Maybe baby?

At this time, I know two women and know of another woman, who are all undergoing the prolonged physical and mental agony of a battery of treatments to have a child. It has led to many interesting conversations with the former two about identity, the role of children and the reasons behind why they are willing to bear all this pain even before an actual child comes along, if one comes along at all. One is prepared and the other is not, for adoption as a possibility.

Two or three make not a statistically significant sample. But the route is familiar. In all cases, the husbands’ turn to be checked comes up very late. The presumption is that something must be wrong with the woman.

Those around me, who have children – careers or no careers – have never been able to tell me why they had them. Perhaps I am a wide-eyed ingénue and ask all sorts of wrong questions of people. But I have in the process heard some interesting ones.

Some of my educated friends have told me that one can never love somebody else’s children as their own. I find it laughable (I have a step mother!) because it is theoretical for them to spout such nonsense.

I think it is all about the capability to love. Period. If a woman could find a man some 25 years into their lives and love him as much as she claims to, then a small, helpless baby or child should surely be more easy to love. No? Especially for someone claiming to be maternal and all that.

Yet another conversation was quite amazing. The woman in question said to me:

Those adults, who want children but are finding it hard to conceive, can try modern technological options such as IVF. But those children, who want parents and are finding life hard without them, have no such technical options open to them”.

Point to ponder, indeed.

Nita has written an interesting post on the surge in the so-far unregulated business of surrogacy in India.

She discusses the estimated size of the business in India (~ £250 M) and the dangers of keeping it unregulated or self-regulated, as the current provision in the form of guidelines would suggest.

She writes:

There are some who feel that if surrogate motherhood becomes a legal ‘business’ then soon educated working women will start hiring wombs to prevent a break in their career!

This, I think, is an understandable fear which may not come to pass.

Yes, it is indeed true that many career women face the conflict between career and children. Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s research found that fully 42% of professional women in corporate America were childless at age 40 and only 14% of them had planned life without children. Her research also found that these women blamed a variety of factors for their “enforced” childlessness, including long working weeks, rigid career structures, unsympathetic bosses and needy partners. Her more recent work discusses how employers put women with children on a sort of career off-ramp.

So the fear that this will become some sort of baby-making outsourcing – perhaps BMO instead of BPO? – is understandable but it may not come to pass. Here is why.

Educated women the world over have fewer children than their uneducated or non-career-oriented counterparts. It is not just about the rationality towards their career, but the gender empowerment that makes that career possible and is in turn, reinforced by career women’s presence. There is the additional factor to consider – the economics of having many children, when even relatively wealthy parents may prefer to divvy up their money and attention amongst fewer children, giving them better opportunities than amongst many, affording them relatively less.

Additionally, here is my hypothesis. Another reason, why despite adoption being a feasible and socially acceptable option – Angelina Jolie has her social utility after all – most people prefer to make their own children, is “genetic vanity“. I wonder if surrogacy – especially with a poor woman serving as the host womb – is something genetically vain people (educated, career-oriented, in a relationship so presumably attractive to someone, so, much to be understandably vain about) would consider with gusto.

Then again, as chance would have it, I came across Ben’s post about a new book. Titled “Why beautiful people have more daughters“, it is two evolutionary psychologists’ explanation of some of the curiosities of life.

An extraordinary view of poverty is expressed by Ryan Holiday in the comments section:

Poor families tend to have more daughters because having a daughter (often an economic asset) helps them move up in status.

In many patriarchal cultures in poor countries, including India, the custom is that marrying a daughter off costs a lot of money (in the form of dowry). On the other hand, keeping her unmarried to contribute economically is a stigma and poor people may not have much, but they have their pride and they care an awful lot about social stigma.

Sons in the same cultures bring dowry in, stay with parents – unlike the daughter who goes to live with or serve the in-laws – and inherit the assets, keeping the wealth in the family. Their sons also carry the family name whereas the woman is often forced to take the husband’s family name. Indeed in some communities in India, the woman’s first name is changed too, so she effectively brings nothing – but her dowry – from her parents’ house. Sons are therefore considered immensely preferable to daughters.

So the argument – if at all there is one – is the other way round. Families do not want daughters because they are seen as harbingers of poverty.

Ben’s post first made me laugh, then quickly look for the book and order it. Then I called my father, a father of well-educated professional girls, who found their own husbands, where applicable, without dowry, to congratulate him on his looks.

