June 26, 2019

Childfree? Really? Common questions and comments (Part 2)

“When are you having kids?”, they usually ask. Not “if”. And here are a few more of the most common responses to my answer:

4) “Your kids would be so cute though…”

Oh, if the gene pool was really only skin deep…

On the outside, maybe, our offspring could look fine; but the inside could be very messy. So take a good look at the size of my cranium compared to my wife’s petite body, and hold your endorsements until we all have genetic codes tattooed on our sleeves.

Somewhere on my bicep you’ll then find addiction, male pattern baldness, acne, a degenerative eye disease, and the undiscovered gene for mouth breathing. Sure, my wife’s line brings artistic ability and great teeth, but there are also angry ovaries and OCD. Somewhere in her tattooed code there must be mysterious genes that cause older members of her family to mispronounce the most common names and brands and retell the same damn stories every week.

If the gene pool was really only skin deep...

If we were crazy or careless or lucky enough to bring a child into the world healthy, it would likely be a clumsy, athletic, tone deaf, heroin addict with back hair and enough artistic ability to paint a self portrait, but a head too big to fit on the canvass.

5) “The world needs more intelligent people to have babies!”

Really? It’s a reproductive arms race? Is this about Politics? Ideology? You’re going to breed yourselves to victory? Cars run on IQ points? With every additional baby the ice caps are unmelting?

Can you provide some evidence that intelligent = happy? Have you never met smart, peaceful people with stupid, violent children?

So how does the race end?

Does Thomas Malthus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus) earn a very posthumous Nobel Prize? For economics or peace? Who wins if a lot of smart people live in bankrupt countries run by fertile descendants of Osama Bin Laden and Mitt Romney… ?

Can’t we just distribute birth control and sign the non-procreation treaty already?!

May I please be excused?

The choice to have children is personal. When someone asks ‘WHY NO KIDS?’ I don’t really mind, but not all of the interrogators accept my responses.

In my twenties my excuse was that I didn’t think I could have kids. Fertility issues run in my family. In my early thirties, I answered with a variety of excuses, always apologetically:

“I’m an environmentalist…”

“Addictions and diseases run in my family…”

“Have you seen the size of my husband’s head?”

In my late thirties, my husband was diagnosed with a rare genetic eye disease that would leave our future generation with a 50% chance of macular degeneration and blindness. (That one shut people up pretty quickly.) As I too rapidly approach my forties, I could easily use the excuse that I’m too old. (More on that another time.) The truth is I don’t want kids and I’m happy. I’m happy teaching, playing, visiting and entertaining other people’s kids AND I’m happy to give them back when I’m done getting my kid fix. I’m happy in my marriage and in my family of two. And I’m really happy being alone and childless. Do I need any other reason?

Why no kids? Why kids? What’s your excuse?