, so work is a necessary evil. So, basically life is driven by two main objectives – study when you are young, and work after you finish your study. And if you are unhappy studying and working, your ‘happy years’ are just restricted to the time from age 1 to 6 before entering school! So, I took this as another good reason not to have kids. Many people misunderstand me when I say that life is too hard to have children. They think that I mean it is hard for me, but actually I mean that it is hard for the kids and I am doing them a favour by not having them born. Who knows if they will say to me that they wish that they were not born and I would have done them a grave injustice.
Then there is a third reason. I will not share the fourth reason, so this would be the last reason I will write here. I come from a large family, with 3 brothers and 4 sisters. It is rare to have such big families nowadays. It is good to reproduce more if you have wonderful genes to multiply and perpetuate the genes. Unfortunately, my father did not have good genes and thus multiplied his bad genes to 8 of his children. He had diabetes. It may not sound so serious but still he died from complications related to the disease. I have one elder brother now in serious condition with one leg amputated and practically a handicap now with heavy medical bills, unable to work and needs to be taken care of by the family. One other sister is suffering from the disease also.
So, I think my wife and I have done the right thing of not multiplying and perpetuating misery and disease. It wasn’t easy to come to the decision during the first few years of our marriage, and she did face the expected pressure and questioning of not having kids, but this is all behind us now. She was not very sure about this for the first few years, but nowadays she fears having a kid more than I!!
There is practically no chance for us to reverse our decisions now, and neither do we want to. We are really happy as we are, now, without kids. The world is big enough to bear two persons not replacing themselves, and we are always glad that there are others doing that for us, ie replacing themselves and us by having more than 2 kids. 🙂