Then I began to wonder how wider knowledge of such an evolutionary link might pan out in an illegal abortion clinic in India:

“Oh, doctor, so you think it is a girl?”

“Yes.”

“And that means I am beautiful?”

“Well, yes, so evolutionary theorists would say”.

“Ok, thanks for the compliment. Now can you hurry up and complete the abortion?”

End of.

Several million female foetuses and infants are killed every year in India. Indeed Asians, as people from the sub-continent are referred to in the UK, are so notorious for their attitudes in the matter, that in some parts of Britain, the doctor would just not tell the parents the gender of the child. Now if only this argument of vanity could help change some of those attitudes!

This female foeticide and infanticide, of course, carries on in spite of regulatory controls, that have been around a while now.

So what price children then?

I do not think as a society, we have any answers. Baroness Mary Warnock, well-known British philosopher, has argued that people have a right to try to have children, but not an actual right to have children.

Then there is the lure of all that science has seemingly made possible – from egg freezing to sperm-donation to IVF. All this, Hewlett argues lulls women into a false sense of security and into putting off trying to have children till it is too late.

I cannot claim to know the answer of course, and all the discourses with several educated, professional women, both with and without children, provide no wisdom.

If there is a fundamental right to try to have a child, perhaps surrogacy should come out of the shadows, as Nita suggests.

But then again, perhaps adoption should be made easier too so people do not have to go to other countries – richer or poorer – with relatively simpler regulations to find the missing pieces of their family.

And in all this, it is the child, whose rights, to be treated with dignity and compassion from conception to birth and beyond, should be supreme.

Additional Reading: Late additions/ editions:

Interesting discussion at Ben Casnocha’s blog on Child Free by Choice

Penelope’s controversial advice on Effective Ways to Wrestle your Biological Clock

99PPP’s exhaustive argument for A Case Against Having Any Or More Children

56 thoughts on “Maybe baby?

  1. VBR:

    Good morning.

    My sleep cycle is a bit out of whack at the moment, partly from the last few weeks’ practice and partly because the clocks went back. I genuinely thought it was 4 am which is a good time as any to wake up and once in the study noted it was 3 am. Since I was up, I read some, wrote some and went back. 🙂

    Thanks.

    Like

  2. VBR:

    Good morning.

    My sleep cycle is a bit out of whack at the moment, partly from the last few weeks’ practice and partly because the clocks went back. I genuinely thought it was 4 am which is a good time as any to wake up and once in the study noted it was 3 am. Since I was up, I read some, wrote some and went back. 🙂

    Thanks.

    Like

  3. One of your longer posts…and you have raised many points.
    I find the first part of your post very interesting.
    Why women have children. It’s a very deep question and I wonder how many people would have children if there was no what you call ‘genetic vanity.’ In India it is a combination of genetic vanity, the insecurity of living out one’s old age without grown up kids, and ofcourse societal pressure. Very few may do it solely because of their strong desire to have kids for the sake of nurturing them. I think many may not even be aware of the complex motives of having children. Few of us may even think very hard about this subject.
    Talking of myself, my desire to have kids came before my desire to get married. This was different from most girls my age and I always wondered why I felt this. I felt this even when I was 18, much before I had a romantic relationship going. btw I had fantasies of adopting kids from different countries like Angelina Jolie did and therefore I understand her even if most people make fun of her. But I never lived out this dream, and anyway, this dream changed very rapidly as I realised what it entailed!
    One thing I can say. When I had kids I have enjoyed being a mother. If I had not been able to conceive I would have adopted. As to why I wanted the kids, I am not sure. Is it instinct, a strong maternal instinct? I don’t know, all I know is that I loved every minute of it all. I was so into it that I must have read a hundred books on how to be a good mother, how to increase your child’s IQ etc and the whole motherhood thing simply consumed me…but I guess that’s typical me. I get consumed by everything, by whatever I do!
    Right now it’s my blog. 🙂

