a post for Insanity about the sacrifice of parenthood

Having children is actually a great sacrifice, we give everything we have to help aid and nurture these little beings so they can make their way in the world. (Insanitybytes)

This rose-tinted view of reproduction seems to be mindlessly accepted in many societies. People talk of the sacrifices they make for their children and how their once selfish life has morphed into an ocean of selfless giving.

Let’s get something straight – having children is one of the most selfish acts humans indulge in.

People have their own biological children for lots of reasons:

  • because they didn’t use appropriate precautions when they were having sex
  • because they like babies and children
  • because they want someone to love unconditionally who they believe will love them back unconditionally
  • because they’re bored or their life feels unfulfilled without children
  • because they’re curious about it
  • because they feel an overwhelming biological urge with no grounding in rational thought
  • because it’s normal, traditional and what everyone else does: a natural stage in the conveyor belt approach to life
  • because the person they’re in a relationship with wants children for one or more of the above reasons

People never have their own biological children for selfless reasons. Moreover, they are playing Russian roulette with the existence of another sentient being when they embark on the experiment. How many people live horrendous lives, suffer immensely and have horrible relationships with their own parents? Every time a human chooses to bring another life into the world, they are taking this chance on their precious little bundle.

When people become parents they do NOT suddenly become selfless. Quite the opposite. They become more selfish than they ever could have been, but their selfishness is redirected almost completely in the direction of their own children. The wellbeing of their offspring usually becomes their overriding concern, as is the case for every successful mammal on the planet.

So spare me the parental sermon about how much we sacrifice for our children and what a selfless act being a parent is. The children didn’t ask to be born, we thrust existence on them for our own selfish reasons. The least we can do is make their existence as pleasant as possible, but let’s not pretend this in itself is an act of selfless martyrdom.