Par­ents hold off thoughts of hav­ing sec­ond child

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai


Al­though China had in Oc­to­ber lifted its fam­ily-plan­ning pol­icy, not all par­ents are keen to have a sec­ond child, es­pe­cially those who have learned to cher­ish the life­styles they have come to adopt as a re­sult of that 36-year-long re­stric­tion.

Hu Ji­a­cong, the man­ager of a trad­ing com­pany and a mother to a five-year-old girl, said that she is cur­rently happy with hav­ing to raise just one child, hav­ing man­aged to achieve the op­ti­mal bal­ance be­tween work and fam­ily life.

Hu and her hus­band used to be re­stricted to just one child as nei­ther of them were the only child in their fam­i­lies. The couple isn’t plan­ning to have a sec­ond child de­spite the change in poli­cies, but they have re­cently re­ceived pres­sure from their par­ents to do so.

“Al­though one ben­e­fit is that my daugh­ter will have some­one to play and grow with, it also means that I will have no time to work and travel around as I would need to take care of both of them,” said Hu, who is in her 30s.

“It’s not that we can­not af­ford an­other kid fi­nan­cially, but it is a huge chal­lenge for us, mentally and phys­i­cally, and we don’t think we’re able to han­dle it.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, there are about 140 mil­lion women in the fer­tile age bracket who al­ready have one child, and 50 mil­lion of them are el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond child.

Hu added that even if she even­tu­ally changed her mind to have a sec­ond child, she would not give up her job and end up be­ing a mother ob­sessed with her chil­dren and their up­bring­ing.

“I did once con­sider hav­ing a sec­ond child as I grew up as the el­der sis­ter in the fam­ily so I know how an older sib­ling can pro­vide love and care to the younger one, but on the other hand, I don’t want to be a house­wife like my mom and give up my own life,” said Hu, who hails from Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

“Hir­ing enough nan­nies to take care of them in the day­time and squeez­ing time to spend with them is cur­rently the only so­lu­tion should I choose to have a sec­ond child. I will still in­sist on hav­ing my an­nual travel plans and hang­ing out with friends.”

Zhou Hai­wang,

deputy di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Pop­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies at the Shang­hai Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences, said that the new pol­icy will likely lead to a surge in new births within the next one or two decades. He be­lieves that al­though cer­tain par­ents may not be ea­ger to have a sec­ond child now, they could change their minds once the gov­ern­ment un­veils more fa­vor­able mea­sures to help fam­i­lies.

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