It’s crazy that we have come to a time when people having kids are getting questioned “why”. It used to be simpler. It’s a primordial call, something seen as normal to do, even something expected of you once you got married.
Lately though, the childfree culture has gotten more and more prevalent, probably seen as more modern, more hip, more fun choice of lifestyle. The advantages of being childfree are advertised widely, as well as the cons of having children. People are beginning to realize that having or not having children is now a choice. In this free world, choosing to remain childfree is the newest whatsup.
Which is fine. I’m all for choosing however you want to live your life. After all you only have one life and limited resources, if you choose to enjoy the resources by yourself then that’s great, I wish you an enjoyable life.
Sadly though, some of the people who choose to remain childfree also choose to mock, make fun of, and belittle people who choose to have children. “Having children” now has a bad rep. Some childfree people are now convinced that people who have children are only overpopulating the earth with more fucked up humans. That having children is a less-educated choice of life. Or that because “having children” is a less fun way to live a life, why would a fun, hip, modern humans want to have kids at all? And if you’re not fun, not hip, not modern—then how dare you want to have children when you’re all messed up already??
I must have fallen into the category of people who’s not expected to have children, because I got asked surprisingly a lot by strangers and friends, “Why did you choose to have children?”
One acquantance even very kindly put it as, “How could a person like you dare to have a kid? I hope you won’t fuck him up.” I hope so too, dear, I hope so too. Though I’m sure I will, one way or another.
It’s a rather tough question, though. Something not very simple to answer. I won’t even touch the aspects of “people who want kids but can’t” and “why don’t you just adopt, there are plenty of kids already without parents”, to make my writing stay at a more bearable length and flow. And with that in mind, to satisfy the curious ones, here’s my justification to having a child.
The “Maybe Not” Phase
If I’m being honest, I was not always sure I wanted children. I have very limited experience with children, I don’t know how to communicate with them, or what to do with them. I remember I once asked a kid his age, and it was so awkward because I didn’t know what to reply when he answered. “You’re five?? I’m 28! Nice to meet you!”
In addition to that, I’m also exposed to the childfree culture; I know people who choose to remain childfree and quite vocal about it.
Also let’s not forget I have a close friend who actively advertise that your happiness level as a couple will decrease when you have a kid, and stay almost unbearably low until the kid gets out of the house.
And also, eventhough I’m sure life isn’t all bleak, I myself was having so much fun, I heard this everywhere across the childfree community: The world seems to get more crowded, global warming makes the earth a terrible place to live in with every passing year, and people get more apathethic to each other, what kind of person, in their right mind, would wish their offsprings to live in such a world?
There are enough people already who’s popping out babies without being able to properly care and raise them financially or morally. There are enough kids already who, due to irresponsible parents, will inevitably grow into some entitled, self-absorbed brats that their parents were…
So for quite some time I entertained the idea of living childfree. I didn’t really tell anyone, though, because it’s morbid in the eyes of the normal people, and for me it’s not set on a stone. It’s just something I was thinking about.
But then… I started working at a daycare and got exposed to a lot of kids age 7 to 9, and I see how it really is. The kids are monsters, but in a good way. They are a mess and alien to human rules, they need to be told not to lick the fan, but… In a good way. It was a nice surprise that even though I was drained everytime I taught a class, in general I grew to love them and care for them and think of them as precious, precious little monsters.
The reality of it just hit me: If they are raised RIGHT, how much good can they spread? Their hands are going to build the future society, they are going to correct what they think is wrong, all while adapting to the challenges and having fun in the process. Like they are having fun now, they are going to enjoy all the happiness their life will bring. They are going to see beautiful places or even create a beautiful place. They are going to eat delicious food or even make them. And they are going to touch lifes. They are going to be amazing.
IF they are raised RIGHT. In the right environment. By the right people.