    Like

  4. One of your longer posts…and you have raised many points.
    I find the first part of your post very interesting.
    Why women have children. It’s a very deep question and I wonder how many people would have children if there was no what you call ‘genetic vanity.’ In India it is a combination of genetic vanity, the insecurity of living out one’s old age without grown up kids, and ofcourse societal pressure. Very few may do it solely because of their strong desire to have kids for the sake of nurturing them. I think many may not even be aware of the complex motives of having children. Few of us may even think very hard about this subject.
    Talking of myself, my desire to have kids came before my desire to get married. This was different from most girls my age and I always wondered why I felt this. I felt this even when I was 18, much before I had a romantic relationship going. btw I had fantasies of adopting kids from different countries like Angelina Jolie did and therefore I understand her even if most people make fun of her. But I never lived out this dream, and anyway, this dream changed very rapidly as I realised what it entailed!
    One thing I can say. When I had kids I have enjoyed being a mother. If I had not been able to conceive I would have adopted. As to why I wanted the kids, I am not sure. Is it instinct, a strong maternal instinct? I don’t know, all I know is that I loved every minute of it all. I was so into it that I must have read a hundred books on how to be a good mother, how to increase your child’s IQ etc and the whole motherhood thing simply consumed me…but I guess that’s typical me. I get consumed by everything, by whatever I do!
    Right now it’s my blog. 🙂

    Like

  5. @ VBR: Yes, indeed, went back to bed and up now.

    “Now, thats a common act” – not sure I know what you mean… :-/

    You mean many people do this? I suppose they do. Er, what?

    @ Nita: Thanks for your note. I should probably put long post alert on top 🙂

    The reasons you cite are the reasons that I have found impossible to elicit from people. So you are exceptional in many ways.

    For instance, most of us living so far from parents should know that the utility of children in respect of old age care is a fast-dwindling case of hopefulness, rather than the reality. Societal pressure – indeed expectation – is probably a great factor in many cases, but giving in to it is a highly individual thing. Maternal instinct is often cited but some of the most horrid people I have known have kids whereas some of the most affectionate and genuinely loving people have chosen not to (may be their logic is that they cannot bear to leave their children behind in this terrible world!).

    That “genetic vanity” thing is my hypothesis and I deliberately word it like that because frankly for some people, one has to look and wonder “why on earth…?”. Anyway it sounds mean so before I get brickbats from all sorts, I should stop.

    It is interesting how you note how dreams are tempered by reality. I read a funny thing yesterday:

    Le rêve est un tunnel qui passe sous la réalité. C’est un égout d’eau claire, mais c’est un égout. (The not-so-romantic translation: The dream is a tunnel that passes under reality. It is a sewer of clear water, but it is a sewer.)

    Funny, eh? Cutting, definitely.

    I wrote this at some 3:30am. I am sure some of this will get edited – not for length, just grammar etc in the day light. For now I need really to wake up and start my morning.

    Thanks again.

    Like

  6. @ VBR: Yes, indeed, went back to bed and up now.

    “Now, thats a common act” – not sure I know what you mean… :-/

    You mean many people do this? I suppose they do. Er, what?

    @ Nita: Thanks for your note. I should probably put long post alert on top 🙂

    The reasons you cite are the reasons that I have found impossible to elicit from people. So you are exceptional in many ways.

    For instance, most of us living so far from parents should know that the utility of children in respect of old age care is a fast-dwindling case of hopefulness, rather than the reality. Societal pressure – indeed expectation – is probably a great factor in many cases, but giving in to it is a highly individual thing. Maternal instinct is often cited but some of the most horrid people I have known have kids whereas some of the most affectionate and genuinely loving people have chosen not to (may be their logic is that they cannot bear to leave their children behind in this terrible world!).

    That “genetic vanity” thing is my hypothesis and I deliberately word it like that because frankly for some people, one has to look and wonder “why on earth…?”. Anyway it sounds mean so before I get brickbats from all sorts, I should stop.

    It is interesting how you note how dreams are tempered by reality. I read a funny thing yesterday:

    Le rêve est un tunnel qui passe sous la réalité. C’est un égout d’eau claire, mais c’est un égout. (The not-so-romantic translation: The dream is a tunnel that passes under reality. It is a sewer of clear water, but it is a sewer.)

    Funny, eh? Cutting, definitely.

    I wrote this at some 3:30am. I am sure some of this will get edited – not for length, just grammar etc in the day light. For now I need really to wake up and start my morning.

    Thanks again.

    Like

  7. VBR: I see. I never go for a second anything – nap, food, running lap… 🙂

    So this was unusual for me. But the time was so odd, I gave up and went back to bed.

    Like

  8. I have been asked this question earlier why I want a baby. At that time I was not prepared with an answer but later when I really thought about it, I know that was what I always wanted – a loving husband and kids. My childhood was not great and being an observer of constant fights at home, my childish heart was nurturing a dream of having a family of my own where there are no fights and no hate and that when I will have kids I will provide a peaceful atmosphere so that they can achieve their dreams and cultivate their hobbies into careers if they wish which I was not able to do as I feared my family would never allow it.

