I woke up today thinking about babies. I have had baby fever for the past few months and I’m not in a place where that can happen. Ridiculous right? Well, at some point or another most women and some men get that feeling. It dawned on me though, it is the most selfish thought ever conceived. I started thinking about all the reasons people want to have kids or do have kids. I realized none of those reasons can be self-less no matter how you look at them. I made a list of the most common reasons people give for having/wanting to have children.
1. They’re adorable.
First of all, if you want adorable…have a doll! I see many people that talk about how they want a baby because they’re cute, cuddly and overall babies are just a pleasure to be around. This is true but babies also grow. They don’t stay in that cute stage for very long at all and if that’s what you want out of having a baby; you’re going to have to look for other reasons to love it and that’s just sad.
2. To complete their life.
This is one that personally bothers me a lot and it is because my sister has this reason for having children. My sister didn’t have a good childhood by any definition of the word. Her emotional needs were never met. Since she was a child, she wanted to have a child of her own. She knew that’s what she wanted out of her life and the feeling just never went away. When she moved out of the house, she had this mentality of “Yes, I’m free! Now I can have children”. The problem was, mother nature didn’t seem to want to agree. She was born and had been living with a weak/defective cervix. Before she could have her first child, she lost and buried two children. She went through surgery to fix her cervix and had to attend two funerals to get what she wanted. This is a great depiction of both perseverance and selfishness. The only reason she wanted that child was to feel okay and that is frightening to me.
3. Continue family heritage/name
This reason can come in many forms. It could be so children can keep the family name alive. It could be so the children can continue the family business. It could also be so the children keep the heritage and cultural traditions alive. This is another one I dislike a lot. The children are a consequence of you needing something and assigning a human being to meet that need that you could have gone so many other routes to get.
4. To make a family
The general belief is that two is a couple, three is a family. This can obviously vary between cultures but let’s stick to the stereotypical western culture. These are the people that have goals in life in accordance to society. According to society your life should be schooling, job, spouse and children. That’s it. Those are your life goals. This has a tendency to make women feel like if they don’t have children at some point, people are going to judge them or make them feel like less of a woman if they cannot. It makes men feel like they are not fulfilling their role. Another selfish choice because the role of that child is now to hold your entire life together. He/she is the final piece in your puzzle.
5. Fix the mistakes that were made with you
I get it and I have been one to think about having children for this same reason. You start thinking about what you would have been like without being guided in the direction you were. Still selfish. Before that child even comes into existence, you’re already thinking about changing it into what you want. Children can have your DNA, they can exhibit some or most of your personality traits but at the end of the day…the way they see life or process it, is not up to you. Let’s not even mention the fact that most people end up repeating that pattern.
6. To have a safety net
My parents have all the common reasons for having children. This is a big one for my dad. He made it a point throughout our life to remind us of a duty we didn’t sign up for. In pretty much any culture that isn’t made of people with European descent(sorry, just call it what I see it), parents typically end up living with their children toward the last 10 years of their life. It’s not much of a choice. It’s kind of something that’s expected. You’re not very likely to encounter many senior Asians, Latinos or Blacks in senior facilities. You have to think about how selfish the reasoning is though. Having children in order to keep yourself secure when you get old.
Now, there are some rare unicorns out there who really don’t want or just simply cannot go through having a child. While some reasons come from a selfish place, they end up being self-less. This is because at the end of the day they’re choosing to see how they’re not fit to be parents. A lot of people say that they just don’t like babies which is most of the time not true. It just takes long to explain the reasoning and it’s not worth it. Here are some reasons I’ve heard or have myself for not having children.
1. I don’t want to go through pregnancy
I don’t care who you are. Pregnancy is not easy. From the moment, you are pregnant….your life changes. Personally, I have never carried a child to term but I can tell you it changes everything. For nine months, your body does things that shouldn’t be possible for it to do. When it comes out, you could have complications and die. Your body after it can never be the same as it was before without some serious effort and sometimes surgery. It’s a selfish choice but at least that person won’t be the mom that reminds their children every chance they get how miserable they felt while having them.
2. I have better things to do
Having a child puts a damper on things. The schedule of your life now revolves around this little thing who for a few can die if he rolls on the wrong side of his body. I cannot stress how much that makes me laugh. Not because of the baby dying but because a lot of animals are born and are able to follow direction and survive but human babies are just useless for the first year or two. But I digress. Having a baby prohibits you from doing everything that you used to do. You will no longer do anything spontaneous. Another selfish but self-less reason. A baby shouldn’t grow up thinking or knowing that they prohibited you from having the life that you imagined and could have had, if they didn’t come along.
3. I don’t need a baby to feel complete
This is a rare self-less one. Babies do not ask to be born. They don’t need to exist. A person being able to live and function without having a replica of them is admirable. This is not a person you come across often. Some people might say this and not mean it. If a person says this and means it, you know they have their life together. It takes a lot for a person to be able to let go of their baggage or not have any. To have enough in their life that they don’t need to look for more.
4. I can’t love a child unconditionally
This is something I wish my parents would have learned about themselves. Neither of them ever really learned what it means to love someone. In no sense of the word do they know what it means or feels like. They only know the necessity for blending in. If you can’t love a child unconditionally, then you shouldn’t have one. Realizing this limitation you have and not forcing your child to live with it is a wise choice.
So, now I’m sitting here thinking about babies and feeling selfish. Not a very smart thing to sit and think about but it really puts it in perspective. I want to see babies and hold them and maybe comb their hair or play with them. But I know that I shouldn’t have children right now(maybe ever) and that’s okay.