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