Monday, February 25, 2008

Childfree Query

I received the following e-mail:
Hi PMom,
I'm glad I found your blog. I enjoy it. You seem like a rational & honest person and I was hoping you might let me ask some questions surrounding reproduction. I'm 29 and never want children. I don't like children. Do you think I'm nuts? My theist relatives claim children are my duty to god. You appreciate reason, right? How do you explain having four kids? Biology would say that we only need one copy of ourselves. Would you agree? Having more than a copy of yourself strains the environment. We are over-populated. I've researched count less articles where right wing Christians claim that bring in more children is a duty. How do you feel about that? Atheists if I understand atheists right are scientific minded and so I would think having four kids is unusual. Are you honest enough to admit that you're leaving a large footprint on the environment from your family of six? Taking out the religion, what is the reason for having more than one child? With four kids, do you hate childfree people? I don't want you to be mad for me asking so I guess you don't need to answer if you don't want. I want to know your ideas on the matter.
Childfree and happy about it,
Trojan Man

Trojanman, I'll happily answer your questions. It takes a lot to make me angry: this is, pardon the pun, kiddy stuff. :) No anger here. I'm going to take your questions one at a time. If you want to leave a message here, instead of e-mailing, then please do so.
I'm glad I found your blog. I enjoy it.

Well, I'm glad you're enjoying it.

You seem like a rational & honest person and I was hoping you
might let me ask some questions surrounding reproduction.


I'll do my best. Although, I must confes that - at first glance - I'm not sure I follow some of the implications of your questions. Feel free to ask further questions if I'm not getting the gyst.

I'm 29 and never want children. I don't like
children.

I have friends in your position and I can respect that. Children aren't for everyone.

Do you think I'm nuts? My theist relatives claim children are my
duty to god.


Not at all!! Children are an immense responsibility. I'm actually quite impressed with individuals who have enough self-knowledge, and concern, to seriously evaluate their desire to reproduce. I think if more people examined their motives for childbearing, we'd have fewer social ills. I think it's the epitome of mental health and sanity for a person to admit what their limits are. I see having children as a choice. Just as I wouldn't find a person who chooses not to marry crazy, I don't see anything wrong with passing on having children. Your theist relatives, however, need their heads examined. Not because of their beliefs in God, but because they see childbearing as a biblical obligation and can't respect your decision. What benefit could there possibly be to encouraging someone who doesn't like children to reproduce? And, even if a deity existed, what bearing would that have on your decision to skip parenting?

You appreciate reason, right? How do you explain having four kids?


I wish you'd elaborated on this question. I'm not sure what being reasonable has to do with having four kids. But, I will answer the question anyway. I don't know that I've ever thought I needed to explain why I had four. I suppose the simplest answer is that I wasn't opposed to having them and, after having P1, I discovered that I really liked being a mom. Oddly, I'm not a huge fan of other people's children. And, as a child, I never wanted any! LOL There was a certain amount of pressure to have children when I was a Catholic, but I can't say with any relevancy that I had them because it was what Catholics do. I might have been influenced in the choices I made, but ultimately,...P1 and P2 are here because I wanted them to be. P3 was born after we lost three pregnancies to miscarriages and stillbirths. We wanted a third because we didn't feel like our family was complete. P4 was a wonderful "oops". :) I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy when I found out I was pregnant with him. Ultimately, I had four children because I wanted them more than I wanted anything else and, in the end, I think that's a good enough reason.

Biology would say that we only need one copy of ourselves. Would you
agree?


I'm not entirely sure that that's the conclusion we should draw from biology. And, I suspect you're really referring to evolutionary theory in asking this question. From what I understand of evolutionary psychology and biology: all living things respond to inevitable mortality by attempting to pass on their genetics to the next generation. I don't kow that I would say this attempt is "desired" or set in stone...and, I'm not even sure that the "desire" is made by every species as a "thought" or "goal". I think it's simply what organisms do. That said, I know people who don't have this desire and I don't think they're "broken" or bucking science because they choose not to reproduce. I think the unspoken goal of any species is to make sure there's a next generation - for some humans, that means having children. For others, that might mean making the earth a better place so the species is better prepared or situated to continue going forward. Childfree people have just as much impact as those of us with children. It would be ridiculous to think that every pair of humans needs or wants to reproduce. I think the human species is pretty well situated from the perspective that there's not a lot of chance that we're going extinct in the near future. I think, possibly, our numbers as a species trigger a physiological 'knowledge' in some that assures them that maybe they don't need to reproduce becuase of this perception of numbers. But, to go back to your question, I don't see that biology dictates a cut off at one child. Biology tells us that there are many, many threats to pregnancies, healthy fetal development, and infancy/childhood. I think, in the past, having numerous children was a defense mechanism to help adjust for the high infant mortality rates we used to have and to increase one's chances for passing on some DNA. Has this need for more than one copy changed? Perhaps. But, I still think you could make the argument that, biologically, multiple offspring increases your chances of continuing your genetic line.

Having more than a copy of yourself strains the environment. We
are over-populated


I can't argue with this. You're likely correct. It would be foolish to pretend that I wasn't aware of the ramifications of having four children. It likely strains the environment. I can make efforts to reduce our impact, but I can't think of any reason why your hypothesis is unsound.

Atheists if I understand atheists right are scientific minded
and so I would think having four kids is unusual.


I think it's unusual for most couples to have four children in this day and age. I'm not sure I understand what being an atheist has to do with this point. If you'd care to clarify, then I'd be more than happy to respond to this in a more pointed and considered fashion.


With four kids, do you hate childfree people?

Absolutely not! The choice is up to the individual or the couple. As a childfree person, do you hate people who have four kids? ;)

62 comments:

Dave McRitchie said...

