By now, you all are familiar with my struggle with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). And how I have tried having a baby but miscarried thrice. Moreover, I have been trying for six years but no luck. Also, I have gone through numerous phases – heavy medicines, different medicine streams, weight gain, weight loss, stress, and so on. Finally, my husband I decided to give a break to the whole process while leaving it on destiny.
Just like us, many couples are struggling with crises like these. A study states that about 27.5 million couples are suffering from infertility in India. Amidst this, many couples have voluntarily decided to go childfree. So, I decided why not compile a list of reasons that urges couples for choosing to not have a baby. So, here they are!
Reasons why couples are choosing to not have a baby
1. A mindful decision
Yes, certain people try getting pregnant but are unable to! And give up the idea of having a child. However, when it comes to a childless couple, they are very much adamant about not having a child at all. Thus, not trying to have a baby at all. And this is their conscious decision. They have a plan in mind which doesn’t allow them to have children because they don’t need to do it.
2. Financial stability
After a child, believe it not, there are way too many financial burdens. There are constant school fee hikes, family outings go for a toss, other expenses, and much more. Well, not all parents go through the same plight. Because some are fortunate enough to enjoy financial stability and making the most with children. But some couples aren’t lucky enough. Especially the ones who had an unplanned pregnancy.
Thus, to have a secure future, choosing to not have a baby seems to be a valid reason for many!
3. Influenced by surroundings
It’s rightly said, “we learn from our experiences.” And that’s what happens with childless couples too. There are some experiences, attitudes, encounters that lead to this decision. For example, if a sister is struggling with raising her kid. Isn’t happy having a kid. Cannot afford the expenses of the kid. Has a constant tiff with her husband over the child. Then her younger sister might choose not to have a baby after witnessing her plight.
Surroundings matter a lot while making a decision. Well, I am not generalizing but that’s what happens with most of the couples.
4. Overgrowing health hazards
Blame it on health hazards like the current pandemic situation of COVID 19. Couples have stopped thinking of a child. Because they don’t want to bring a child in an unhealthy world that is filled with illness and insecurity. They are aware that this phase will pass but fear about the future. They have an inhibition that there are going to be more problems and more health hazards. Amidst this, the mortality rate is bleak. Instead, choosing to not have a baby becomes their priority.
“I don’t wish to give my child this life,” – is a constant concern of all parents. And this is how the idea of going childless pops in!
5. Overall costing of fertility treatments
As I mentioned above, many couples undergo fertility treatments. But fertility treatments do take a longer time. On top of it, they drain you financially. For instance, this website highlights that the total cost of IUI can go up to Rs. 15,000. And another website highlights that IVF costs up to 1 to 1.25 lakhs per cycle. Besides, not all couples get lucky in the first attempt itself. Thus, increasing the overhead of expenses. Also, being time-consuming and pricey, couples choose to not have a baby at all!
6. Limitations on lifestyle
Many fear that their life would not be normal after having a kid. For instance, unable to party, no consumption of alcohol or smoking. Not just this, but they fear that they won’t be able to make any impromptu plans like traveling, adventure sports, and so on. They will have to forgo their plans for the financial security of a child. And all this situation may arouse while seeing friends struggling with their lives.
7. Career choices
“Work takes me to various places. But with a kid, it becomes next to impossible.” When a couple lands in a puddle like this, then choosing to not have a baby becomes their priority. Because we live in a world of competition and guarding your career is very important. Further, gone are the days when women would concentrate only on parenting and quit work. When it comes to leadership, women are more successful than men.
So, taking a maternity break from a lucrative job and not feeling like resuming to work for the baby – is hard to digest for some. Thus, they choose not to have a baby at all!
8. Responsible decision
Many couples think about overpopulation, imbalance in the environment, antinatalism which is why choosing not to have a baby. We are engulfed in environmental hazards making it unhealthy for the child to strive. Also, the population is on the rise, thus endangering the child with the competition. So, to waive off all these worries isn’t it best to not bringing a new life in an overcrowded premise.
Well, all these are not generic for all but many believe in these reasons. Also, to validate I spoke to some experts, and let’s see what they have to say.
Experts take on why couples choosing to not have a baby
1. Dr. Sachin Vitanor,Obstetrician and a Gynecologist (MBBS, DGO)
“Many couples get married at an early age and eventually have an unplanned pregnancy. Further, choosing to terminate because their career and future are at stake. But this can have an adverse effect when they are trying to conceive again. And when natural conception fails, they go for fertility treatment which is a lengthy process and a costly affair. Indeed, many exhaust their savings on these treatments which force them to not have a baby.
Besides, rising ailments and environmental changes are also one of the reasons for not having a child. Especially in COVID 19 situation, many couples exhausted their savings and faced financial instability. Thus, there were many cases of Medical abortion wherein couples were reluctant to have a child in such tough times.
2. Dr. Aneesh Bhat,Consultant Psychiatrist (MD Psychiatry)
Infertility or difficulty in conceiving has become a major issue in the current world. Some choose to have no kids but there are some who despite trying are unable to conceive. Both conditions are psychologically challenging and disturbing to the couples. Let’s see the first scenario – that is ‘chosen infertility.’
Most of the time what we observe is that these types of couples are usually fearful to shoulder the responsibility of the child. They feel inadequate because they are career-driven so do not want any hurdle in it. So as simple math they think that “if we can’t give time then why should we take more burden.”
Now let’s see physiological infertility. In these cases, the couple wants to have a child but because of some physical issues, they are unable to conceive. This scenario produces tremendous psychological pressure on the couple from society as well as from near and dear ones to have a child. In initial stages, the pressure and stigma from society push them to take treatment and try different methods because in the Indian culture the stigma of having ‘no child’ is very strong. So, this creates a lot of parental and peer pressure to conceive as early as possible.
Unable to conceive leads to a lot of anxiety and fear among the couples, thus leading to psychological exhaustion. Further, this condition may worsen leading to a feeling of incompleteness, anger towards oneself, feeling of left out from the mainstream followed by depression, and sometimes extreme measures like divorce or suicide.
If this scenario continues then couples may suffer from psychological burnout where they just get fed up with all attempts and accept the situation as it is. In such cases, a lot of couples may choose to remain childless or even go for adoption.
However, in both the scenarios the second one is more challenging because the condition is against the couple’s wish. As a psychiatrist, I have seen couples who have tried hard to conceive but because of stress, they couldn’t. However, the couple took the decision to adopt a child instead of going childless.
On a parting note
So, I covered all the reasons why couples are choosing to not have a baby after talking to a few of my friends who are childless. So, if you think you are one of these couples, then I would love to hear your thoughts. Also, if I have missed out on any point, then feel free to add your inputs in the comments below!