    I wish to have my own child because somewhere in my heart I want my dad’s genes in it. My dad is intelligent, practical and very hardworking, in spite of his troubled marriage knows what is it to keep the family together which in today’s date even I fail to abide by it at times. I wish to have my better half’s genes in them as he is the only person I’ve met who has patience, loving nature and he also believes in keeping a family together. My mother is a very strong lady. I believe at least some of these qualities will definitely be inherited in them.

    Adopting a child is a much bigger and a conscious decision than having one’s own child. In case of blood relation, the relation is defined even before you were born but in case of adoption the relation is defined after one is born. I’ve my own fears regarding adoption. I’ve read so many true stories where the adopted child still searches for his/her real parents even after realizing how much his/her adopted parents love them. This will definitely raise a question in my mind what went wrong in the upbringing of the child that he/she is still searching for their real parents.
    The other fear is how will either party take towards being denied or denying certain acts and not being obeyed. In blood relation, even in anger you cannot deny the relationship but in case of adoption one can easily deny the relation be it the parent or the child and walk out of it.
    I’ve another fear – fear which I am not sure about till I adopt a child and the child develops his/her own character. If one has watched “Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Ghum”- Amitabh B adopted SRK and then he accepts him to obey the family traditions and values. But when SRK marries a girl against his wishes, he shuts him out of his house and life as well.
    But ofcourse, you cannot say that these fears are applicable everywhere. It all depends on the attitude, behavior or nature of parents and the adopted child. But then I’m not aware of these answers when I am adopting one. I suggest only a person with a loving heart and a forgiving one can only have the courage to adopt a child. Once my sibling asked me will I adopt a child if I’m unable to give birth, I immediately said I will fund someone’s expenses and education throughout my life but I don’t have a heart to adopt. I know I’m selfish but I’ve faced so much problems in my life that taking risks in my life as far as emotions are concerned is out of question now for me.

    Like

  9. I have been asked this question earlier why I want a baby. At that time I was not prepared with an answer but later when I really thought about it, I know that was what I always wanted – a loving husband and kids. My childhood was not great and being an observer of constant fights at home, my childish heart was nurturing a dream of having a family of my own where there are no fights and no hate and that when I will have kids I will provide a peaceful atmosphere so that they can achieve their dreams and cultivate their hobbies into careers if they wish which I was not able to do as I feared my family would never allow it.

    I wish to have my own child because somewhere in my heart I want my dad’s genes in it. My dad is intelligent, practical and very hardworking, in spite of his troubled marriage knows what is it to keep the family together which in today’s date even I fail to abide by it at times. I wish to have my better half’s genes in them as he is the only person I’ve met who has patience, loving nature and he also believes in keeping a family together. My mother is a very strong lady. I believe at least some of these qualities will definitely be inherited in them.

    Adopting a child is a much bigger and a conscious decision than having one’s own child. In case of blood relation, the relation is defined even before you were born but in case of adoption the relation is defined after one is born. I’ve my own fears regarding adoption. I’ve read so many true stories where the adopted child still searches for his/her real parents even after realizing how much his/her adopted parents love them. This will definitely raise a question in my mind what went wrong in the upbringing of the child that he/she is still searching for their real parents.
    The other fear is how will either party take towards being denied or denying certain acts and not being obeyed. In blood relation, even in anger you cannot deny the relationship but in case of adoption one can easily deny the relation be it the parent or the child and walk out of it.
    I’ve another fear – fear which I am not sure about till I adopt a child and the child develops his/her own character. If one has watched “Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Ghum”- Amitabh B adopted SRK and then he accepts him to obey the family traditions and values. But when SRK marries a girl against his wishes, he shuts him out of his house and life as well.
    But ofcourse, you cannot say that these fears are applicable everywhere. It all depends on the attitude, behavior or nature of parents and the adopted child. But then I’m not aware of these answers when I am adopting one. I suggest only a person with a loving heart and a forgiving one can only have the courage to adopt a child. Once my sibling asked me will I adopt a child if I’m unable to give birth, I immediately said I will fund someone’s expenses and education throughout my life but I don’t have a heart to adopt. I know I’m selfish but I’ve faced so much problems in my life that taking risks in my life as far as emotions are concerned is out of question now for me.

    Like

  10. Many thought provoking comments, as I have come to expect from you:-). Thanks for the points to reflect upon.

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  11. Many thought provoking comments, as I have come to expect from you:-). Thanks for the points to reflect upon.

