READER REPORT:

Babies: Damned if we do, damned if we don't

JO CAMERON
Last updated 05:35 28/01/2013
Harried mother
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MOTHERHOOD: Is there ever a right choice?

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Being female means being selfish in every way possible around the whole kids or no kids debate.

If you have kids and stay at home with them you are no longer contributing to the economy and expecting your partner to bring home the pay cheque.

If you have kids and go out to work you are being selfish because you are sacrificing precious time with your kids which you will never get back. In either scenario if you qualify for state assistance you are expecting other taxpayers to pick up the tab for your selfish choice to have kids before you can afford it.

If you wait until later in life to have kids so that you are financially independent you are selfish because your kid will be in school when you're fifty and you might not be around to see your grandkids.

If you don't have kids, then you are expecting my kids to support you in your old age when you couldn't be bothered ruining your lifestyle and putting your career on hold for five short years.

Even when you have kids, the manner in which you bring them in to the world is selfish. Epidural? You obviously don't want to feel the bond of giving birth the natural way. Caesarean? You're too posh to push and think of the extra resources the hospital has to divert from people who really need them just so you don't experience a momentary discomfort. Having the baby naturally? Think of the trauma your child could be going through, feeling your pain and distress.

Let's back up a bit however. Why don't women have children? Lots of reasons, and is it any of our business? Is Julia Gillard a less effective prime minister because her ladyparts haven't been savaged by childbirth? Was Helen Clark? Would we ever ask a male politician why he doesn't have kids? Would we blame his wife for being barren? I'm not saying childless politicians are good or bad. Just that they're not good or bad depending on their parental status.

The other question which needs to be remembered is that these childless women may in fact want babies, and sneering at them for their childless state could be hurting them. It is none of our business why they are childless.

While the "too posh to push" argument may be valid for some, for others there are genuine medical reasons why they have to have a Caesar and being told that they can't possibly bond with something that has been removed from them by a surgical procedure is nonsensical and again, can be hurtful. For every one person I know who chose the Caesar route, I know at least two who had no choice. All of them love their kids unconditionally.

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Kids are the best and worst decisions a female can make about her future. The best because there is nothing that can compare to the first time your baby looks at you and laughs in delight when your face appears. The worst because nothing you can do is right from here - someone will produce a new study which proves you're doing it wrong.

Mums (and Dads!), if your child is healthy and happy then you're doing it right. Adult males and females, if you're happy without children, then you're also doing it right. Ignore the hype.


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