Life affirming indeed. I think women probably still say it (the pain and suffering) was “worth it” because it’s what they’ve been conditioned (brainwashed?) to think. I think women are only recently coming to terms with the fact that they don’t, in fact, need to breed and that’s OK (it’s also okay if you want to have kids, but for the right reasons, please).
I’d love for mothers to ask themselves what they would’ve done with those nine months of torture being pregnant and the following 18 years if they’d chose not to procreate?
Couples realizing they have nothing in common after their kids leave the nest is a huge problem, methinks. I’ve watched couples have kids and never again have hobbies of their own. Sad.com.
Will the media please stop reinforcing this untrue fantasy that people, and women in particular, are incomplete if they don’t have children? Please, please, please.
Travel, have dinner parties, spend time with your friends, go take a cooking class, get a PhD… there are a plethora of other options besides having kids.
Why having children is bad for your marriage
I’ve talked about choosing to be happily childfree on here a few times (that’s still true – #sorrynotsorry). I think people want kids purely for narcissistic reasons (I can raise a great child! They’ll so pretty like me! Or my husband! They’ll have great values that I will instill in them! etc.), which is fine because we’re all biologically programmed to want kids to some extent, although some people are probably just pressured into it, too. I think babies can be really cute sometimes, for sure. They’re cute if they’re not ugly (yes, they exist), or happen not to be vomiting or crying, or spitting up, or pooping. Basically when they’re just little giggly blobs is when they’re the best. (And I use the word “best” lightly.)
But here’s the thing: since this is something that a majority of people are going to decide they want, I do believe that we should make it easy to have them and also continue to be a working human being. One of my oldest friends, who is more like an older sister, really, is a stay-at-home mom of three and I have no idea how she doesn’t come close to blowing her brains out on a daily basis. (Her choice, and I hope she’s happy, but OMGKILLMENOW.)
My managing director just had a baby four weeks ago. She is adorable and has a great name. Instead of sitting home, doing nothing, or sitting home and trying to work from home (while possible, it’s still probably annoying), she’s in the office one or two days (usually half-days) a week with her baby. The first time I heard her cry, I was like, “OMG MAKE IT STOP.” But that’s only happened once and then I chilled out.
The baby likes to be held a lot, so while my managing director is sending emails or whatnot, she’s holding the baby or someone else in the office is holding her (quite happily, I might add, because like I said, most people want kids). I’m pretty sure this is the modern-day equivalent of your fellow tribe numbers helping to take care of your babies.
And I think it’s pretty cool.
I was discussing with a friend yesterday the act of having children. He said it was selfless, I disagreed. It’s an argument that a lot of people use for biologically procreating. Look: I’m not begrudging most of the human world for procreating or having the desire as it’s what we’re biologically programmed to do so there’s nothing wrong with that. I know people with kids and lots of my friends want kids. That’s totally cool! Great even! I’m just saying look at it for what it really is.
Calling it selfish has an immediately negative connotation, right? But why? Selfishness is acting out of self-interest, says my friend, but isn’t 95% of what we do every day out of self-interest? And who are you having a child for if not for your own self (and your partner)? You’re not having a child for your friends, or your boss, or the mailman, or the dude that sits at the end of the bar at your favorite pub every day. You’re doing it for yourself. And presumably so you can raise a child in the way you think is right (more self-interest) and impress your set of beliefs upon him or her (self-interest?).
If a person was really being selfless they would adopt one of the many of thousands (millions?) of children without homes. But most people make the (not bad or wrong but) selfish decision that they want a child from themselves who looks like them because anything but isn’t really their child.
And they call it a selfless decision.