I had a long chat with a colleague a week or so back which has led her to believe that I am incredibly selfish.
Because I don’t want to have children.
There is a stigma about people who have been in long term heterosexual relationships choosing not to have children and I don’t understand it. It implies that our sole purpose on the planet is just to push out children, which is not only annoying but for people who are unable to have children it must be heart breaking.
So, why don’t I want kids? Why am I so willing to be the first person in my direct family tree to not have any offspring?
Kids are expensive. I’m not desperately poor by any means. I’m comfortable with the occasional squeaky month where money runs about before the days do. I am not rich enough, however, to buy a new yacht. If I came home one day with a boat on a trailer, it’s fair to say that my bank manager would have a fit, slap me, and immediately make me return it. I could not afford a huge luxury item like that. Incidentally, it costs more than £100,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. Just saying.
“Time is ticking!” has been spoken at me by numerous parents over the last 2 years, as if an arbitrary deadline is suddenly going to make me re-evaluate all my decisions and choices and I’ll impregnate the first consenting woman. The time is also ticking on me going on an 18-30 holiday, the DFS sale, or military service. The addition of a time element will not change my mind, it just sounds like your pushing a hard sell to meet a target.
People tell me I would make a good Father and that I’m missing so much from my life if I don’t get a kid – their first words, steps, the school awards, sports days, their first love and heartbreak, etc., etc., and I can see that these moments would be lovely and I am sad that I will miss them. I am, I will admit, great with kids. I was brought up around them as my Mum was a childminder and our house was a nursery. I can get crying children to be quiet, change a nappy, act silly enough that they’re happy for me to play with them and entertain them with stories of madness. This should be all ticks in my favour – but what I loved most of all was the ability to hand the child back over to their tired looking parents and go to bed in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be woken up by a screaming child.
I will have a family though. I’m going to get a dog and that will do me.
Dogs are children on easy mode. Easy to toilet train, faithful, fluffy, cuddly, and they look more adorable in fancy dress. Plus, if I want to spend a long weekend away then I know that people will want to look after a dog. No one would willingly take the responsibility of looking after a kid, because they’re loud noisy smelly things that make lives dreadful.
As a fan of free time and disposable income, I’m not a fan of what a child will do to my life.
Plus, this planet is dying, and dying quickly. We’ve got maybe a hundred years left and I’m looking forward to dying before the ecosystem does. I don’t think that my child would be so lucky. Especially as their carbon footprint would be mahoosive.
Am I selfish? Perhaps. But it’s my choice. And who am I being selfish against? The unborn potential life? Society? My family? It’s none of their business, surely. “What about the people who can’t have kids?” I genuinely got this argument once, and to that person: Fuck you. I will not be guilt tripped into having a child. And that is the lowest, most callous argument I have ever heard.
In conclusion, I don’t want kids. That should be enough and I shouldn’t need to elaborate further.
EDIT: While I’m at it, if I end up living with someone I love and a dog, that is my family. It’s not worth more or less than yours with your numerous children. A family is what makes you feel safe and at home. I have friends who have a family that is their partners and their plants. They care for them, look after them, and love them. A family is not based on whether you have successfully created life and don’t value ours as less because of it.