Interesting post. Just for the record, UN demographics show the average current world reproduction rate as 1.85 children per couple, well below the "replacement" level. Population is expected to peak around 2050 and decline after that.

Hugo said...

Strange that that person would think those questions would anger, I think they are reasonable honest questions but I even welcome unreasonable questions, I get frustrated sometimes when my answers are not even considered by believers but that is another topic.
Anyway, we (mommy's catholic, I'm atheist) have 1 daughter and we are considering #2, if we decide on #2 then we both agree that that'll be it (and I'm gonna make sure of it:)
As for the footprint, history (and the present) has thought us that forcing people is not a valid option, plus the signs are that we "self correct" in a sense, I heard this recently on a podcast: it used to be that people had a lot of children, speak with your grandparents and they usually had more than 4 and they also usually had a few miscarriages, stillborn or babies that died within a week or so, with modern medicine miscarriages still happen but once born most babies survive and our society has changed so that most people now only have a few children, this could go down even more if resources actually become scarce and births become even safer (in contrast to places like Africa where reproduction is still dangerous and the human species has to make a lot of babies for a few to survive).
So I do not hate people that go with how they feel about having children or not, I dislike people like the Duggars who force them selfs on rules that go against their human nature but I don't hate them, I would like them to be counseled and better educated as to what they are doing to the mental health of their children and yes also the environment.
So to Trojan I'd say, with regards to children do what you feel is right, ask questions and discuss with your wife or other who have or don't have children. (and also don't take rules from ancient books about virgins, childless messiahs and sex obsessed deities too seriously and don't try to rationalize too much)

benjdm said...

My wife and I stopped at two. Sometimes I think even that many was un-ethical given how far above the sustainable human population we seem to be (though estimates here are far from certain.) People who have decided to not have any children help alleviate my guilt.

If it came down to it, I could always stop my resource usage early (via suicide) to help balance out the ethical considerations. Not until the children are fully grown, though, and probably not even then.

Some ethical considerations are easy. These ones aren't, IMO.

Poodles said...

Being childfree by choice myself I can honestly say that I can sympathize with this man's frustration. For me though it is mostly because I live in an area where a family of 4 kids is small. I see the letters to the editor in local papers complaining about congested roads, urban sprawl, and inversion and can't help but wonder how many kids the writer has. I also see couples getting married in their late teens early 20's and start having kids within the first year of their married lives. Then I hear them complain about having serious financial problems within a few years, but they don't stop having the kids. It's hard to feel bad for them with the choices they make.

But it must be remembered that having kids is a choice, regardless of what a church teaches you, churches want more kids so they can increase their numbers and hopefully increase their revenue. Kids should be had from a desire and ability to be a parent, not a breeder for a church (don't get me started on the Utah mormons).

I don't care how many kids someone else has as long as they are taking care of them, financially, emotionally and educationally. Lots of people hit rough patches sometimes, but starting out in a rough patch and having more and more kids that one can't take care of is more disheartening for this childfree person to witness than how many someone chooses to have.

Allyson said...

I'm also childfree, and boy do I take flack for it from my family! Actually, most of my family has given up pushing "God's duty" on me because they've resigned themselves to the fact that I'm atheist. But now it's my duty to my mother, apparently . . . she deserves grandchildren.

I think Trojan Man may have asked: "With four kids, do you hate childfree people?" because those of us who are openly childfree will often be insulted by people with children, and it seems we are a hated bunch.

I don't care how many kids you want to have as long as you can afford to feed them and deal with their medical expenses, etc. Just remember that I'm helping to keep the world at a sustainable level of population by not having some. :)

Brigit said...

I've been married for 3 years, and since then the requests for kids have increased. We're both (closet) atheists, my family is RC and his is fundy-pentecostal. I've had aunts commenting I'll be too old to have kids afterwards-I'm 25!

And we don't want kids. It's not an "until we finish grad school" thing. Sure, we're both open to changing our minds, but there's way too many things we rather be doing than raising another human being. That's not a task to be taken lightly.

Ooh, and Pmom- the same thing with P4 happened to my grandma! There's a 15 year gap between my dad and his youngest sibling. She got a 'surprise' right before the operation.

fdqpink/Baal's Bum said...

Before we had children I would have whole heartedly agreed with Trojan Man's every sentiment, I didn't want kids didn't like kids. To be honest I hated being near them (other peoples).
Then we had our first, planned by my wife with me heavily proclaiming I wanted a BJ. I fell in love with her immediately our second was a suprise, they are now 18 and 16 respectively and are the best things we have ever done.

CAE said...

I have to admit the environmental factor is one of the reasons why my husband and I don't want kids. The way I see it, some people have to go on having kids so the species survives, and some other people have to make a conscious choice not to add more people to the world. We need both sets of people - we may need to tip the ratio a bit is all.

If we do ever decide we want kids, we've already agreed to adopt as a first choice. The best thing you can do for the planet is to take someone who already exists and give them a better life. But like I said, a portion of the population does need to keep reproducing - so I would never look down on anyone's choice to have kids. (I'm not like these voluntary human extinction people, although the underlying concept is the same!)

BTW, I suspect this person might be a concern troll of some kind. Either one of the aforementioned extinction people, or maybe a religious "duty to god" person looking to bait an atheist. Could be wrong, but it will be interesting to see their replies to these comments!

Xena said...

I must admit that your opinions of those that chose to remain childfree are refreshing. Most of the time, when you ask people who have children, you get one of two things.

"How can you not want babies?!? Are you some sort of freak of nature??"

"I didn't want kids, but then I had a kid, and now kids are the best. You should have kids."

