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We have been married for close to 10 years and the first four years were the most blissful years for us! Why? Well of course we were a newly-wed young couple but also because we didn’t have any kid(s)! I’m sure from aww you went to haw!!! but I bet many of you know this feeling. However, there comes a time in a couple’s life when they are hit by “FOMO syndrome” because suddenly your Facebook & Instagram pop up with these squishy, adorable pics of new parents, newborns, and baby moons, baby showers, and so on. You get announcement messages from friends & colleagues about them becoming new parents and suddenly google shows you ads of preggers wear/ nursery furniture/ parenting tips/ toys! It’s like the entire universe is conspiring against you to tell you “Hey you are next”. We were no different but we anticipated that our pregnancy, our parenting, and our child everything will be different (now I know why “only fools rush in” ). we consciously took the plunge, excited and anxious as any first-timer but little did, we know what were we signing up for? Here I want to point out that people have lots to share about pregnancy – tips, processes, best practices, dos & don’ts, suggestions on brands/doctors, baby proofing, and techniques. There is so much free info downloaded on you that you may think that everyone is an expert then you! A lot of pressure of doing it better than settles in most of us subconsciously and your mind is screwed. Then of course you have professor Google to add to the drama. However, when the D-day comes and you finally face the music all that info goes down with the placenta and you are left with just a clueless mind and a scar!! Nobody or nothing can ever prepare you for this! Whatever you’ve heard till now or know has been a lie and I want to tell those people to just shut the F*ck up because it's of no use. We go through it on our own and it’s meant to be that way!

Anyway, we went through hell for the first three years and I mean it because of the sleepless nights, depressing breastfeeding, a baby who is perpetually hungry every hour, and no matter how much you feed its never enough, its like the baby has a dessert well that soaks up every ounce of the milk! You feel you are never enough, were you prepared for this no! Never! But things got better gradually and now after 5 years, we seem to have forgotten the miseries and traumas. And we find ourselves discussing whether we should have another one!!!! Unbelievable right!

We humans have an amazing quality of forgetting and willing to get into the traumatic loop again and again! I think we have enjoyed this process of first creating difficult situations and then pondering why did you do it!! I mean look at us, we have finally reclaimed our adult life, conversations over wines, travel, Netflix Ing post 8:30 pm, sleeping in late mornings but how can we enjoy this? Let’s screw it up, let's avenge. and we come up with ridiculous reasons like they need company, they will learn to share, to bond, a sibling is important! Gosh! What about all the company they have at school, neighbourhood, cousins, birthday parties, outings, playdates, and hiking. Who are they bonding with? Ghosts? Cuhmon, we need to come up with real reasons!

We discussed and discussed and figured we don’t have a real reason why should we have another one! Let’s be honest, we think you should have only what you really want to; the rest are just worthless excuses and also the wine was too good to spill over this anymore. Adios with this thought and wine, let me know if you feel the same or different. We are traveling to Dharamshala for four days with 5 of our old friends and their families, and sibling - important or necessary?

sorry that was till yesterday but now we are only 3 families because one’s mum is scheduled for a last-minute Angioplasty surgery while the other is himself going through a kidney stone surgery (also last minute). For those who haven’t been to Dharamshala or have hazy memory allow me to refresh it! Dharamshala is in Himachal Pradesh. It is the home to His Holiness Dalai Lama and all the Tibetan clan who came to India in exile, with beautiful cedar forests and yummy Momos and Thukpas. I am not here to give you a guided tour of the place so do not be mistaken. I just wanted to set the context and give you a little background that’s all!

Anyway, so like I was saying we were 5 families traveling together but today when we were discussing the plan, our friend disclosed that they can’t make it because of his sudden surgery. It was still ok and we were all empathising with them because after all, it’s surgery, not some lame excuse! We also tried to coax them saying since it's a laparoscopic operation the recovery will be faster and they should still plan to come. However, what followed after that was quite amusing. So, when we started coaxing, I think our friend realised that there is no use lying /making excuses because probably she herself wasn’t convinced so how will we accept it! So, she decided to spill the tea – she was 7 weeks pregnant with her second one!!! What shocked me was the way she shared this eventful news with us! Instead of telling us or announcing it she said it in a sidebar conversation like a passing comment!!! I mean having a baby should be one of your most happy moments even if it’s the 2nd one! But she did not seem very enthusiastic and she confessed that she is scared and might regret this later but I fail to understand why have the baby then, why? I thought maybe I’m being hasty in my judgments/thoughts so I further probed her as to how did she decide to have one and behold my tears! She replied her younger one decided that she should have a sibling or if I may quote” she perfectly identifies being an elder sibling”

I was taken aback and thankfully all this conversation was happening over WhatsApp so she couldn’t see my blank expressions. Once again, my meager intelligence failed me and I was wondering if that is enough reason to have another child! I mean you will be bearing the child for 9 months alone and then both parents will raise both the children for the next 5-7 years till the child is independent enough to stop tiring you physically. My friend is willing to go through all this only because the elder one identifies! It seems to be a bullish justification.

Now let me give another context/background for my friend. So, they have been living in the Netherlands for the last few years and recently bought their own house as well. Since both are working, the child goes to a day-care 5 days a week and is back by 6 in the evening. They have no help and have to do everything on their own! (By the way, Rupa is on leave today – some acidity issue so I’m planning to call for chapatis with yesterday’s chana, Lobia & little leftover chicken in the fridge). Anyway, back to the Netherlands and had no help, so she told us that her elder one doesn’t have many friends due to a lot of racism and engaging /entertaining her is tough for them. So, they decided to have another baby to keep her company. How ridiculously funny this sounds – to entertain one child you get another one! Also, when the child is in Daycare the whole day so technically the parents need to be with her for the weekend and evenings! After the child is in Daycare one would miss and come back to the child with wilful love and affection. This is what used to happen to us when ours was in Daycare. Imagine doing those things again for the next 5-7 years only to entertain the 2nd baby!!!

This has been a norm that has taken its natural course over centuries in our country where the couple is coaxed/willingly to have one baby and then usually they have a second one for the first one saying siblings are important, they will keep each other engaged/busy/entertained. They will have someone to share and a family after the parent’s demise and so forth. This norm was more functional at a younger age for the mother-to-be and physically easier to raise them. But now the norm has followed a latter course at much older age mothers or a bigger age gap of children ranging from 5-9 years. This is detrimental to both parents and child and physical/mental/emotional abilities where they may not be in their best forms to do this. In such cases many are unable to enjoy parenthood while fulfilling their duties towards the children, mostly that’s the case! Moreover, it's not necessary that siblings will share a deeper connection/love throughout their life. They may not be each other’s confidantes or may not share so much. I know a lot of such siblings and I myself am one such.

We may have a lot of plans for our lives/ situations but life surprises us all the time with its own course. We cannot be certain of anything not even ourselves/our actions. But we must think and act responsibly to ensure that is our action giving us that satisfaction and happiness in the long run that it should or are we doing something to solve something temporary. We should decide for ourselves first because like I always say If we are happy/content we can be the best version of ourselves and make our family or close ones happy else not! All we will have, are regrets and unfulfilled wishes. My friend is foolishly brave and I adore her for all of it.

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