To do, or not to do? This question riddles the minds of millions the world over, the idea that to propagate one’s love, the species, or to simply satiate familial or social pressure, one should find a way to bring another human being into the world.
It’s a scary thing to read how the world’s population has exploded in recent history. A hundred years ago, the number of human beings on Earth was lodged at around 2 to 3 billion. Now, we’re at a hefty 7.5 billion people (and counting). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what factors have contributed to this: the leaps and bounds taken in agriculture, improved medical care, and industrialization have all made life more sustainable, healthier, as well as more comfortable.
This returns us to the question: To do, or not to do? I have two children, and if you ask me why, it’s difficult to give you a straight answer. They weren’t conceived to necessitate some sort-of union between my wife and I; that was already there. I also didn’t feel the need to keep up with the Joneses; if everyone was having babies, I’d go out of my way not to do, preferring instead to live the experience vicariously.
For me, it verged on an ‘ontological awakening’. About three years before my son was born, I felt a tugging at my genes and consciousness that said having children was my destined path. I already knew the responsibility this would require: the sleepless nights, persistent distractions, any smidgen of freedom relegated to fast-disappearing myth. Yup, upon reasoning it out, having children intimates (as well as requires!) a level of self-sacrifice that isn’t for everyone.
Yet it still occurs, the world over, on a scale that registers at two people added to the population roster EACH SECOND. Aye Karumba! Perhaps if off-planet colonization was a reality, this contemplation wouldn’t be so scary. For now, it’s still happening, which gives rise to the question: What world will our children inherit in ten, twenty, fifty years? Will we still have a world? It’s a slippery slope, and in that reality our answer might lie.
You see, life is a grand old dame, delivering time and again in spite of all hardships and travails. Whether you’re born to royalty or paupers, suffering is the great equalizer, and from it we’re gifted its opposite: Joy, predicated on Love and Being. Yes, in spite of living with persistent anxiety over how much ‘quality time’ we might have, we as a species aren’t blind to what an absolute trip life is, and to experience it is far better than not doing so. And that’s why, in spite of hurtling through time-and-space quicker and more confusingly than ever, we continue to have kids, doing our best to make the beautiful madness continue, unabated. And while I’m not the most qualified person to give advice on having kids, I will say that it’s pure joy, and that I’ve been truly blessed beyond all measure.