Take the parent test
Pregnant mom Suki is pretty glad she didn't have to pass before starting her family.
With my first child not even 3 years old and number 2 still in the womb, one would think I would be able to side step helping with homework for a while still. Not so. As the 'baby' in my family – youngest of 5 – and with a reputation of being 'the cool aunt' to uphold, I have been dragged into projects and tests and plays for many years.

Now the first of my siblings' kids has reached university. I was summoned for my "insight".

The task: an essay.

The topic: whether or not prospective parents should be forced to undergo a series of psychological tests before being allowed to become pregnant.

Ha! This was my first reaction. Anyone that takes on parenting must be a little crazy, right? Bringing up a baby is an incredible responsibility.

Combine that with sleep deprived nights (an effective form of torture, you know), and I was left to wonder if these psych-tests would actually suggest that you could be too sane to parent…

I did not share these thoughts. Probably not what her teachers had in mind anyway.

How to enforce the test?

So I listened to the ideas that she had discussed with my big brother (her dad). How would you force people to do this? Could you prevent people from having children? What about people who did not choose pregnancy? How do we know that a stable couple today will still be stable couple in a year? In 5 years? In 10 years?

I had still more questions.

One. What does nature want?

Making babies’ is built into us. We have been designed to do so for the survival of the human race. Evolution has sculpted us. Women have big, child-bearing hips. Men have nearly all developed selective hearing and are therefore pretty immune to cries during the night. Survival of the fittest does not require psychological testing, only that we make enough babies that the strongest make it through.

Two. What would these tests determine?

Whether you like kids? Whether you have the patience to teach them and help them develop? Whether you are smart enough? Whether you are rich enough? What is smart or rich enough anyway?

I know financially secure families with really wonderful children, but I also know those with very unhappy children.

So, in the end, here’s what I think.

Should prospective parents undergo psychological tests before being allowed to become pregnant?

I don’t know. But hopefully with sites like Parent24, future parents will at least have a better understanding of what is waiting, and can therefore make an informed decision (and know where to  find help when they realise they were not prepared after all).

How practical is it to enforce such tests? I also don’t know. Most likely a logistical nightmare.

But here’s the thing I wonder about most:

Who has the experience, knowledge, instinct, understanding (I’m ending there, because the list gets long) to be able to say whether someone else should or shouldn’t be allowed to become pregnant?

I know I don’t.

What do you think should be included in a 'Parent test'?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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