I appreciate someone who can admit that they are a lot of work and that not everyone is cut out for that work. That doesn't mean we are lazy, selfish, or dumb - we just are different from people that want children.

I'm curious though as to why you don't much care for other people's children? I am childfree and have never much cared for children until I met a co-workers 7 and 9 year old. They are polite, outgoing, thoughful, engaging, and intelligent. It often makes me wonder if I simply don't like the way other people raise their children, which in turn makes me feel judgemental.

Knitterman said...

I'm 53 and long-ago divorced. In my younger (married and Pentecostal) years I thought 'the more the merrier", "kids are a blessing from God", and all the rest. Looking back, however, I have to admit that if I knew then, and believed then, all that I've learned since then, I would not bring children into the world. I do NOT regret having kids, I love mine enormously. But would I do it again? nope, not likely.

Godless Geek said...

I also do not want kids at all. On a scale from 1 to 10, my desire to have kids is about a -438. It sounds callous and selfish, but I just do not like kids at all. I don't like being around them, and having kids would get in the way of the plans I've made for myself and the life I want to lead. I don't feel some obligation to have kids because it's something I'm "supposed to do."

I have some married friends who do not want kids at all either. I joke with about when they are going to have kids, but it's just joking and they know it. I get a bit annoyed at people who prod them about it seriously. We were at their house on New Year's Eve this year and the kid subject came up from her mother. They once again reiterated that they didn't want kids and her mother said "Oh, you'll come around in a couple of years." That really, really annoyed me and I don't think I hid it too well. The presumption and arrogance were over the top, especially coming from a woman with two other daughters who do want kids.

It seems to me that our ability to choose whether or not to have kids and how many we have is a sign of advancement. Biology tends to want to make us reproduce as much as possible, and our ability to overcome our biology is a demonstration of our rationality and advancement as a species. If we are personally find reward having children, we can. If we find the whole concept unrewarding, we have that choice as well. Certain religions, like Catholicism or the Quiverfull Movement are offensive to me in this regard. They seem to actively want to suppress our rationality and keep us as primitive as possible, and their reproductive policies are tools in this regard. Even mainline protestants aren't innocent in this regard, though I can certainly tolerate them far better. I just wish they'd all let every individual decide what was best for them.

Kilted Dad said...

I think TrojanMan is 29, and I think he should give it some more time. I know and 29 I was very lukewarm to having kids. Now, I can't imagine why I waited so long.

Poodles said...

Kilted Dad,
I knew I didn't want kids during my teenage years, I never waivered from that. I am now 37. I had a hysterectomy a few years ago. Kids just aren't for some people and never will be no matter what age.

Katie said...

The Big Guy and I have discussed having kids many, many times and neither of us wants to. We are young (I'm 25, he's 26) so we're not shutting out the option entirely, but neither of us ever want to have kids. If we change our minds later, fine...if not, that's fine too. We have discussed it at length and both agree that if we do decide to have kids sometime in the future we will adopt.

Neither of us particularly like kids that we're not related to. We love my brother's kids, but by and large I don't like them. That always seems to shock people because I work with kids! I'm a speech-language pathologist at a school for children with autism/MR/emotional disturbance. I work almost entirely with autism/MR and I love my kids at work...I just can't stand "normal" kids. People always say "Oh, you must love children" when they find out what I do and they always look shocked when I reply "No, actually, I don't like kids at all. They annoy me." "Normal" kids do annoy me--they know what I'm asking them to do and just don't do it. The kids I work with usually don't understand what I need them to do or don't do it for a reason, even if I don't understand it. With the kids I work with, I can be patient with the aggression and meltdowns and everything else because it happens for a reason, and it's my job to figure out how.

The Big Guy and I can't imagine coming home from work to take care of tiny little people (especially after my days at work!). We have two cats and that's enough responsibility for us. We have no desire to take on that kind of responsibility and stress.

Godless Geek said...

I think TrojanMan is 29, and I think he should give it some more time. I know and 29 I was very lukewarm to having kids. Now, I can't imagine why I waited so long.

I really think it's the wrong angle to try to put compare anyone to yourself in this. I am 29 as well and I am far from lukewarm on the subject of having kids. I've never wanted kids. I am completely against the idea. I'm not warming up to it at all...I'm actually wanting them less and less every day. I'm almost certain that if I had kids, I would actually resent them for taking away my old life.

I know that I can't generalize my feelings on this to anyone else. i understand in practice that most people want kids. I understand in practice that some people want a lot of kids. Want I can't understand is how. I am actually incapable of wrapping my head around the concept of actually wanting to have kids. I'm even incapable of imagining being indifferent to the idea. I know this is not the norm, but it's the way I am. How a person feels about having kids is something personal that can't be generalized from person to person, and comparing anyone to yourself just doesn't work.

Xena said...

kilted dad,
Funny thing, my mom thinks I'll "grow out" of my atheism. For some people, children are not a part of the plan. Why is this such a difficult thing for people to believe?

PipesUp said...

I'm an 'out' atheist, aged 46, knew I didn't want kids by the time I was five years old, and had my tubes tied when I got divorced at 24 (yes, it was hard finding a surgeon to do it)! I don't hate kids or resent people who have kids; it's just -definitely- NOT for me. So I know where Trojanman is coming from.

Once, in the workplace a few years back, I was cornered by a coworker who demanded to know if I had kids (why? who knows?) and when I answered in the negative, she looked horrified and literally shouted at me: "Why don't you? What's wrong with you? Do you hate kids or something?" She was irrational over it and challenged me throughout the day, until I finally pointed out that it Really. Wasn't. Her. Business.

