As with anything, the issue of having children early has both pros and cons. It can be claimed that having children early is a plus since the parents are young and will have the much-needed energy to play with and raise their children. In addition, when the children grow up, there is usually a friendship type of relationship between parents and themselves. On the other hand, some consider having children early alters life plans and goals as far as reaching a certain level in their career and having lived “life” to the fullest. The one thing that is common in both cases though is the great amount of time needed to dedicate in nurturing the little ones.
Chatting with women who had their children “early” seems to make the former option attractive. They are often seen together leading their social life, running errands, shopping and even wearing one another’s belongings. Perhaps it is because most of the women I spoke with had the opportunity to bond with their child more because of the absence of their father (due to death or separation) and they say they wouldn’t have it any other way. Granted, the early child raising process was certainly far from easy. However, once the rug rats turn into fully-grown adolescents, they often consol their parents and even have a major say in many decisions the parents make. Sure some parents may have postponed or even sacrificed going to school or climbing the corporate ladder to tend and nurture their little ones and yet they have accepted their bundle of joy as the way their life is supposed to be.
This brings me to a crucial observation of the Ethiopian community. Often we are overwhelmed with what others will think of our situation and how it is viewed. To make matters worse, there is minimal to no room for open discussions of sensitive issues such as safe sex and sexually-transmitted diseases. This leaves our youth population with no choice but to assume for themselves or worse yet, find out for themselves by engaging in such risky activities. In many cases, we are expected to turn out to be decent citizens and follow the predetermined stages of life that goes something like this-go to school, go to church, finish college, get married, and have kids. Although these serious of life milestones seem attractive and the norm for most of us, it is key to keep in mind that life has a way of taking its own path. So, without going off topic too much, I am urging all parents to be more open and understanding of the events that take place in your children’s life and make it easy to communicate with them.
As far as to have them now or later-its truly a personal choice as the question transcends the goals of parents, career path, tradition, personal life milestones, unexpected phenomenon, etc. However, as a big sis with 12 years difference, I have to say I enjoy the friendship, sister, mother/daughter relationship I have with my little sister which almost makes me want to have them early. What do you have to say?