Why do we have children?

Some want a child to give them love. Some, because they are lonely, and want a child to provide them with attention. Some want to raise a child to become what they were unable to become themselves. Some want an image of themselves and their beliefs that will continue on after they are gone. Some want an heir to their own legacy, to keep their memory alive. Some want a child or children to provide for them in their old age. Some might have a child out of biological compulsion. Some might because they feel social pressure to do so, from parents, friends, or religious beliefs. Some have a child because they want to force a man (or woman) to stay with them. Some are forced to have children because of rape, or experimentation with sex, and they are unable to terminate the pregnancy.

People have children for all of the above reasons, and likely many more. However, I would ask you to consider parenting as a sacred trust. We have brought into existence (or taken responsibility for, in the case of foster or adoptive parents and caregivers) a human being, totally dependent on us, who has consciousness, feelings, and a psyche capable of encompassing the universe potentially more broadly, and in different ways than ourselves. It is our honor, opportunity, and responsibility to nurture those capabilities, and to help the nascent person within the child develop to their full potential. This giving and nurturing is a huge factor in ultimately being happy, both as a child and as a parent.

Not that having a child is without benefit to the parent. Re-experiencing the wonder of existence, which a child can help us do, is priceless, and can re-awaken lost passions for growth and exploration in a parent who is as ready to learn from a child as they are to teach them. Additionally, powers of empathic attunement and intuition can be greatly enhanced. Ultimately, however, we must accept that having a child will likely entail equal parts sacrifice and blessing, since one always goes with the other, as in every facet of life.

Raising a child well is a complex balancing act, but keeping some goals firmly in mind gives a sense of direction when things “get crazy”. Even if we have gone astray in the past, we can make great strides if we can put the past behind us and move forward with a goal of fostering the development of a happy person. I hope you will consider it! Go here, if you are interested in learning more.