Do you really have a good reason for having all these babies?

A baby first laughs at the age of four weeks. By that time his eyes focus well enough to see you clearly.

Babies babies babies

Bundles of joy, huh....

Today I intend to broach a subject that will probably have friends and foes picketing outside my humble abode armed with pitchforks.

Today I address the matter of children; to have or not to have them.

Now I will be the first to confess that, being someone with close to three decades of existence on this planet, there seems to be an inherent tendency to sow oats and propagate our genetic lineages, that is by itself a very rational, albeit selfish, need; for it ensures the survival of the human race. However this are hardly the days when any amorous virile male would just creep on a wench, bent over a stream fetching water, and role play Dr. Kitch, the unqualified physician with his terrible needle, fully content that the village would raise whatever came off the hanky panky.

This are days in which we face peril left, right and centre. If terrorists won’t blow us to smithereens, the inevitable frying from global warming will probably make us view Noah’s flood in better light (gives a whole new literal twist to having a bun in the oven), if natural disasters do not spell our end, the growling of our empty tummies might be the last sound the emaciated starving tummies will hear as a planetary hunger epidemic fills its quota in the service of the grim reaper.

The long and short of my gloomy outlook is that life as we know it is a burden, a burden we should think long and hard before inflicting on another person.

I cannot simply dismiss the pros for having children, after all one of the best reasons I can think of is ironically the fact I am here to write this, however that fact is also one the reasons I question what motivates everyone to blindly leap into the world of parenthood.

I have done some casual research (thank God for google) and tried to find reasons people have for having children, suffice is to say most of them are flimsy to outright ridiculous, but then to each his own. Reasons listed for having children include:

  • To improve a relationship between spouses
  • Keep up with friends and relatives in a breeding race
  • To create a family
  • To take on a new challenge
  • To seize the moment
  • Because you love kids
  • To spread joy
  • To accept destiny
  • Religion orders so

If I were to exhaustively pick apart each of the reasons above we would be here all day, I will simply try to address the points in one-liners.

  1. Children can improve relationships between spouses but not in the way they imagine, if a relationship was bad to begin with introducing a third party who becomes  a constant reminder of the bile between couples is, to put it mildly, an asinine move. At best a pretense at an improved relationship will ensue, at worst an ultimate breakdown will leave a bitter abandoned child in its wake, one who will probably carry on the cycle in the future.
  2. If you believe that you should have a fifth child because your sister has had one then I really do not even know where to begin, doing an IQ test would be a good thing too.
  3. Creating a family is a noble thing, however most of us cannot even run our own lives, so how do we decide that we can run other people’s lives? The hogwash that by bringing up a hapless soul into the confused maze we dwell in will straighten our lives is horseshit, a child should not be an experiment in whether we will ever change or not.
  4. To take on a new challenge is no good reason either, most of us view the challenge of taking care of a pet such as a dog as something insurmountable, yet we somehow think a human being will be easier to deal with. If you need a new challenge, try mountain climbing.
  5. Seizing a moment is another way of saying on a whim, the only thing one should ever do on the spur of the moment is something reversible or that can be dismissed as yet another lesson, a child isn’t such a thing.
  6. If you love kids, and most of us do, it’s still not a good enough reason, a lot of people love manicured lawns until they realize the trouble it takes to keep them looking so. Loving an elephant is no reason to buy one.
  7. To spread joy is simply a cliché that I will not bother to break down.
  8. To accept destiny is a vague reason that can be used to evade just about every irrational act we engage in.
  9. Go forth and fill and fill the planet and children are a gift from God are both reasons given by the sheeple for incessant breeding, however it never seems to dawn on parents who are sold on religious zealotry that holy books are not edible, a brood of children will not be fed on prayer alone. With 300,000 children being lost to hunger annually, we seriously need to think through the reasons to having children besides a call to fill the earth (which is already full by reasonable estimates)

I cannot simply disabuse parents or potential parents of the notion that there are many valid reasons to having kids without listing some reason why some of us take a different  view. Reasons one can choose not to have children include:

