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The Lounge: Chat. Relax. Unwind. > Procreation: pros and cons

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message 1: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments We're expected by society to procreate. Have you complied? Not? Still contemplating? What are the pros and cons?


message 2: by Holly (last edited May 10, 2018 05:06AM) (new)

Holly (goldikova) I only have one, and if I could go back and do things differently I would have had more.

When I was young I actually believed the popular lies feminists planted in our heads that mothering was a waste of time and careers were far more rewarding. It didn't take long for me to figure out that dedicating my life to corporate profits was the true waste of my time. I was 41 when my daughter was born and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed taking care of an infant. It was a total eye opener.

That was just my experience, parenting isn't for everyone.


message 3: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I have done my honest part by producing two sons with my wife. I believe that two is a balanced number and won't contribute to overpopulation. The problem is mostly in the countries and regions where there are laws or customs hostile to birth control, like in staunchly Catholic communities, or where polygamy is permitted, that the population is exploding, often where the economic situation can't support properly even the actual population.


message 4: by Jona (new)

Jona Taylor | 11 comments Some pros are caring for children can be very heartwarming and rewarding.

The cons are there is a population explosion, we don't need more children.

Suffering is a part of life. When you bring someone into the world you are adding suffering. You don't know how the child will suffer: from disease, from being bullied, poverty, addiction, from your own parenting, from pains of old age. But one thing is for certain, at some point in your child's life he/she will suffer. The irony is, if by chance you could prevent your child from suffering, the child would grow to be a shallow, superficial person. To have a child is to bring suffering and pain into the world.

At some point, the child will make you suffer, either by completely disappointing you in their bad life choices, by rejecting you or your values, or if God forbid something horrible happened to them such as being kidnapped or murdered or die young in a car crash. Again, along with the joy of children comes suffering.

For lovers of children, I advocate adoption.


message 5: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Jona wrote: "Some pros are caring for children can be very heartwarming and rewarding.

The cons are there is a population explosion, we don't need more children.

Suffering is a part of life. When you bring s..."


Jona, have you had children of your own? If you did, then you would know that they bring a lot more than just pain and suffering. They bring joy, love, pride and a sense of accomplishment.


message 6: by Jona (last edited May 10, 2018 07:25AM) (new)

Jona Taylor | 11 comments I do have children of my own. One was born with a genetic deformity. Her pain was my pain. There was no joy seeing her suffer and wondering if she was going to live or die. Thank God she lived, but there are still health issues and I still worry every day. I guess I'm saying the pain outweighed the joy.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Jona wrote: "One was born with a genetic deformity...."

Regret to hear about that. Hope all her issues will subside and you won't need to worry anymore one day


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "We're expected by society to procreate. Have you complied? Not? Still contemplating? What are the pros and cons?"

I don't think we should be driven by society's expectations, but there are not that many things in life that really seem to bear some meaning, with kids probably being one of those exceptions...


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11771 comments Claire and I had one son and one daughter, and yes there are some occasional frustrations, but we would never have wanted to be without them. I know there are the occasional times when genetics don't work out for some people - we were fortunate that way - but I don't think people should be put off with that risk.


message 10: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I think people have an expectation that procreation will bring happiness. For me, that hasn't always been so. Raising my son has been difficult. I had to be both mom and dad. And I failed at being a dad. Luckily, after some drug problems, things seem to be going well with my son, but I still worry about him for good reason. I guess my point is that procreation may be a drive, but that doesn't mean that it's easy or some happily-ever-after thing. Raising a child can be hard and unrewarding, even painful, and that's not something people often talk about.


message 11: by Nik (last edited May 17, 2018 11:03AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "I think people have an expectation that procreation will bring happiness. For me, that hasn't always been so. Raising my son has been difficult. ..."

In my opinion it's sometimes an incorrect assumption. It brings meaning, not always happiness and thus it's something worth the utmost effort, probably more than anything else.. Of course, there are people that don't need meaning or find it in something else and that's also fine!


message 12: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Scout wrote: "We're expected by society to procreate. Have you complied? Not? Still contemplating? What are the pros and cons?"

The title made me laugh.

I am the mother of a four-legged, spoiled dog. I have not complied and don't plan on complying. Children just aren't my thing. I'm very close to my niece and nephew, which is good enough for me. There are many people (Chicago southsiders and some family members) who believe that marriage and children are the norm, and any other path you choose is wrong.