Apparently, her god demands the ovaries and uterus of His followers, or something..! ;^)

At the time, I was too shocked at her outburst to respond thoughtfully, but since then I often wonder to myself if she was implying that I somehow *should* have had children, even if I had actually "hated" them. Some great parent I would have been then, eh?

It seems to me you should have offspring when -or if- you're ready for them, and preferably not before. Don't be bullied into something huge and irreversible by clot-headed godbots who can't challenge their own dogma.

Speaking frankly, I look around at my friends, (most of whose kids are now in their late primary school years or their teens) and think about the expense, the financial sacrifices, the headaches, the worry and the heartaches and think: "I couldn't do that, but I'm impressed that they can". I'm glad though that I made the right choice for me.

Trojanman, stand your ground. The statistics are showing a trend that indicates one in five adults of reproductive age remaining childless/childfree, so we're in a minority, but it's a significant one.

Katie said...

I decided a long time ago if I couldn't have a certain set of things lining up I would not have kids. I actually love kids and enjoying working with them especially where I live. What I can't stand are the people who don't take of their kids or choose to keep having kids even though they don't have the means for properly caring for them. I see this a lot as a teacher because we aren't educating people about the cost of having children as well as a lot of other factors.

My husband and I actually planning on having children in the near future but we're not going to go to the extremes like our families. He's 4 of 5 kids and I'm the youngest of 3. I'm first going to finish my undergrad work and get at least half of my MAT studies done before I even think about going off birth control.

Ironically enough if you listen to Air America Radio, today's Thom Hartman show is speaking about this subject now!

Kevin L. said...

I'm 22 and a senior undergraduate at university. I personally want nothing to do with children in any way, shape, or form. More specifically, I'm rather certain I don't want to raise any.

I agree with poodles (the person who made the comment, not the dogs). Having kids is a choice: great, no problem, do what you want. But there has to be a realization of the responsibilities associated with that decision. I live in Western Pennsylvania, and based on my experiences here, a lot of people simply do not think about the consequences of having children. It's sad, except it's their own fault; it's frustrating because everyone else suffers, even if only indirectly, from their lack of responsibility.

The first thing I thought of when I read this post was an excerpt from Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene:

"Individuals [in nature] who have too many children are penalized, not because the whole population goes extinct, but simply because fewer of their children survive. Genes for having too many children [that one cannot support] are just not passed on to the next generation in large numbers, because few of the children bearing these genes reach adulthood. What has happened in modern civilized man is that family sizes are no longer limited by the finite resources that the individual parents can provide. If a husband and wife have more children than they can feed, the state, which means the rest of the population, simply steps in and keeps the surplus children alive and healthy. There is, in fact, nothing to stop a couple with no material resources at all having and rearing precisely as many children as the woman can physically bear. But the welfare state is a very unnatural thing. In nature, parents who have more children than they can support do not have many grandchildren, and their genes are not passed on to future generations. There is no need for altruistic restraint in the birth-rate, because there is no welfare state in nature. Any gene for over-indulgence is promptly punished: the children containing that gene starve. Since we humans do not want to return to the old selfish ways where we let the children of too-large families starve to death, we have abolished the family as a unit of economic self-sufficiency, and substituted the state. But the privilege of guaranteed support for children should not be abused.

"Contraception is sometimes attacked as 'unnatural'. So it is, very unnatural. The trouble is, so is the welfare state. I think that most of us believe the welfare state is highly desirable. But you cannot have an unnatural welfare state, unless you also have unnatural birth-control, otherwise the end result will be misery even greater than that which obtains in nature. The welfare state is perhaps the greatest altruistic system the animal kingdom has ever known. But any altruistic system is inherently unstable, because it is open to abuse by selfish individuals, ready to exploit it. Individual humans who have more children than they are capable of rearing are probably too ignorant in most cases to be accused of conscious malevolent exploitation. Powerful institutions and leaders who deliberately encourage them to do so seem to me less free from suspicion."

Karen said...

Some people go into their 20's deciding they don't want children, and later change their minds. Others don't change their minds, and stay childfree. I'm absolutely convinced that the most important issue about children is understanding why you do or don't want to have them.

My husband and I are in the latter camp, and for years after we were married I endured a constant barrage of reasons, from my mother, as to why I should have children. The first couple of times we talked about it, I tried explaining our thinking. Big waste of time; she didn't care. I'm an only child and she wanted grandchildren.

Here's an abbreviated version of the litany: we were going against God. I was raised Catholic, so I should know that contraception is a sin! We were being extremely selfish, thinking only of ourselves. It doesn't matter that you don't like other people's children much -- when you get your own, you'll love them. Think of your father, you're depriving him of grandchildren!

Those of you in this situation: practice makes parrying the comments and changing the subject easier.

A friend of mine who is also childfree by choice used to get asked frequently, "why don't you have kids?" His answer was, "ah, my wife and I figured out what causes it."

Infidel Rooster said...

I struggle with the issue as well, both from the environmental impact question as well as a personal one of being a man with cystic fibrosis.

I wonder about the wisdom of having a child and then not being around to help my wife or the child in raising it.

I know any "healthy" person could get hit by a bus and their s.o. + kids could be left in the same situation, but as a 35 year old cf patient who has had two lung transplants, the issue of an early death is a bit more likely for me.

It is responsible to consider all of these factors, but if I decide to have kids I won't feel guilty about the decision given that I've made the effort to consider the ramifications of both choices.

We deal with the choices we make. And I think what you were trying to get at about the reason argument could also be just as flimsiliy applied to another aspect (one of guilt). As an atheist I try not to get bogged down in guilt over things I can no longer do anything about, but to make reasoned and well-thought out choices based on those situations which I'm faced with. At this point, PM already has four kids, and seems to be doing a great job raising responsible, ethical human beings. I understand the question was more about how she got there, but I don't think that the implication of an either/or answer is correct.

