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Great NYT editorial about choosing to be a parent


BravaAmica

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http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... y_20120618

It's called, "Think Before You Breed." Love the title. It's a well thought out, cogent editorial about why people need to think before becoming parents, much less spitting out a baby a year for Jesus.

[Don't know if this belongs in Snark or Chatter- the Duggars are mentioned as people who did not fully consider their choices, though.]

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From the editorial:

After all, nonexistent people can’t suffer from not being created. They do not have an entitlement to come into existence, and we do not owe it to them to bring them into existence. But once children do exist, we incur serious responsibilities to them.

This is the part that the fundies don't seems to get.

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In fact, people are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them.

This has been my experience, as someone who doesn't want children, when logically the opposite should hold true. The negative effects of having a child one isn't equipped to care for are FAR greater than the negative effects of not having a child that one later wants. She focusses on the potential child, but from the parents' perspectives it's equally important that they're confident in their choice, because having a child because it's the "done thing" is no more a recipe for happiness for the parents than it is for the children.

I don't habitually ask people why they chose to have kids yet, for some reason, they're justified in asking me why not and then insinuating I haven't thought it through adequately, usually employing a variation on "you'll change your mind when you get older". I would never tell a pregnant friend she'd change her mind when she got older, yet if I ever mention I've considered sterilisation (no more permanent than having a child) I'm told I will regret it.

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Consider also reality television “stars†Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, the parents of 19 children. The Duggars claim to have religious motives for creating their large family. But it’s not at all clear that God places such a high value on the Duggar genetic heritage. Unlike Suleman, the Duggars don’t struggle to support their brood, but mere financial solvency is not a sufficient reason to birth more than a dozen and a half offspring, even if the kids seem reasonably content.

That made me LOL :clap:

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The article is excellent. For human beings, procreation is a choice, not an obligation. Children are also not a vanity item that the parents use to show off. A persons fertility has nothing to do with their worth as a human being.

It is horribly rude that society at large seems to feel that those who don't have children need to justify their choice. Anyone who asks that question should just be told 'My, aren't you rude and intrusive.' Or perhaps something less polite.

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From the editorial:

This is the part that the fundies don't seems to get.

This is seconded; oh so much.

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I have slightly mixed feelings about the article.

Overall, I agree with the message that having children is an awesome responsibility. I tend to see the extreme bad end of parenting in my work, where bad choices cause permanent damage.

At the same time, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the notion that we would want someone to justify their desire for children. Yes, the author says that she is not seeking to regulate parenthood, but some of the language makes me nervous. As someone who is pro-choice and anti-government intrusion into the most intimate aspects of my life, I don't like the idea that these decisions (either to have children or not to have children) need to be "justified" to society at large. I just think that there is a moral obligation to the children that we do have, to do a good enough job. I'd also say that there is a general hope that any child that we have will do more good than harm during their time on this planet, but the ultimate outcome isn't totally in the hands of the parent.

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I have slightly mixed feelings about the article.

Overall, I agree with the message that having children is an awesome responsibility. I tend to see the extreme bad end of parenting in my work, where bad choices cause permanent damage.

At the same time, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the notion that we would want someone to justify their desire for children. Yes, the author says that she is not seeking to regulate parenthood, but some of the language makes me nervous. As someone who is pro-choice and anti-government intrusion into the most intimate aspects of my life, I don't like the idea that these decisions (either to have children or not to have children) need to be "justified" to society at large. I just think that there is a moral obligation to the children that we do have, to do a good enough job. I'd also say that there is a general hope that any child that we have will do more good than harm during their time on this planet, but the ultimate outcome isn't totally in the hands of the parent.

The authors point is that having children is not a moral obligation. Choosing not to become a parent is just as valid a choice as choosing to become a parent. It is extremely odd though that there is such a strong expectation that everyone should become a parent in our society. Including, possibly putting pressure on those who do not want children, to have them.

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This has been my experience, as someone who doesn't want children, when logically the opposite should hold true. The negative effects of having a child one isn't equipped to care for are FAR greater than the negative effects of not having a child that one later wants. She focusses on the potential child, but from the parents' perspectives it's equally important that they're confident in their choice, because having a child because it's the "done thing" is no more a recipe for happiness for the parents than it is for the children.

I don't habitually ask people why they chose to have kids yet, for some reason, they're justified in asking me why not and then insinuating I haven't thought it through adequately, usually employing a variation on "you'll change your mind when you get older". I would never tell a pregnant friend she'd change her mind when she got older, yet if I ever mention I've considered sterilisation (no more permanent than having a child) I'm told I will regret it.

This is my experience too. I do have a few who are all for it (some who are parents included), but more often it comes with a "but" as in "but what else will you do" or "but why not" or "but what about when you are old" or "but what if you change your mind" and all sorts of other projections. I remind myself that is exactly what they are: their own projections. My life is fulfilling, enjoyable, fun and dynamic without children, and I have thought the decision out very thoroughly (and found myself on the side against having them). I have many reasons for not wanting children, and this feels right for me, and therefore I do not accept these comments as valid insights or criticisms of my life choices and it is easy enough to not feel the pressure at this point that I did when I was more on the fence. However, it still can get tiring!

I do think everybody should put more thought into the decision rather than accepting it as an automatic "thing to do". No matter what one decides, I can only think that making an active choice, rather than a passive choice, is a very good thing for parents, children, and the childfree alike. However, I know (and have met) people who are very threatened by the idea that having children can be a choice, maybe as they never made an active choice themselves and have some resentment, or maybe as part of the whole "keep the women at home pregnant and barefoot" mentality that unfortunately many others have, fundies and non-fundies alike.

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The authors point is that having children is not a moral obligation. Choosing not to become a parent is just as valid a choice as choosing to become a parent. It is extremely odd though that there is such a strong expectation that everyone should become a parent in our society. Including, possibly putting pressure on those who do not want children, to have them.

See: Andrea Yates

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