(My 4th birthday)
A friend shared this film with me on not having kids to save the planet and this was my commentary on the subject:
Thanks C, I don’t want kids. but it isn’t for this reason. However, I don’t think that it is a bad reason and combined for all of those who don’t have them do help stave off the over-population that, regardless, we still have. Can you imagine if all the people who could be having 2.5 kids were having 2.5 kids? Lord. At the same time, I am not mad at those with 3 or more children, either. As long as they are planned, thought through, supported financially and emotionally and not poor and on welfare their entire lives, of course, as some just keep on having kids when they shouldn’t and frankly…can’t care for them in any of the ways they could offer or should. Between the kids in foster care, parents who can’t support them, and as example, my mother who had nine and never had the financial means OR the love and support to give who simply should not have any kids at all, much less multiple.
Honestly, before aged 30, I thought I wanted kids. I did my best to have them even. I was married and every time I bled each month was a tear to my soul of womanhood. A failure. And then (thank God I didn’t have them) when divorce came we had been in the adoption process and I thought “I am woman! I can do this on my own!” My mother gave me good advice (a rare good moment with her) that said “I don’t regret any of you, but had I made it to 30 without kids I would have kept going. And Peg, you aren’t striving to find and define yourself and your life, you truly HAVE a pretty set definition of who and what you want, and kids don’t really fit in that, you would be changing your life entirely for them.” And she was right. This was right before 30 and give a little more time and 30’s came I realized that I was wanting kids because #1. I’d get too old not to have them by age 31 (basically the thought when you are in your 20’s) and then #2. I’d regret not having them, #3, because everyone asks me when I am having them. #4. Because I’d make smart and cute kids. #5. Because I could be a better mom than my mom was #6. Because society and this is what a woman does. But as more time went by I would look at my friends all having kids and realize “That is not what I want. Their life isn’t what I want. And I really am set in my life, my ways.” Kids are cool. I don’t dislike kids at all. I strive to mentor kids who needs it in life (because kids need mentors outside of good parents, and because too many don’t have mentors in their parents at all). But I now don’t even have the little dance your ovaries do when you are in your 20’s when you see families looking so adorable and loving and think “I want that”. Having come from a hard childhood and a broken family, what I also had hungered for was creating the family I had missed. But I also learned and realized that I can’t live vicariously through my own children and that I can still, as an adult, create my family, my home, surround myself with a lot of love…without having children to do so. Children aren’t there to love you, fix your childhood, or be loved by you. If you have love to give…give it in a lot of ways. To be loved, BE loved and surround yourself with the right people and community to do so. Kids aren’t there to fill a void. And kids aren’t there to fix the woes of your own childhood. So a lot of reasons that a lot of people, myself included, THOUGHT that they wanted to have kids…are having kids for all the wrong reasons.
Another big reason not to have them, in my case, is that lingering thought of “Will I regret not having them?” Well, life IS regrets, but putting that weight on a kid that they might be a regret if you DID have them is also pretty tough. Or the “I had you just because I didn’t want to regret not having you” pretty lame.
Then, society. Lord, even straight going THROUGH divorce people harp on a young woman about when is she having kids. The pressure is REAL. And you realize that society does truly breed you to believe this is your job and that you are a failure, or that something is wrong with you for not having them. Now being not-married, 36 years old, and no kids…owning a cat has society putting pressure on you, or more at my age, just giving up with a look of disappointment. But…at some point in a woman’s life you also don’t give two fucks about society anymore and their thoughts. You learn to do you. And guess what? THAT is something that I would never regret having, and would regret NOT having in my life. No doubts.
I am not saying that life wouldn’t be grand had I had kids. First of all, I am an incredibly adaptable person. In today’s logical world I would likely need to co-parent and life would not be some big happy story. I would likely not be the greatest mom.I would for sure make a lot of mistakes. And my own childhood wouldn’t be fixed though this child but actually likely cause problems for this child. Because we are human and no matter how well we grow up and cope with the bad in our past, we still cope, and humans project on other humans. You can’t run away from some things. And it isn’t to say that I WOULD have ruined a child, either. I might just be the worlds best damn mom…and in the end a kid is going to grow up feeling loved or not, feeling supported or not, and being stable or not, and being a good person or not, and being successful in all life or not and in the end that is up to that little to grown human and has nothing to do with you as much as it has everything to do with you. Kids are built to rebel against their parents at some point and to a point. As Adam and Eve were Built to rebel against God’s one request (if you believe/live by the god line of life). So I could be the worst parent with the best kid or visa versa. Or just break even in human society in this day and age.
And, parents also can’t have kids with all of those thoughts, either. They can only do what they want and what they feel is best and live through it and what happens happens.
But, having kids because you think you should or for all of the wrong reasons is what the majority of society does. I mean, breeding is a part of our make-up. But it certainly is no longer a need. If this was God’s plan, it was cruel and broken and a game meant to be lost to begin with, if it wasn’t what he planned then he isn’t the great god people think him to be. And what if humans don’t survive because we don’t breed? What loss do we truly have then? Heck, we aren’t going to survive over a lot of what we do long before a dying population could ever be a possibility. Legacy…it holds too much of a spot on a pedestal and it does no good for anybody ever. YOU won’t know when the world ends…or you might, and whatever. Who cares at that point. Will you be standing there thinking “Damn, I shoulda had kids”?
Now, I am 36 and love my life and am comfortable with my decision (before it’s even “too late”) and I have no qualms toward those who do have kids (except those who obviously just shouldn’t sometimes) and no qualms toward my friends with kids, except that it often causes friendships to change, even loss, and I don’t see all of them but a rare few being truly happy either way. I have un-happy in life no-kid friends just as much as with-kid friends. It isn’t the kids at that point, but the individual. A kid wouldn’t make the no-kid ones happy and visa versa.
As far as population goes…sure, we have a lot, but we had world hunger when we didn’t have a lot. Six million were killed only a handful of decades ago to cleanse the earth of many humans and it didn’t stop the world hunger or balance out a thing. There have been famine and disease which has wiped out millions and war which has wiped out millions over time and hunger and disease on a daily basis and simply…death. And even the inability to HAVE children to begin with which is much larger scale than people realize (FYI, I could with science these days, invetro, but choose not to. I can’t naturally, and even then it’s not 100% that I could carry full-term). And there hasn’t been found a balance through much of it…and there is a balance in all of that to some point. I mean, imagine if people didn’t die on top of all the births, and if life were longer, too? Talk about over-population we would have then. Not saying that striving to fight disease and killings isn’t the right thing to do, as it is, and somehow balance will still be as it is…balanced, or not. Not having kids to “save the planet” is as dumb a reason as having them because society pressure to do so. There is a LOT we can do to save the planet which most of these non-kid having people aren’t suddenly going out and doing. Not having a kid for that reason I think is a load of horse-shit for the most part…while they sip their plastic bottled water through a straw as they tell you about their selflessness in saving the world.
In the end…you do you.
But also don’t pretend it’s a selfless act either way.