A tough choice to make for some couples

Two before three: Mohd Syamim and his wife Tunku Soraya enjoying the good times at their home in Shah Alam. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Starting a family for young couples nowadays includes considering the careers of the parents as well as having sufficient income to take care of the child.

For Aiman Sadiq and wife, Nur Ashikin Yusof, they decided to plan for a family after getting married in 2021 as Nur Ashikin was pursuing her post-graduate studies at a local university.

Aiman, 31, said he would not want Nur Ashikin’s studies to be affected while juggling motherhood.

“There were many cases where a mother had to ‘drop out’ or postpone their studies after finding out that they are pregnant.

“Some of the mothers who experienced severe morning sickness could not submit their research based on the deadline due to this. As a family, we decided that my wife will focus on her studies first,” he said when contacted yesterday.

If the government is encouraging citizens to start a family, Aiman, who works in the private sector, said it must also consider those pursuing their tertiary studies.

“I help my wife out with her tuition fees, which makes a dent in our single-income household.

“We do hope the government and public universities could consider making parent-friendly assistance for post-graduates, such as scholarships for married students,” he added.

Aiman also said that it would be great if both maternity and paternity leave were evened out – so either parent would be able to maintain their careers and have the opportunity to bond with their newborn.

When he has the opportunity to become a father, Aiman hopes his children will grow up well, contribute to the country, and keep tabs on their parents.

Safety manager, Mohd Syamim Shukri, 33, said there are specific goals that he and his wife, Tunku Soraya Datuk Tunku Zamil, 33, who works as a graphic designer, would like to achieve before having children, such as travelling the world.

“Having children is a blessing of course, but there are responsibilities that come with them, and we need to afford certain necessities,” he added.

Mohd Syamim, who lives in Shah Alam, also felt there was a lack of incentives for mothers working full-time in the M40 category.

He said various incentives are given to working mothers, like in Selangor with RM1,000 childcare one-off assistance, but it is limited to a specific financial bracket.

“I think such incentives for working mothers should be expanded to the M40 category, seeing that we also face the same rise in the cost of living.

“Even nowadays, living in big cities, we need to consider the prices of things and imagine the cost of daycare in the Klang Valley now,” he said.

As for 36-year-old T. Krisha, being child-free was a deliberate choice as it allowed her to focus on her career.

“My husband and I made this decision even before we got married. Both our families were also okay with it,” she said.

“I don’t think I can manage a household and a career simultaneously. Both my husband and I travel a lot for work and have demanding work schedules; I don’t think it is easy to manage a child,” said the auditor.

Krisha said if she changes her mind about having children, she wants to ensure that she can be a hands-on mother.

“I feel that if I can’t be physically present as much as possible, I would rather not be an absent parent. That is part of the reason to be child-free,” she said.

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