Sam De Brito: The hidden truth about parenthood

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates one in four women in this country will remain childless for "a wide variety of reasons … these range from lifestyle choices relating to the pursuit of education and a career, to a preference for a life without children".

"For some, the cost of raising children, in terms of both time and money, is a barrier, while for others, health concerns such as fear of passing on a genetic defect to a child are contributing factors," reports the bureau in the 2002 Australian Social Trends study.

I do not have children and I am not ruling them out altogether, but as I get older, the sacrifices faced by my friends who have taken the plunge seem ever more daunting.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

Posted November 27, 2007 at 5:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Charming Billy wrote:

Yes, I’ve gained a little weight and international travel is out of the question. But I’d rather be obese and housebound with my kids than fancy free and footloose with Mr. De Brito. He really just doesn’t get it.

Talk about hearing what you want to hear. Surely some, (I suspect most) of the parents he’s spoken to have been trying to tell him that parenthood is both immensely rewarding and immensely difficult. And his friends who “regret” having children are probably having second thoughts about their ability to parent—and what parent doesn’t?—rather than wishing their children had never been born.

November 27, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

It’s the hardest, most frustrating and expensive thing I’ve ever done.  I would do it all over again in a second.  Mr. De Brito, you don’t know what you’re missing.

November 27, 10:35 pm | [comment link]
3. DonGander wrote:

I enjoyed my one son. I liked being a parent.

But I REALLY like being a grand-parent!! Just think, if I had not gone through being a parent I would have missed the huge glory of being a grand-parent!

I’m glad that I did not read such an article as “The hidden truth about parenthood” in my younger and less wise part of my life. I might have missed what I now find so valuable.

November 28, 12:22 am | [comment link]
4. DonGander wrote:

I keep getting drawn to daunting sacrifices aspect of the author’s idea. I would guess that he has no clue.

My father was institutionalised in a medical facility shortly after he married my mother (due to a poison ingested at his employment) and after his release he went to another city to get work. I was born just as they left their home. The first few months of my life were spent in an old house with no heat, no water, and no bathrooms. The next year my father bought a piece of property with a barn on it and moved us into it. My mother says that it was an improvement over the earlier situation. I wonder what daunting challenges my parents faced? I never, ever, remember them regretting their children. They are in their nineties now and have five sons and a host of grandchildren and greatgrandchildren to rise up and call them blessed.

I really like how President Teddy Roosevelt said it;

“Poverty is a bitter thing; but it is not as bitter as the existence of restless vacuity and physical, moral, and intellectual flabbiness, to which those doom themselves who elect to spend all their years in that vainest of all vain pursuits—the pursuit of mere pleasure as a sufficient end in itself. The willfully idle man, like the willfully barren woman, has no place in a sane, healthy, and vigorous community. Moreover, the gross and hideous selfishness for which each stands defeats even its own miserable aims. Exactly as infinitely the happiest woman is she who has borne and brought up many healthy children, so infinitely the happiest man is he who has toiled hard and successfully in his life-work. The work may be done in a thousand different ways —with the brain or the hands, in the study, the field, or the workshop—if it is honest work, honestly done and well worth doing, that is all we have a right to ask. Every father and mother here, if they are wise, will bring up their children not to shirk difficulties, but to meet them and overcome them; not to strive after a life of ignoble ease, but to strive to do their duty, first to themselves and their families, and then to the whole state;..”

“ infinitely the happiest man is ...” my father.

November 28, 12:45 am | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

Our children are now coming up to their teens. I was looking at some old photos today and said to my wife that I wished I could do it all again. Not out of regret - but out of the wonder and joy of it all.

November 28, 4:05 am | [comment link]
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