So the biggest talk in town this week is the $2 billion Enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package, and the new subsidy framework for childcare and infant care services. What I get is only additional two days of childcare leave when Edison turns seven. Nothing much for me to cheer at the moment.
For a comprehensive list of benefits that you’ll get if you pop out a Singaporean baby, you can visit HeyBaby website. So does it entice you to have a baby anytime soon?
Singapore may be the few countries in the world who is throwing money at its citizens to encourage them to have babies. If we compare ourselves to similar countries with low birth rates like South Korea and Hong Kong, we’re very fortunate to have a government who is continuously looking at this issue and offering helps to families.
I have friends in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and they told me the same thing. Over at their country, life is much tougher when they have kids. I agree with them.
Over at China, people want to have more babies but they are restricted by their harsh old-child policy. Over here, government is giving money to citizens to make babies but they are still reluctant. Life is ironic sometimes, isn’t it?
Many people asked me if I have plan for baby # 2, and my answer is still NO. Two years ago, V and I had a serious discussion on whether we should try for baby # 2, but at the end, we were still undecided. I wrote about it HERE.
So, we took it naturally. We didn’t really “work hard” for it, but we didn’t particularly “avoid” it either. Two years have passed, and I didn’t get pregnant. I know that deep in my heart, I’m not very keen to have another baby. That’s why I didn’t pin any high hope.
Late last year, things went downhill when I was diagnosed with an incurable disease. I need to be in long-term medication to keep this disease under control (there is still no cure for it). The medication will cause birth defect, so my doctor has warned me it. I cannot get pregnant now, and it saddened me to no end.
Suddenly, I feel the pain. I regret for not doing it earlier when I was still healthy, but I can’t turn back time now. My status has changed from “I think I don’t want” to “I can’t even if I want now”. It’s sad, I know.
Sometimes, I do wish that Edison could experience what it is like to have a sibling. I have a very close relationship with my brother and sister, and we enjoy spending time together till now. I feel sad that Edison will not have the same experience. It will be very painful for me to hear if one day he says he wish to have a sibling.
Still, there is a 1% chance for me to get pregnant in future – if my disease can be kept under control, if I can stop my medication, and only if it all happens before I hit the big 40. I can’t think about it too much now.
Back to the enhanced parenthood package, I think it’s very helpful for families who are planning to have babies. But still, I can’t be sure it will be effective to boost the fertility rate. If a family wants to have a baby, they will save every penny they can in order to achieve it. But if they don’t, they will not do it just because of the one-time incentive. Perhaps, what we need is just a mindset change.
After all, having a baby is a lifelong commitment, not a one-time incentive. What do you think?