Home > Ludicrous Language, Manifestoes, Naming Experience, What They're Saying > On The “Choice” Of Having A Child

On The “Choice” Of Having A Child

Last month I wrote about children, academic careers, and moms. Lively discussion ensued. Here’s something you should read for a follow up, and hat tip to Sciencewoman for the link:

Let me reminds you, once again, that people do not “choose” to have kids. A lot of people choose *not* to have kids–birth control, wealth, and modernity certainly contribute to this decision, which is perfectly irreproachable, by the way–but reproducing is not a conscious decision. It is something that the bodies of living creatures simply DO. It is, in fact, part of the definition of “living.”

If Bitch, PhD’s post isn’t enough to straighten out the knickers you got in a knot over the discussion on my post, then read this one, too.

Later on someone says, “I thought that people who have children do it largely because they want to.” No. People have children because if you fuck someone of the opposite sex, chances are that sooner or later you (or, if you are a man, your partner) will get pregnant. It’s lovely that we have ways of avoiding this, and tragic when people who want kids find out they can’t, but let’s not be stupid: having children is not the choice. NOT having children is the choice.

For god’s sake, read both posts before you write something stupid here about how having a child is too a choice and people should just deal with the choices they make.

  1. March 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks for posting these. The second one, in particular, really resonated with me.

  2. March 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    That should read “…most parents chose to have children: whether to have them, when to have them and how many to have.” No idea how the first phrase got deleted.

  3. LG
    March 10, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    No matter if we think of it as a choice or biology, it is what someone has done with her life and if women are to truly get equality in this lifetime we must be respectful of each others’ decisions. We must understand that although this is not what I want for my life, it doesn’t mean that her life is wrong or immoral or ‘strange’. Children, no children, married, not married, high powered career, housewife – all those choices need to be respected if you agree with them or not. Don’t look down on me because I’m 30, unmarried, and don’t have children and I won’t look down on you because you talk a lot about your kids and they are the center of your life (unless of course you are driving me off the road in the SUV you don’t seem to have a handle on ;). I don’t think you are any less intelligent or have any less meaningful work, and please don’t think I am not a ‘normal woman’ because I don’t have little ones to look after. Once we women can respect each other, stand up for each others choices, and embrace the different paths our lives take, then perhaps, leading by example, the world can too.

  4. March 12, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Bill,
    I don’t think that acknowledging what the default in nature is (sex between a man and a woman leads to pregnancy) means that “the majority of children in existence are here simply because their parents couldn’t do anything about it”. It is important to remember that it takes an active choice to NOT have children when you discuss issues involving rights of women, both those who do have children and those who do not. I get annoyed all the time at people who say that I “chose to have those kids” and part of it is because of the ignorance of that stance. It would be nice if women could choose when and how many children to have as if ordering fom a menu, but alas, the best we can do is try to prevent pregnancy at certain times, and hope it will occur at the “right” time.
    I find Dr. B’s perspective refreshing because it acknowledges the having of sex as the default – which I think many, if not most, adults will admit is a realistic starting point.

  5. April 5, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Yeah, I don’t think Bitch, PhD is saying anything radical or distressing here. She’s simply stating biological fact, albeit perhaps in words you aren’t familiar with. Human beings are live animals; part of what it means to be alive is to reproduce; reproduction is the default option unless you actively choose to do something to prevent it. This doesn’t seem very radical to me, merely a statement of fact. What in this is so distressing???

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