*Due to the sensitive nature of this, I feel I should start with a disclaimer. This is not meant to be aimed at any one with children or wanting children. If they bring joy to your life, then I am genuinely happy for you. This is for those who don’t understand the choice or those who are looking for an understanding shoulder to lean on. This side of the topic isn’t broached nearly enough. I’m sorry if you’ve found this while in a relationship teetering on indecision, but if I made you think about it. Really give it the thought it deserves, then this will have done it’s job (minus any backlash). This may be a rant, but I feel I’ve made some good points whether you agree with them or not. As with all things I post (and this is my first serious post, actually written by me) I am open to conversation. Or maybe you have a thought that maybe didn’t occur to me. Those are welcome too.
My name is… well perhaps my name isn’t the important part, but here’s a quick rundown on my situation. I’m female and turned 30 this last February. I am the youngest of 3 siblings and the only girl at that. I’ve worked retail for the past 11 years and this coming April will mark 10 years that I’ve been with the same guy. Are we married? No, we have different opinions on what that should entail, so it’s currently on the back burner. And I’m honestly okay with that. We’ve also been the parental guardian of the most awesome cat, who is family, for the last 9 years (who, contrary to what I just said with my last breath is trying to bully me for something right now!) And I have always lived in a city. Do we want kids? No. Not collectively nor individually. And the questions (or topic poking) have started up over the last 5 years or so. Depending on who you’re talking to the conversation has potential to be littered with small IEDs (the topic of children can be about as tricky as religion and politics, possibly because it can be easily affected by view points taken from them…) and you will find yourself needing to articulate the WHY beyond your initial response. I find it’s better to have more than one reason. Why people find the need to comment on things, beyond the point of just being curious, that has nothing to do with them and has no potential of affecting them is beyond my realm of thinking. Maybe it’s a validation kind of thing? Maybe they just automatically assume that you plan to are just so surprised that you aren’t? The last time I brought it up that I had a conversation with someone about and told him what some of my answers were, he was surprised. He said it never even occurred to him to think about the points I brought up. Well, that’s because you’re a guy. Depending on how your dad feels about you carrying on the name, it’s practically expected you don’t want them and nothing more is required than the non-committal “No, not really.” and the person who asked the question says, “Tha’ts cool bro,’ and carries on their merry way with a whistle. Being a female, it’s expected of you to want them and any polite decline of the idea will just mean that the topic will come back later. Below are my thoughts on why I’ve made the decision I have, some things I’ve heard personally, and questions I’ve seen rummaging through the internet.
Having the conversation with a friend a couple years back before she moved out of state she talked about a friend of hers who also didn’t want kids and how selfish it was. I guess the assumption is that you don’t want kids so you can continue to live it up, make bad decisions, and stay a total mess. Well, if that’s what the person wanted they wouldn’t be that great of a parent anyway. I think my friend viewed having kids as a reason for turning her life around and by all the pictures I’ve seen, it’s worked out well for her. Her life is completely different (not that she was all messed up to begin with) and appears to be completely happy. But, for me, that is not the case. We pretty much live pay check to pay check as it is and we work full time. Where would the extra money come from to support a kid (and let us hope here that it’s only one kid and not end up with twins or triplets)? If we continued as is we would be dirt poor and having to always be looking for government help. That kid that you felt I should have would have a terrible life no matter how well meaning we were. We both come home tired from work already, there’s no need to add not a moments rest and financial crises hanging over our heads every day. You’d be able to cut the stress with a knife! Would two full time jobs be the answer? HOW would that be the answer? There’s no actual living at that point and the kid gets put to day care and babysitters all day. That’s not a solution. You didn’t actually WANT that extra money did you?
And while we’re on the subject of selfish, what about it is really selfish? Do you need validations for the decision you’ve made? Are you upset because you feel you didn’t have a choice and you have to carry your decision alone?
Let’s say we had no need to worry for money. And we made sure to raise our idea of the perfect person (Yes, person, this is not your childhood cabbage patch doll). Three things are plausible. 1: Our mini human is super smart and awesome, but is continually bullied for being different. Not every one can come back from that. 2. Our mini human started out great, but all those great qualities dissolved once other people were discovered and felt the need or desire to fit in. 3: Our mini human is shot in the streets by the ever continuing and expanding gang violence/mentality (http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment).
And should I mention the increasing lack of food in our food thanks to the popularity of convenience and a long shelf life? Let’s be honest you already feel apprehensive about where society is going, yeah? Do you feel a little relief to think you’ll probably miss the wost? Why bring a newbie into it? True there’s a lot of people out there trying to do some good and hold back the tide. And I have much respect for them. But it wont be enough. I guess there’s always The Demolition Man future! HA! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18e4GeUwVWs
(I’ve even heard someone say she got pregnant because they were bored as a couple… Are you sure that’s a good idea?)