I have always been in the opposite boat. I always wanted kids but didn't want to get married and always said this to my mom. As a Catholic, you can imagine the horror she felt at those implications. When I realized how angry and uncomfortable this made the nuns who taught at my Catholic school, I use to mention it to them at every opportunity as well, even before I understood exactly why they weren't happy with me over this. Premarital sex, bastard children, and the nerve to think this would be the preferred way to do things before I had any real world concept of this was too much for the nuns.

I was not a popular boy among the priests and nuns of our school!

Godless Geek said...

A friend of mine who is also childfree by choice used to get asked frequently, "why don't you have kids?" His answer was, "ah, my wife and I figured out what causes it."

My favorite response I've ever heard to this question was given by the wife of a co-worker once. Her response? "I'm still raising the one I married."

Arkonbey said...

To all these great (and long) comments I'll just add that people assume my ex-girlfriend (wife) and I dislike kids because we don't want any of our own.

Far from it! We like other people's kids. We plan on being the eternal aunt and uncle. Helping to nurture our nieces and nephews, but still being able to drop everything to go camping or riding on a whim, or just spend an uninterrupted day in the studio.

Also, we get to say things like: "Here. She's wet..."

Also, KiltedDad, I'm 39 and every day my desire to remain an uncle grows stronger.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Don't have any kids (we have cats)and don't plan on having any. I am not averse to them but

a)I don't have to grow them
b)I live a life that would be severely impacted by them

Karen said...

I'd like to generalize my earlier observation about understanding why you do or don't want to have kids. If you think a situation through carefully, truly understand your own motivations, and make a reasonable attempt to consider side effects, then you will make the best decision you possibly can. No guilt allowed, though you may be sorry for unintended consequences, or those that might be hurt by your decision.

I repeat: you made the best decision you could at the time; no guilt allowed. Understanding this concept is incredibly freeing.

Karen said...

As an aside (off topic, and PMomma can delete this if she wants with no hard feelings) I wonder what percentage of the childfree-by-choice population has cats in their household? I've heard this comment several times from childfree people, and I have three of the furry manipulators -- er, I mean sweet kitties -- running my own household.

SWE said...

I'm always bewildered that so many childless-by-choice people get pressure to have kids. Who are these crazy people, anyway? A really good argument from authority or maybe a guilt trip is not likely to give anyone an urge to procreate. Sheesh!

I wonder though-for the childless, do you get a lot of direct pressure, or is it insidious and indirect?

My question stems from the fact that my brother (age 26) and his wife are absolutely certain they do not want kids. I have supported them all the way (and not with any of that behind their backs "oh, they'll change their minds when they get older" crap, either). I would think that this would be enough to show that I value their life choices and to put them at ease around my family.

But it's not. I think there is enough subtle pressure that's at least perceived that a lot of people who are childless feel like they ~have~ to defend themselves against all comers. Kind of like atheists, now that I think of it.

It's a little maddening that as a society we can't be cool with the idea that some people procreate and some people don't. Maybe we'll get there someday...

Brigit said...

@Karen:
Yup, I have three gorgeous, fuzzy purr machines. It so happens I adopted a pregnant kitten, so I got magical 3-for-1 deal. =)

Xena said...

swe -
I get lots of indirect and direct pressure.

Direct comes from parents and in-laws that want grandbabies. Also from people that see how I treat my 2 dogs that assume it's some "misplaced" maternal instinct. A co-worker that heard that I took my dog to the emergency vet in the middle of the night because she had injured herself during a walk commented "Aww.. you're going to be such a good mom." What?!?! Because my dog had a large hole in her belly and I gave her proper medical care that qualifies me to raise a child?

The indirect is from the people with children that assume that I want nothing to do with them or their children because I don't have kids. People asked me if children could come to my wedding. Umm, I thought that was expected. I have a co-worker who will be in the middle of telling a story about his daughter and stop and comment "You probably don't want to hear me go on and on about my kid."

There's more examples I could give, but I don't want to turn this blog into a childfree forum.

And yes I have a cat, and two dogs - so it's not just a cat thing.

Whalehugger said...

We've gotten the same type of pressure from the family as Xena mentioned. My parents didn't care if I had kids or not, but my SO's parents hit us with the whammy of wanting grandbabies (even though the SO has 3 sisters, all with kids), them being Catholic, and determined to pass on the family name.

Outside pressure thinks we're freaks of nature and keep waiting from my internal clock to kick in. I'm 52 and in menopause - not gonna and never did happen.

As for having cats, yes. We have 3 purr therapists. We've never thought of them as the substitute for kids; others do it for us

trojan man said...

I wish you'd elaborated on this question. I'm not sure what being reasonable has to do with having four kids.
I wanted to know if you felt bad for having four due of the problems created by overpopulation. Your reasonable about the earth and environment so with that how did you come to any place where you said four is okay.

wanted a third because we didn't feel like our family was complete.
I can't understand what you mean. Your family had a boy and girl, is that right? What do you mean by completing your family? With the health issues you have wasn't it irresponsible to have P4?


For others, that might mean making the earth a better place so the species is better prepared or situated to continue going forward. Childfree people have just as much impact as those of us with children.
What is that meaning? We all have to make earth better for kids? I don't think that's my responsibility. I get mad when I hear this stuff since it makes me feel like my life is important only to make the world better for sprogs of the universe.

I can't argue with this. You're likely correct. It would be foolish to pretend that I wasn't aware of the ramifications of having four children. It likely strains the environment. I can make efforts to reduce our impact, but I can't think of any reason why your hypothesis is unsound.
I see that is more than some moms would admit so thnx for that. Are you saying that you know the environment is straining to handle people like you who have four or more but you don't think it's your problem to fix?

