[I wrote this essay on June 25, 2013 — and probably didn’t publish it until now, six months later, because of the intensity of the ideas. I guess I wanted to make sure I agreed, over a decent period of time, with what I wrote. And I do.]
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1) You’ll traumatize them one way or another
That is, you’re not ready to have kids because you will screw up their lives. Chances are you are not healthy enough to avoid somehow depriving them of their emotional needs, and to deprive children of any of their emotional needs is to traumatize them. Yes, there are endless self-help and psychology books and theories out there telling you how resilient children are and that children need to have some of their needs deprived in order to become independent and to avoid becoming spoiled, but…they’re wrong. Yes, some people become strong and independent in very unique ways as the result of overcoming their adversity (I, for example, am one), but how much stronger would they (and I) have become had they never been traumatized in the first place? There is no excuse for traumatizing a child. And if you think you won’t traumatize your future child, well, my life experience leads me to believe that you are wrong, unless you’re fully healed of all your own inner wounds, and are a fully self-actualized person (neither of which I’ve ever seen in anyone, as in reality even the healthiest people I’ve met, myself included, are still fairly screwed up). Where people have not resolved their issues, and especially when they’re not even conscious of their deeper issues, which most people aren’t, they will pass on their issues to their children. Sadly, from what I’ve observed, it’s a fact of life.
2) There are too many people in the world already
Um, overpopulation. How do people not see this? It baffles the mind. Humanity, despite its beautiful sides, has become a cancer. I think most people who can’t see our species’ massive overpopulation are either: a) too self-centered to have integrated this knowledge into their lives or; b) they’ve lived for so long in clustered population centers like towns and cities that overpopulation is simply normal, and thus not troubling, to them or; c) they simply haven’t traveled enough to realize how much people have screwed up our world. If you really love nature — that is, the natural, nonhuman world of plants and animals and forests and deserts and oceans — you can’t consider having children without having a hell of a guilty conscience…
3) You’d probably serve the world better by healing yourself more
Many people think they’re contributing to the world by having children. But if you think that your future, unborn child will contribute more to the world than you yourself can do then what you’re really saying is that you’re hopeless about yourself and have more faith in a completely unborn being, a projection, a fantasy, than you do in your own actual life. And what a horrible thing to consider: that a child would have to have a parent who is hopeless about his or her own inner process. My suggestion: do more inner work. Lots of it. That’s what the world really needs. Not more kids. Doing inner work is hard. Making children is easy. And fantasizing about how great your kids will be is even easier. It’s time to wake up!
4) Your relationship with your partner is probably not as rock-solid as you think
I’ve spent a lot of years studying couples in relationships, and I’ve found only a few whom I think are fairly healthy. But how healthy are they? I still have never seen one that is really, really healthy — that is, even close enough to the point of being healthy enough to be really top-notch, excellent parents. And most of the couples I’ve met do not even come close to this. Their relationships are more often than not fairly shallow and based on lots of denial, projections, fear, underlying sadness and disappointment, fantasy, and distraction. And these are just the inside problems. To make matters worse, most couples are under too much external stress to be great parents either. Many have to work too hard to be devoted parents, have too little financial stability, and, perhaps worst of all, live isolated in a world without a great, broad community of deeply mature allies. Both parents and children need a great external community of healthy people. And from what I’ve seen, this (profoundly) does not (yet) exist. But it might someday…
5) Having kids will likely knock you off your life’s path
I believe that the real goal of our lives should be to heal our childhood traumas. This is done best when people are not encumbered with profound external responsibilities — children being the most serious one of life. Yes, I know many parents (mostly mothers, actually) who credit their children, or credit having had children, with pressuring them to clean up their inner world, grow up, become a lot more mature, that is, to work through their childhood traumas. But is this fair for the children? I hardly think so. Yes, parents who become more mature become better parents, and they deserve credit, but the real fairness for the child is the parent who does this before he or she has children. No child deserves to be born to even slightly screwed-up parents who, in the best the child can hope for, have to spend years working through the hellish grieving process. But even this is highly unlikely for most people. Most people use kids to avoid growing. And they do it totally unconsciously. And kids are convenient for that: they demand a lot of attention…