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17 Reasons People Never Want to Have Children

23 May

Dear God, I was just scanning headlines this morning when I came across this article from Buzzfeed. Let me just list the 17 reasons really quickly:

  • I have never seen a person with children and thought to myself, ‘I want that life.’
  • I’m too mentally ill from childhood trauma and have various autoimmune diseases It wouldn’t be fair to have a child when I’m not completely present for them. I love kids, but not for me.
  • Once I’m a mom, I can never not be a mom. I like deciding what I can do whenever I want to without having to care for a child. I feel like a partner is already ‘compromise’ (for lack of a better word) of free time.
  • I understand the immense responsibility and sacrifice they are, and choose instead to work on myself and continue to nurture my own experiences and growth through the one life I have.
  • Pregnancy is terrifying to me. I never want to try it.
  • I’ve just never had that desire. I always thought it would ‘kick in’ as I got older, but no. It’s been kinda hard to come to terms with it in regards to society’s standards and expectations.
  • I don’t want to go through birth and don’t like the baby stage. Children and toddlers are fun and can be adorable, but not 24/7. I like money and the peace of mind that I won’t do anything to screw up their lives, and finally, I’m not responsible or mature enough.
  • I love my life too much. I hate mess and noise, I love traveling whenever I like, I love going for trips and meals out with my husband, and I love being able to do what I want whenever I want. I don’t want to spend my days listening to crying, arguing, whining, doing the school run in the rain, and shopping for food. The planet has plenty of humans and we have done a great job of wrecking the planet and treating animals so cruelly, I don’t want to add to that problem.
  • In my opinion, I should justify why I want kids instead of finding reasons why I don’t want them. In my case, I don’t have a reason to want them.
  • On the relationships front, I remember seeing a statistic that more marriages with kids end in divorce than marriages without kids — having kids wrecks marriages. Other studies have found that child-free couples are FAR happier than couples with kids.
  • I don’t have the delusion that having children will somehow guarantee love or that I won’t be alone on my deathbed. Lots of people are alone on their deathbed anyway (I work in end-of-life care). Also, given the state of the Earth with regards to climate change, I feel it’s kinda s***** to keep making more humans. We probably can’t turn this ship around.
  • Our society is structures so that nearly everyone but the wealthy are living hand-to-mouth. I feel no security in my life and find life stressful. I can’t imagine how bad that would be if I had to worry about another soul.
  • I’m selfish, so I’m not going to sacrifice my time for them. I don’t want to bring kids into this world if they can’t be unconditionally loved.
  • I’m absolutely terrified of developing postpartum depression.
  • I’m stingy. I don’t want something that takes up the majority of my life for the foreseeable future.
  • I’m the kind of person that often changes his mind. Like, to do whatever he wants and go back if need be. Where will my return option be if I have a child?
  • I’d rather regret not having children than regret having them.

Wow, that’s quite a list. My responses to it have morphed throughout the day. My first response was to focus on the selfishness that most of these quotes claim for themselves and how it’s good for all of us to be broken from our selfishness. This is something that needs to be purged from all of our lives, and children is not a sure-fire way to do it, but it’s certainly a side-effect if I let it be. But the more I think about that the more I think about the caveat “if I let it be.” Too many parents do not sacrifice for their children the way they should. Perhaps the father shirks his responsibility and leaves the mother with all of it. The opposite can be true as well, although this can be less common.

And I’m not going to get into who the children become when they grow up, being damaged by their childhood (childhood trauma was mentioned a few times in the list). That’s a whole different topic. I’m talking about the parents now.

Back on topic, the more I thought about it the more I realized that a lot of key Bible characters were not fathers. We know that Jesus wasn’t a father. Saul/Paul wasn’t a father. I don’t know that we can be sure, but it appears that John the Baptist wasn’t a father. I don’t know about the others such as Peter (we know he was married), Timothy, John Mark, etc. But I think it can be concluded that it’s not a sin to not be a father (although there are some churches that hold birth control up as a sin, and I’m not going to get into that either–not the point of what I’m writing here).

So if it’s not a sin to not be a parent (the birth control debate not withstanding), how do I feel about these reasons? Am I willing to embrace them as legitimate? I have two children who are now in their 20s. Suffice it to say, things did not go as I hoped for them, but that doesn’t mean their lives haven’t played out so far exactly how you’ve needed them to play out for their sakes. I will say, as I think about them each possibly having children one day, I do worry about their ability to fight against the tides in society as they raise any grandchildren my wife and I might have. It was more complicated to raise them than it was for my parents to raise me. Technology made taking away privileges almost impossible because they had so many more ways to sneak around “grounding” than I could ever have imagined. Now you add the increasing toxicity of social media and the media to which they will be exposed without my ability to control it–it’s frightening. I was 26 when our son was born. If I were 25 now, I would seriously think twice about having children simply because of the current I have have to swim against.

At the same time, I heard someone say one time, if Christians stop having children then who is left to have children? The same is true for things like public schools. If Christians take their children out of public schools, who is left in public school?

I don’t know. I’m not getting as far with this topic and article as I had hoped. I guess I would say that I understand each individual’s reluctance to have children. I understand the fear. I understand the selfishness. I understand the philosophical question of whether the Earth can handle more children. I guess what I would counsel anyone wrestling with this question–or not wrestling–to keep an open mind as you go through life. Of course, if they are Christians, listen to your still small voice. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Be willing to have your life turned upside down and even made miserable. Maybe that’s what you have for us. Maybe that’s the road you need us to me or them to walk to turn us into the people you need us to be. Maybe our lives are not about us, but about you. But one thing I do hope–that each person who decides to not have children will refrain from giving parenting advice to those of us who have them. 🙂

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
 

One response to “17 Reasons People Never Want to Have Children

  1. Pam Cotten

    May 24, 2021 at 7:52 am

    The reasons that people have listed for being childless by choice will probably have me in deep thought throughout the day. And your insight has filled my head with even more reactions. I don’t know….. maybe the option of children vs. NO children can be compared to other pro/con realities of life. You know, depending on what humans do with them. Things that have sometimes resulted in GOOD & sometimes BAD results: fire / technology / wealth / social or romantic relationships vs. solitude, and on & on…….. Hmmmm. Definitely food for thought.

     

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