I think it's unusual for most couples to have four children in this day and age. I'm not sure I understand what being an atheist has to do with this point. If you'd care to clarify, then I'd be more than happy to respond to this in a more pointed and considered fashion.

I thought atheists were more to be less traditional about kids.

As a childfree person, do you hate people who have four kids? ;)

Hate is a strong word. I think parents who have more than three are selfish but no hate here.
Thnx for your answering questions from me.

Poodles said...

Karen,
3 Dogs, no cats, I'm waaayyy too allergic. But my witch friend has 8 cats 2 dogs and a hamster, no kids. :)

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

@trojan,

I thought atheists were more to be less traditional about kids.

Just wondering why you thought this? Atheism is a response to a position, that god exists i.e. we don't accept this position.

Beyond that point atheists are a varied bunch, like fly fishermen. We agree on one particular point, but can and do have wide ranging opinions and beliefs on other areas of reality.

There may be other similarities in a broad sense but some atheists are very traditional in their views.

Kazim said...

How do you explain having four kids? Biology would say that we only need one copy of ourselves. Would you agree?

This particular comment strikes me as being incredibly misinformed about evolution. On the contrary, our genes dictate that we have as many kids as we can get away with. Each individual is not only in competition with his own species, but with other members of the same species. If you have no children, many of your genes end with you (except the genetic material that is shared among your nephews and nieces). If you have one child, that child might die or decide, like the writer, not to have any kids. Same result. The more kids you have, the more extensively you disseminate your own genes into the population of the next generation. Deliberately limiting the number of children you have is counter to evolutionary impulses.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, and I stress that point. We are programmed by our genes to like sex, and care for the kid that pops out at the end. We aren't necessarily programmed to consciously try to have more kids. In fact, the invention of birth control in all its various form is a counter-evolutionary development, but nobody complains about that. We have made a conscious decision to enjoy sex without automatically having more babies, and I'd argue that this is a good thing.

But no, in nature, no animal says "Okay, that's one kid, so I'm done! I'll be celibate from now on." On the contrary, many species have THOUSANDS of offspring, and the vast majority of them die before reaching maturity. Being prolific is one strategy that can partially replace caring for your kids. Different niche from most humans, though.

Katie said...

As for pressure to have kids, thankfully my brother and his wife have 2--no pressure from my parents! The Big Guy's parents make occasional comments about wanting grandkids, but no real pressure. If we just laugh off the comments and/or don't respond they drop the subject.

Yes, we have 2 cats, but they are not substitutes for kids! I love our little guys, but they're not kids--they're KITTENS. There's a big difference, and we don't confuse the two.

I don't see my complete lack of desire to have kids as some kind of greater moral imperative or protecting the planet (although my desire to adopt kids if I DO decide to have them may be, but it's more personally motivated)...I just don't want kids. I don't feel some pressing need to have kids. It's mostly selfish...I don't want the responsibility and all the changes I would have to make to my life, and if I'm not happy to do that then I shouldn't have kids.

ZugTheMegasaurus said...

Biology would say that we only need one copy of ourselves. Would you
agree?

Is no one else wondering about this part of the comment? I can't imagine any reading of any sort of biology that would lead to this conclusion.

I can't think of a single organism that reproduces once and then stops. Nothing about human biology points to that being the case. So while someone freaking out about overpopulation might make the "one offspring per adult pair" argument, biology certainly does not.

Psychodiva said...

I adore kids, I love other people's too- hence my job :) and I think I'm pretty good at being a mum (Hannah? comments?) I would have had more if they had lived longer and the medics could have guaranteed them not being ill or worse :) It was enough to get the two I have so I guess they will have to do and I look forward to the grandkids :) Nothing against people who don't want kids- and as a result of my work with troubled/disturbed/ill kids I sometimes wish more people made that decision - but I don't see what it has to do with my atheism?

wineymomma said...

It's all about choices. I am so happy that people I know are having babies and I am very happy for those that don't want kids and are comfortable with their decision.

I was actually confronted once by a woman who was trying to save my soul because my husband and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary and didn't have any babies. I just smiled and thanked her and tucked it into my strange experiences file!

ascian said...

I have never wanted kids either, and everyone has always told me I will grow out of it (25 now and still haven't "grown out of it...)
It's great to see so many people on here who feel the same way.

I have another problem as well - my partner wants children. I have suggested that perhaps we should go our separate ways because of it - someone is going to end up unhappy, either me with children I didn't want or him with no children that he did - it's not fair on either of us. He has said if I continue to not want children, he will be ok with that... but it still worries me :( What can you do in this situation? :(

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Xena says...I'm curious though as to why you don't much care for other people's children?

I honestly don't know. I may have spoken to soon; because, as I sit here, I can name a bunch of kids I like that aren't mine.

I was really, really involved with P1 and P2's classrooms when they were smaller. The first two years were great, but then I started noticing that I didn't tolerate as much bullshit as these kids seemed to be accustomed to. My kids aren't perfect (by any stretch of the imaginiation), but...they're genuinely good kids and can hold a conversation without making multiple references to television characters and video games. And, managing your behavior is a requirement, not an option. There are a great many children, today, who are totally out of control. I've run into kids who have absolutely no imagination - it's horrifying. When you run into these kids, they want you to entertain them and that tires me. Plus, I'm the mean-ass mom who will send you home if you start acting like cromagnon child in my house. I'm truly impressed that my house hasn't been egged yet. I like kids, but I prefer it when they're acting like people and not orphaned tasmanian devils. That said - I like Vamp's kids. I like a few of P1 and P2's friends. I like infants...especially when I can snuggle them for a couple of hours then give them back. I like one of P3's friends because he's a total kick. Basically, I like the kids who have parents who give a shit. Unfortunately, it seems like that number is getting progressively lower each year. If I were a truly selfless and wonderful person, I'd focus on trying to help the kids whose parents don't give a shit...but, I'm getting old and tired and cranky. I don't like having to parent other people's children. That's probably a better way to put it.

