On Wanting to Have Children

There is so much pressure in this world to have children. Having the status of parent somehow brings with it some credential, or some worthiness that we all see as being better than not having children. Depending on one’s upbringing, having children is often considered a given. The only reason not to have children would be some medical condition which may prevent it, in which case one would consider adoption.

We have come to some cultural agreement that having children is the status quo. We have come to some personal agreement to measure our self-worth based on how successfully we find a mate and produce a family. Many intimate relationships today are based very heavily on whether one’s partner is daddy material or mommy material. In other words we ask, do I want to have a child with this person? We quickly and superficially scan potential partners, looking for the qualities needed for a possible future family. Financial security, temperament, compatibility, and do they want children. Often a no to the last question can be the deal-breaker.

Why do you want children? For self-worth? For your parents? Do you just want someone to love you?

Then we obsess over having children early enough, or how many children to have, or judging our own worth based on whether or not we have children.

Having children is a biological urge, no doubt. It is ingrained in us, as humans, to want to procreate. Making more humans means that our species survives on planet earth. Our planet is entirely overpopulated. As this point, not recognizing this as an impersonal instinct borders on madness. So many people go without food, adequate medical care, clean water, or even housing. How is it not selfish to be obsessed with bringing another human onto this earth?


It’s not that no one should ever have children, but it’s important to look deeply at your motivations. Why do you want children? For self-worth? For your parents? Do you just want someone to love you? Is it because that’s what expected of you? Is it an attempt to secure a mate, to tie your partner into something?

Have you ever considered not having children?

It may seem obvious, but before making such an earth-altering choice, it’s important to consider both options with equal curiosity and honesty. It seems that so many people have children mindlessly. A choice with this much weight should be a careful one. Even if you decide not to have children, there will still be no shortage of children whom you can welcome into your life, to love, to support, and to learn from. It takes a village, either way. You can be the village no matter what.

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