I was criticized most of my life for not being married or having children (I didn't marry until I was 44). I've had many insulting things said to me by men and women.
"Are you a lesbian?"
"You have a nice body and are good looking. What's wrong with you?"
"It's not normal to not want marriage and children."

It's interesting since all you hear from people when you read about parents killing their children is, "If they didn't want kids, then they shouldn't have had them."

I believe not everyone should procreate. *zips lips before she types anything really bad*


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Denise wrote: "Children just aren't my thing...."

An aunt of mine also believed in this and she enjoyed life till the last minutes (at least I hope) -:) No need to succumb to any pressure or stigma


message 14: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Nik wrote: "Denise wrote: "Children just aren't my thing...."

An aunt of mine also believed in this and she enjoyed life till the last minutes (at least I hope) -:) No need to succumb to any pressure or stigma"


God bless your aunt. :) It's important to live life, to really live it, whether it involves children or not.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Denise wrote: "God bless your aunt. :)..."

Danke schön -:)


message 16: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Denise, you got a little wonky there at the end with the parents killing children thing :- ) But I get it. I never was a girl who dreamed of marriage and kids either.


message 17: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Scout wrote: "Denise, you got a little wonky there at the end with the parents killing children thing :- ) "

I know. I should have left that out. Sometimes, my mind goes in morbid directions.


message 18: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments As does mine :-) We should say what we think here. I didn't intend to have a child, but I did and made the best of it. Now, I have a dog that I share my life with, and it's the easiest relationship I've had.


message 19: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Imagine you're a person in your twenties today. What would be the pros and cons of having a child?


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "Imagine you're a person in your twenties today. What would be the pros and cons of having a child?"

The cons are evident - it's the need to care for another human being often at expense of your own wishes and comfort, while the pros - should also be obvious and if they are not - then indeed why to enter something that has only drawbacks? -:)
BTW, the implied variation may also be - whether 20-ies is the best age for parenting?


message 21: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2328 comments It seems kids today expect their parents to pay for all their college expenses...For someone in their 20s today thinking about having a kid, the question is what that kid will expect their parents to pay for 18-20 years from now...will kids then expect parents to buy their first house for them? It might become this generation's way of preventing their adult children from living with them the way they stay with their parents into adulthood...


message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments What is the best age to have children? Twenties, thirties, forties? Or never?


message 23: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin In my case, I would say in the thirties. The couple has had time to mature and establish themselves professionally, plus had a few years to test the solidity of their marriage. The forties would still be okay but, the further you would wait past forty, the more risk that you would end up still supporting teenagers as you approach your retirement age. Me and my wife were both 31 when we had our first son and it worked well for us.


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11771 comments Very early thirties. By late thirties the probability of genetic malfunction starts to increase. In my case, it was early thirties, and if you get a boy in NZ, there is pressure on fathers to help run junior sports, which is a lot of fun, but less so if you get too old. Refereeing kids football games actually requires a lot of running for the father!


message 25: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I've heard people say that they don't want to have children because they don't want them to have to deal with the world as it is today and as it will be in the future. Is this a good reason not to have children?


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11771 comments A better approach would be to work at making things better now, and not hiding the head in the sand.


message 27: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments That would require cooperation, which is in short supply these days. Where should we begin?


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "I've heard people say that they don't want to have children because they don't want them to have to deal with the world as it is today and as it will be in the future. Is this a good reason not to have children? ..."

No, that's waiving something important, while betting on the negative..
Until kids are mature, you create their world.
Besides, go to rural France or maybe Australian outback or whatever other tranquil place, don't watch TV & internet and the world may appear a whole lot better.
It's all on a relative scale - met dudes living in huts made of cow shit in Kenya, which seemed pretty happy, but I guess if most their neighbors were better off, then they might feel different


message 29: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Have you ever thought that one should have to obtain a license to have a child? Prove income and a stable environment? I know it's not enforceable, not ethical, but it is logical.


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Don't think so. If anything, an easy access to abortion should regulate the issue of unwanted births. As of wanted - I don't see why Gates or whoever should be able to have many kids, while someone less successful - less. However, in cases of adoption in most countries an economic criteria are indeed instituted...


message 31: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I wasn't clear. And I know this will never happen and maybe shouldn't. But if people had to apply for a license to have a child, prove that they could support it financially, and show that they could provide a stable home (as those who adopt children do) then children would benefit.


message 32: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments Scout wrote: "I wasn't clear. And I know this will never happen and maybe shouldn't. But if people had to apply for a license to have a child, prove that they could support it financially, and show that they cou..."

