The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

To breed, or not to breed: that is the question

with 11 comments

It seems that in mid-2011, everyone takes it upon themselves to tell you what you should be doing. For whatever reason, some people have in their mind a path that you, as a contributing member of society, must follow in order to adhere to what is deemed the cultural norm. Should you decide to veer off the path of the apparent status quo, and then declare this intention to people, they will look at you like you’ve just shown them the video of your recent Alaskan seal clubbing holiday.

In the office today, we somehow got onto the topic of marriage, and as a natural progression, onto the subject of having children. When I casually informed my colleagues that I didn’t want children, I was met with a few mortified yet bewildered stares, as if some part of my ejaculation defied comprehension. That’s right, my ejaculation. While I realise that there are literally dozens of synonyms that I could have, and probably should have, used in place of it, I chose not to. See, it’s all about free choice as individual. Besides, I like the pun, and I’m sure at least one person at the news with nipples will find my reckless use one of H.G. Wells’ favourite words amusing. Once you have finished reading this, head across and check it out – it’s always a great read. Anyway, back to my ejaculating.

Once they got over the initial shock of my defiance, my co-workers interrogated me as to why I didn’t want children. In between questions, they peppered me with nuggets of wisdom like “everyone wants kids” and “once you find the girl, she’ll change your mind”. One even went as far to suggest that I needed to sow my seed and surround myself with progeny, ostensibly to fulfil some unwritten obligation to the universe. Why is it so much of a surprise to some people that not everyone wants to bring forth a legion of Mini-Mes? More importantly, why do they presume that what I do or don’t do with my swimmers is any of their fucking business?

Quintuple strollers: the stuff of nightmares for yours truly. Source: Stroller-Advisor.com

As far as I’m aware, I’ve got no medical issues that would prevent me from impregnating some poor woman with a bonsai version of your 6’5” scribe. I’d like to think that if I ever did decide to procreate, I’d at least have a basic understanding of what constituted good parenting. While I’d more than likely be sketchy on the specifics, I’d know that trying to sell my spawn for $2,000 came under the umbrella of “shit that makes one a poor parent”. Given that sale of parental rights is an existing felony charge in Florida, one has to assume that in order to necessitate such a charge, a lot of parents – and I use the word for want of a better description – missed the Parenting 101 class.

My point is this: just because I can reproduce doesn’t mean that I should automatically want to, nor be expected to. Hell, the woman in the story obviously had the physiological capacity to give birth, but she strikes me as someone who probably shouldn’t have done so. I’m not going to speculate on how or why she came to have children to sell, but she followed what many see as the path of social convention, and is now being ostracised and denounced by society, which includes those the people who have the “everyone should have kids” mentality.

People decide to have children for a myriad of reasons, but there are also just as many reasons behind the decisions of those who elect not to. As long as that individual is happy with their determination, and the decision is an informed one, based on their own personal circumstances, why is it anyone else’s business what they do? What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, so isn’t it better that a decision of that magnitude be made at an individual level, and not predicated purely by a physical capacity to do so, and the expectation that one will adhere to society’s “must-do” list?

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Written by disseminatedthought

August 22, 2011 at 21:47

11 Responses

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  1. How old are you DT?
    As a bloke you have plenty of time to change your mind and that at least puts you ahead of many women who feel as you do.
    I came to being a parent later in life and its a great joy and a good antidote to any fears that you have about your own mortality. Now I’ve met quite a few people who have reached without having any children and they consistently express a sort of quiet regret about the loneliness of their dotage…
    Cheers
    Iain

    Iain Hall

    August 23, 2011 at 07:36

    • I’ll be 31 in December, but another cake adorned with candles is unlikely to change my perspective. I’ve made an informed decision based on my life, and the direction that I’d like to see it head in the coming years.

      The point of the post was to highlight the fact that just because we can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should, even if society tells us it’s the “normal” thing to do as healthy, adult mammal. We certainly shouldn’t feel compelled to breed, just to appease the universe.

      While I appreciate you sharing your personal experience of becoming a father later in life, it further demonstrates how people insist on trying to convince those, who have exercised free choice in deciding not to procreate, that their decision is somehow wrong.