Now I’m not saying I’m THE right person to raise the next generation of non-parasitic, well-mannered citizens… But compared to other people, am I not, even if the possibility is slight, more woke? Probably more mentally prepared? Did other people around me think it through and knew the risks and knew how bleak the world is and how harsh the society can be and yet still carefully choose to have a kid? Did they contemplate and wholeheartedly decide they are up for it?
I’ll bet not all of them were prepared for the whole parenthood thing, and yet look at how kind the kids are, how sweet they are, how much fun they are having, and how bright their future can be. So, if with minimal contemplation they can do such a good job and raise such amazing kids, what can I do if I prepare myself and then have kids?
And if, all those irresponsible parents who actually fuck up, if THEYYYYYYY will never stop having children, why not the well-informed, educated, mentally prepared ones have children?
The “Okay, Yes” Phase
It might be a form of conceit, but I feel that my children, together with the other children in his generation, will somehow make a contribution to better the world, or at least better the society around them. I feel that I have enough information to pass on to him, enough legacy to make him at least a decent human. My partner also is a big part of the decision making process: Simply put, he is the right person to do parenting with. So if only we’re up for it, we can do it. It’s possible.
So I started to rethink, really rethink, about the pros and the cons of having a kid. I loved my life and I would lose it in the process. I loved my body and it would never be the same after the kid. I loved the silence around me, the songs I sing when I’m alone, the comfort of pooping without distractions… All those would be gone. Was I up for it?
Not to mention my relationship with my husband. It would be different. I would transform from becoming a wife, all cute and pretty, into a mom of our kids, all tired and messed up. Was I up for it?
Also what if the kid can’t contribute to society as much as I hope he would? What if he was born deformed or with disabilities, was I up for taking care of him for the rest of my life?
What if after the kid comes into the picture, my relationship with my husband takes a turn for the worse? What can I do, what will I do?
What if the kid I brought to this world can’t enjoy life as much as I did? What if bullying dims his light? What can I do, what will I do?
And then there’s also the financial aspect, which to be honest I was not very worried because, simply put, at that moment it’s possible to have one kid and still living quite comfortably. Also with the government support, there’s free education and free healthcare for the kid until he reaches junior high school, so that’s just one less thing to worry about.
After really thinking about it all, my husband and I then decided to start trying. And there was no looking back since then.
The only time I regret my decision was when contractions started kicking in and I was in pain. Lol. Other than that, I’m generally happy with my decision, and can’t wait to show my little squish how to have fun in this world. Can’t wait to have discussions about the bad and the good of being alive. I’m excited for him.
Oh of course it’s not all fun and games, there are some unhappy moments too. Most of the unhappy ones are only when I felt alone in it. But that doesn’t happen often, there are a thousand more moments when hubby stepped in and helped, and we grew closer as a family because of it.
If we can keep up the good teamwork, I’m sure we can handle this and become happier than most couples with kids. After all I believe because of this he loves me more, I love him more, and we both love our little squish.
However, mind you, I’m not advocating having a kid to save a marriage. The graphics don’t lie, your happiness levels as individuals and as a couple will generally become lower as the kid comes along. If you don’t have enough buffer before you start the journey, you’re just building a house on a broken foundation. Everything will come crushing and crumbling down. It will be very hard, very draining, intimidating, and you’ll feel imprisoned.
But if you have the right foundation for it, feed yourself with information, talk to professionals if you need. Prepare yourself well, mentally as much as financially.
Because really, it’s not for everyone. In fact, I recommend you to NOT have a kid unless you and your partner are sure about it. I recommend to wait after marriage, at least until your communication as husband and wife is established well, your problem solving skill as a couple is well developed, your differences only invoke discussion and you no longer fight over petty things… only THEN, I recommend you to start thinking about having kids.
Having a kid is a gruesome and neverending task. If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s an informed decision rather than a candid one.
And whichever decision you make, be it having a kid or remain childfree or have 10 cats and live happily alone, I wish you a lovely life full of achievements and happy news.