It used to be that girls were conditioned to understand that one day they would grow up to be mommies. Our generation however has been the first to really challenge that paradigm. No doubt that between the sexual revolution of the generation before us, and advances in medicine, we've been given a unique opportunity to truly take control of our reproductive destiny. I have a number of friends in their thirties who have no desire to procreate. I'll try to refrain from lumping men into this mix, as it's far more difficult for me to speculate as to what goes into a man's take on the subject. I know as a woman, I struggled for quite a while with whether or not having children was the right choice for me. What I find interesting, is that there appears to be different trends between theists and atheists. I'm aware I'm generalizing here, but from what I've seen, theists believe that all children are gifts from god. While some family planning may take place, it's generally a do I take the pill or don't I, and if the choice is to not take the pill, then it's "in god's hands." I'm not passing judgment, I'm just observing that there doesn't appear to be much more to the decision than that. I find it odd that so much is just left to chance when we have so much in this world to take into account.
For me, I caught the mommy bug in my late 20s. It was a difficult decision to make considering my medical history. It took about 2yrs to get everything in order between getting on the insulin pump, getting my diabetes on track, undergoing fertility treatments, etc. After enduring two miscarriages, it was a challenge to myself and to science to see if we could make this happen. And we did. Now our son is 19 months old, and we're faced with the decision again. This time, I know it can be done and I know what I'd be getting into so those factors are accounted for. The other piece to this - which was there before but is far more apparent now - is social responsibility.
Is it socially responsible to continue reproducing in an already over-populated world? As an atheist, I reject any and all ideas about some "master plan" bestowed upon us by the heavens. I do not believe that jeebus is coming so everything we do is all good because all will be forgiven and rectified blah blah blah...So with that taken off the table, I'm left to actually be accountable for what I decide. The simple answer is no, it isn't responsible. Too many are breeding already and given the overwhelming lack of responsible humans and rapidly depleting resources on this planet, adding more people to the mix doesn't seem like the right thing to do. On the other hand, there is also a massive imbalance of earth-conscious vs. willfully blind citizens of this planet that it could also be argued that I have duty to breed more socially responsible individuals to oh yes, bring balance to the force. To one extreme we have the Quiverfull Movement, those like the Duggars with 20 kids and counting to breed soldiers for jeebus. But where's our movement? Why aren't atheists and other free thinkers as inclined to breed with reckless abandon? Oh right. Because it's reckless. Answered my own question...duh. Seriously though, do we have a duty to change the world through our offspring? I would think so. (I know you hear Whitney Houston singing in your head right now *I believe the children are the future...*) My fellow leftists often comment that we need to make this planet a better place for our children and their children. True statement. But how can we accomplish that if we aren't breeding?
I don't really believe that having one more kid is somehow going to alter the outcome of the universe or tip the scales toward the left as if my spawn could magically change the world. This has just been on my mind. I'm getting older, as is my son, so I owe it to him to think about this long and hard and decide soon. I just might take one for the team - just one more time.