Unquestionable prerogative

The decision to not have a child, with its set of pros and cons, should certainly be left to the couples

Unquestionable prerogative

My partner and I don't want kids, but we are facing societal pressure. How do we handle this?

"To have kids or not to have, is a choice that should only belong to the two people involved in the active kid-making process."

Once upon a time, when someone got married, it automatically meant that the couple had to procreate and have kids within the next few years. Gone are those days. DINK is a popular term for millennials and Gen Xers who may wait it out to have kids or choose to not have kids at all. The acronym stands for Double Income No Kids (DINK) — implying that both the partners may be working and making a good income but not choosing to have children. It is becoming more and more popular among people living in the bigger cities.

What is DINK? Is it just a fad?

It is more than a fad. It is a lifestyle choice to choose to stay single if someone wishes to, and similarly to not have kids just to merely fit into a societal expectation.

Why are more people choosing this?

The reasons may be individual and personal in the context of the choice to not have kids. But a few popular reasons are:

Not ready yet: Certain couples want to plan to have kids someday but are not yet ready.

Cost of living, expenses: With rising prices of everything, some couples choose to not bring life into the world unless they can provide well for the child.

Time: With the paucity of time, many don't plan to have kids.

Career first: More and more individuals are focused on self-growth and career first. They may consider having a child as a hurdle in the process, or not as a necessity to feel fulfilled.

Emotional involvement: Many individuals cite they don't have a paternal or maternal instinct.

Asexual couples: A couple can be married but have varied sexual orientations. Asexual couples don't have sex and may not even desire to have children in life.

Traumatic childhood: Those with a troubled childhood can consciously choose not to replicate it and subject another life through the hardships.

Abuse: Many women who have been sexually abused wish to never have kids.

Physical discomfort: Some women are uncomfortable with the physical discomfort involved with having a child.

Are there any pros and cons to this choice?

Pros of choosing the DINK lifestyle:

• Plenty of free time.

• Better finances.

• More time to establish a career and focus on personal goals

• Increased mobility.

• More years to bond as a couple.

Cons of the DINK lifestyle:

• Lesser support as you age: One of the most common reasons cited by society to encourage couples to have kids is to have a sense of emotional and economic support in the older age.

• No one to continue the family lineage

• Societal norms and expectations to fit in: A big push back from the near and dear ones can be a constant source of grief.

• Potential to overspend and be self-focused

Society: With an ever-evolving society, there may be some acceptance of this new age lifestyle. However, Indian society remains rooted in the idea that marriage must culminate in having kids.

Couples with children may argue that DINK couples are being selfish by remaining childless and are missing out on one of life's greatest joys. Some of these feelings may come from envy; while the others are sincere.

How to plan whether you want kids or not?

Keep an open mind: There is no right or wrong choice. It's an individual outlook.

Convince these people: The most important person to be convinced is 'you'. After that, ensure your partner and you are on the same page. A partner having different ideologies and plans can face distress in marriage.

Share with close people: Close family needs to be told once your mind is made up. Have an answer ready to some of their expected FAQs. Do not overexplain. Be respectful of their choices, desires, and emotions.

• Be aware of emotions and any change because nothing is set in stone for anyone. The desire to have kids can come about a few years down the line and it's okay to re-think this choice then.

• Be ready for an unwanted societal opinion. Don't let that dissuade you from your decision.

• Set boundaries with friends who may constantly bring this topic up.

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