View Single Post
Old 01-24-2014, 10:40 PM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
Official Greeter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 14,988

If I may necropost ...


Re (from Nadya, OP):
"Why do people have children?"
Whoah hold the train right there, that's one loaded question.

For me I think the idea was ultimately social conditioning. I mean, first of all, I saw that my parents had had kids (seven all told), and I was always taught that having kids is simply "what people do." That plus the church teaching the immense importance of having children and being a parent.

Somewhat beside the point is that it turned out my wife wasn't physically able to conceive after she and I had gotten married. But that stroke of serendipity alone "saved" me from something to which today I'd say: "No way in hell!"

I don't despise kids. After all, I was a kid at one point. And I was piano teacher to numerous kids for many years, and greatly enjoyed the profession. Overall. But a parent? I would have sucked. My kids would have suffered because of it. And I would have been miserable. Everybody loses. Which is why, before venturing into my poly years, I went and got a vasectomy.

So why do people have children? on an even more fundamental level?

I know that some/many women have a hormonal urge/desire to bear children. And maybe some/many men have an instinctive desire to be fathers.

It seems reasonable to suppose that Homo sapiens probably evolved with the innate desire to procreate -- not just have sex, but actually perpetuate the species. Is evolution talking to us, and that's the real reason we want to have kids?

Perhaps the desire to have sex is all that Nature/evolution needed to instill in us? After all, birth control is a very recent phenomenon in the history of Homo sapiens.

But Nature/evolution would have also needed to instill in us a strong nuturing instinct! to go along with the sex. This then, is ... "a" ... answer to the original question.

Ah but you see, I have no ultimate answers to offer. On this subject at least. Only questions.


"My opinion has been since quite young that had I had a choice, I would choose not existing. Life is just too painful."
Ahh. Now we come to the question of whether one's (at first hypothetical) child would wish to be born. My parents often boasted about the debt I owed them for birthing me into this world. And the older I got, the more I begged to differ with them ...

But that's only my own experience. Was I too spoiled to be grateful? How does one calculate whether one's unborn child wishes to be born? Case in point: Stephen Hawking. Who wishes that he hadn't been born? Does Hawking himself wish that?

"Nowadays I quite enjoy my life and do not actively want to die anymore. Still, given the choice, I would choose to not have lived at all."
Hummm. I am okay with living and quite dread (I am an atheist) the prospect of death (even though my belief is that I'll feel nothing, good or bad). Had I not been born, I wouldn't have had a death to fear. Does this constitute a wish that I'd never been born?

It's a hard call, but ultimately I think I'd prefer to have lived. Even for just a blink of an eye, in the eyes of eternity. I've learned and experienced much that is good and wondrous in my lifetime. That seems worthwhile, even if it has to end.

One time as a teen, I tried some unprotected (and untrained) rock climbing and found myself in a predicament from which I couldn't climb down. Long story short, I fell, and bounced many times on a steep mountainside, missing one pine tree after another. And in those moments, I wondered, while thinking I was probably gonna die, if I actually wanted to die. I surprised myself by realizing that I wanted to live. Given the angst I suffered as a teen, this was quite a realization.

And even as an atheist, I still wonder if that desire to live is what allowed me to conclude that fall in a long slide down a bunch of scree, coming to a complete stop in a huge blinding cloud of dust, and surviving with naught but a few pulled tendons.

Oh sure, it was easy for me to think, when at home in the lonely comfort of my bedroom, under the pounding steps of my ever-enraged mother upstairs, in the discomfiture of the school in which I felt I was such an outcast, or even in the sweaty fields hauling hay or straw, that death sounded awesome. But in the moments when I was pounding my way down that mountainside, looking the Reaper square in the eye, I suddenly realized that the will to live was stronger than I'd ever imagined.


Nadya, I don't know how to help you to decide that you'd like to have any kids, or even how to help you decide which path (kids or no kids) is the best path for you. I know that many folks are not fit to be folks (using two different definitions for the same word), seemingly most often those who fancy themselves to be the most fit. It is those of us who see our prospective failings as parents, who, perhaps, would be the best-suited to deal with those failings and let our kids know that yes, we are willing to relate to them eye-to-eye.

I think the fact that going off birth control caused you to have panic attacks should tell you something. At the very least, you'd need "one more poly adult" (how about a lady -- for that additional maternal contribution) in the equation, to make childbearing (much less childrearing) become a prospect that wasn't so terrifying. Would you be glad to be a parent? Would your child be glad to be your child? These are questions you'd have to ask for all the rest of your life -- and will have to ask even if you choose not to have any kids. Either way, it's a choice.

What's CJ willing to do, to help you cope with the misgivings you have? What do you fear most about parenting? I'll be honest, the two things I'd fear most would be
  • getting no sleep,
  • chainging diapers.
And I'm sure that more than a few actual parents out there could knowingly smile, nod, and chuckle about that, assuring me that, "You have no idea." But those are only two out of many fears that I would have, if I were faced with the prospect of becoming a parent. Nadya, what scares you the most? Is it the mere prospect of introducing an innocent child into this highly imperfect world? If so, think of the great souls that have made a real difference throughout history, and then know that each of those spirits had a mother and a father. Is it worth the risk?

Re (same author):
"But living with the thought that I am responsible for this new life -- I do not think I could handle that. How do other people do that? Why is it that this seems to be no problem to anyone else?"
Count me as one for whom that is a problem. I think it has something in common with the problem of keeping a housepet. How do we know that the pet in question wants to live in our house? We don't. We only guess at what they're thinking.

I guess I've come to worry less about that over the years because, in spite of my youthful desires to be erased from existence past and present, I've come to know quite a few people (including many kids) who seemed glad to be alive and not at all regretful or resentful about having been born. I think my biggest issue in that area has to do with the fact that I know I have some bad DNA in my blood. My psyche is kept in check only by a hard-won combination of prescription meds. I am worried that I'd be a bad parent. Almost as worried as I am about the two selfish bullet points listed above.

Re (from Maleficent):
"Anyone who doesn't feel like they are failing on a regular basis isn't trying hard enough."
Well said, well said.

Re (from RainyGrlJenny):
"By not having a child, you *are* making a choice for them -- for that potential person to not exist."
Aha ... well stated.

"Perhaps there are other avenues where they can experience being fathers without involving you in the procreation process."
Kind of what I was thinking. Even if they aren't likely to pair up with women who can bear children for them, can they be sperm donors and have a lady volunteer to carry the child to term? Probably a complicated process but thought I'd still throw it out there.


Bottom line, Nadya, and like CJ (and Mark I reckon) recognize, it is totally your right to decide whether to enter a pregnancy and bear a child. If a voice inside arises to cry out, "Noooo! Do not discontinue the birth control!" then you have every right to heed that voice, and heeding it is I'm certain the route that makes the most sense.

You can change your mind, later, of course ... Just don't try to force that change upon yourself.

Kevin T.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote