What motivates an individual to become a parent?

“I can’t see any reason why people would want to usher a demanding, dependent, irrational new person into their already full, meaningful lives.”


This is what a friend of mine wrote to me during one of our endless discussions about this and that. If she is to have a child, she says, she will have to either wait for the life she wants, or watch bits of it “washed out of the window”.


Although I don’t have any rational answer to this enquiry, I do feel there is an answer somewhere — perhaps different for every individual. And that, on finding that answer,  the person will hopefully be able to free their spirit of ancient social stereotypes of procreation and heritage and old-age-support.


15 thoughts on “What motivates an individual to become a parent?”

    1. I have to agree with you. But, by these statistics (however general they may be), it seems humanity is growing largely by foolish accidents, no? Hardly a wonder, then, that we are such a scream. 😀

  1. Or following the body’s hormonal dictate to procreate, no matter. I had no intentions of having children. They came to me, both on birth control. My youngest came out with an IUD on her placenta! So obviously I chose to stay with the pregnancies. They tried so hard to come to me, I figured they were a blessing. And they have proven that and more.

    1. ‘Hormonal dictate’ reminded me of a study I read about that claims that first-borns instinctively hamper their mother’s energy levels during the ovulation time to prevent her from bringing in a ‘competition’. If is it true, how very fascinating is the race for instinctive survival!

      You have an abundant life on all counts, Bela. I am sure most of it isn’t accidental.

  2. Hm… I think that the answer lies in evolution. We are all pre-programmed to breed as much as possible. That’s all that evolution cares about – it’s called survival. I think for us humans, on this little planet, the trick is, to do a bit more thinking and a bit less breeding….

    1. Do you think we will get past the instinctive urge that is dictated by evolution? Most don’t. Those who do, are labelled nasty things and shoved to one corner. For instance, those who decide they do not wish to breed are left to sit in pubs and lonely parties. But then, on second thoughts, those who do breed are left to do that as well…

      1. Well, as you may have gathered, my dear Priya, I am a complete pessimist about the future of humans. The only way we will survive on this little blue ball is to stop breeding so much, stop carving up the planet and selling bits of it to each other, and to stop polluting it and warming it up. If we do all that… we’ll be fine… if not…

    1. Children bring so many different colours to life. What is more fascinating is that parenthood is a different experience for every individual. I feel more myself, and yet more restless-for-improvement after becoming a mother. Such funny fulfillment!

  3. As plans of marriage come together, so do the inevitable talk of children. The thought scares the living daylights out of me…Still, it seems like an interesting prospect. Scared yet interested? Is that even a healthy mentality to have on motherhood?

    1. It is the best mentality to have, I think, Nel. If you are scared, you will make sure you will do it only when you feel you are best prepared for it (which is actually (ahem) never*), and, if you are interested enough, you will tide over all the woes — potty and colic and tough nights and rough days.

      The good thing about becoming a parent in my opinion is that you get to choose a friend — you make her/him. It is an indescribable feeling to watch your little buddy grow up to show and accept love. What a wondrous gift! The bad thing about it is obvious — you get to worry the whole bloody rest of your life, even when you are not worrying. As for the freedom to do your own thing, it is a funny reality that all of a sudden you realise that you did have a bucket list before you became a parent and it suddenly calls to you like there is no tomorrow. But the funnier thing is that there is a tomorrow, and you will wake up to it.

      So, dear Nel, continue being scared and interested. All the very best for the honeymoon days and the ‘real’ ones. 😀

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