I don't agree that they would benefit. I have met a lot of people who could show that, but it doesn't mean the actual performance lives up to their potential. (We see it in the news all the time - where children are in the welfare system, which the parents have been screened for, yet they are abused and neglected.) On the other hand, there are a lot of people who financially would be left out but who have been the most giving, loving, and stable people in a child's life.

Who would be applying for the license - mom, dad, or both parents (whatever their gender)? Divorce has become so widespread at every age, that what exists to meet today's criteria may not exist tomorrow - not only as to a relationship but also as to their economic situation and health status.


message 33: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments I have 2 children, 5 years apart - which was not intended but the result of surgery. Our plan was to have 3, but medical situations interfered with that. Not worrying about pregnancy or monthly cycles after I got past the hysterectomy was nice. Anyway, having the first child at 24 was physically easier than the 2nd at 30. I think mid to late 20s are best physically, but early 30s is best as to maturity of the parent.

Unfortunately, hubby insisted on a divorce after 17 years of marriage and I had to parent a teen and 10 year old at the same time, as well as work full time. I think children need someone there when they are not in school, and that was impossible economically. My son believes that contributed to his use of drug, that he had too much freedom, but he doesn't hold me responsible as he also states that he knew right from wrong and he knew I had to work to support him (and his sister). 11 months to go and he will be out of prison.

With hindsight there is a lot I would strive to do differently, but at the time, like most parents, I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew. Age does bring wisdom, just not soon enough.

Given all of that, my children amaze me. Two very different, unique individuals, whose thought processes are befuddling and enlightening at the same time. I don't think that being a parent has been rewarding or not rewarding for me - it just exists, yet, I am glad I did it. I didn't think about it at the time, I was moving through life as expected - grow up, leave home, get a job, get married, have children.


message 34: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Thanks for sharing Lizzie, those are some difficult and hard life situations to deal with.


message 35: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "I wasn't clear. And I know this will never happen and maybe shouldn't. But if people had to apply for a license to have a child, prove that they could support it financially, and show that they cou..."

I think it's a legit thought, especially if taken from child's perspective, but if we cherish individual's autonomy this field is within personal discretion. Prospective parents should definitely consider and care for their ability to raise children, and they may be often wrong about that, but I don't see anyone else deciding for them... Not sure it's too much strain on a society to help children in justified cases, where their parents failed


message 36: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I have two sons, who are now respectively 32 and 29. The older one is now married and lives in his own home, while the younger one, who suffers from a chromosome disorder and has a light mental handicap, lives with me and my wife (cannot live alone by himself due to his disability). Things were sometimes difficult but we worked over them and we all have a good family bond. Raising my sons meant a lot of work and patience, but also a lot of shared joy and love. To me, thinking of children as just a burden to be planned is an utterly ridiculous, cold-hearted notion by people who think only about themselves. Children are our future, always have been, always will be.


message 37: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I wasn't thinking of children as a burden, Michel. I was thinking of how children should be cared for after they're born. If children are our future, shouldn't they be born into circumstances that give them the best chance for success? Shouldn't prospective parents have the means to support them in a stable environment? I'm not serious about implementing this idea, but I think about other things we have to apply for a license to do: get married; carry a weapon; fly an airplane; drive a car. Yet anyone can bring a child into the world, regardless of the parents' ability to care for it. I'm just thinking of the child's welfare but, as I said, I know that applying for a license to have a child isn't realistic. It's just something I've thought about.


message 38: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments I don't know whether to believe this article, but it seems that China has/had something similar to an idea you toy with:
https://www.investopedia.com/articles...
Now, I hear, they lack girls as most went for male babies..


message 39: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan China definitely have a male/female imbalance.

Nothing a nice, quick, and extremely bloody war couldn't fix...

Ruler's have been killing excess young males for millennia, why should this century be any different.


message 40: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Under what conditions would you cut all ties with your child?


message 41: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin To turn away from my own child is nearly unthinkable for me. He would need to have become a human monster with no feelings or considerations for others around him, or have becomed a violent criminal. However, since I raised my two sons to follow my own humanist values, I am pretty sure that is not going to happen in my case.


message 42: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I've been there for my son always, but it's cost me a lot - in money and peace of mind. I wish he would just do the right thing and give me some peace.


message 43: by Vance (last edited Jul 04, 2018 05:20AM) (new)

Vance Huxley | 63 comments It isn't necessarily the parent who cuts ties, and in this current society sometimes staying with one parent means cutting ties with the other.