  • You can pass of hereditary conditions such as diabetes, polydactylism, senility or even stupidity and ugliness
  • Character traits and tendencies towards such things as drug and alcohol addiction, compulsive obsessive behavior and psychosis can be passed onto children.
  • Cost: Every parent wants to give their children a better life than they had, if you’re unable to do so then why subject a child to a menial existence and the drudgery of life at the bottom of the barrel.
  • Religion: many of us profess the religion of our parents, most of us are too afraid to have an honest look at other faiths and are hence held captive by fear and indoctrination. Why subject another person to such turmoil when you have no answers yourself to the questions of life?
  • Lastly I will get back to the  beginning of the post, in the past it literally took a village to raise a child, unfortunately that is not the case anymore, with hundreds of homeless children and street kids teeming in every alley, what right do we have to add to the count on the planet if we don’t have the heart to take care of those already here?

With that said, I will probably have some kids myself as I have no illusions that my thinking will sway my mother or wife for that matter. Men, it seems, have little say on whether they want children or not.

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  1. #1 by Daniel on October 28, 2010 - 11:45 am

    Life is more valuable than the avoidance of suffering.

    If our main point in life is to avoid suffering (as you seem to suggest), we might as well quit life altogether, whether we’ve been here two seconds or 99 years. There’s too much suffering in the world, which make the avoidance of it impossible. If the avoidance of suffering is more valuable that life, we are not worthy to be born.

    I contend just the opposite.

    On a different subject:

    Children are a natural product of marital love. Our reasons for having them are superceded by the joy of giving ourselves one to another. Even if you are motivated by someone else (your parents) to have a child, that child will be more important than your personal fears and the external suffering you talk about.

    • #2 by Wes on October 28, 2010 - 11:58 am

      But let me ask this, is it not really just a selfish urge that we should have our very own children and then obfuscate matters by using phrases like “natural product of love” and “joy of giving ourselves to each other”, why must we bring more people into the world if there are thousands (possibly millions) of children already here who have no parents to care for them? Can’t the so called joy of lovemaking be complete without “a natural product”? And just because there is too much suffering in the world which makes avoidance impossible, is that then a good reason to bring forth more persons to partake of this cup of agony?

  2. #3 by Daniel on October 28, 2010 - 12:55 pm

    “is it not really just a selfish urge that we should have our very own children and then obfuscate matters by using phrases like “natural product of love” and “joy of giving ourselves to each other”

    Having children was never “our” choice. It was forced upon us in creation. “Our” choice was to create birth control, and then use suffering, or inconvenience, as a reason. We never needed reasons to have children, just reasons not to have them. The greater act of selfishness is not found in following natural processes, but is found in the cutting off of the natural processes of life.

  3. #4 by viruSDetected on March 31, 2011 - 8:47 am

    Wes, your article seems to suggest that there are absolutely NO good reasons for having children and ALL good reasons for having them. How about you highlight both sides of the argument if you think your point of view is so indisputable?
    And as for the millions of children already without parents, let’s be honest, all the bureaucratic red tape and expenses involved in adoption make it a lot easier to just have your own. And all the problems brought about by genetics and hereditary character traits that you give as reason for not having children,aren’t they easier to trace through and pinpoint when having my own children as opposed to finding out the medical history of a child who, say was found in an abandoned dumpster?
    Clearly your research was done with an already foregone conclusion Wes…

    • #5 by Wes on April 1, 2011 - 8:11 am

      I do not begrudge anyone the right to have children. All I’m pointing out is that, often, we have children we are not ready for and all for reasons that are not well thought out.

      I have reservations with those who use a religious slant – go out and fill the world- to breed incessantly when they can’t provide a decent existence for the said kids; I disagree with people, women especially, who believe their very existence and purpose is defined and tied to having a child and that they are worthless without one; I find it extremely irresponsible for very poor people to have dozens of kids in a warped logic that it is a form of wealth; and I certainly find people who simply start families and have kids to, either, fit in with peers or a caving in to pressure from friends and family to be spineless.

      By all means, have children, but have them for the right reasons. But then again, this is just my opinion, you don’t have to agree with it.

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