“That’s what we were put on the earth to do!”
That’s never been proven and I feel that we are plenty populated. And in fact…
Though I have a feeling this mindset comes out of the time when children were so hard to successfully give birth to and actually live past a few months. So, detrimentally, they tried to have as many children as they could hoping that some would survive, though that was worse for the body to undertake. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm Even as early as the 1950’s the infant mortality rates were staggering. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0779935.html
“It’s your turn now!”
When did this become a game? We’re not exactly talking about going for pizza here.
“Are you sure this is your decision and you’re not being influenced by your partner?”
If that was the case I wouldn’t have thought about it this much.
Guilt for grandchildren
Apparently my mom was really looking forward to grandchildren of her own and she’s so far struck out with me and it’s not looking so good with my two older brothers either. Even though I’m able to tell her multiple reasons of why, I’m pretty sure she’s still taking it personally (She told me after the fact that she thought it had to do with how I was raised. Which totally has nothing to do with it.) And every so often I’ll see a facebook post sharing an image with the comment “For those of you lucky enough to have them.” Yeah, I saw that. How do you think the situation would go if I got pregnant just because you wanted it? And this is no perfected science we’re talking about. As of March 7, 2013 the CDC reports about 650 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. That’s still a LOT of people. So, in a way, though you might not have intended it this way, that you love me so much you’re willing to risk my life for someone you’ve never even met.
“Your mother had you!”
And…? Is this grasping for straws? I don’t see the point in this argument. Am I supposed to do everything she does? Damn! Do I have to stop eating bell peppers now?!
“You might regret it later.”
Wouldn’t I regret making a big decision like this when it wasn’t what I wanted to do?
“Once you had them you would change your mind.”
Once I had them I would HAVE to change my mind or end up with a screwed up kid.
“You’re missing out!”
Says who? Not every one is a happy parent. http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/kids-and-happiness-0 Not to mention, as of August 2004, 532,000 minors are reported to be in foster care. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0778809.html
“But you would be such a great mom!”
Probably. But who’s keeping track here? 😉
“Crazy cat lady?”
Sure! I love cats! Gimme!
“You could give birth to the next Buddha or someone who could make the world so much better!”
I could give birth to the devil incarnate. (Yes, I have seen a lot of scary movies. What’s you’re point?)
“You don’t WANT children or you can’t HAVE children?”
Are you saying infertility is something to be shameful of? It’s a pretty natural occurrence. Rounded off to 10% (That’s about 6.1 million people) of woman aged 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/Infertility/index.htm#a
“Aren’t you afraid no one will look after you when you get older?”
Isn’t this a selfish reason to have kids? Here’s a great response I found online. “Two things come to mind when people say this (and it gets brought up fairly regularly when we discuss this subject) – the first is that having kids is no guarantee that they’ll look after you when you’re old, and the second is that paying for care when you’re old is something you have to budget for regardless of whether you have kids or not, and to be brutally frank, you can probably afford it better if you don’t spend all your income raising kids.” Which you will find here. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=651224 There’s no guarantee they will do anything you expect them to.
I did also find a good point of view of a mother that I actually hadn’t thought of. “The life I thought I would have as I aged has been altered completely. My father has died, one of my sisters has died, my mother is in a nursing home with severe dementia, my frail in-laws are in their 90s. My family is getting smaller. Christmas is particularly hard. My older son and his partner travel to spend Christmas day with her family, because her sisters have children and it’s more fun to be with them on the holiday. We will finally see them after Christmas. My other son lives too far away to come, or for us to go to him.” I can see how that would be sad.
“It’s your civic duty. The economy will collapse!”
You’re a 1 percenter aren’t you? Couldn’t we just go back to trading goods? The economy is broken for the majority of people. If the concept of money was abandoned by the government, what would you do with yours? What could you do with yours besides keeping the house warm for a bit by chucking it into the fire place? It has no value besides that what we give it.
“Now that I have children, my life has true meaning!”
I am so happy that you’ve found meaning in your life! Honestly! If you find some joy you need to grab onto it. But doesn’t that also mean that before you had no meaning? That’s unfortunate. But being separate people, our lives follow different scripts. I intend for other things to happen in my life.
“What will you do with your life?”
Glad you asked! I intend to follow my recently realized (It was so obvious I almost missed it!) passion for animals. I want to one day have my own sanctuary/s and save as many animals as I can. Fellow humans have created such a problem for other animals and I love their personalities. Currently trying to get myself working at a veterinary hospital and once I get that squared away I plan to volunteer at shelters until the time comes when I’m ready and able to do it one my own. It’ll be long, hard days, but it’ll be worth it. And it will be to the life that’s already here. My life may not include mini humans, but it will have meaning. And fur. 🙂