So…a bunch of people have an opinion on me not having kids.
It’s not like it’s news. But seventy comments after I revealed the three things I’ve learned about childlessness, I realized this is a pretty fertile (ha) topic.
The comments ranged from lots of guys cyber-slapping me on the back and telling me to wait until I’m ready to people who urged me to hurry up because kids are God’s blessing. Kids are, to say the least, controversial.
This isn’t going to become a Daddy-blog, or a non-Daddy blog (if that makes any sense at all.) But this is a topic I’ve been holding back for a long time, so I have some thoughts that are ready to pop on this one like an overdue pregnant woman, so expect a few more posts on the subject, including today.
As I think more about our decisions to have children, or remain without children, the more I realize just, in many ways, the decision is absurd and completely backwards.
“I’ll Have Kids When I’m Ready”
Birth control is nothing new.
For ages, people have used everything from sheepskin to saran wrap to try to keep things on a recreational level.
But reliable birth control is something new. Never before have humans so successfully flaunted what some would call our evolutionary (or creationary) mandate to make babies. We have more control than ever over how many kids we have, and when they will appear.
What has that done to us?
We’re delusional with the fantasy that “I’ll have kids when I’m ready.” Ready? How? Emotionally ready? Financially ready? How do you emotionally prepare for a poopy tornado to tear through your house for eighteen years and suck up all your food and money? Are we waiting until we’ve accomplished our life’s grand purpose of being the next Steve Jobs before kids ruin everything? Jesus was born to an unwed teenager mother. If Jesus were alive today, he would’ve been born into just as much poverty, living with a mother on welfare who probably would’ve dropped out of high school.
Yet the Bible makes clear that Mary was ready. She wasn’t ready in any sense of the word that we consider important. But she was ready to be obedient.
Even newer than birth control, is our extreme control over baby-making.
Not that baby-making is now some kind of X-treme, Gen-X sporting event. Gross.
Now, a woman who can’t conceive can show her uterus who’s boss, by going to a fertility center. While some people try their hardest to not conceive, others go to extreme measures to have a kid…for a price.
And with that advancement, long gone is the idea of “taking a hint.” If a couple is being unsuccessful, they don’t have to take a hint and try something else. Never before have couples had to consider whether or not God wants them to pay thousands of dollars for six little embryos in a dish, throw them against the wall, and see if they stick.
That’s what people will do when they are desperate. They will go to extreme measures. And I fear that more couples are going to extreme measures, and extreme costs rather than trying something else, like adoption.
We’ve got everything backwards.
Biologically, we should be having kids when we’re teenagers. It’s when our brains tell us to do it. It’s when we’re most able to do it.
The funny thing is, even those of you who think children are blessings and birth control is wrong, you still used birth control for a while. You abstained. We all value a dozen things more than the blessings of children. We value the blessing of education, of marriage, of career, of upward mobility, of all kinds of things that compelled us to deny what we would’ve done in any other time and place in history. We wait ten years or more to get married, and up to twenty or thirty years past our prime baby-making time to actually do the deed. We don’t believe that young un-wed moms without all those other blessings are “blessed!”
If you want to do truly “biblical” parenting, I’m just saying. You probably should’ve gotten married before you graduated high school…but then we’d all look like a bunch of crazy, fundie cultists.
The more control we have over the “when” and “how many” of kids, the more reasons we come up with to not have any. Sure, children are a blessing…provided that God has provided a bunch of other blessings, in the right order.
What do you think? Has birth control been our society’s savior, or it’s demise? What about extreme forms of fertility treatment? What’s the line for Christians? How do you know when you’re “ready” to have a kid?