      Thanks for your feedback, and welcome to The Dissemination of Thought.

      disseminatedthought

      August 23, 2011 at 08:14

  2. I think that any life that is lived as its owner wishes is a good life as far as I am concerned
    Thank you for the welcome and I will be watching your musings into the future
    Cheers
    Iain

    Iain Hall

    August 23, 2011 at 09:23

    • Well said, I totally agree with your sentiment. If you learn from your mistakes, and live life without regret, you’ve had a pretty good run.

      disseminatedthought

      August 23, 2011 at 09:56

  3. I can fully understand where you are coming from, even though I am a mammal who has reproduced 5 times! Being told as a young teenager I could never have children, I guess I went too far to prove the point that I could! Well the dark circles under my eyes, from yet another sleepless night prove that! But I adore my offspring and wouldn’t have it any other way!

    I do however have male friends who as young as 21 had their “little boys & girls” cut off from society and have never regretted their decision to do so. It is a personal decision. As a society are we saying just because you can.. You should? no… I came from an abusive family home and there are some people who can, who just shouldn’t! Children are not a fashion accessory, nor are they a toy you can bring out when the mood strikes! They are a commitment for life! Some people are unwilling to make that commitment and I can understand and totally respect that decision!

    Am I to surmise that these so called “do gooders” were female? They fought for “women’s rights” yet they believe as a man of this day and age, you must forget your own rights and have a child, just because they say so? Do they know of your family’s genetic history, your sexual history? I am surprised they didn’t ask to see your medical file!

    If you decide not to have children, then later in life, you decide to have children, good for you.. Perhaps you should consider this… if you only having children because you are lonely.. My suggestion is get a pet!

    There are many unwanted children whom are in need of a good home, because breeders (parents seems an inappropriate word to use here) decided that they wanted to have a child. Upon the arrival of their little screaming bundle of joy, realised their offspring isn’t anything like the Gerber baby and are in fact a little dictator that just doesn’t fit into their lives.. Casting the child aside into an already overflowing foster system, with the same care and thought processes they used when they made their un-informed decision to have a child.

    Or worse, like the breeder who gave birth to me, using the child as a verbal and physical punching bag for the rest of its life as it, through no fault of its own can never live up to the expectation and ideals in this warped individuals mind!

    So these people who feel it is their duty to ensure people breed, just because they can, need to perhaps take a step back and talk to some children, whom like me, grew up in a family where the children were not wanted by one parent. The only reason they had a child is because “society” deemed it a necessity or offered a monetary reward.

    TJ

    August 23, 2011 at 10:12

    • Ah, the age-old question: because we can, should we? Common sense would indicate it’s probably not a good rule to live your life by, but if you sit down with most people – especially those who have already procreated – and explain that you don’t want children, they will stare you open-mouthed, as if they had just been introduced to Jack the Ripper.

      In regard to choosing whether to have – or not have – children, you hit the metaphorical nail on the head – it’s about choice, and the freedom to exercise it without having others criticise or condemn your decision.

      That Gerber Baby freaks me out – it’s like a sunshine and lollipops version of Chucky.

      Thank you for your thoughts, it’s always good to get a well thought out, rational comment thrown into the mix.

      Welcome to TDoT.

      disseminatedthought

      August 23, 2011 at 11:01

  4. I have always said I don’t want kids. I totally understand the sideways looks you get. I also live in Orlando and THE best birth control is a day at Disney. I hear “Get off that! Don’t eat that! Leave your sister alone! Leave me alone!” enough times and whenever I get a little pang in my ovaries, I hear it.
    Whenever I see a baby I joke that I’m just waiting for its eyes to blacken over and it lunge at me like the rabbit in Monty Python’s, The Holy Grail.

    Adrienne schmadrienne

    December 9, 2011 at 02:28

    • That’s classic! I watched a couple trying to control their army of seven munchkins on the ferry a few months ago, and that was my Disneyland. After about five minutes of listening to the whinging, crying and bickering, I was ready to abandon ship.

      Each to their own, but fuck that.

      Welcome to The Dissemination of Thought, and thanks for your comment. Please put your tray table and seat into the upright position as we commence the descent into lunacy.

      disseminatedthought

      December 9, 2011 at 05:32

    • Thank you for sharing that, I need to get myself a few of those signs.

      My favourite part of the piece was “…I can’t even beat them off me, because that’s illegal”.

      disseminatedthought

      February 7, 2012 at 21:32

  5. Lyndon, an exceptional piece. As a 41 yo woman who’s managed to avoid it, all the girls at work feel terribly terribly sorry for me – which I don’t get. After a busy day at work I go home, open a beer and light a cigarette, they go home and change nappies do laundry and get no sleep!! Maybe I’m truly selfish, but I’m just not interested. And it seems kids around me have finally worked that out. They leave me alone now 🙂

    Kerryn

    June 23, 2012 at 10:24


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