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Feminspire | April 20, 2014

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Reasons Why I’ve Decided Not to Reproduce: The Honest Version

Reasons Why I’ve Decided Not to Reproduce: The Honest Version

Okay, so we had a discussion a few weeks ago about my uterus. And the fact that I don’t ever want it to contain a baby. And some of you were very forthright and honest, saying that I “had no business” having children.

Well, I’m back. And this time, I’m going to tell you the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You’ll probably still see me as an unfit mother, but maybe you’ll understand why having children is a big, scary decision that I, personally, hope to never make.

Kids are beautiful. They are precious, special, honest creatures that make me smile. When I volunteered with them, teaching a class on Wednesday nights all throughout middle and high school, I remember one particular night (I was in high school at the time) going to the class with some pretty terrible menstrual cramps. The kind where you just want to not move or be touched or function.

When I got to the class, one of the kids—he happened to be a twin—ran up to me, and before I could understand what was happening, he was hugging my stomach so hard I couldn’t even move my lungs to take in air. Of course, it hurt. It hurt more than I can remember many things hurting. But the good it did my soul far outweighed the discomfort of the menstrual cramp/hug combo. I look back on that hug fondly.

So yeah, kids and I adore one another. If it’s a choice between the grown-ups and their wine or the kids’ table, I’m already grabbing my crayons.

But the thing that makes me nervous about being a parent—the thing that really cinched my decision not to have kids? People can do terrible things to people. And what’s worse? Sometimes people can do terrible things to children.

If you’re a parent, this might actually be a good place to stop reading. These aren’t fun thoughts, and if you have a child already, I don’t want to burden you with my paranoid fears.

If I were a parent, and something bad happened to my child, there are a number of fears that I have.

1. How would I “fix” the situation? Like, in terms of the child. How would I make their world safe and okay again, and make it so that they could continue?

2. How would I continue myself? I consider myself very strong. If something permanently removed the child from my life, such as death, I don’t know how I would continue. It might break me.

3. How would I deal with the perpetrator? I consider myself a pacifist. I want to be a pacifist. But if someone did harm to my child… I don’t think I could react in a reasonable, controlled manner.

There are so many ugly, horrible things in this world. And I don’t expect those ugly, horrible things to stay away from any section of the human population. No one and nowhere is entirely safe.

I don’t like thinking these thoughts. They bother me, they make me upset. The fact that I can’t trust other humans not to do perverse, messed-up, violent things to an innocent, bright piece of life… That’s a terrible thing. But I guess I’m not trusting enough to have a child.

In the future, I do hope to foster. I hope to build relationships with kids and teens who really need someone who will root for them, be their fan, help them with homework and relationship problems, and just be a listening ear. I hope that fostering will fill that motherhood instinct in me, and I hope it will help the world. If fostering leads to adoption, awesome.

This is me coming clean about why I don’t want to reproduce. If this has upset any parents out there, I apologize.

Do you want to have kids one day? Why or why not? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

Written by Becky Havens.

  • Kara

    I think it’s so screwed up that we live in a world that would even ask someone to justify why they didn’t want to have children. It is a huge emotional and financial burden to bring another person into this world. Honestly, I don’t think enough people stop and think about what it involves before deciding to reproduce. But ANYWAY.

    Oh, and pregnancy? It can SUCK. I think about having another kid sometimes, and then I remember how miserable pregnancy was for me and my uterus clamps shut.

    Your fears are the same fears of myself and every mother I know. I have spent many nights laying awake, worrying about the exact things you talk about. It’s scary. You have to try to not think about it too much because it can consume you.

    But that being said, I was a kid that ‘bad things’ happened to. It doesn’t have to be something that breaks you. And it doesn’t mean your parent(s) failed to protect you. It means there are some seriously messed up people in the world and as long as they exist they are going to hurt other people.

    But if you don’t want kids, don’t have any. It sucks that you have to even give reasons. “I don’t want to reproduce” should be sufficient answer. And it’s not really anybody’s business but yours to your reasons beyond that.

  • http://twitter.com/reanimated Kelly S

    i don’t see any way this would make you an “unfit” parent. these are valid concerns that people SHOULD be thinking about. sadly, lots of people wander into pregnancy with no thought at all, no planning. i think they’re the ones doing it wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgette.k.1 Mztress Isis

    Don’t apologize so much. If someone else has an issue with you wanting to remain child-free, there is a saying: “tough titty.”

  • Emily Vrotsos

    I think it’s also important to think about the damage parents can do to their own children, let alone the damage from the “outside world” and the people in it. I want to be a parent very much, and hopefully one day I will be, but I’m not jaded enough to think that I won’t do some sort of damage to my own children. But that doesn’t mean necessarily abusive. I grew up in a loving household with two parents who always made time for us, were home in time for dinner, attended every swim meet and piano recital, volunteered as teachers’ aids and participated in our show-and-tells when we asked. Even then, there was still damage: Inability to be honest about my sexuality or sexual relationships with my parents even though I’m straight, Catholic guilt, too-high standards for success. These are all things that have hurt me as a child and hinder me as an adult. My parents did it with our best interests in their hearts, but there was still damage, no matter how pure their intentions.

  • Lucille Needles

    I can barely begin to list the reasons I don’t want to have children.

    1. It’s a massive financial burden. I believe that people who have children and don’t have a job/financial security are among the most selfish people in the world, as most of them have the intention to allow the government/some other external body to financially support their child.

    2. I love my partner more than words. I cannot imagine bringing another person into our relationship. I have seen first hand what children can do to relationships, and I don’t want to become one of those people that loves their children more than their partner.

    3. Children have a massive impact on the planet. I am all for population control. We have 3.5 billion people on this earth in the 1970′s, and now we have double that. Our population has doubled in just 40 years. The earth cannot sustain this amount of people. Also, every single diaper/nappy that has ever existed is still on this planet. It takes them so long to biodegrade, and most people don’t even know about the alternatives (cloth diapers, reusable diapers with disposable liners etc). I will not be responsible for adding to the degradation of this beautiful earth.

    4. Most people do not understand the psychological implications of raising a child, into a fully grown human being. I believe that people should have to obtain a license to have children, just as they have to in order to operate basic machinery (cars etc). You are responsible for that person. You have to teach them about the world, support them, and love them no matter what. What if they have a disability? What if they die shortly after birth? How would you cope? What if they grow up to be a criminal/rapist/paedophile/psychopath/murderer? Are you willing to accept that they will most likely be a sexual being (as only 1% of the population are asexual)?

    5. I want freedom to travel the world, live spontaneously. You simply cannot do that with a child. It is not fair to them or you. I want to be able to say, maybe I’ll move to Spain, and just pick up my things and do it. That’s my choice, my life.

    6. The thought of something growing inside me makes me feel physically ill. It just does not agree with me. I may as well be a biological male, because I cannot imagine a human growing inside me.

    That’s just me, and each to their own.

  • Lucille Needles

    I can barely begin to list the reasons I don’t want to have children.

    1. It’s a massive financial burden. I believe that people who have children and don’t have a job/financial security are among the most selfish people in the world, as most of them have the intention to allow the government/some other external body to financially support their child.

    2. I love my partner more than words. I cannot imagine bringing another person into our relationship. I have seen first hand what children can do to relationships, and I don’t want to become one of those people that loves their children more than their partner.

    3. Children have a massive impact on the planet. I am all for population control. We have 3.5 billion people on this earth in the 1970′s, and now we have double that. Our population has doubled in just 40 years. The earth cannot sustain this amount of people. Also, every single diaper/nappy that has ever existed is still on this planet. It takes them so long to biodegrade, and most people don’t even know about the alternatives (cloth diapers, reusable diapers with disposable liners etc). I will not be responsible for adding to the degradation of this beautiful earth.

    4. Most people do not understand the psychological implications of raising a child, into a fully grown human being. I believe that people should have to obtain a license to have children, just as they have to in order to operate basic machinery (cars etc). You are responsible for that person. You have to teach them about the world, support them, and love them no matter what. What if they have a disability? What if they die shortly after birth? How would you cope? What if they grow up to be a criminal/rapist/paedophile/psychopath/murderer? Are you willing to accept that they will most likely be a sexual being (as only 1% of the population are asexual)?

    5. I want freedom to travel the world, live spontaneously. You simply cannot do that with a child. It is not fair to them or you. I want to be able to say, maybe I’ll move to Spain, and just pick up my things and do it. That’s my choice, my life.

    6. The thought of something growing inside me makes me feel physically ill. It just does not agree with me. I may as well be a biological male, because I cannot imagine a human growing inside me.

    That’s just me, and each to their own.