When I typed “Why I Had Kids” in the Google search bar, I got a list of interesting results: why I wish I never had kids, I wish I aborted my kids, regret having kids, reasons why I don’t want kids, etc. None of them were really positive.
Some pick me up that was.
I had to think really hard about why I had kids, because some days it’s not easy. Actually, everyday is pretty difficult. But I think of all the reasons out there of why people don’t have kids and I have to explain to myself why I did. Here goes my list.
1. Population on earth is out of control.
I never felt like this was a good reason not to have kids, especially here in the US. Ironically, the people who say this are the ones who have the most to offer kids (relatively speaking, as opposed to most countries of the world). Clean water flowing out of our taps, cheap food, free public schools. Most people in poorer countries don’t even have that. I would worry about overpopulation in third world countries where kids struggle with famine and worse. Kids here have some of the best chances to make a difference in the world, and can grow up and help the other countries where they never had the opportunities like we did.
2. Not being able to afford children.
This is a statement concerning priorities in life. There are families of 4 who can make it work on a middle class income, and yes it is a struggle, but it is possible. I guess it depends on what you are willing to give up. If people don’t want to give up lavish vacations, or a luxury car, or living a certain lifestyle, then their priorities are different, and that is fine. So it isn’t a question of whether you can afford children, it is if you are willing to sacrifice for them, and once again, that is a totally legit excuse if you can say you aren’t willing to sacrifice for them.
3. My body won’t be the same again.
Your body won’t be the same when you’re 80 either. I never thought about this reason personally, because it wasn’t like I was a supermodel before or anything. Your body won’t be the same 5 years from now, your body won’t be the same if you go through cancer, your body won’t be the same you gained/lost weight from illness, your body won’t be the same after a horrific accident. Your body won’t be the same when you’re dead. It’s just a body. Use it for childbirth or don’t, but nothing stays the same.
I guess this is a really sensitive subject, since it comes up in almost every conversation with every mom and non-mom I’ve known. Women complain that their babies ruined their bodies. I think it everyday myself, and even though I prepared for it and expected it, I still think about it. But I don’t blame my babies, nor do I blame myself. Shit happens. Flabby stomachs, loose skin, extra weight, bigger hips. I weigh less now than I did before I was pregnant, but I sure don’t look the same.
Good for the moms who have accepted it and are proud, but honestly, I am not proud, nor am I shameful. I just choose not to feel either, and that’s ok. Because really, how many of us hated our bodies before having kids? A lot of us, right? So it’s not necessarily the kids ruining our bodies that we are worried about, it’s just another hurdle in achieving/maintaining our self-confidence.
4. It is selfish to have kids.
I’ve heard that it is selfish to have kids as much as it is selfish not to have kids. You know what? We’re all selfish. We can say it’s selfish to bring another child into the world (you know, overpopulation and all that) and we can say it’s selfish to want other things instead of kids. Once again, these are just different priorities in life, but human beings are selfish in different ways, period.
I could say it is selfless to devote your life to raising kids, and I can also say it is selfless to devote your life to your work if you are doing something meaningful and helping others. In the end, as long as you are contributing to the betterment of society, you are doing fine. But, selflessness and selfishness are the same thing, if you want to get into it. Because being selfless, by devoting your life to something whether it be work or kids, is ultimately your decision, which is selfish. You have to be selfish in order to be selfless.
5. I had a shitty childhood and I don’t want my kids to have one too.
A lot of us have had shitty childhoods. In my house I was called stupid, fat, ugly, lazy, or at least one of those everyday until I turned 18. Also, I was bullied in school. So, why would I ever want to put my children through that? Because my life doesn’t have to be their life. Sure, before I had kids I was terrified I would put them through the same things I experienced. I still am. I can hear my parents voices coming through mine when I yell at my kids in frustration, and I worry that I would turn into them, and my kids would grow up feeling the same way I did.
I’m one of those people who have more than enough reason not to procreate, yet I still did it. And you know what? I don’t call my daughters stupid. I would never EVER call them fat, or tell them they’re ugly, or pick on them for not being skinny enough, tall enough, smart enough. Ok, I do occasionally exclaim laziness when they don’t pick up their toys. But I am not my parents. And since I know how it feels to be a piece of crap, I fight harder not to make them feel what I did. I may not be perfect, but I know enough not to be a complete f**kup.
I tell them how smart, beautiful, and strong they are. By boosting their self-esteem I give them something I lacked my whole life, and still do. I tell my older daughter to call me out if she thinks I’m being unreasonable. Which I am sometimes. I’m not perfect, but I strive to try harder so they can have a better life than I did. It is definitely harder for the parents with bad childhoods, but it’s still possible to raise kids with better lives than we ever had.
6. Kids these days are spoiled, entitled brats.
I love the “kids these days” comments. We heard them every generation for centuries. If you think about it, are the actual kids these actual days worse than ever? Because I heard it about my generation from my parents’ generation. These kids with the iPads and Nintendo are entitled brats. These kids with the shoes are entitled brats. In my day, we walked to school (uphill both ways) with no shoes. You can’t blame a kid born these days in a time where an iPad exists, then exclaim how selfish and entitled they are. Just as we were born in a time where we had certain things our own parents didn’t have growing up, and so on.
In my opinion, kids these days are better than the past generation, and so on. They are being brought up with their parents knowing the dangers of alcohol and cigarettes during pregnancy, and of secondhand smoke, so they have a healthy start in life. They have more parents equal in the childcare, both mom and dad sharing the responsibilities. Parents are more involved with their kids’ education and interests, and spend more spare time with them than before. Teen pregnancy has decreased. More girls are now getting interested in STEM fields. Less kids smoke cigarettes than ever before.
