It's not the children that were the punishment, it was the pain in giving birth, is what it's saying.
If children are "a gift from God" ... why did God say they were a punishment, for eating from the Tree of Knowledge? ---
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;
So that's where it came from when my mother out of sheer desperation said to me when I misbehaved... " I hope that you have kids some day just like you . "
God never said that to the woman, satan did.
It's allergory. The Bible is based on much older myths passed down and adapted through time. It is an attempt at explaining the consciousness and duality of man ie God gave them the choice of the "knowledge of good and evil." Hence to become like gods. It is also about agriculture and animal husbandry, Cain is a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Civilisation rose out of Sumer we went from nomad tribes to farming, we domesticated animals and wild grasses, we based civilisation around a Tell for the god.
Kings were noted as being gods and descending from the sky and priests took the stories of the tribes people and conducted services. People in those days saw sickness as evil spirits so the priests used exorcism, the shamans where the first priests/doctors. In Mesopotamia Adapa was one of 7 sages. He was unknowingly offered immortality by the gods but turned it down as told by Enki the god who gave Adapa the arts of civilisation to bring to Sumer (Me's).
The arts of civilisation came at a price. Eve came from the Sumerian myth where Enki impregnated earth then ate of it's fruits after being forbidden too. He gets sick and goddess Ninshuarg makes 8 goddesses for each sick organ. Nin-Ti is the goddess given to heal Enki's rib, however Ninti means lady of life, the Sumerians enjoyed a play on words. The Jews had a difficult time interpreting the Sumerian script. In Jewish literature there are more interpretations for one story. In one script Adam is a androgynous being. To make eve they took his side ie spilt him in half although some interprete as taking his baculum penis bone. This explains the notion, why man and woman entering into a union become "one flesh."
Adapa was a fisherman often depicted as a fish man. He was the first Abgallu meaning Ab-water gal-great lu - man (priest). The fish mitres are still worn today.
In saying those words to Eve, God was speaking of the tribulation she would experienced in having children such as labor pains. Notice, those words were spoken to Eve after she sinned and God told her what the result will be as to child bearing. If Eve had remained obedient and not eating of the fruit, God's blessing would have continued upon her and child bearing would have being a joy.
Nevertheless, wouldn't you agree that despite the pain of pregnancy and child bearing, there is so much happiness with the arrival of a child on the faces of the parents? Yes, children are indeed a gift from God!
Short answer: The children are not the punishment, the birthing pains are.