Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Procreating in an Overpopulated World

It seems like everyone is going environmental these days and I love it! Green isn't just for the "left" anymore and people are talking about the issues and it seems to my optimistic side that people are putting the words into action. Of course, it can get dirty going green and sometimes things getOverpopulated World downright ugly. I was reading this article today by Andrew Chung in The Star about overpopulation and thinking, I really need to blog about this...yes, I know.

In my eight years as a "procreator" (or should it be "procreater" or "breeder" as some say) I've struggled with the idea of bringing more people into the world. Not just for environmental reasons, but because the world is pretty crazy place to live and on my pessimistic days it seems pretty violent and bleak for the humans and other sentient beings living here. I was sure when we conceived our first child that we would stick with one child. We had a second and that was definitely where we would stop. Now I'm close to giving birth to my third child. Throughout my pregnancy with my third I've felt the need to apologize and to add "This is our last." with a "I promise" tone in my voice. I was going through the routine with a sweet acquaintance of ours at our local health food store and he stopped me mid-apology. He said bringing a child into the world was a beautiful thing and I shouldn't be ashamed and I was a wonderful mother with two great boys who should be completely proud of having more children. He went on and on and it made me think.

I have two siblings and they are both older than me and will almost certainly not have children of their own. I sometimes see their lack of children as a credit for me to have my children. Am I just trying to justify my actions? The truth is, I am conflicted. Is having children selfish or selfless? Neither, both? With all the children in the world who need a home, why did we not adopt? We didn't. We have almost three "biologically ours" children who are very much wanted and loved.

One of the reasons I care so much about the future is because I have children who are left to deal with these issues after I'm gone. Of course, I cared about the environment before having kids that is one of the reasons I contemplated not having my own biological children, but it is different now. That is not a justification, just an observation. I've heard the arguments that eco-families are better for the planet than singles or couples who drive Hummers and live in McMansions. Yeah, yeah. I've had friends tell me that we're exactly the kind of people (vegan, recycling, composting, cycling, etc.) who should have and raise children. Maybe. It doesn't put my mind at ease.

We have several friends with four+ children and they are lovely parents with great kids. It doesn't bother me how many children they is their decision. Just as we don't judge our childless friends or friends who stopped having children after one. This is completely a personal torture. But this is where it gets ugly. People talk about putting a cap on how many children people can have, who can have children, etc. It is such a personal thing, but it does have effects beyond ourselves. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The argument gets into religion, the bedroom, the pocket book, and all sorts of places where we'd like unwanted others to stay away.

Am I just selfish? I really enjoy being pregnant and giving birth and most days I really enjoy being a mother. Some days I feel like I must find discomfort because I'm so g-damn lucky and it isn't fair when people all over the world are suffering and scared and dying. I remember vividly driving to the hospital every day for a month with my then two year old son while my mother was dying five years ago and thinking "how in the world can everyone just go about their days when an amazing woman is suffering on her deathbed?". I hated everyone who was living when the woman who had spent her life working for others (and giving birth and mothering three children) was hurting and dying. Suffering is everywhere and yet life goes on.

My husband and many friends say I think too much. I'm lucky to have the time and the life situation to have a choice in the matter at all. I don't think I've thought about this long enough because I still have no answers boys and girls...just guilt wrapped in joy.


Anonymous said...

Wow. You've said quite a mouth full in just a few little bytes. You may not know, that I sometimes struggle with this, even given the size of my family. However, it is religious issue for me. My thoughts on the matter apply to you as well. I think you are a fabulous person. I think you are raising fabulous children who will grow up to be fabulous adults. As it happens, I think the world needs more fabulous people in it. I'm sure you've heard many people argue, about homeschooling, that if all the great, involved parents took their children out, it leaves the more difficult, emotionally abandoned kids behind. The same is true of parents like you. If parents like you all decide to stop having children, then that leaves the people who don't care about the world out there having children. Pretty soon, we have a world full of people who don't care about the world.

So, keep on gestating!

Linda said...

You are so sweet! Thanks so much for the kind words. Both Parker and Dema would be happy with loads of siblings. Lately, Dema has been telling me I have to have three babies. I keep telling him I only have one in there...I hope! :-)