Now I’m not going to include our entire conversation. But suffice to say, we did end up in a debate that left me wondering why some people are so quick to judge other people (especially women) that don’t want children. I’ve never understood the rationale in assuming that someone is “selfish” because they don’t want children. Does the choice of not wanting children really boil down to “selfishness?” Couldn’t I argue that the truly “selfish” act is, in fact, having children?
Let me explain:
From a practical sense, the world is not in a place where it’s lacking in mouths to feed. By many standards, we’re actually quite overpopulated. And worse yet, there are countless children who are starving, don’t have a home, and don’t even have someone to call “mommy” or “daddy.”
I’ve always had a strong admiration for people who adopt children because I feel like they have selflessly undertaken the responsibility of caring for a child that is already here. So hypothetically speaking, I could argue that simply wanting to have your “own” children, while knowing that there are tons of other children who are in desperate need of a home, is the truly “selfish” act. I actually posed this argument to my friend because he isn’t interested in adopting. He does want to have children. And when I asked him why his stance should not be perceived as “selfish,” his only response was, “Oh, that’s a different thing though.”
But is it really?
By the way, I’d actually like to clarify something. I do want children one day. When my friend asked me the initial question of wanting children, he quickly cut me off before I could finish verbalizing my thoughts. What I intended to say was this: “Thanks. But I don’t want children….. just yet. I’m just not in a place where I’d be able to give a child everything they deserve.”
I love children. And I think children are a blessing, as well as a great responsibility. I’ve witnessed many parents who were tremendously unprepared for that blessing. And because of this, they continued to be focused on what they wanted rather than what their child needed. Having children should be a selfless venture. But it can quickly become a selfish venture if parents are not ready to fully take on the responsibility.
The way I see it, a child had absolutely no choice in the decision to be here. But that doesn’t change the fact that their life is still greatly influenced by the choices their parents make. I want to be the best parent I can be. Furthermore, I want my child to be in a home where they are raised with their father (i.e. my husband) — and to date, I don’t have a ring on my finger. So until that day comes when I am certain that I can give my child everything that I believe he/she deserves, I will do what I feel in my heart is the most “unselfish” thing- which is not to have children.
What do you think of my perspective on having children? Is it truly selfish if a woman ever decides that she never wants to have children?
If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx, you can find her on her Facebook, blog, and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, and physician who writes on natural hair, relationships and culture.