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Recently, I read this book, Selfish, Shallow, and Self Absorbed, on sixteen writers—male and female—on their decision not to have kids. These writers are mainly middle-aged to old, but if anything, this work only enforced my own feelings I already had on the idea of being a mother.
First, a dominant reason why I've dreaded the idea of my own offspring was, of course, karma. Now, no human on this planet is perfect, but my mother was damn near it. She devoted so much of her life to my sister and me, going above and beyond to make sure we had more than enough. However, I was no doubt a little brat and I regret to say it, or even recall those moments of childhood where I had said horrendous things to her and even made her cry. She would even call me her own karma and say things like, "Just wait, you will have a daughter someday and she will be even worse than you!" Yeah, I had pushed her to that point. Things are definitely a lot better today; we have a much healthier relationship due to my being a more mature adult. But I have absolutely no doubt in mind that if I were to get pregnant, it would be a girl and she really would be worse than me: talking back, wearing revealing clothes too young, sneaking out. She would be a monster. Even if I deserve that experience, I can still certainly avoid it.
Another reason I don't want to take on this immense responsibility is that as a mother, I would likely be the one required to devote more time at home and less on a career or even just things I like to do. A good majority of the time, fathers have the privilege to be out in the "real world" and get to indulge in interacting with new people, learning new things, and experiencing, even if it's just through work. The time I could use to be bettering myself as a human being would instead be substituted for time dedicated to educating and taking care of my own child, who may later disregard all of that work and do what they want anyway. Now some may argue, that you can in fact raise a child and still continue to thrive intellectually. I'm sure this is possible for some people—maybe it's just me, that I would be too weak to take on both. It could be either that, or those people are just lying to themselves. Regardless, I would not have the same amount of time or opportunities to go out with friends, travel, have sex, or spend time alone.
"You will have one thing or another, depending on what choice you make. Or you will have both things in limited amounts, and that might turn out to be perfect, just exactly the life you want." -Pam Houston
When you have kids, you do not live solely for yourself anymore; you're enslaved for eighteen years. When you make decisions, you can't simply just do what you want. You can't just get up and leave when you want, even if you're terribly unhappy or quit your job to pursue something else because they'll inevitably have to pay consequences for your actions. I'm knowingly very imperfect, and with this knowledge I realize I cannot take the same risks that could change my life for the better if I have kids—I will always have to play it safe for their sake. This is not liberation to me. This is not living to my full human potential. No one should have to pay for mistakes that only I'm willing to make.
Lastly, a notion that I strongly but sadly believe is that love can die. We are only human—what makes us believe that we contain a sensation so powerful that it could be eternal? Couples who divorce each other realize that it's possible to love someone for some time period, but it's not always meant to last forever. This is why open relationships/marriages are becoming so much more common within millennials; people are finally accepting that no being is perfect and we are capable of loving our partner and someone else at the same time. But back to my main point: I believe love can die and this is what I fear about bringing someone onto this Earth, as malicious as it sounds—people can be infatuated with the idea of bringing someone into this world and calling it their own, but what if it turns out to become an adult you dislike? Even by raising it, you cannot force anyone to be something else, or someone that you like. You can't just have a kid and expect it to be a "mini version" of you; they could be completely different, and what if I can't handle that? So many people have children with at least some sort of expectation of what they become which is actually toxic and unfair to the child. And once you have a kid, even if your infatuation for them fades, you are seriously committed and responsible for them for at least eighteen years of life.
This article is written probably by a very selfish point of view; it's very possible I change all of my perspectives on this in ten years, if I meet the right person, and that's okay. I am not resentful towards motherhood or children at all; I respect it so much because it's a brave thing to take on and can be very beautiful at times. But I feel like many millennials such as myself are starting to see the repercussions of having children based on their own or second hand experiences. Every time I go out to dinner or on vacation and I see families with three or four children running around while the parents are frantically trying to organize them. I can't help but pity the parents who can't get the full experience of their special time due to having to cater to their little demons.
Reading all of this over, I definitely seem like a heartless bitch, but many of these notions are very real. If I only have one chance on Earth, I want to be the best human being I could possibly be, and for me, that does not mean bringing in one more human being to this overpopulated planet.
"We are living the lives our mother's generation couldn't even imagine and we know it. We are architects of our own destiny. We are free." -PH