Monday, January 3, 2011

Fruit of Thy Womb

One of the problems with being single and unmarried in my thirties is the looming pressure to have kids.  When I turned 30, I panicked when I realized that if I'm ever going to have a kid, it should happen in the next ten years.  Now that I'm nearly 32, it's down to eight.  That doesn't seem like a lot of time considering everything else that I'd like to happen first: graduation, job, marriage, house, so forth.  At least I finally got a boyfriend.

Lately however, I'm wondering if I want kids at all.  I used to think I did... Maybe I only thought I was supposed to want them?  At 32, I still don't feel any ticking biological clock.  I can look at a baby and find it cute, but I have no overwhelming urge to have one of my own.  I'd rather get a cat, honestly.

Grist, an environmental blog self-described as "making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse," recently published 2010: The Year Childfree Went Mainstream, which discusses how being child-free, as opposed to child-less, has become more and more popular, even among celebrities such as Oprah and even fake celebrities like Carrie Bradshaw from 'Sex And The City.'  Now, like-minded environmental-friendlies have a name for themselves, GINKs (green inclination, no kids), as coined in Say It Loud: I'm Childfree and I'm Proud.

Earlier this year, New York Magazine published about the downside of having kids, All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting.  According to their research, having children generally makes people more unhappy than their child-free peers, and less satisfied in their marriage.  Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?

If I decide to never have kids, does it take the pressure off my current and any future relationships?  Can I relax a little and just focus on having a satisfying sex life while still maintaining my friendships, career and hobbies?  It sounds kinda selfish, but then, what's so wrong with being selfish?

The other thing I think about is how much I hated being a kid.  I didn't have a horrible childhood at all, but between the ages of ten and twenty years old, I was basically miserable.  Why would I want to force another human being to go through that?

A little part of me worries that if too many intelligent liberals join the GINK bandwagon, society is going to deteriorate like in Idiocracy.  (If you haven't seen it, the first few minutes of the film explains it all.)

Honestly, I'm still conflicted by the baby thing.  Back when I was still shopping online for guys, if he said he "definitely does not want" kids -OR- if he "definitely does want" kids, EITHER WAY, felt like it was kind of a deal-breaker.  Maybe I prefer mutual ambivalence.  Can't we just wait and see how we feel in the next eight years?

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