Having had several discussions with people regarding their desire to have children versus their desire to “enjoy” life by abstaining from parenthood, I came across an article that specifically dealt with the issue. Being both a former advocate for living without children as well as a current father, I was intrigued by this topic. However, my interest unexpectedly became frustration once I read the introductory lines. “Since the dawn of birth control, more women have opted against having kids. Nearly one-in-five American women now ends her childbearing years without giving birth, up from one-in-10 n the 1970s, according to a recent Pew study. The percentage has risen for all racial and ethnic groups. The top reason women give for not wanting kids is simply loving their life as it is, says Laura Scott, author of Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice. Despite the title of Laura Scott’s book, the issue at hand in not so much being childless as many families struggle with legitimate, uncontrollable maters of infertility. The point in question references those who wish to remain volitionally childfree. After reading this I began to think that there may be a structural flaw in the argument against having children. I came to this conclusion not merely by research and meditation, but by my own personal experience as a father. So, though the popularity of being childfree is continually increasing, I believe this decision is actually undermining one of the primary reasons it is being chosen
I must admit, despite my views on this subject, I can sympathize with the opposing position. The memory of the day that my wife told me that she was pregnant with our first child, my daughter, has been carved into the side of the file cabinet in my brain that stores the (great metaphor) memories of such occasions. I was shocked, scared, and suddenly engulfed with the feeling an elephant might get if he was ordered to sew a button on a mouse’s trousers when I heard the words, “I’m pregnant.” As much excitement as there was in the months preceding the arrival of my daughter there was even more apprehension. I had, through my younger years, successfully sent numerous pets into whatever great beyond there is for domesticated animals, and I did so with a level of mastery and efficiency that must take others a lifetime to achieve. I had lost a rodent into the woodwork of a set of cabinets, suffocated a pair of hamsters in a desk drawer, and imposed such grief upon a beagle that he, in true John Dillinger fashion, literally learned to climb a chain link fence. It was these memories that became my ever present companions throughout the gestational period of my daughter’s life, and after meeting her for the first time in the hospital I was more convinced than ever that I would have an easier time getting pregnant myself than taking care of this little lump of life. As if my own trepidation was insufficient in leveling the preternatural gravity of the situation upon my guts, the first night home from the hospital was like something from an apocalyptic war movie. I only remember brief flashes of time and several colors I was formerly unaware of. A soundly broken will from an unfortunate lack of volume control on my daughter had me wanting to see if our room at the hospital was still available for occupancy. My life had changed, and it was not a gradual change like getting older or gaining weight. The change I had encountered was so immediate and startling it felt like being roused from a deep sleep by a trumpet section playing heavy metal songs in a tile bathroom. When people say that children bring change to life, I can indeed sympathize.