    Like

  12. Shefaly.
    I feel our generation should relook at adoption. I have written abotu it lots of times, and I am afraid I am going to jinx it.
    Anyways, why the hell people are so afraid of it, more importantly why is it so difficult to adopt.

    I agree with your take on women being suspected mostly for inability to conceive, If you sit through a meeting of elders in family, you almost turn insane, and I am really surprised that its mostly women in the family who suspect women.

    Like

  13. Shefaly.
    I feel our generation should relook at adoption. I have written abotu it lots of times, and I am afraid I am going to jinx it.
    Anyways, why the hell people are so afraid of it, more importantly why is it so difficult to adopt.

    I agree with your take on women being suspected mostly for inability to conceive, If you sit through a meeting of elders in family, you almost turn insane, and I am really surprised that its mostly women in the family who suspect women.

    Like

  14. It’s not a view of poverty. It is a fact. Poor families have on average more daughters while richer families have more boys. Not because it helps them economically but evolutionarily. If you’re rich and you have a boy, he will on average, father more children than if you’re poor and you have a boy. Conversely, if you’re poor and have a daughter she will have more children than if you were rich. It’s not an argument. It is a statistical fact.

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  15. It’s not a view of poverty. It is a fact. Poor families have on average more daughters while richer families have more boys. Not because it helps them economically but evolutionarily. If you’re rich and you have a boy, he will on average, father more children than if you’re poor and you have a boy. Conversely, if you’re poor and have a daughter she will have more children than if you were rich. It’s not an argument. It is a statistical fact.

    Like

  16. @ Anonymous: Thanks for your long note. Alas, as far as taking emotional risks is concerned, you have already taken the first step by falling in love with a person and marrying him!

    Of course, I cannot argue with any of the points you raise, but some things you say do reinforce my point about “genetic vanity”.

    I also think you are being naive if you think “In blood relation, even in anger you cannot deny the relationship but in case of adoption one can easily deny the relation be it the parent or the child and walk out of it”. I daresay you need to see it once yourself 🙂

    You say: “I’ve read so many true stories where the adopted child still searches for his/her real parents even after realizing how much his/her adopted parents love them.”. Having a child is above all an act of unselfishness. And having seen a lot of the world, I can say with confidence that plenty of biological children turn their backs on parents too.

    Curiously I made a point about step-parents in passing. Given such strong views about biological children, your views are on step-children and step-parents are something I would like to hear about.

    Thanks for reading.

    @ Lucia: Thanks for your note. DO share some of your reflections 🙂

    @ Rambler: Thanks. Why not adoption? See the remark by Anonymous above for a range of reasons.

    As for sitting with elders, thank God I do not have to and when I do, I am not a standard issue Indian to sit through it quietly. I speak up when I see something patently wrong.

    @ Ryan: Thanks for your note. Since I am not aware of any statistics of this nature, I framed your comment as a view of poverty.

    It will be great if you can share some of those stats so I can understand your perspective better. Because at the moment, I do not know what you are trying to say.

    However I do think universally, the daughters’ progeny neither carries the family name forward nor can be “claimed” for any economic value.

    If you come back and share some of these statistics, it will be great. Thanks.

    Like

  17. @ Anonymous: Thanks for your long note. Alas, as far as taking emotional risks is concerned, you have already taken the first step by falling in love with a person and marrying him!

    Of course, I cannot argue with any of the points you raise, but some things you say do reinforce my point about “genetic vanity”.

    I also think you are being naive if you think “In blood relation, even in anger you cannot deny the relationship but in case of adoption one can easily deny the relation be it the parent or the child and walk out of it”. I daresay you need to see it once yourself 🙂

    You say: “I’ve read so many true stories where the adopted child still searches for his/her real parents even after realizing how much his/her adopted parents love them.”. Having a child is above all an act of unselfishness. And having seen a lot of the world, I can say with confidence that plenty of biological children turn their backs on parents too.

    Curiously I made a point about step-parents in passing. Given such strong views about biological children, your views are on step-children and step-parents are something I would like to hear about.

    Thanks for reading.

    @ Lucia: Thanks for your note. DO share some of your reflections 🙂

    @ Rambler: Thanks. Why not adoption? See the remark by Anonymous above for a range of reasons.

    As for sitting with elders, thank God I do not have to and when I do, I am not a standard issue Indian to sit through it quietly. I speak up when I see something patently wrong.

