I had a day out yesterday. Decided to go into the city to fight seasonal depression, as one does, and bask in the glories that are a result of senseless consumerism. I was seeking a change of pace. I took the public commute at the risk of being puked on, having folks elbow you, and fighting the chances of having to stand for an hour.
As I went through 7am to 9am, the sun went from delightful to outright vengeful. From a bus and then into a metro, there was a blindingly obvious problem staring at me – there’s too many of us.
There’s too many of people getting out of their homes because we know the traffic will slow us down. We avoid weekend trips to not be swamped by the crowd. We don’t eat out at food courts and choose fine dinning, usually to avoid people. The race for the “premium” experience is on. Our primary sense of luxury has become “access to good things without having to stand in a queue.”
The reason this is problematic is because I haven’t seen enough people call out overpopulation. At a global level, perhaps this can be brushed away, but it is at the root of all our socio-economic struggles. Have you ever wondered why the quality of life is better in smaller countries with a limited population? If so, you probably understand where I’m going with this.
As controversial as it is, I’m going to talk about it. Firstly, why do gynaecologists promote baby making as if they were storks dressed in lab coats? Since when did we start assuming everyone wants a baby? Why does infertility have the same reaction as finding a tumour?
For the longest time, we’ve stuck to condoms and nothing else for men. For women, you can get pills, copper-Ts and more. Have you compared the price difference between contraception for men and women? Shouldn’t we cater birth control options for women, seeing as they are the one’s who make the baby? Why is there absolutely no room for a discussion of being child-free.
Abortion is another widely under discussed topic. Why are they not encouraged? Since when did we start telling people that they owe it to the world to diminish the resources that could otherwise help improve the individual quality of life significantly. Since when did we start telling women that they must do what we think is best with their bodies? and when will we stop? To put it simply, if you don’t think you can have an opinion on tumour removal of another human, do not extend your expertise on what they should do about the tiny human growing inside them. Because in both cases, the results will forever change their life and it’s accountability will never be shouldered by you.
As a race, we’ve trapped, killed, massacred and domesticated every animal we could find. We’ve overpopulated every continent except one. There are growing landfills, dingy apartments, skyscrapers, to make endless money to support a family you’re not even sure you ever wanted and yet the narrative with birth control has always been a matter of “child now or later?”
If you’re anywhere between 20-40, you must be aware of the popular wedding fiasco we’ve now normalised. Spending all of your savings and your parent’s savings on a single day or a few days to celebrate the fact that you have found someone to share a life with by throwing a party for a bunch of people who will probably never contribute to your marriage in any which way or form. Once you’re married, the next thing staring at you is – child. Because we think that love must create something. Together, two people must build something. For whatever reason this something is never a forest or a piece of furniture. It’s almost always a child. And we’re so used to the norm that we’ve stopped asking the question “Do I really want to have children?”
There are people who choose to live child free. For those of us who are infertile, the term “childless” is tossed around to a point of concern because without one you are no longer relevant. If you’re not a dissatisfied, angry adult, what’s the point of your existence?
Being child free, be it by choice or otherwise needs to be more popular than it is today. Primarily because it’s very similar to another issue we have in front of us. Now, I’m not calling children plastic, so bare with me.
I’m guessing you’re not delusional about climate change if you’ve managed to find this blog. So, you see how we know that plastic is indeed a problem and that we need to change our ways to ensure that plastic doesn’t choke us all to death? Now take a minute to wonder if we’ve stopped making plastic?
Attaboy, we absolutely haven’t. We keep encouraging biodegradable options but nobody has asked to stop plastic because that seems too radical an option. Even if it posses a threat to our very existence, how can we have plastic completely out of the picture?
Now, slowly, look back into the cycle of child making. You know real estate prices are high, that you can barely afford to support yourself, that schools will always overcharge you without ever actually paying the teachers right, that a child has needs – regardless of what your pay check looks like. And yet, do you stop making kids? No.
Our obsession with look-a-likes
I’m convinced that a lot of us could adopt kids and avoid all that struggle (both physical and financial) of child birth if we could be less narcissistic. Would a 5 year old screaming make it better for you if it resembled you mildly? And the idea of raising a child and not a person – that’s for another blog. Other than wanting to have your child look like you, do you have any rational for making one? Because those 9 months could be a personal experience for a mother and if you want your body to celebrate it’s reproductive pixie dust, by all means. But what about the second time? the third? the fourth? Are you telling me you loved wrecking your body and then recovering so much that you just absolutely could not look into adoptions? And gentlemen, do share if you’ve ever actually thought about wanting a child if it isn’t a junior you, or at all. Because the whole “omg you can’t have kids?” question is thrown around way too much. And we’re all low key terrified that we’re infertile at some point in time. So many of us don’t even stop to understand that we do indeed have a choice in having or not having kids. That there are more ways than one to have a kid and that all are ideal case scenarios. Not having kids is also an ideal case scenario. None of us want to stare at the same art piece for forever, so it’s okay if your life looks different from the next person, it doesn’t make it less of a masterpiece. Also, has a child ever helped you admire an art piece more? That’s what I thought.
Common arguments :
- The fertility rates are going down, we must ensure we have enough children for our future. – Have you wondered why the fertility rates have gone down? Do you think making hundreds of kids will solve the issue? What else are you doing to ensure that we have a future?
- God. God will take care of overpopulation. That’s why there are calamities. – I thought we were over the Old Testament ways but if that’s your chosen coping mechanism, are you trying to get yourself killed? Or are we assuming that god wouldn’t kill people you care about in these aforementioned calamities?
- Children are gifts. – No, Children are tiny humans. That’s it. Some folks don’t keep their kids and give them away to shelters, some children don’t make it past delivery and some kids hate every minute of their existence. Children are smaller humans – nothing else.
- Your purpose in life is to make a family and that is incomplete without a child. – Mating calls exist for a reason, I get it. But you don’t need smaller people to make a familial bond. You can have a family between two adults or more.
- In a marriage, the child is the glue. – If you think a small human is the glue between your relationship, it isn’t. The marriage papers could be the glue. And if you find yourself in search of an adhesive, maybe look into why you’re both floating in different winds.
- Who will take care of you in your old age – Children are an easy way to ensure that someone wipes your butt when you are no longer able to. Guilt is a strong emotion. But you know what else is strong? Savings. Get yourself a luxury old age home because that comes with a receipt, a child doesn’t.
- One child is not enough, it needs company – Yes, this is why other people exist. Also, if you’re getting two so they distract each other long enough for you to take a nap, I totally get it. But can you support everything multiplied by two? Have you worked out their expenses with the age gap? Also, as the one who was made for company – we’re terrible influence.
- Parents are like gods – Parents are glamourised and for good reason. If you’re raising anything – a plant, a cat, a dog, a human – allow me to extend my respects. However, if you’re in it to feel like a god, you’re at the right place. Just know that you’ll have to be a god, because everything you do will not be observed, it’ll be absorbed and it will indefinitely come and bite you on your ass when you’re 60 and looking at old age homes you can no longer afford.