Poor people must not have babies

Am I hoping to get hits? You bet I am.

Ana Santos wrote yesterday on Rappler about rearing a child: “Babies are not blessings” the article says. Pretty strong stuff. Brave. Shocking. Terribly shocking.

A couple of friends have posted it on FB and gave somewhat of a mild reaction to it. They point out that the title is gravely misleading and that the article is actually about being responsible in choosing when to have a baby, most specially teenagers. That it is not a walk in the park and not all butterflies and rainbows. The baby isn’t a cute and fuzzy puppy all the time. That it requires financial and emotional stability. All these are true. I will admit that this is one point of the article. I’ll give them that but I sense something deeper hence my violent reaction to it.

While the articles does serve as a reality check, the thing being unsaid is that poor people should not get pregnant. Because of the huge financial investments, as well as the effects on your personal time (as explained by Dr. Llanto in the article), it should make you stop and think about having a baby. I find this mindset similar to the latest Time article about the Childfree Life. To have the good life, we invest our “small fortune” in ourselves — not on noisy, annoying, and costly children. It equates children to mere burdens in life that need taking care of. Perhaps this is their view of the sick and elderly as well? I simply cannot agree to such a mindset.

Would it be irresponsible to have a child that you can’t support? Of course it is. But what if, despite everything  you did, you conceive? Will you see this child as a blessing or a burden? The article insists on having children by choice and not by chance… What if you chose not to but somehow was given a child? What now? If we think of what this article says, it would be easy to decide to not continue with the pregnancy. Chilling. We mask this selfishness of living our own lives with being compassionate and considerate to the innocent who would otherwise live a miserably poor life if he be brought into the world.

So perhaps the conditions set by this article are: if you have the money to burn on an extra mouth and willing to give up sleep for a year or so to soothe a crying baby, then you are qualified to be a responsible parent. If you live in poverty, don’t have children. Funny how we do not see this when we talk about a human life but often cry,  “discrimination!” (yes, even those who are pro-RH) when we talk of our pets.

Deep sigh.

Meanwhile, here’s a reaction from Fr. Robert Barron on the Time article which, i think, parallels this article by Ana Santos:

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to car or not

A and I have this transportation conversation often. Whenever we go out — grocery shopping, meeting-up with friends, parties and occasions (birthdays, weddings, christenings) — we talk about, most of the time, getting a car when we get home. The convenience of just having to get in a vehicle and go wherever you want when you want to and not walk for long distances with the crowd of fellow 9-to-5-ers, comfortably seated and cool with your air-conditioning.

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But taking the ‘rational’ opinion, i easily become the ‘kontra-bida’ in these conversations. living in a 50-sq.m.  house without any provision for a garage meant either leaving the car under the sun and rain on the street in front or removing part of the house to make room for the garage (which meant more money to spend!). then there’s the annual registration, possible repairs and maintenance, and fuel costs.

then there’s question number 2: brand-new or not-so-brand-new? the brand-new car allows us more flexible terms and lower monthly payments (here, i say that we will pay 100k+ more than the SRP of the car in the long run) but a 2nd-hand car costs less and saves us a bit more money (and here, i say that it’s older, we’re not sure history of use/abuse of the car, prone to breakdowns, etc.) which brings the conversation to a halt because A is already cross with my negativity. 😛

but in reality, i do want the convenience of a car. i want to drive to tagaytay on a weekend just because. i don’t want to be stuck in the office waiting for the rain to stop because cabs are mostly occupied. i don’t want to be rushed carrying the grocery bags as i transfer from the jeep to the tricycle and into the house. i don’t want us to carpool anymore with college friends who probably go out of their way just to drop us off to our destination or to the MRT. i only ‘rationalize’ because i want to convince myself that i still can adapt and i’m just not committed enough, that i’m just a whiny little kid who can’t handle some little inconvenience. ma-reklamo lang ako at masyadong pa-sosyal.

i grew up with the convenience of a vehicle — a bright red ’77 Toyota Tamaraw. mas matanda pa sa amin ng ate ko! hahaha! i guess di ko na hinahanap kasi na-experience ko na eh. A, however, did not. and she tells me how she feels as she narrates those times she and her parents would be left at some event hitching a ride with some other family member or get stuffed into an already-packed jeep. i experience it now, and start to feel a bit ‘kawawa‘ myself. but i still try to convince myself that 1. it’s OK with my friends because they are generous, and 2. they don’t think any less of me just because we don’t have a car. if it’s just them i’m concerned about (i.e. showing-off), then i have no reason to get a car. but thinking of how i inconvenience them with their own car, that gets me to worry a bit. is it a compelling enough reason?

medyo mahaba lang ang post today. pero alas-8 na. kailangan na umuwi. magko-commute na naman muna ako dahil mahal ang taxi. magastos. pwede na ipang-hulog sa bahay o kotse. 🙂 (for my daily commute dilemma, i’ll post something in the future about it. i think may solusyon na ako. 😀 )