    @ Ryan: Thanks for your note. Since I am not aware of any statistics of this nature, I framed your comment as a view of poverty.

    It will be great if you can share some of those stats so I can understand your perspective better. Because at the moment, I do not know what you are trying to say.

    However I do think universally, the daughters’ progeny neither carries the family name forward nor can be “claimed” for any economic value.

    If you come back and share some of these statistics, it will be great. Thanks.

    Like

  18. As a voluntarily childless woman, I read your post (and Nita’s) with great interest. There are some women who are Natural Born mothers – they just love children. Not me. Sure, I’m a great auntie and mentor, but having my own? Knew as a child I never wanted children.

    Those who want kids, by all means have them, or adopt them. Some should never have kids – after all, abused and, sadly, murdered children are overwhelmingly committed by mothers, aren’t they?

    My own mother hated being a mother. She is wonderful in many ways, but I think if birth control was easily available in her day, she may have been childless herself. But my father just loved parenting – doted on us, taught us, supervised us. Natural born Father.

    At least it is no longer a shameful thing to say you don’t want children, at least here. Maybe in my next life, I will have some maternal instincts.

    Thanks

    Like

  19. As a voluntarily childless woman, I read your post (and Nita’s) with great interest. There are some women who are Natural Born mothers – they just love children. Not me. Sure, I’m a great auntie and mentor, but having my own? Knew as a child I never wanted children.

    Those who want kids, by all means have them, or adopt them. Some should never have kids – after all, abused and, sadly, murdered children are overwhelmingly committed by mothers, aren’t they?

    My own mother hated being a mother. She is wonderful in many ways, but I think if birth control was easily available in her day, she may have been childless herself. But my father just loved parenting – doted on us, taught us, supervised us. Natural born Father.

    At least it is no longer a shameful thing to say you don’t want children, at least here. Maybe in my next life, I will have some maternal instincts.

    Thanks

    Like

  20. Very intelligent post, Shefaly, though I must confess to not clicking on the links to most of the posts, comments or the philosopher’s absurd-sounding assertion (viz, no right to bear kids, etc.).
    I have to repeat what I said in Nita’s blog that if a 100% of the women of a society (reductio ad absurdum) choose to be surrogate mothers, so effing what? Why should this be anyone’s business? This call to legislate human behavior is another example of social engineering, another feature of a control State, acting holier than ever before.

    Like

  21. Very intelligent post, Shefaly, though I must confess to not clicking on the links to most of the posts, comments or the philosopher’s absurd-sounding assertion (viz, no right to bear kids, etc.).
    I have to repeat what I said in Nita’s blog that if a 100% of the women of a society (reductio ad absurdum) choose to be surrogate mothers, so effing what? Why should this be anyone’s business? This call to legislate human behavior is another example of social engineering, another feature of a control State, acting holier than ever before.

    Like

  22. @ Jackie: Welcome to my blog. As a cool auntie myself, I agree with most of what you say. When I submitted my thesis, one of my nephews said: “Hmm, to be cooler than your auntie, that’s a tough one!” Hah! 🙂

    My point of debate is if people claim to have those maternal instincts, why are they so narrowly focused on biological children? Even at great cost to their own health? As a dominantly ‘ask why’ kind of person, I am eternally curious and my general conclusion is that people fear asking themselves this question for fear of exposing their social conditioning and their own prejudices.

    @ Rambodoc: Thank you. All the intelligence is contained in the post so I guess it is ok if you did not click through 😉 No, seriously I try to capture the essence from the link when I cite it but keen ones can click on and read more.

    I agree with the so-effing-what bit. Indeed if a 100% of women in society choose to be childless, er, no society soon, eh? 🙂

    By definition, regulation comes in where market forces fail to keep resource allocation optimal or where rents realisation can sort the “problem” of inoptimality. Nita’s contention is that where information (or economic) asymmetries exist i.e. the woman is poor and uneducated and does not understand the risks of repeat pregnancies, regulation should exist for the protection of the vendor (not the emptor). This situation is not dissimilar to repetitive selling of blood or selling of organs, except repeat pregnancy can be more long drawn and physically and emotionally draining.

    Thanks for reading.

    Like

  23. @ Jackie: Welcome to my blog. As a cool auntie myself, I agree with most of what you say. When I submitted my thesis, one of my nephews said: “Hmm, to be cooler than your auntie, that’s a tough one!” Hah! 🙂

    My point of debate is if people claim to have those maternal instincts, why are they so narrowly focused on biological children? Even at great cost to their own health? As a dominantly ‘ask why’ kind of person, I am eternally curious and my general conclusion is that people fear asking themselves this question for fear of exposing their social conditioning and their own prejudices.

