Recently, I ran into an old friend from college I had not seen in a minute. We used to be quite close before the vagaries of adulthood separated us. She was with her beautiful daughter, who looked like four years old. Cute girl who should advertise Colgate or something.
I remembered back in college she was quite adamant that she will never ever get a child. Last time I met her almost five or six years ago, she still held to that. She must have changed her mind soon afterwards. Or something happened. I wanted to ask her cheekily, but lately nimejifunza kunyamaza, because one wrong statement, one wrong emoji, can end a friendship of 17 years.
Made me wonder, is there such a thing as a permanent and irrervesible decision.
Ama we are constantly changing. Constantly evolving. I have sworn things in the past that came back to haunt me. I remember when this dude I know fell out with another mutual friend and I tried to mediate, telling the offended dude to take it easy, reminding him, ‘don’t to burn bridges’ and he said, “Some bridges we have to burn. And if the other guy is the bridge, I will swim to my destination.” The originality of that line has stuck with me.
But back to babies. My old friend is the first person I met who didn’t not want babies at all. She nearly convinced me. When my female classmates were rushing to get babies in that baby fever that catches many a girl between 24-28, she avoided the pressure. Must have given birth when she was 30+. We didn’t have the word for it then. I only learnt about it it juzi, it is called anti-natalism. Those who don’t want to get babies for philosophical reasons, mainly because the world is a painful place.
When I was young, the man I looked up was a sworn bachelor and his reasoning was quite persuasive. Also at a philosophical standpoint, I never wanted a baby. Or bachelorhood seriously appealed to me. Not so much the hedonism as the freedom that it comes with. And also, I find the world a cruel place and nobody should bring forth another child to a world that guarantees nothing but misery.
But as a believer in the Bible, I do believe in the divine obligation of filling the world and sometimes I think it is not our decision if we will get a baby or not.
What I have often wondered, is that do men too have baby fever? I can speak for myself.
Sometime in 2012, I was in Awiel, Northern Barl El Ghazal in South Sudan. I was standing outside a shop when a woman came with a boy who was like four. The boy was so handsome, playful, and innocent, so sweet and I so admired the kid, I could steal it. I wanted a baby there and there. You cannot describe that feeling. It was so biological, so natural, even my philosophical beliefs were compromised. Everytime that kid looked my way, I wanted one such.
Only yesterday, Laureen Akoa Wesonga told me that it is not possible to shun the opposite sex and the urge to have children, since it is biological. Maybe it is.
So, with the knowledge of the world you have now. With the many broken adults out here. With all the pain and trauma, would you still want to bring another person to the world to suffer? You are likely to end as a single parent, wanna take the risk? Because all of us are hurting and sometimes I want to hug all of you and assure you that everything is going to be fine. Sometimes I just need a good hug and good chapatis to heal my pains.
Because I am meeting many parents, young ones who hate their babies. The babies are a reminder of their bad choices in life. Remember the joke that of you are a first born, be humble and kind to your mother because you made her marry a man she didn’t want…
Yet, kids are awesome. When they cry all night and deny you sleep, you can be angry. But as they come of age, begin to be individuals, ride a bike, know how to read, crack a joke, there is a joy they bring to our hearts. A good antidote to the chaos of adulthood. You can’t describe that joke.
On a balance of things, getting one is still a good bargain, and your only imprint in the world, a reminder that you once existed.
So many A-list celebrities in the West and not necessarily gay have died without babies bequething their billions to their nephews and dogs and the rest is seized by the State. Maybe we are headed there. Maybe.
By Silas Nyanchwani