The teenagers I’ve met and talked to these days are more mature and responsible than my friends and I ever were at their age. I feel like the obnoxious teenagers people talk about are the ones that are clearly seen or heard in public because they are, obviously, obnoxious. Just like how the one screaming toddler throwing a tantrum on a plane overshadows the other dozen quiet toddlers on the plane. People only notice the loudest one, and then announce that all the kids they’ve ever heard or seen are spoiled. Well, in your small-minded and ignorant view, I guess they are.
7. I don’t want to get pregnant/give birth.
Who does? I didn’t agree to get married so I could have a wedding. I had a wedding so I could get married. Just like I went through childbirth to have a baby. I didn’t get pregnant for the sake of enduring pregnancy. There was an end goal. I’m sure no one wants to endure the excruciating pain of labor, or the annoying side effects of pregnancy.
I was one of those women who was terrified of pregnancy and labor. Even when I had my second kid, I was 95% as terrified as I was the first time around. I went through all the back labor, contractions, c-sections, weight gain, swollen feet, scars, sweating like a pig so I could have a family, that’s all. I can’t honestly say I enjoyed being pregnant like a lot of women can. It doesn’t mean I’m any less of a person because I wasn’t happy the entire time. That being said:
8. I’m not maternal/the motherly type/I don’t like kids.
Ask anyone from my childhood/college years/career years. I was the last person who they pictured to be a stay at home mom to two kids. The comments hurt me: “I can never picture you being a mom/having kids/holding a baby/was your pregnancy planned?” I realized that just because I wasn’t motherly, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t able to be a mom. Not all moms are bakers, make pinterest-worthy meals, or even dance and sing to their kids.
As for the not liking kids part, I don’t like kids either. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like my own kids. I am terrified of holding babies and I’m so awkward about the thought of holding someone’s baby, that I put myself in a situation so I don’t get asked to hold one. When I had my own babies, I was even awkward holding them. Even with my SECOND baby, it was awkward. But I learned to get used to it, and it became second nature.
When I was 9 months pregnant with my first kid, I tried practicing how to put a diaper on a stuffed animal. Then I realized how stupid it was. Was I really not going to figure out how to put a diaper on a baby? When the time came I would just figure it out, then eventually I would be able to do it half asleep at 3am. All the worries I had that people put in my head (and I put in my own head) – you don’t know how to hold a baby, you don’t know how to put a diaper on, you’ve never given a baby a bath, how do you know how to take care of a kid? Those problems solved themselves eventually. I realized I wasted so much effort and time worrying about nothing.
9. I don’t like changing diapers/wiping butts/wiping snot etc.
I didn’t have kids because I liked wiping butts. Gross bodily discharge I hate and have nightmares at least once a month about using public restrooms because I have a fear of germs. To combat this, I buy Lysol in bulk from Costcos and clorox wipe my counters 5 times a day. I buy toilet seat covers for public use and treat my kids as a bio-hazard once they come home from a public place. Having my kids forced me to get over my fears, or at least made them less extreme.
One of the annoying little pet peeves I have is when people say they don’t like doing something, so they won’t do it. Like, I don’t like taking out of the garbage, I don’t like cleaning the bathroom, I don’t like emptying the dishwasher, I don’t like cooking, I don’t like eating broccoli, so I won’t do it. Obviously, I don’t like doing those things either (ok I like broccoli). But it’s not about whether I LIKE or DISLIKE something, because if it needs to be done, I will do it. I call it being an adult.
Why does every single thing have to be enjoyable for us to do it? I’m not saying do everything you dislike and become a martyr. I’m saying why can’t we just do it for the sake of efficiency? I like the outcome of a sparkling clean bathroom, an empty garbage can, clean dishes, clean butts, clean diapers. When you put aside likes and dislikes, you can accomplish the mundane, and move on to things that you can enjoy.
10. I just don’t want to.
This is the only reason that I can understand, because the rest of the reasons always felt like excuses in my head. If you don’t WANT kids, you shouldn’t have them. It doesn’t mean it’s forever, or it might be forever, either way, it’s the only one I can comprehend. This is simple and needs no further explanation. Nobody should ever have kids because society tells them they should. That creates resentment towards the kids, and the kids will suffer. I have felt/heard on and off my whole life this resentment, but in the end I had to explain to myself why I had those thoughts, and whether I could get over them. And once I felt like I could, I changed my mind and had kids. I never had the thought “I just don’t want to”. I had excuses combined with fear of the unknown.
It may not be as simple (or complicated?) for people to come to that conclusion. People can have rocky relationships, or money issues, health issues, or a number of other things that prevent them from a decision. I wish I could stop hearing the excuses, and for everyone to just own up to the fact that they just don’t want to and leave it to that.
I get offended when I hear excuses. Like when they don’t want to ruin their body, I look down at my own flabby body and wonder, is this what everyone gets disgusted from? Do they see my kids as spoiled entitled brats? Do they really think as I wipe my kid’s poop covered butt, that I do it because I enjoy it? That I grew up in a happy perfect house with a great childhood so I can easily replicate that again?
But I know it doesn’t have to do with me, it has to do with them and their own personal reasons. And if I feel offended, it’s because I question my own decisions and reasons too. After writing this long-winded post, I can finally answer the question “Why did I have kids?”
Because I wanted to.