    @ Rambodoc: Thank you. All the intelligence is contained in the post so I guess it is ok if you did not click through 😉 No, seriously I try to capture the essence from the link when I cite it but keen ones can click on and read more.

    I agree with the so-effing-what bit. Indeed if a 100% of women in society choose to be childless, er, no society soon, eh? 🙂

    By definition, regulation comes in where market forces fail to keep resource allocation optimal or where rents realisation can sort the “problem” of inoptimality. Nita’s contention is that where information (or economic) asymmetries exist i.e. the woman is poor and uneducated and does not understand the risks of repeat pregnancies, regulation should exist for the protection of the vendor (not the emptor). This situation is not dissimilar to repetitive selling of blood or selling of organs, except repeat pregnancy can be more long drawn and physically and emotionally draining.

    Thanks for reading.

    Like

  24. This call to legislate human behavior is another example of social engineering, another feature of a control State, acting holier than ever before.

    Except when it comes to torture and capital punishment. 😉 😀

    Like

  25. This call to legislate human behavior is another example of social engineering, another feature of a control State, acting holier than ever before.

    Except when it comes to torture and capital punishment. 😉 😀

    Like

  26. Shefaly,

    //Indeed if a 100% of women in society choose to be childless, er, no society soon, eh?//

    I’m not so sure. Science has an annoying way of coming up with solutions. So we would probably have human beings capable of spontaneous reproduction (the “swayambhu” concept. Or they could evolve to a point where they could live meaningfully well past 100, 150, 200 years. Or both.

    Amit,

    //…a control State, acting holier than ever before…//

    (with the usual apology for not managing diacritical marks): Vous oubliez — l’etat c’est moi; et vous, et nous, et tous …

    Like

  27. Shefaly,

    //Indeed if a 100% of women in society choose to be childless, er, no society soon, eh?//

    I’m not so sure. Science has an annoying way of coming up with solutions. So we would probably have human beings capable of spontaneous reproduction (the “swayambhu” concept. Or they could evolve to a point where they could live meaningfully well past 100, 150, 200 years. Or both.

    Amit,

    //…a control State, acting holier than ever before…//

    (with the usual apology for not managing diacritical marks): Vous oubliez — l’etat c’est moi; et vous, et nous, et tous …

    Like

  28. Vivek: Thanks for your note.

    I have written before about the Science bits that make many things possible in this debate. See older post:
    https://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/stem-cells-to-the-left-of-them-stem-cells-to-the-right-of-them/

    There are other elements in social constructivist argument, of course, of how Science and its miscommunication is informing (or misinforming?) young women about what to expect from their biological clocks.

    The assumptions in both the two above threads are very different, which is what my comment alluded to.

    Thanks.

    Like

  29. Vivek: Thanks for your note.

    I have written before about the Science bits that make many things possible in this debate. See older post:
    https://laviequotidienne.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/stem-cells-to-the-left-of-them-stem-cells-to-the-right-of-them/

    There are other elements in social constructivist argument, of course, of how Science and its miscommunication is informing (or misinforming?) young women about what to expect from their biological clocks.

    The assumptions in both the two above threads are very different, which is what my comment alluded to.

    Thanks.

    Like

  30. I have sons and we really wanted daughters. But that does not mean that we do not love our kids. Now, I cannot imagine how I would have brought up a daughter. At the same time, I still have a desire to have a daughter and I don’t really care if she is of my blood or not. Our wish is to adopt, but the only obstacle would be the legal hassles and the attitude of immediate relatives and society!

    Like

  31. I have sons and we really wanted daughters. But that does not mean that we do not love our kids. Now, I cannot imagine how I would have brought up a daughter. At the same time, I still have a desire to have a daughter and I don’t really care if she is of my blood or not. Our wish is to adopt, but the only obstacle would be the legal hassles and the attitude of immediate relatives and society!

    Like

  32. Vous oubliez — l’etat c’est moi; et vous, et nous, et tous …

    Er…Vivek. My knowledge of French is limited to “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (no that’s not an invitation) 😉 (“You forgot – and me, and you and we all??” something like that?)
    I was actually pulling rambo d’s leg regarding another comment on another post.