Most of the discussion is about options, but there are billions without a choice.
Their religion/culture/upbringing or lack of basic education result in the women repeatedly getting pregnant. Until those people are given a choice, global overpopulation won't be significantly affected by voluntary childless couples. Africa is growing by 2.52% per year, North America 0.73%, Europe 0.08%.

China managed their imbalance by killing female children, either in the womb or at birth, so Graeme's idea of killing the excess males would seem the logical solution.
Unfortunately, that would lead governments to consider killing the excess poor, sick, old, unemployed, or possibly lefthanders.
That might help global overpopulation, and let people have however many children they want, but as an old, sick, unemployed, not-wealthy left-hander I'm not in favour.

The alternative is that people stop having as many kids. With the improvements in medicine and the current progress in facilitating birth for those with physical problems, we are actually moving the other way.
Each couple having two children increases the world population. By the time the average citizen in a first-world country dies, those two children would each have grandchildren, who would have great-grandchildren. We'd have to agree to only having two children per couple, and killing the parents once their children reproduced, just to keep level.

Or, back to Graeme and a nice, quick, extremely bloody war. Though with governments involved, a nice, contained, quickly-fatal epidemic, or one that induced sterility, would be another answer. Given the usual government record, their inoculations or containment might be problematic.

If we're lucky, there'll be a comet, which will annihilate the Gordian knot.


message 44: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin That is some pretty stark talking, Vance. However, we do have a severe overpopulation problem on this planet, that I agree with, but I wish for a more humane solution than a mass culling via state-directed murder, a war or an epidemic.

One part of the solution would eliminate religious beliefs from this equation. Too often, it pushes people to either multiply or prohibits them from using means to prevent pregnancies. The Catholic Church is a big culprit in this and, strangely enough, still has a lot of sway in Africa and South America, two continents with high birth rates. As for Muslim countries, forced marriage of young girls and rules that give near complete authority to men over women also contribute to the problem. If you look at the least religious countries around the World, they often prove to be the ones with low birth rates.


message 45: by Vance (new)

Vance Huxley | 63 comments Stark, Michel, but what is the practical solution?

I named religion as one of the culprits, but to be honest, I don't fancy your chances of affecting religious dogma. I don't seriously advocate mass culling, but even the comet is more likely than persuading people who are convinced their actions are dictated by a deity.

The Chinese already used mass culling, although not deliberately, when their population chose males over females as their only child. We'll never know how many girls died by "stillbirth" or "failed pregnancy."

I really wish I could see a solution that had a snowball's chance of being adopted. I don't expect an answer before I make my own contribution to lowering the population.


message 46: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Even though I think abortion is wrong, I support a woman's right to choose that option. What religious fanatics fail to see it that a woman's right to chose shouldn't be abrogated by law. This is a special case, a personal decision, in which the individual woman chooses to do right or wrong and has to live with the consequences.


message 47: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16042 comments Scout wrote: "religious fanatics..."

why should they have a say on a secular public in all cases?


message 48: by Michel (last edited Jul 07, 2018 09:12AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Nik wrote: "Scout wrote: "religious fanatics..."

why should they have a say on a secular public in all cases?"


Too often, those religious fanatics have a heavy say in public life/opinion in their regions/states, like in around the US Bible Belt, or in fundamentalist Muslim countries. Look in Sudan, where girls that were raped were not allowed to have abortions and are now pregnant and waiting to give birth. Listen to some fiery TV preachers in the US who will publicly condemn you to Hell or encourage hate against you if you don't follow their 'God-given' messages and precepts. Look at how many American doctors were shot at or had their offices burned down by Christian fundamentalists for having provided abortion services.


message 49: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments Nik said, "Why should they have a say on a secular public in all cases?" Good point.


message 50: by Vance (new)

Vance Huxley | 63 comments Nik and Scout ask why they should have a say. They shouldn't, but freedom of worship means freedom to believe that a deity can tell you how to vote. No amount of logical debate can affect those voters.

We even tried creating a state religion in the UK, to keep God out of politics (the royal version at the time), but in Northern Ireland huge numbers of votes are still cast on the basis of religion.

Birth rate is often affected by local religion or culture. The overall birth rate in parts of London (which has a very large foreign born population) is twice the national average. Our national birth rate is rising again, and a quarter of all births are to foreign-born mothers. The reasons must be the religious/culture/upbringing/education those mothers were brought up with.

I don't see a solution because freedom of speech/religion, and the increasing numbers of refugees, many fleeing countries with very high birth rates. (I don't blame them for running)


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