Must I have a child?

So, I just finished reading an article in Maclean’s Magazine titled “The Case Against Having Kids.” Provoking read I must say. In the article, some women argued that to not have kids is selfish, while others argued that having kids is selfish.  In my opinion, both decisions can be selfish but they are not so in and of themselves.   If you’re having a child just to see what it looks like, that is downright selfish. If you’re not having a child cause  you  want to go out whenever you want and have the money to do so, well, that could be considered selfish. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re just plain selfish (not in the take care of yourself, love yourself first kind of way but in the in the self-centered kind of way), maybe you should figure why you are so spoiled figure out how to stop being so. However, if you don’t want kids you shouldn’t feel like you should want them.

When I was younger, 14 or so, one of my uncles told me I was selfish when I said I didn’t want to have kids. I thought to myself, how is it selfish not to have kids?  It’s not like they exist and I’m depriving them of food and water so that I can run the streets.  I still feel this way today.  I sometimes talk and think about my future children-how they’re not going to be brats who throw tantrums in grocery stores or sass strangers, and about how  I will be open to their interests and career choices, and inevitably, about what I will name them.   But I have these thoughts because it’s just expected that I’ll have children because that’s what people do.  To be honest, it’s not because deep in my heart I want a child.  Corinne Maier, author of No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to have Children, says that “parents are the selfish ones” and that “every baby born in a developed country is an ecological disaster for the whole planet.”  There is even something called the Voluntary Human Extinction movement which I read about in the article as well.  This group says that “the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of plant and animal species is the voluntary extinction of Homo sapiens.” Fighting words.

Voluntary human extinction is a bit much in my opinion but Maier has a point. We are  making a mess of the world over here by simply being alive and giving in to all of our human desires.  Our lifestyles are destructive to the planet and other living beings.  It doesn’t have to be this way though, we can choose to be conscious about how we live through what we consume, what we throw away and long we let our taps run.  That being said, I would call my parents anything but selfish and I’m sure many others feel the same. My parents are amazing.  I won’t even go into detail about all they’ve done and continue to do for myself and my siblings.  They have made immeasurable sacrifices efforts everyday for us to have rich and meaningful lives.  And shoot I didn’t have a say in it, but I am happy to be here, mainly because they’re made it possible for my life to be pretty darn sweet.  My parents have also shown my siblings and I that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required” (Luke 12:48).  I know too that giving is fulfilling. To me, parenting can be Godly work. It is meant to be Godly work.

My sister just had a child. He’s beautiful. He has opened up a doorway to a life of experiences, wonder, joy and pain that only parents can walk through.  I am happy for her. I will enjoy some of these experiences in the Auntie Package.  You don’t get as many favors as the Parent Package but I think it will be almost as good.  I can’t wait to watch him grow, hear him speak, hear his cute little innocent and limitless baby thoughts.  Babies are a blessing.  But not every woman has to bring one into this world.  There are plenty of children to go around and no you don’t have to be Brangelina to adopt.  You might not be rich enough to fly across the world and get yourself a cute little African kid ( even though their parents still want them ahem, Madonna) but I’m sure you could be just as happy with a local child. More importantly, you will turn some child’s life around in ways you may not imagine.  Sure, adoption is most likely not as wonderful and fuzzy as the celebrities make it look, but what is?

In the book No Kids, reason number 19 not to have children is that kids will inevitably disappoint you. I agree. I know I’ve disappointed my parents at some points in my life.  But by the grace of God, I haven’t and know I will not end my life on this disappointing note. The point is that whether they’re your biological children or adopted ones, there are times when parents will be disappointed.

And let’s talk about God more shall we?  Or rather let’s talk about this famous bible verse that says “be fruitful and multiply.” People, let’s stop using this as a reason to have 20 kids a piece. Could we please? Would that be wrong?  With respect to the Word I feel we have to take everything in context.  The context today is that the world is overpopulated and that there are children who need love and homes.  Now  to be fair, it is my observation that people of strong faith  usually see parenting as Godly work and are prepared to take this on because  they see it as part of their life’s purpose.   I just think that this work, this Godly work, can be carried out with children that did not necessarily come from yours or your woman’s womb.  It doesn’t have to stop because you didn’t birth a child of your own.

Maybe I’ll understand when it’s my turn to give birth. But to be clear I’m not anti-procreation.  I may want to have my own kids soon who knows? My point is that it is not a crime or a sin or a deprivation to not want to have your own kids.  And for those who don’t want kids period, they may be being selfish (negative selfishness now people) but there are other ways to address this disposition than to have children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *