When my partner and I tell family members that we aren’t planning to have children, they shake their heads and tell us that we don’t know what we want. They may have a point: after all, most living things make it their purpose to pass on their genetic material. Why should we consider ourselves exempt? Well, unlike my mothers before me, I have a choice. And while parenthood may be the social norm, I’m making this decision in light of its potential impact on my life, rather than others’ potential opinions.
The Stress and Money
I made stress and money only one point because they are intimately connected. According to CNN Money , it costs $241,080 to raise a kid. Does the prospect of having to shell that out over the course of 18 years, or worse, the guilt of not being able to afford everything your child needs, stress you out? I could think of a million directions in which I would prefer to divert my money and labor. With that figure in mind, I could never rationally decide to conceive. The ability of parents to provide both the money and time kids need is a wonderful thing, but just the idea of such a grave commitment makes my blood run cold.
The Human Race No Longer Needs Furthering
At one time, women considered it their duty to bear children in order to expand their tribe. Today, I think it’s safe to say, the globe is pretty thoroughly populated and we just might have reached or exceeded the population capacity of our environment. There is no lack of evidence that Earth is full. While it’s not my intention to impose this view upon others, it’s pretty clear to me that I can give more to humanity by using my time to do pretty much anything other than raising a kid.
A Higher Purpose
I have talked to parents of various ages about parenting, and invariably, they let me in on a certain small sorrow of theirs, the thought of which still makes me uncomfortable. The fire is dying down, we’ve had a few beers, the kids are freshly tucked into bed, and the parents reminisce wistfully about what they wanted to do with their lives before they had kids. This scares me. I realize that parenting is a sacrifice, and glory to those who make it, but it’s not for me. I chose my purpose, I decided what kind of good I want to do in this world, and I’m not going to give that up.