Dr Sangita Mishra
Director, Paropkaar Maternity and Women Hospital
The choice should definitely belong to a woman but the choice has to be a conscious one. Societal norms do not decide your choice but if you are planning to go against the norms, you should be mature enough to face and tackle the backlash that will be fired at you. We are part of society so these things are ingrained in us. Many women associate their decisions of having or not having a baby to their career choices. But as they get older, I have seen some of them regret their decisions to an extent that it affected their mental health. If a woman wants no strings attached with kids and wants to live a carefree life, it is her choice. But this decision must be yielded with emotional maturity. One has to be very clear why they don’t want to have kids so the decision does not affect the psychological health of the woman later. Rather than following the hood, one should take a rational decision of having or not having a baby on an individual level.
Filmmaker, Educator, Campaigner, Gauthali Entertainment
It is my choice to bear and raise children. And it is entirely my wife’s choice either to give birth or not. My wife and I have a plan on when and how many children to bear. While making these plans, we considered our finances and other smaller elements of raising children, but “opinions” of people in the society was not really a priority here (unless of course the opinions are from our doctors regarding ours or our child’s health). We let people in the society advice us based on their experience, and we listen to them, but we never let them decide for us. When it comes to decisions, it’s entirely upon us because it wouldn’t be ‘a choice’ if it’s decided by someone else.
Writer, Educator & Author of Between Queens and the Cities
Ideas around marriage and childbirth have shaped modern humanity across cultures. But these ideas are rapidly shifting in today’s globalised, capitalist world that is getting reshaped by technological advances. These issues also depend on the cultural context, whether one is in the East or the West.
Nepali values are shaped by communal concerns and bound by a sense of duty to our family and society. Our worldview is not shaped by notions of individuality and independence, as is the case in the West. But people are increasingly questioning these dominant ideas.
No one can raise children in isolation. Children need to mingle with the larger community. In any case, I believe that ideally, one should not have to think of mainstream social standards to make this very personal decision. Anyone should have a choice regarding whether they want to have children or not.
Founder, Learn Infinity
I personally think that the choice of having or not having babies should be determined by the couple who are in the relationship and not by the society. It shouldn’t be society’s concern to make the choice or provoke and force the couple or the woman to have babies and mock the woman if she decides not to.
These days, women are independent. They have a lot on their plate: career, family, health, relationship, social life and much more. Even if they want the consultation, there are multiple sources of information available today to guide the couple to make a rational decision. I find it unnecessary to have society’s intervention. I have personally seen women being mocked for late pregnancy or for deciding not to have a child even in the situation when the couple is not biologically fit for childbirth. Amid their personal circumstances, the fear of society’s perception adds more to their insecurities. Never-ending criticism and questioning can make them feel guilty about their decision or their situation. It’s high time we as a society start accepting and embracing the choices of couples. Everyone has a different perspective and way of living. The more we embrace the differences, the easier it becomes to live and let live.
Writer & Comedian
Like any other life decisions, having or not having a child is a personal choice. But we, as a society, usually forget the concept of individuality. We have been disciplined with social morality and norms just so we deem worthy of the society and we’ve been living by the rule book for generations. But when you have a child, that’s solely your responsibility and you are accountable for what life you can or cannot provide to the child. The only reason you should be having kids is because YOU want to. It’s more of a life choice you make for yourself rather than an organisational decision. And if someone else is determining it for you, it’s not a choice.
Mental Health Counselor & Therapist
The world population is estimated to be about eight billion. We are a global community now. We are no longer a small community where there would be need for manpower to secure our lives. This does not mean we should stop producing, but If anyone decides not to have a baby, it should be seen as a good exercise of our rights, rather than speculating about the woman or the couple. Besides society has very little role to play in taking care of a child. They don’t pay for the expenses of rearing a child, parents do. And if the parents decide they do not want to be parents, then society “should not intervene.
Aman Pratap Adhikary
Don Director – Himalaya Roadies, KBC, Kripa Unplugged, Ainaa
This question may have been more relevant during my father’s time, but now the society is evolving. On one hand we are arguing for equality, my body, my rights, equity and what not whereas on the other hand if this question arises even in our mind then that’s a problem. And I say that’s not what globalising and development looks like. Yes, I completely agree that society plays a vital role in certain aspects of an individual life, but having a child is solely a couple’s decision and I feel no one should tell any couple what to do in this scenario.
Actor & Filmmaker
It has to be a woman’s choice rather than society having a say in it. Most important aspect here is that a baby steps into this world through a woman’s body. A woman has full right to decide if she wants to bring another human out of her body. Forget about society, not even her family or the husband should have a say if the woman does not want to have a baby. Besides, I believe that this decision should include only those people who are willing to rear the children, who are invested emotionally, mentally and financially in their upbringing. The only time society should be interfering is when they are ready to take care of a child and willing to provide security to the mother and child’s physical and mental wellbeing. People have the right to express their opinion and I have the right to live my life. As long as the legal system allows you, irrespective of society’s choice, you should take the decision, be it yes or a no.