    Like

  33. Vous oubliez — l’etat c’est moi; et vous, et nous, et tous …

    Er…Vivek. My knowledge of French is limited to “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (no that’s not an invitation) 😉 (“You forgot – and me, and you and we all??” something like that?)
    I was actually pulling rambo d’s leg regarding another comment on another post.

    Like

  34. WishToBeAnonymous (WTBA):

    Thanks for your note and for sharing your views, and welcome to my blog!

    I think adoption is made difficult in all countries, keeping in mind the child’s welfare, which entails asking a range of what-if questions and obtaining more than satisfactory answers to them. But I do think it is nice that you have at least considered the idea.

    You bring up an interesting point: the nosy relatives and neighbours. For them, alas, neither science nor regulation has any ‘cure’. 😦

    Thanks again.

    Like

  35. WishToBeAnonymous (WTBA):

    Thanks for your note and for sharing your views, and welcome to my blog!

    I think adoption is made difficult in all countries, keeping in mind the child’s welfare, which entails asking a range of what-if questions and obtaining more than satisfactory answers to them. But I do think it is nice that you have at least considered the idea.

    You bring up an interesting point: the nosy relatives and neighbours. For them, alas, neither science nor regulation has any ‘cure’. 😦

    Thanks again.

    Like

  36. Amit,

    Without any intention to broaden the horizons 🙂 of your French, my comment was merely a reaction to your use of the word “State”. Its essence lay in the expression (attributed to Louis XIV) which I quoted, “l’etat c’est moi” (I am the State), and extended to include “… and you, and all of us … “. Incidentally, “vous oubliez” is strictly the present tense, though in this instance I guess it is all right to translate it as the past tense. In fact it would have been more natural if I had said “n’oubliez pas [que]…”.

    Like

  37. Amit,

    Without any intention to broaden the horizons 🙂 of your French, my comment was merely a reaction to your use of the word “State”. Its essence lay in the expression (attributed to Louis XIV) which I quoted, “l’etat c’est moi” (I am the State), and extended to include “… and you, and all of us … “. Incidentally, “vous oubliez” is strictly the present tense, though in this instance I guess it is all right to translate it as the past tense. In fact it would have been more natural if I had said “n’oubliez pas [que]…”.

    Like

  38. Vivek, thanks for the explanation, and I welcome any and all attempts to broaden my horizons when it comes to French (and Bengali) language. 🙂
    I think the “blockquote” tag is to blame for the confusion here. “State” is rambo-d’s favorite “them” (of ‘us-and-them,’ or rather ‘me-and-them’ fame), not mine. 🙂

    Like

  39. Vivek, thanks for the explanation, and I welcome any and all attempts to broaden my horizons when it comes to French (and Bengali) language. 🙂
    I think the “blockquote” tag is to blame for the confusion here. “State” is rambo-d’s favorite “them” (of ‘us-and-them,’ or rather ‘me-and-them’ fame), not mine. 🙂

    Like

  40. Amit: Sorry to butt into your conversation with Vivek..

    I first learnt French at l’Alliance Francaise in Calcutta, from a Bengali teacher who was very good. And one of his favourite pastimes was to corner us and tell us things about comparative literature in Bengali and French! Somehow to this day, in the big classification system in my brain, Bengali and French sit snuggled together. No rhyme or reason and never explored any linguistic basis for it either.. 🙂

    Like

  41. Amit: Sorry to butt into your conversation with Vivek..

    I first learnt French at l’Alliance Francaise in Calcutta, from a Bengali teacher who was very good. And one of his favourite pastimes was to corner us and tell us things about comparative literature in Bengali and French! Somehow to this day, in the big classification system in my brain, Bengali and French sit snuggled together. No rhyme or reason and never explored any linguistic basis for it either.. 🙂

    Like

  42. Ha-ha! Shefaly, welcome to the group of those that struggle with diacritical marks — the cedilla in your case — in response boxes.

    Your slotting of Bangla and French together strikes me as apt for another reason, too. I admire the native speakers of both languages for their pride in their own tongues, and the way they coolly put other-language imperialists (meaning Hindi and English respectively) in their place.

    Like

  43. Ha-ha! Shefaly, welcome to the group of those that struggle with diacritical marks — the cedilla in your case — in response boxes.

    Your slotting of Bangla and French together strikes me as apt for another reason, too. I admire the native speakers of both languages for their pride in their own tongues, and the way they coolly put other-language imperialists (meaning Hindi and English respectively) in their place.

    Like

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