There are lots of reasons people don’t want to have kids, and most are very personal. But for some, the reasons are simply practical. This world has become a scary place to be an adult, and it is even scarier to be a child or a parent.
I started thinking about this as I was driving home from yoga class last night. After the sublime relaxation I experienced in class, I was looking for NPR on my car radio so I could hear some calming classical music. I caught the last few lines of something that was exactly what I was looking for. But then the talk started.
In the story that followed, I heard that 40 countries have the capability to eventually create nuclear weapons, one of which is Iran. When pressured by the UN to stop its “uranium enrichment program,” Iran refused, saying they were producing “energy,” not weapons. This led to a whole discussion that I was NOT in the mood to hear, so I turned off the radio and drove home in silence.
As a historian, I know we have seen this kind of fear before. During the Cold War in the 1950s and 60s, fear of the Atomic Bomb sent school children under their desks in a fruitless effort to survive a nuclear attack. People often idealize the Fifties, but there was some serious anxiety about the Superpowers blowing up the world.
In addition to the escalating nuclear programs of some rather unstable countries, we are fighting the “hidden enemy” of terrorism around the world and in our backyards. There are varying opinions about how we’re doing, but personally I think we have a long way to go in securing our country.
The environment is going to hell in a hand basket, with global warming and ozone depletion wreaking havoc with the natural order of things. It seems that if rogue nations don’t blow up the planet, we will certainly destroy it ourselves before long.
Also, today’s kids seem to be sick more often, and our overuse of antibiotics is creating “super germs” that are resistant to typical medications. When I was growing up, I never heard of someone with a peanut allergy. Now every school district in America seems to be banning PB&J because the problem is so serious.
Combine all of this with children being kidnapped right out of their beds at night, an economy that is in shambles, and skyrocketing teen pregnancy and drug use, and the picture isn’t pretty.
It almost seems irresponsible to add to the population in today’s world. I know that as a mother, I would be obsessive to the point of compulsion, worrying when my daughter was a few minutes late coming home or when my son came down with the sniffles. I have always been a bit on the paranoid side when it comes to things like that. I think having a child would literally drive me crazy!
If any of the above resonates with you, perhaps you can use some of it to defend your decision not to have kids when people harass you. I know I will.