A group of Malawian children pose for a photo Teneke Warren

Why do people decide to have children?

Beyond the social capital it brings – beyond those cute brown eyes – beyond the unmistakable and sometimes unpleasant small of soiled nappies – why do we have children?

There are a myriad of reasons for this somewhat inexplicable human impulse – some simply want a replica of themselves – others see it as the next stage in the pursuit of happiness like getting married or paying taxes – others believe that to populate the planet is humanity’s sole purpose.

Whatever the reason, we are now at a crossroads where we have to weigh our reasons against a possible future where having children may probably be seen as the most irresponsible thing to do.

That wasn’t a typo – irresponsible!

Don’t get me wrong, I hope to have my own bundle of joy someday, but must we not question our reasons in view of what we now know – seeing what we have seen so far?

Think about it; if 16 million Malawians are proving to be a handful to manage then imagine 129 million?

In the face of this reality, all our reasons, combined, multiplied or magnified, are not worth putting our children through the obvious implications of such a future and still expect them to thank us for having brought them into this world.

Concerned? Well you should be!

We cannot continue living without giving a solitary thought as to the consequences. In my neck of the city, I see too many baby mamas, with school-books in one hand and crying babies in the other, and wonder where the fathers are. I see far too many families having children they couldn’t possibly afford and they smilingly say “these are a gift from God” while the children go another day on an empty stomach. I continually hear of childless couples being pressurized by in-laws who stir the pot with rumors that start with “people are talking…”

Well – look where all this has gotten us?

The question shouldn’t be “what has this got to do with me”, but rather “what must I do?”

We must forgo our biases, beliefs and ideologies about having children and adopt new behaviors where we plan our families rigorously in advance of having them; taking into account, not only our own resources, but those of the planet.

If not, then you can be guaranteed a future where government regulates resources and prosecutes families that have more than their quota of children. Unthinkable?!

I’m not trying to scare you, but we will have to deal with this at some point or else it will deal with us ergo becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. Trust me; your descendants will curse you for not having done anything about it when you had the chance!



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