Written by Rosemary Strembicki
The biological drive to procreate is the basis of existence for all living creatures. It is what we live for to keep our species abundant and continuous. That is what science tells us, that is "the truth" but after that it gets so complicated.
We are continuously developing as human beings; hopefully we're getting better with each generation. But through the process of evolution and change are we losing sight of our children and sacrificing their well being in pursuit of our own dreams?
It seems that generations ago it was much simpler, there were fewer choices, lack of effective birth control meant many babies but societal structures were different, too; children were so easily lost through disease and accidents. Multiple pregnancies did not ensure multiple births or a legacy of several offspring. Life experiences were limited to hard work to secure an existence and hope for future generations. Well, that is still true. We are all working to make life better. We have more opportunities to experience the world and everything it has to offer, but in our current pursuits are we sacrificing our children's futures?
With modern technology we can consciously choose to have children and sometimes we go to great lengths to conceive them. But do we truly consider what it means to have children in today's world and what choices and sacrifices we will have to make to ensure their well-being? And what or whom decides what is "right" for each individual child?
I am constantly considering these questions as I work with parents who share their struggles with me. Traditional and non-traditional families, adoptive and birth families, one and two income families, financially secure and high needs families, they all share in dreams of a secure and happy future for their children but most of them struggle with how to achieve it. Why? Is it that we have too many choices or not enough?
Some of us struggle with the choice of work or family while others have limited resources and few choices in meeting their family's needs. What do children need to secure a happy, productive future: financial security, more family time, a reliable support system? All of those things are crucial and every parent makes choices to achieve them but we all make different choices; some good, some not so good. We make choices within the realm of our own histories and belief systems. What is important is knowing what prompts those choices.
Being aware of who we are, what motivates us and how we envision the future for ourselves and our children is crucial in making the best choices for our families. It takes time and intention to think through every decision we make, starting with the decision to have children. If we know why, how, and what we are willing to sacrifice in order to raise our children the other decisions along the way are less daunting.
What I have learned from every family is that the commitment to children is usually more than they had anticipated so thoughtfulness, intention, and planning are the keys to success. As our children grow and change new challenges arise. The more we know about ourselves, our children and our values the more successful we will be in achieving our dreams. There are so many choices we can make and we are bombarded by the consequences of the choices that others have made. We experience the consequences of other's choices through the media and question each other's decisions to take on risks. But we alone are responsible for ours. Some of us have great success and others falter, nothing is guaranteed, but if we parent with intention and make thoughtful decisions it is much easier to live with the consequences and understand the reason we took the risk when the path wasn't clear and rejoice in our good fortune when it turns out well.