Xenu Jr. said...

What strange questions. I mean, why would I possibly hate someone for their choice on such a personal matter? I do rather pity children of parents not capable of taking care of them, but even there, I'm reluctant to impose my opinion.

As for imagination, what I've learned growing up is that the television is a truly evil invention. The day I decide to start trying for children in earnest is the day the TV goes in the trash. I think it has to do with the lack of interactivity. Maybe it's just parents who use it for a babysitter, but I'd err on the safe side and eliminate it entirely.

I had a neighbor (with an absolutely brilliant child) who was paid a noticeable sum of money to record the household television viewing habits for two weeks.

Given that they didn't own a TV, it was extremely easy money.

Beth said...

I'm childfree and not once did my family or grandparents who are Baptist ask me when are you going to have kids, if they did ask I would have told them I do not plan on having kids ever. I don't have the desire for them.
They understand my desire as they are very open minded about my desires. My cousin on the other hand has four boys (two single births and one set of twins) before they both got the snip.
That is our next generation of my family and everyone seems to be content with that.
I think he should remain childfree and happy and if his family cannot accept what he has decided then they don't really understand him at all.
The world is too overpopulated and it needs more childfree couples out there.
And if they do get the desire to raise children, there is always adoption.

reddhedd said...

Interesting conversation.

I find it fascinating that trojan man sees some sort of correlation between being atheist and the number of children one has.

Why do you think that my disbelief in a deity means I shouldn't have as many kids as I want, and can support? Why do I have to limit my reproduction? Do you also take Catholics and Mormons to task for having more than 2 children?

Why isn't it your responsibility to make the earth better for the next generation, when you seem to be taking PM to task for using up resources to raise more kids? If you aren't gonna save it or better it for another generation, then why not use it all up now? (I'm asking a question, not recommending a course of action here, folks!)

I'm of the opinion that there is plenty here...it's those who are into conspicuous consumption that are causing the strain on resources. Something like "enough for everyone's need, but not everyone's greed".

For the record, I have 3 kids. I'd have 2-3 more if I could. I also have 6 cats and 2 dogs. And I'm a strong atheist.
We atheists HAVE to breed more, to compensate for the Quiverfull crowd.



( I don't really advocate having kids just to advance the secret atheist agenda...that none of you know about, because it doesn't exist. Ignore those black helicopters hovering overhead....)

SWE said...

xena-
I sort of figured that a lot of the pressure out there was more indirect, just given what I've seen with my own family. But having a kid myself, I don't notice it as much as I might. I also realized that my original comment said "childless" which makes it sound like a loss when something like "aparental" might be more apropos. :)


In bridging the procreation gap, I think it's important to not assume that every breeder is passing judgment on the childfree lifestyle. Easier said than done when you feel under attack constantly, I know. It's just that I really think that people's motivations when they have kids are often very different from even what they were before kids.

For example, I used to be able to go on and on and on (just like this!) on any topic. After my daughter was born I did that about parenty things. Parenting was all-consuming for me at that point, and it took awhile to notice that people's eyes were glazing over in conversation. So even now I catch myself going on and on about my daughter and try to pre-empt the glazing. Whether the victim of my "conversation" has kids or not. :)

And the asking about bringing kids places. It's just good manners, and you have to do it when visiting friends with kids, too. How else do you know if they meant the get-together as a time for grownups to let down their hair?

A lot of people realize that this asking must be done because at some point doting parents notice someone somewhere eyeing their little darling with utter revulsion. "I had no idea my little one wasn't universally loved for every poopy diaper, puddle of spit up and ear-splitting shriek!" they say. And out of embarrassment for being so obtuse they go overboard and get really sensitive about where to take the little one.

I don't think any of that is aimed at people who aren't breeding-it's all about parents involved.

FWIW-I am on the same page with you, PMomma. Other people's kids are generally unappealing because they just don't have the upbringing/background/manners that I expect. I have a few favorites, though. Especially the 6 month old I got to cuddle at lunch today. :) And then give back to his mommy for a diaper change...

Infidel Rooster said...

What is that meaning? We all have to make earth better for kids? I don't think that's my responsibility. I get mad when I hear this stuff since it makes me feel like my life is important only to make the world better for sprogs of the universe.

No, I don't even see where this was implied. Read it again, she says childfree people have just as much impact as those of us with children.
You could halt any and all population growth at this moment in time (for the sake of argument just allow it) and the real problem still remains that if everyone in the third and developing world is raised to the standard of living that we in the West enjoy, the strain will be far too great. It isn't ethical for the majority of the world's population to not be expected to want to achieve that comfortable existence but are you prepared to either give up your comforts through some sort of equatable distribution of the resources or suffer the consequences of everyone taking too much (like we do here in the West)?
I for one, don't have the answer. I am deeply troubled by a majority of the worlds population living a subsistence existence, and consider myself an "environmentalist". I also am glad that I'm fortunate enough to be able to sit here in the comfort of a heated, structurally sound dwelling with access to fresh water, electricity, & wireless internet and take the time to think about and argue over whether PM has somehow made a morally inferior decision to have kids. I also know enough about the state of the world to realize there are no easy answers.
PM wasn't saying you are only important if you make the world better for kids and the people who have them. But even if she did, why would you give a damn? As Sean said, atheists are a diverse bunch, but I think one thing that is at least common though not necessarily universal about atheists, is that we tend to supply our own life with the meaning it needs to be lived. We don't find it in some invisible sky-daddy or religious tenet. To paraphrase Ricky Gervais, imagination, free will, pizza, beer--all good reasons for living. And you can probably add kids to that for some people.

