About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What’s In It For The Kid?

“Don’t read the comments… don’t read the comments… don’t read the comments…”
I say it over and over to myself whenever an online source opens a piece of text to the public for comments, whether it be the local newspaper, a major news outlet like CNN or FoxNews, or even just a thread in a facebook newsfeed.

But when Laura Carroll invited her readers to comment on her response piece to Caplan’s “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,” both published in the Wall Street Journal, I considered leaving a supportive comment for Laura. Instead, I found myself wading through a sea of negativity and bingoes, interspersed with a few intelligent observations from those who took the time to think about what Laura had to say.

My mind was a flurry of activity, and I soon realized that all of the things I felt would take up far more space than would be appropriate for a comment, so I decided to post here instead. I have no desire that most of the aforementioned commenters would read my blog, so what I have to say is mostly a catharsis for me.

When it comes to how many children someone should have (including 0), one of the things that is seldom discussed is what is in it for the child. For everyone, reproducer or not, the choice ultimately boils down to one selfish reason: it’s what I want (or don’t want) to do. There may be addenda to this reason (…because I want someone to take care of me when I’m old, because I want to experience unconditional love, because I like children, because I don’t like children, because I don’t want the responsibility, because I want to nurture the relationships I already have, etc.), but it is still about me and my desires. From the title of his piece, Caplan clearly does not dispute this; in fact, he quite encourages everyone to follow their own desires to have children.

People sometimes object to the word “selfish,” but I’m not trying to imply that it is necessarily wrong to follow your heart’s desire when deciding whether or not to reproduce. However, in response to Caplan’s encouragement for people to have more children, I would like to say wait -- what about the children? Shouldn’t we think a little harder about this?

Laura tackled several relevant issues in her piece, so I want to zero in on the one that has been weighing on me lately: what is in it for the child. My view, of course, is colored by my being a highly introverted, somewhat misanthropic, quasi-antinatalist, depressive realist who wonders why anyone would want to bring a child into this suffering world in the first place. None of these would-be children asked to be born, and each time one of us has a child, we force that child into a harsh and tumultuous world to experience a lifetime of pain. Personally, I think that if my parents had taken the time to consider that, they could have saved me a hell of a lot of grief. Yes, I would have missed out on all of the amazing things my life has had to offer, but by not existing in the first place, I would have been none the wiser.

And going back to the impetus for this post… reading the comments to Laura’s article only served to reinforce that I would not want to impose a world of such nasty people onto my potential offspring.

Now I realize that God may have a plan for each of us, blah, blah, blah, and so I cannot bring myself to believe that no one should have children simply for the reasons I described above. What I must believe is that we ought not be so flippant about procreating; it should be done with thoughtful and prayerful consideration. We should also carefully consider the effects of bringing additional children into this troubled world -- children who are more likely to just be entitled consumers who gobble up resources and cause more trouble than to actually solve any problems -- rather than focusing our financial and emotional resources to something that is likely to make the world a better place… say, adoption of any of the 140,000,000 orphans who are already out there?


  1. Amen! One thing I think about with the 'God has a plan for everyone' argument is ... they are exactly right. It's the same plan for everyone: to love Him and to love our neighbor (in His nutshell way of describing it). People tend to forget the free will part of our lives and to follow that rule for a lot of folks means not to have kids and tend to their neighbors around them, (or adopt an orphan!). If a kid is born or not, there is the same plan for the kid as the rest of us.

    Thank you so much for the blog. I can't begin to describe the support and thoughtfulness that I've had by following you for (almost a year now, I think!)

  2. And thank you too, Alex. That means a lot to me.

  3. OMG! I just wrote this long post about adoption vs. "breeding" and why kids who are in need of adoption are shortchanged and I pressed some key and deleted my ENTIRE post my accident. UGH!!!

    Anyways, long story short: I get so much crap when I mention that MAYBE one day FAR into the future I may want to adopt a child. People see it as "less worthy". To me there is nothing MORE selfish than ignoring all those kids in desperate need of a home to go create one of your own so you can see your DNA flow through them. I understand it, but I still believe that is inherently selfish. What about the kids who are already here and just need some love and attention to turn around their whole luves. Why are they less worthy?

    That whole crap about "you don't know what you are gonna get when you adopt" is pure fallacy. "Breeders" have no idea what they are gonna get. You think Ted Bundy's mother walked around when she was pregnant happy that she was carrying a serial killer? Nope, because ignorance is bliss. When you adopt, you know the kid and interact with them for a period of time before things are official, plus you can choose tha age you want (I will be skipping baby and toddlerhood myself). It's a very compassionate thing to do and if more people who wanted kids would put down the fertility treatments and go help someone who needs love NOW - the world would be a better place.

  4. @Childfree Travel: ah, the infuriating computer-ate-my-post dilemma. Sorry to hear about it! I have been burned enough times so that I always make a copy of my post before I click "submit". That, and CTRL-Z (the undo command) has saved my bacon more than once!

    As you alluded, I have often thought that a major benefit of adoption is that you can choose someone with whom you are compatible, unlike childbirth where you have to take whatever you are dealt (serial killers and all).

    Thanks for your comments.