Don't judge those who choose not to have kids

The commentary on Wednesday ("Children make you richer, not poorer") suggests that choosing a "materialistic" life, in which having time, money and freedom are key priorities, lies at the opposite end of the spectrum from choosing a life "enriched" with children. The former is a selfish act; the latter, a sacrificial one.

Let us abolish the mindset that placing one's wants and needs above all else, especially if they do not align with convention, is inherently bad.

For some people, bearing children is not something they intuitively yearn for, while others have known since they were young that they wanted to be parents. Both groups are different, but neither is fundamentally wrong or right.

To presume that the benefits of having children and starting a family apply to all, no matter how fervently one believes it, is to know nothing about the nuances and complexity of humanity, as well as the other myriad experiences that make a fulfilling and colourful life.

Having children is a permanent decision. I dare say bringing a life into this world for the wrong reasons is a far worse regret than not having done so at all.

Ironically, if one decides to have children mainly to serve as company in one's old age or to pass on one's legacy, isn't that more egocentric than not having children?

While I am happy with being called selfish, if that means having time, freedom and money, I do not close the door on having children.

In fact, should I have my own children, I hope to pass on two of the most important values my parents taught me: open-mindedness and the acceptance of difference.

Grace Yeoh Wen Yi (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Don't judge those who choose not to have kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe