There's an essay in today's Wall Street Journal that really tries to encourage having children. Funny thing is that it's almost apologetic about it. It pretty much says "Yes, this study shows that you're not as happy with children as you are without, but the number is really really small!" and then it tries to explain why everyone out there should have children.

This sort of thing really pisses me off. Look, if YOU have children, YOU have fun with that. Go right ahead. I know you do. I know you adore your children and there's the old saw that the world's best child does exist...every mother has it (insert rimshot here) and all that, but really? You know, some people out there (me) have decided to NOT have kids (me!) for whatever reasons, but it's their (mine!) choice. And no amount of argument from someone in love with the idea or reality of having kids can change my mind. And quite frankly, if the best you can come up with is "Well, you'll be only slightly less happy with kids than without!"....Ain't no argument, sorry.

Everyone always brings up population sustainability, that it takes (supposedly) 2.1 kids to replace each of us. Um, no. Your math is wrong. REPLACEMENT=1:1. Not 1:2.1. And aren't we overpopulated? Haven't they pretty much determined that with our current levels of usage, we're in severe danger of eating ourselves out of house and home? We're using our spaceship most strenuously and you want me to have children? You espouse children as some kind of miracle of happiness even when they actually did a study that proved you're happier without kids?

Someone isn't thinking clearly. Of course, I do take the stance that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, this isn't just 'This is my opinion." This is genuine encouragement to have kids. WHY? We're shitting in our own backyards, people! We're running out of food in that distribution resources are so disparate there is no guarantee you'll have food. How many 'people starving in [insert country here]' articles, pictures and exhortations do we need to see that we are killing our own kind? But this isn't a bullet in the head, people. This is the slow death. Millennia, even.

I don't have children. I don't want children. Even as a child, when all little girls are planning their weddings and what castle they're going to live in and 'this is my baby' doll play... All my dolls? They were dolls. Intellectually and emotionally, they were dolls. Just dolls. I knew I didn't want children. Not for not liking other kids. Hell, I was one! But I never had the emotional connection to being 'a child'. As a result, I tend to treat children as if they were older than they are.

So I talk to kids as if they were intelligent, short adults. Strike one. Strike two becomes "I am afraid of the medical legacy I would leave my children." Genetic misfires here, people. Circulatory, cancer histories...hell, The women in my family have severe problems with their thyroids. Pretty much all of them. I'm not healthy stock. And circulatory is everything from the hypertension on my mom's side to the heart disease on dad's. I'm waiting for my own ticking time-bombs to go off and this writer for the WSJ wants me to pass them on to other people? What did these hypothetical future-people ever do to me???

I have a couple of balls and a strike left, to continue the baseball metaphor. Ball One is "I'm incredibly selfish." I don't want to spend what little money I have on a kid, pure and simple. I don't want to say "Um, no, can't do anything today/tonight, I have a child." Kids cost money, I have limited money, and although my whole attitude has been "More would be nice, but I have enough. I have enough for a bus ticket anywhere," kids would throw a wrench into my whole carefully constructed free lifestyle. Yes, free. I can pick up at any time and go anywhere, within the limitations I have in place (work, money). Do I have enough to take care of ME? And the answer is 'Yes'.

Ball Two: Silly as it sounds, I have a weak stomach. Little Sis left the ConMan with me as an infant. He was in need of a diaper change. I puked 6 times in the 30 minutes it took me to change his dirty diaper. Spit up? Oh no, ain' gonna go there. Don't wanna see. Move along. And really: I know what morning sickness feels like. I've had it. Previous experience. Nono... When you get pregnant, you gain weight, right? I gained 30 pounds the first month I was on the pill. Here's the irony: I actually lost 13 pounds the first month I was pregnant, then another 18 the 2nd month. I didn't eat. I couldn't. I could eat crackers and sip ice cold water. That's it. Death by starvation is not my favorite imagined way to die (fucked to death! That's the way to go! Gently, slowly fucked to death at the age of 100!). So I'd risk death having a kid*. Um, no. Can't make me.

Strike Three: The one that loses this oh-so-handy baseball metaphor is, of course, my greatest fear with children of any stripe... "I'm afraid I would kill them somehow." I say somehow because there's an awful lot of accidental killings. The person that forgets the baby carrier on the top of the car and drives off? Yeah. I can see myself doing that. But I can also see myself getting angry enough at a child to hurt it, physically. And nobody ever deserves that, so.

No kids for me, thanks much. But thanks for sharing. Thanks for espousing straining our already taxed resources to their breaking point to 'replicate'... I still say Population Decline isn't such a bad thing. We've got computer models... What's the point of no return? Estimates of the bottleneck due to the Toba Event were down around 10-15,000. Our current? The World Bank thinks in 2008 it was 6,697,254,041. And we're growing. Although some areas have approached negative growth, others have not. And the Gasoline Age has changed some of the ones from negative to positive.

Now... I'm selfish, I have a really bad tendency to talk to children like they're adults, I'll pass on a whole host of medical issues to said child (or children...twins run in my family), and it is possible, even probable to some extent that I will seriously damage that child.
Yeah. I want a dozen. You wanna pay for them?

(putting away soapbox)

*I came back from college, fell in bed with someone, the condom had a pinhole in it. I knew I was pregnant that night (no, really!) but ended up denying it to myself until I was 9 weeks pregnant for the first doctor visit and then thanks to Reaganomics, I couldn't get an abortion through Dad's insurance, which threw me dangerously close to the 2nd trimester "we'll have to involve hospital and you'll have to pay for it all" stage.
I couldn't be pregnant. I was the golden child. It just wasn't happening. My period would show up. I went through 30 pregnancy tests.
I was ill. Physically ill, from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep (thank you, brandy. couldn't have slept without you!). I hurt constantly, every inch of my body. My hair hurt. I would accidentally touch one part of my body with something and it would hurt. I had to move and function and appear as if everything were fine and it wasn't. I was in constant pain, constant nausea. I couldn't eat ANYTHING. Milk would be the worst thing. Crackers and ice water (like, 2-3 crackers a day and ice water sipped). I was in severe denial, and ended up counting days maniacally. End of the 8th week, when my period was supposed to have been and gone... I tell my parents, I'm in no shape financially, emotionally or physically to have this child. An appointment was made.
Five years later, my boyfriend at the time decided to take dis-advantage when I was out of my head. My motto had been 'No glove, no love', and it chafed him. TaDAAAA. Really bad to wake up from a pass-out kick ass trip to go 'Oh fuck. I've felt that before. OH.FUCK' and just know with every fiber of your being sperm met egg. I went to the doctor after 2 weeks of feeling like utter shit (hair hurting? Check. Hurts to cut your fingernails....Yep. You're PREGNANT!!!!).

One last post-script... This is rather apropos coming out today. My period was late. I'm on day 45 out of an 21 day cycle. I've taken 2 pregnancy tests, knowing full and completely well that they were negative. I don't mind wasting the $6.99... For the first pregnancy? The 30 test? Yeah. 17.99 per test. You do the math. That's how far skinflint/cheapskate me was in denial. So I was being proactive. We (Sic-un and I) aren't... We don't use anything, but the only time he comes in me is within the first week after my period stops, assuming it goes 4-6 days. Otherwise, it's Splattertown, and I'm good with that. I don't feel in any danger from the supposed hit or miss of the 'rhythm' method. I feel myself ovulate, I know when that happens (and I'm never wrong. I've also ovulated and not had periods, which is what kind of happened this last time). This last time? May (checking calendar) 22? Spotted, for maybe an hour. I don't count that, not really, but it was on time and I had ovulated. This time? Last Monday was ovulation. Caused a low-level migraine but I'm not missing work for it. Today? TaDAAAAAA! Not pregnant. You can figure it out. I've already spent way too much time being Ms. TMI.
And then this article.
Really? You want me to have kids? Sure now?

1 comment:

Sic-un said...

For the record: Having 2 (almost) grown children of my own, I do not want any more at this point in my life (grand-kids might be nice in about 10 years or so).Therefore this rant was not inspired, or caused by anything I have said, or alluded to .