While reading College Fashion this evening I came across two particularly awesome links. The first is to a video that is SO CUTE that it is the first time a video has made me cry out of sheer adorableness:
The second is to a post that addresses the social challenges faced by women who don't want children. Keep in mind that the large pictures that break up the text don't actually signify the end of the article - just scroll past them.
This one struck a particular chord with me as I never intend to have children and have been faced with the "I know better" reaction on more than one occasion. While I'm not sure I could be quite as understanding toward those who mock my choice, I think that she does an excellent job of explaining our position and the some of the reasons why women might choose not to have kids. However, her focus seemed to be on personal incompatibility, and I thought that there was another significant factor that needed to be mentioned.
I will admit that the primary reason I don't plan on having children is because it entails a life I don't want for myself and am convinced would make me unhappy. Having had plenty of time to think about it though, there are a few other significant reasons that deter me from procreating and are worth considering no matter who you are:
For starters, it is no secret that we are burning through resources at an unsustainable rate. We are already facing a crisis over oil that - depending on your political stance - has been causing terribly destructive wars (is there any other kind?) for several decades now. While this is bad enough, I cringe to think of what the world will be like later down the line when it is fresh water - another dwindling resource - that is being fought over. My understanding of humanity's behavior is that we are going to continue doing what we have done since the dawn of our existence: fight pointless fights over territory, resources, religion, power, and race. Why would I ever want someone I loved so much to be a part of that world? I barely want to be a part of it myself! You may call it cynical, I call it rational.
To continue, we currently live in an overpopulated world. This is a particularly difficult issue to confront due to the huge bias against contraception that is a major part of many religions. Add to that the inaccessibility of contraceptives and sex-education in many parts of the world (whether it's due to impoverishment or due to religious lobbyists in parts of the USA) and it becomes more and more important to use our own awareness wisely. If I know that families like the Duggars are doing their best to contribute to both overpopulation and to use up as many resources as humanly possible then it is all the more important that I have no children at all.
Finally, I am repelled by the idea of being conned by biology into doing something so against my beliefs. I won't lie that I'm a little terrified that as I get older all of a sudden something will change and I'll get what I like to call "baby fever". As far as I'm concerned this is an outdated scam of Mother Nature's to ensure the survival of our species. It horrifies me that some renegade hormones may take over my brain and leave me with a decision that I would regret for the next twenty years. Furthermore (and most inflammatory of all), to me there is something fundamentally narcissistic about having children. The whole notion of "what would our kids look like?" and of continuing bloodlines are ideas that call to mind the quest for immortality in Homer's Iliad. As truly rational beings I think there is something to be said for overcoming these more primal instincts and making decisions based upon who we are, not what we are. To be clear, if that means that after all that you still want children, then by all means go for it! There is certainly much to say for having kids (as I have been told enthusiastically by my parents): they can teach you so much about yourself and about life and there is such joy to be found in one's family.
I admit (almost) unflinchingly that five years down the road I may be singing an entirely different tune. In that case I will most likely be cursing my pigheadedness at posting such an article on the internet where it will live indefinitely... but I wont ever deny that each of these points is seriously worth considering before making such a life-altering choice. Personally I'm a huge advocate of adoption: what could be better than taking a child doomed to a life of impoverishment, abuse and/or neglect and offering it a loving home? While adoption is for many people inaccessible due to its expense, I hope to see the day where it can be more attainable and widely used. Anyway, I hope this has at least given you something to think about.