As far as I know, my sister and I are the only ones in our generation of the family who want kids. She already has two, and I’m still trying to figure out the timing. But our cousins, for one reason or another, have all decided that having kids isn’t part of their life plan.
More and more people seem to be feeling this way.
In reaction, there’s a contrasting group of passionate parents who tell them they’re horrible, immoral, selfish people for not wanting kids. It’s a point of view that almost leaves me speechless.
Sure, my husband and I are excited about the prospect of having kids in a few years when we’re ready, but I don’t see what that has to do with anyone else’s choice to procreate. If anything, it’s nice to know that people are taking the idea of having kids seriously, rather than making it the assumed default.
I had the privilege of growing up in a house with two parents who wanted us more than anything. Two people who broke their backs to give us whatever they could, who supported us in the best way they knew how, and who continue to love us with everything they have.
Not everyone is prepared to do that. And I don’t think that makes them selfish. It makes them honest.
Devoting yourself to someone in the way you need to devote yourself to a child is a massive, personal decision. As lucky as I’ve been, I’ve also witnessed the damage that can be done by a parent who resents the existence of a child. The feeling of being unwanted, no matter how much the parent tries to cover it up, will stick with someone forever.
You have to have some level of desire to make you ready to take that on.
You Owe it to Your Spouse
This one’s tough. Because really, the only thing you owe your spouse is honesty. If you lied to them by leading them to believe you want kids when you really don’t, you shouldn’t just have kids you don’t want to make it up, but they have earned the right to hate you forever.
Taking the option away from someone else makes you a bad person. A really bad person.
But, if you’ve been honest with them from the beginning, and they’ve maintained some hope that they’ll be able to change your mind or that you’ll just grow out of it, well, that’s on them. Both people need to be clear about what they want.
As much as you love someone, you need to decide if having kids or not having kids is a dealbreaker. And if the other person doesn’t share your viewpoint, they’re probably not the right person to spend the rest of your life with.
It hurts, but there is a biological reality to consider if you’re a woman who wants kids. Make sure you both know what the deal is as soon as possible.
Duty to Country
A lot of people are pointing to Japan, citing their low birth rate issues as a warning to North Americans to get busy and make babies. But in reality, we’re already suffering…from overpopulation.
The world population has skyrocketed in the last few decades. And all of these people filling the earth need good food and clean water to survive. But as the population goes up, so does pollution, making it harder to meet basic needs.
Don’t even get me started on job security!
If anything, a few people sitting out this round of creating the next generation will be good for humanity long-term, and wanting kids in the current climate is probably more selfish. I’ve accepted that I’m going to be selfish in this case, but I’m happy about the people who aren’t.
I have no idea what it’s like to raise a family yet, let alone trying to do it under the poverty line. But using my powers of imagination, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably not all glitter and rainbows.
Some people have to make the decision between living a fairly financially comfortable life without kids or a non-stop, debt-riddled panic with kids. I don’t think it’s fair for people who can easily make it work to look down at those who haven’t had the same opportunities.
Not only is someone who can’t really afford kids putting themselves in a stressful situation, they’re putting those kids in the middle of that stress.
However, if you don’t have a lot of money, but you’re determined to make it work, you can probably find a way.
My parents did.
They’ve worked at jobs they hate most of their careers to make more money to give us a better life. They did it happily, but seeing how much they’ve suffered over the years, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who keeps a lower paying job they enjoy rather than chasing money to afford kids.
Judgement Without Reason
I’ve touched on a few reasons people may not want to have kids, but there are millions more I could discuss. If you don’t know someone’s personal reason, you can’t exactly make the sweeping statement that they’re a selfish person.
Bottom line, what other people want to do with their uteruses is none of your concern. Their desire to not have kids isn’t your problem. Even if you really want to be a grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, etc. you don’t get a say about the amount of responsibility your family member is willing to take on.
Personally, I think it’s a shame that no one else in my generation wants kids. I think some of them would be great parents, and I’d love for my future kids to meet their future kids someday. But it’s not my choice, it’s theirs. I’m proud that they’ve taken the time to think things through and decide what’s best for them.
End of story.
See you next week, but until then, good luck choosing to make life a little better!