Some time ago, I conducted an interview with six childfree men for the website DINKlife.com. That interview was later re-published by The Good Men Project, and every now and then, I’ll receive notifications of new comments posted on that article in my in-box. The following comment (posted at The Good Men Project) arrived this morning:
I never wanted a child and have one now. Love the baby more than anything but I’m totally overwhelmed and deeply deeply unhappy about my situation. I feel caged, I have so many plans in my life and so little interest for diaper baby talk. There is not only all the work with the baby, suddenly the whole fucking kin shows an annoying interest in my pathetic little life, calling all the time demanding to see the little brat. Fuck that, divorce is on the horizon. Take this warning from me: never, I repeat NEVER agree to having a baby if you don’t want it, whatever pressure might come from whomever asshole out there, don’t listen to them. Just listen to yourself and if you want to stay free and careless and did I mention FREE by all means say NO! Here’s another thought: if men would really have a say in having babies or not I predict that world population would be 50% smaller. C’mon which guy really thrives on baby birthday parties, baby showers and all that crap, that’s de finitely for chicks only. And it’s definitely not for me, I’m sooo stupid that I haven’t really thought about that before.
The commenter, who calls himself “Bart,” is in a sticky situation, and I sincerely feel for him. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t think about how permanent the decision is, how much their lives will change, and how every decision thereafter will (for the most part) involve the effect it will have on the child.
I appreciate Bart’s honesty (it takes courage, I think, to admit to being an unhappy parent), and I think he has a few good pointers for others who might feel pressured to have kids.
1. If you don’t want kids, say NO, for the love of God.
2. Understand that your life will change and that you, like Bart, could end up feeling overwhelmed (especially if you never wanted kids in the first place and had one [or more] as a sort of “compromise,” which is a misnomer, because there’s no “compromising” when it comes to having kids).
3. If you have extended family you don’t want to see all the time, get ready to see them all the time.
Here’s where Bart veers off into WTF town, though:
Here’s another thought: if men would really have a say in having babies or not I predict that world population would be 50% smaller.
Dear, dear Bart,
No one strapped you down and forced you to impregnate the baby’s mother. Every man has a say in whether he willingly, knowingly creates babies (you did this knowingly and willingly, based on your comment). Blaming your partner is a feeble attempt to deny your responsibility (and, in this case, your own weakness).
Bart also says that women (rather, “chicks”) are the only ones interested in baby stuff:
C’mon which guy really thrives on baby birthday parties, baby showers and all that crap, that’s de finitely for chicks only.
No, it’s for men and women who, before having children, thought all the things they should think before carelessly and foolishly creating a new life that would be dependent on them for love, safety, and guidance.
What should be of some comfort to you, Bart, is that all it takes to be a good father is for you to be there whenever you can, to love your child, and to put true effort into showing that love (never putting your own “I want to have fun and be FREEEE!” desires before your child’s needs).
I have no doubt you already know, and plan, to do that.
Best of luck,