Friday, July 16, 2010

Selfish or Selfless

Several weeks ago there was an article on MSN that discussed whether being childfree by choice was a selfish act or not.

This article pissed me off a few weeks ago, and today, when it popped up again, I was pissed off again.

I love kids, don't get me wrong. And most of the time I would love to have a whole pack of them running around my own house. While I could do this through other means, such as adoption, foster care, or surrogacy; those methods, those options aren't really options for us.

Does that make us selfish? Absolutely not. They all have their own problems, benefits and risks. Do we want to have children? Yep. But neither of us are comfortable with any of the other options. Somedays I regret it like you wouldn't believe, and other days, I'm thankful, that we haven't gone down that little road and made that mistake. I think that adoption should be something that you feel compelled or called to do. Not something you do because you can't have your own child. I want the morning sickness and the stretch marks, and the heartburn, and the constant trips to the bathroom. Or I want nothing.

I don't think that because we are choosing to remain child-free that makes us selfish, I think that it makes us selfless. We know that we would feel differently towards a child that wasn't our own, and if I were to become pregnant, then we would have a real problem on our hands. I don't want to hurt a child, and we both feel that is exactly what would happen. Is it selfish to not want to let another person suffer because we don't feel capable of looking a child that was adopted as "our own"?

What about all the people who just don't want to have children? Not all women are born with a maternal instinct. What about these people who came from abused homes and don't want to see the cycle repeated? What about women and men who never get married? Are they selfish because they don't want to bring a child into a single parent home?

Having children is a personal choice, just like eating healthy. It's no ones business but yours. Your not considered selfish for eating carrots and depriving bunnies around the world from nutrition, why would you be selfish for taking on something that you really don't want to do in the first place? How is it selfish knowing that the child's life wouldn't be as full as it would with someone else as it's parents?

While I realize that the article mentions Sex and the City, a lot, yet this scenario is something that my husband and I face often. Yeah, a lot of it is probably our own insecurities shining through, but it's hard to explain to people that we can't have children and that adoption isn't for us. We get told to relax, to quit trying, to look into, that my friends, husbands, brothers, cousins, sisters, neighbors son adopted and they had no problems. It's personal, and it's hard having people tell us that "it will happen" when, without, serious medical intervention, "it" won't happen. It's not because we aren't relaxed, it's because there is something physically wrong. No one would dream of telling someone who is missing a leg, that just to relax, and when they least expect it they will walk again. But, that's a rant for a different day.

We do lots of selfish and selfless things everyday. Bringing a child into a world that is filled with such uncertainty seems pretty selfish to me. Then again, my husband and I choosing to not have a child seems more selfless to me. We won't have to deal with school shootings, worry about the future for the sake of our children, we won't have to put off retirement to pay for college, we will be able to save for our future, so that we aren't a burden to someone else. That sounds pretty selfless to me.

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