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Willfully Barren, But Not Empty Within.

I just realized that this was in the pregnancy section; being I'm not equipped with a womb and ovaries, I guess I'm kind of not eligible. Regardless, I think both men and women can easily agree on many things, and the inessentiality of reproduction is one of them. At one time, when I was younger, I wanted children. It just seemed like the natural thing to do, and I saw how happy people with children tended to be. “Who doesn't want another little you running about?” people would say. Happiness was something hard to come by in life, and if you could pass down a legacy through your own offspring, it seemed like a no brainer to do it. So why would I choose to rescind my once fond dream?

Sure, having a child or two is a fulfilling prospect. I'm not like some people who hate kids; I genuinely like them, as in many ways they're more drama free than adults. But raising children is hard, too. Children need lots of food, attention, and care throughout the years you raise them. For a long while they are unable (or damn well near it) to properly care for or defend themselves. There are diseases, complications of pregnancy, freak accidents and just freak people that can all bring the process to a crashing halt. I know it sounds weak and kind of ridiculous, but I don't want to risk bringing a life into this world just to have it snuffed out like a candle flame before it can truly shine. I'm also not sure if I can really handle the time and patience aspect of it either, because let's be honest—kids can also be a pain in the ***. I grew up as the oldest male in my family, and as a result, I had to do a lot of microparenting when my mother could not. As a result, I got to see a lot of the more trying aspects of taking care of children: babies that won't stop crying, picky kids who won't eat a meal if it's not “just right,” sudden doctor's visits and appointments, being upset about something and having to try and pry it out all day before they tell you what it is. And again, it's not the kid's fault, as kids are by far some of the most vulnerable things to walk the earth. I myself was an awful kid growing up; prone to depression and fits of willfulness, it seemed I was at my worst during middle school. I was confused about my role in the world and bitter about the things I wanted and could not have—new clothes, money, a girlfriend, popularity. You know, corny kid stuff. Stuff you think is so important back then when you don't know any better. I acted out and made one hell of a mess for everyone for a time before I regained control of myself. I know I don't have my mother's level of patience, for hers is truly like that of a saint; had I had to raise another me, well...I'm not sure how long I would have had custody rights, to be honest. Maybe that will change, but I deal best with children for short periods of time and then let them go back to the ones with the full-time parenting skills.

I'm also not sure about whether I even want to marry. Unlike many people, I'm not really hard pressed to find a relationship as it stands. I've been screwed around with and even screwed around with others, and as a result, I'm a bit of an emotional wreck. I don't want to hurt, yet at the same time I've hurt others. I don't want to really risk the pain of loss, and at the same time, I never want to make anyone else feel that way again. So for the time being, I remain alone. And it's not all that bad. I genuinely am not sure how I'd feel about living with another. I like being able to walk into the bathroom whenever I want and not barge in on somebody handling their own tasks. I like to be able to keep a full fridge stocked up with whatever I like and not have to find it picked through by morning. Sometimes I just really need to be alone, so I can settle the thoughts in my head. As much as I hate to admit it, having a child or even a spouse is an uncertainty I'm not really sure I want at this time in my life or any time in the near future. Living in a family has a lot of good points to it, but I'd be wrong if I said it didn't have a lot of times when it just downright bites. So although the prospect of a full house is appealing to some, at least for the time being, it's something I'll have to do without.

Finally, I don't want a child simply because I don't think there's any need for me to contribute to the gene pool. We're at seven billion people and rising—the pool is deep, wide, and diverse enough that it won't really matter if I don't throw my hat into the ring. I believe humanity is composed of two parts: one biological, the other mental. We have an innate desire to procreate. Usually, in any case. It's in our genes and is simply put the most adaptive of behaviors any species could ever manifest. If that urge to make offspring had never came about, then life as we know it would have ended with little more than variation than a few piddling amoebas and bacteria. It's hard to say why this came about exactly, though—why do organisms feel the need to continue on in the first place? Why is it adaptive to continue making new organisms from parts of our own genetic material? I know it sounds weird to me, but I never understood exactly why the urge came about. Either way, it's here to stay, and it's in the vast majority of us. For the most part, we have answered that call in spades. Our numbers have jumped exponentially since a few intrepid groups of our ancestors left the African continent with that quintessential wanderlust we still hold today. When, however, will enough be enough? Any ecosystem has a finite carrying capacity, and exceeding that capacity has dire consequences. Some will say, “well we haven't even inhabited the majority of the Earth's space yet!” My response? Who the hell said all of that land was for you? I like a world where there's green forests, beautiful flowing rivers, sandy beaches and all of the varied locales between. It's fulfilling to me on a personal level to share a world with not only my fellow humans, but all of the other forms of life that have managed to survive the game of evolution and adaptation. To say that everything else has to move out of the way for human life is missing the point severely. We co-evolved with all of these things, and as a result they share part of the experience of life with us. Powerful creatures and picturesque scenes have engendered a part the human psyche; our need to see these things, compete with them, and sometimes even dominate them have been a vital link in the chain of human history. We've also gleaned useful things from our connections: medicines, healing both physical and psychological, challenges that keep us moving forward. The benefits of that connection are still out there, still waiting to give and receive. If we keep eating up all of the space our planet has to offer, we're also eating up a part of what's sustained us so far as well. We're also making it harder to provide for the multitudes of people who are already here and hungry. For me, personally, that's a cost I'm not willing to bear. That's where the psychological aspect of going childless comes in: to say that my urge to procreate does not override my knowledge that I really, really don't have to. Besides, I always considered it kind of narcissistic to say you want to see a little you running about. Doesn't that make it more about satisfying your own desires rather than the desires of the life yet to come? I don't know, it just never sat right with me.

Well, that's my argument in a nutshell. And unless we find out we really can terraform Mars, it's not likely to change. Some may say a childless life is a life wasted. All I have to say is my life was wasted if I don't spend it doing the things I truly care about. I'm saving up for a vasectomy about this time next year; it'll likely be wasted money, but I at least want to say that I've had it done so that my actions match my ideals. So long, and thanks for reading.
MasteroftheDistantPrison MasteroftheDistantPrison 22-25, M 1 Response Aug 29, 2012

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Well written and thoughtful. You put into words a lot of what I feel too, so thanks for saying it for me! Of course, I am female so the vasectomy won't be my thing :) but I do wonder why you think you have to do that, unless you just don't want to have to worry about getting someone pregnant. I don't mean to overstep my boundary and get too personal, so if I am, I apologize in advance, but I don't want children yet haven't ever felt like I should go get a hysterectomy to make it align. I'm curious as to why you feel that way, if you don't mind sharing. If not, no worries. Thanks for your post. It was nice to read. ~k