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