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March 7, 2014

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Women defy age and career to have 2nd child

FOR Lisa Chen, two months pregnant with her second child, the relaxation of the family planning policy couldn’t have   been more timely.

The government now allows couples with one spouse from a one-child family to have a second child. Shanghai started following the new policy since March 1 this year.

Chen is an only child but her 46-year-old husband is not. They have a son who is 14 years old and always longed for another child.

“We know that someone would either resign from their job or go abroad to deliver their second child, which was against the law at that time,” Chen said. “We couldn’t afford to break the law at the cost of our career and personal development.

“But I’ve never given up on the thought of having a second child and always followed media reports,” she said.

Chen insisted she is not worried about her age since there are many women in her age group who are keen to have a second child in cities like Shanghai.

“I will definitely undergo all necessary prenatal checks for the sake of my baby’s health and strictly follow doctor’s guidance,” she said. “I will also get an amniotic fluid puncture to carry out detailed tests on disorders like Down Syndrome.”

But despite the joy of having her long-held desire fulfilled, there are some worries. The grandparents, who look after her son, are in their 70s now.

“I don’t want to quit my job and hurt career prospects besides adding to the financial pressure. I am considering hiring an ayi,” she said. “But I may have to make a compromise by having a non-family member living in my home.”

They spent a long time talking over the unusual situation with their son, who was not happy initially.

“He gradually came to accept it after we convinced him it was more fun to have a sibling for company. The pressure on him to look after us when we grow old will also be less,” Chen said.

“He now wants a little sister, who may be quieter and lovely than a brother.”

Chen was also forced to give up her plans of moving into a bigger apartment.

“We spent a lot on our son’s education. He has been studying in private schools since kindergarten and we plan to send him to an international high school and then abroad,” she said.

“The second child will enjoy the same privileges.”

According to local government estimates, about 20,000 to 30,000 couples will take advantage of the new family planning policy every year and have a second child.


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