From the Mailbag: Deciding When to Have Children
When I was first married, all I wanted was to be a mom. I just wanted a baby – I had wanted kids since the time I was 12. A baby to call my own, someone to love unconditionally. It didn’t enter into my mind to wait to have children, or to even discuss it. It didn’t occur to me to wonder if I was ready to be a parent – I was married, I wanted a baby. It wasn’t the be all and end all – but every month that went by that I wasn’t pregnant I was sad. My oldest was born 14 months after the wedding, with his brothers following quickly. Within the blink of an eye we had four children, and life was busy!
These days, I see many couples (not just in the secular world) waiting a year or two before they try to have children. They want to get settled into careers, and make sure the marriage is a strong one – valid reasons. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I waited. But then, I wouldn’t have the kids that I have now. And my life would have gone differently.
I never even considered for a second not having children. I have always tried to understand why a person wouldn’t want to have children, but I just can’t. My kids have fulfilled me in so many ways – I can’t imagine someone not wanting that for themselves. Add the religious component into it – we’re supposed to have kids, and plenty of them!!
This letter was waiting for me in my inbox this morning – I am very interested in reading your responses.
Would you ever consider discussing how/when to know if you are ready to have a kid/start your family and the intricate halachas relating to this extremely personal mitzvah to procreate; and any possible leniencies that exist i.e should a rabbi just determine when you are ready or should you rely on the fact that you know you do not want children so you should not be a parent?
I know the child free movement is growing stronger, throughout the world, and is definitely starting to creep into orthodox Judaism. I am curious how people/Rabbis view this change.