Why have children? (Part 2)

Upon deeper soul searching, I realized that “sometimes love just ain’t enough”. There must be a deeper driving force than “love” that makes me want to have children despite of rising educational, housing, and child-care costs. So why do I really want to have children? What are the deep seated beliefs and driving forces behind my motivation to have children, not just one, but four?

I think a big part of it stems from being an only child of a set of parents with very high expectations. It made me realize how undesirable the situation it is for me to be an only child, because I simply have no reprieve from my parents. My mum will say “Be that person who say yes to every opportunity!” My dad will say “Why do you only score 98 out of 100? Are you too careless/dumb/lazy?” To make things worse, my parents do not always agree with each other, so I will always end up being the centre of the dramas in my parents’ life, being forced to take sides on issues beyond me. One question that I always get would be, “If papa and mama were to divorce, who would you go with?” And oh the loneliness of being an only child! I was reduced to talking to myself and an imaginary friend most of the time at home, as my parents were both working.

Back then, my favourite fantasy would be “I wish I had an elder brother who would protect me from my parents and keep me company”. I thought that if I only had an older brother, the expectations for me to perform would go away, and I do not have to take sides anymore, because then my brother can go with one and I will go with the other, and I do not have to shoulder the burden of having to take sides. And I would actually get to TALK with somebody!

So at a very young age, I decided that I should either have no children at all to spare my potential offspring from the pain and sufferings of this world, or have children in even numbers, so that they would always have support and company from each other. Even having someone to fight with is better than talking to an imaginary friend!

Interestingly, the cost of having children never even crossed my mind when I told myself I am going to have even numbered children. In fact I thought the economies of scale and ROI works out to be cost effective, if anyone is into cost-benefit analysis. Consider I just need to invest in one set of expensive educational resource, and all my 4 children can benefit from it! Or clothes can all be passed down! And if I send my children for different enrichment classes, they can teach each other different skills!

It is the cost of not having them in even numbers that far outweigh the cost of having more children in even numbers. I do not wish for any one of them to be lonely, and shoulder an uneven amount of expectations from me and my husband, or be left out by their siblings in the family dynamics. So soon after I had my first, I had my second. The third promptly followed, so the fourth had to come to complete the picture!

But really, this only answers the question of why do I have so many children, but more fundamentally…why have children at all? To be continued…

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