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The selfish parents who have children they cannot afford

By Nina Steele 

About a year ago, I published the story of Alan. He is in his 50s and even though he has no fertility issues, he decided not to have children because in his own words, he could not afford them. He is a highly intelligent man, who is keen on current affairs and the outdoors. He didn’t have a stable career until late in his working life, and so for him, having children in such conditions, was never an option.

The more I listened to him, the more I could see some similarities between him and my husband, as far as being able to afford children is concerned. Even though unlike Alan, my husband has had a stable and well paid career to date, he was never keen on having more than one child. I managed to convince him that we should have two. However later on, I too changed my mind and decided that one child would be more than enough. Of course we are now happily childless.

Contrast that with a couple we know, who have always struggled with money, yet they had their third child a few years ago, and the woman cannot discount the idea of adding a fourth child to her brood. I remember asking her why the need to have many children, when it is obvious that they could not afford them. Her answer was that she herself was from a large family and so she always fancied having a large family of her own. My first thought was, what about the welfare of those children?

This is naturally a contentious issue, with those on the left accusing those on the right of wanting to make large families the preserve of the rich, as discussed in this Daily Mail article. Actually, I don’t see any issues with saying that people should only have children they can afford. If anything, I believe that it is irresponsible for those on the left to condone what for me is irresponsible and selfish behaviour. This is not about left versus right and rich versus poor. This is about the welfare of innocent children, and nothing else.

I am one of seven children and growing up, money was always an issue. And so I know exactly how it feels, to be raised in such conditions. Children are not a commodity that people can have on a whim. Parents should not put their selfish desires before the welfare of an innocent child.

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