“Should I have a child?”

I’m seeing a lot of questions in my stats, recently, that resemble this: “If he doesn’t want kids and I do, should we have them/should I trick him into having them, anyway?”

That this is a question is (I believe) evidence of people believing having a child/children is not only something that requires even less commitment and planning than choosing whether to buy a car or have separate or joint checking accounts (couples usually consult with each other about such things, and devote at least a week or two to talking about it and coming to a joint decision), but that having children is to many simply one of the rights they have, and that it doesn’t matter who is affected or in what way. To them, I can = I should.

This kind of thinking, which sorta/kinda falls in line with arguments I’m seeing being made in the discussion of the pay gap, minimum wage, and “living wage” in terms of how much money is needed to support a family, is making me a little bonkers, because while whether to bring someone new into the world is a question that has many answers (when? why? are we ready for the change? are we ready for the possibility of a disabled child? etc.), whether NOT to bring someone into the world is pretty simple.

The answer is NO: If your finances are tight and you can just manage to pay your bills and eat. If you can’t currently afford to have a child, don’t have one.

It’s not my responsibility to pay for your children, nor is it anyone else’s.

If you can’t afford to have a child and you have one, anyway – and this isn’t directed at women, but at any single person or couples who decide to have a child – you have no right to complain that you aren’t making enough money to “support your family.” You chose to create a new – and massive – expense, and it’s entirely your responsibility.

The answer is NO: If your partner doesn’t want a child and you think they’ll come around after one is born. Having a child when your partner doesn’t want one is a lot like having one you can’t afford: the assumption is that the world/person will change to suit your demands/desires, whether it’s the government and/or taxpayers taking on your financial burden or a partner taking on parenthood s/he didn’t choose because it was what YOU wanted.

Only, while your child will be taken care of one way or the other (as a country, we generally like to see them well cared for), there’s no guarantee your partner will come around. They might, yes, but they might also simply resent/hate you (and hate the fact that you are now in their lives for the entire life of that child), and they may only stick around out of obligation, which is good for no one involved.

Of course, it’s unbelievably rude and selfish to pressure someone into having a child. Worse – disgusting, even – is tricking someone into making/having a child.

The answer, again, is NO: If you can’t afford it or if your partner doesn’t want one with you. A child is not a necessity, but a luxury.

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5 thoughts on ““Should I have a child?”

  1. I was married for five years, until my wife decided that she wanted children after all, and we reluctantly went our separate ways. We respected each other enough not to try to prevail upon the other; we also knew that if one succeeded in convincing the other, it would probably result in dissatisfaction with the life that one had been forced into, and animosity against the other. She has since remarried and is the happy, but busy, mother of two; and we are still good friends. I, too, have remarried, and my wife and I have a cat and three dogs. I guess people who can’t have pets have kids (hey, just kidding!).

    Sharon and I were able to find a compromise on every issue that arose — whether it was which restaurant we would go to, which car we would buy, or where we would live. Unfortunately, the issue of children offers no compromise. One would have been too many for me, and none wouldn’t have been enough for her.

    Jerry Steinberg
    Founding Non-Father Emeritus of NO KIDDING! (Est. 1984)
    The international social club for childfree and childless couples and singles
    http://www.nokidding.net; jerry@nokidding.net

    • Respect to both of you. For realsies. I know too many girls, even in my own social circle, who had “oops” babies that weren’t really and to me it is the most disgusting thing…

  2. I should also add that (if I hadn’t already had a vasectomy) if she had “oopsed” me (you know, had “forgotten” to take her Pill, or a hole had “magically” occurred in the condom or diaphragm, etc), I would never have forgiven her, and she would have become a destitute single mother — without alimony or child support payments — in a heartbeat.

    Jerry Steinberg
    Founding Non-Father Emeritus of NO KIDDING! (Est. 1984)
    The international social club for childfree and childless couples and singles
    http://www.nokidding.net; jerry@nokidding.net

  3. If a woman doesn’t want to engage in sex should her partner be allowed to force her to give in to his wishes? Tricking a man into having a child is the same as rape!

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