Infidel Rooster said...

Also, add kids to that for some and others, such as a great many of those commenting here, not so much.
I understand trying to persuade people to a position you hold, especially zero population growth, but being angry about it seems either a waste of energy or misguided. Whichever of those ideas is the least offending is the one I meant.

Joe said...

I guess I'm sterile so having kids turned out to be a non issue for me. I didn't really want them anyway after my first marriage ended badly and my son (non biological) and I didn't see each other for a while and I promised my self I wouldn't suffer like that ever again.
Then, when I found out how much crazy runs in both sides of my X and Y, I couldn't see bringing that kind of crazy into the world.
But, I do like being a grandpa to my step daughter's baby, as well as "dad" to my younger step daughter so there ya go.

Chris said...

Growing up I always hoped I'd have kids when I got older. But, when I started getting old enough to actually have kids (er...where society says I'm old enough to have kids) I started thinking more about the issue. Currently I don't want any, now or down the road. My mind might change, but I somehow doubt it.

As for other people's kids, it's a mixed bag. Some kids are adorable and cute, some are freaking annoying. Either type, though, I'm still uncomfortable around for some reason.

Note, though, that I don't look down on people who do have kids (unless you're going overboard, like the Duggars, or having more than you're able to possibally care for properly, emotionally, physically or financially). Having kids or not having kids is, except in unfortunate cases where a persons biology forces the issue, a personal choice. I'll respect their choice more if they've actually put thought into it instead of caving to family, religious or social pressure, but it's still a choice.

Oh, and my views have nothing to do with my atheism or overpopulation.

Xena said...

swe-
I do not think that the indirect pressure from people with children is meant to feel like pressure. But I notice that my co-worker that stopped the daughter story has never said that to a co-worker with children. And I doubt I would have been asked about children at the wedding if I had had my own. But the pressure comes from wanting to be a part of that "club" (not that I think that's what it actually is) that allows people to understand that you are interested and accepting of their family. I actually do want to hear about my co-worker's daughter because she is a huge part of his life and I am geniunely interested in his life. I want my friends to feel that all of their family is welcome at my social gatherings unless I specify that it may be inappropriate for children. I want all of their family to feel like my friends regardless of age. At times, it just feels like having a baby would be the quick fix.

p-momma-
When you run into these kids, they want you to entertain them and that tires me.


That's exactly what it is with my co-workers children that I like. They respect that I may not want to play with them, but I am willing to talk with them and laugh with them. They don't poke me or expect me to chase them or scream to get my attention. Sounds like I would enjoy your children if you taught them to respect other people. From your postings of their work and their general doings, I've already gained quite a bit of respect for their intelligence and their thoughtfulness. Keep raising them right and maybe one day they might figure out a way to reduce global polution.

Tracey R. said...

Personally, I think that childfree couples are pressured to have children by those with kids because misery loves company.

:)

(said tongue in cheek by an exhausted mom of 3)

Interesting discussion.

Kilted Dad said...

So, wow. All I said was he should give it some more time. Think carefully and question the assumptions that lead you to not want kids might have been a better way to state my thought.

I wouldn't wish kids on anyone who didn't want them. Scratch that - I wouldn't wish being a child of anyone who didn't want to be a parent. (man that sentiment is hard in the English language, and I'm still not sure it came out right)

Xena and Godless Geek, you say we can't generalize, yet many of us have been where you are now, saying we NEVER want kids, and over time have changed.

I certainly don't slight anyone for not having kids. Having children is a very scary prospect. The addage is correct, having children changes everything. Hello, you've just brought life to a conscious being who didn't get a say in the matter. Now go figure it out. Yikes, that'll keep you up at night.

To Allison and Poodles, both of you described children only in terms of liabilities or burdens. You might want to question those assumptions a bit more. I'm not saying you should change your mind and have kids. But I think you should reevaluate your view of what it means to have kids. It's considerably more complex (and wonderful) than diapers, late-night feedings and the loss of movie time (though, I'd really really love to go see a movie, in the theatre. Who's up for babysitting on May 22nd :) )

To Chris, yes, some people's kids are cute and some are annoying. This is because kids are human beings. Stop thinking of them as something wholly different.

For the record, Kilted Dad has two wonderful, brilliant kids and a vasectomy.

guri / benguri said...

Another takes on "the kids thing"....this with a more feminist angle http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2008/02/mama-delivers-good-scolding.html

Hound Doggy said...

Child-free with cats and 2 dogs....and no mice.

Moderation people, moderation.

I am one of 4 kids. My sister died when she was 15. I don't think that having 4 children is "out of control". In terms of impact on the environment....oh.paleeezzze. Give me a break. Unless you are completely solar powered, wind powered and not involved at all with US consumerism don't talk to me about impact. We are humans for goodness sake. We partake. We drive. We use. We throw away. etc etc etc.

Maybe your P4 will go on to help the world in ways that we can never imagine....we don't know..maybe he won't but maybe your P5 would have...or maybe a P5 would have been an axe murderer. People just need to do what is right for them and other people need to keep their noses out of other people's business....for no one knows your business as you do.

Most people have kids...some people don't. It is all moderation. If someone thinks that 4 is too many, there are more than 4 people here that don't have any kids. Kind of evens out don't you think.

mildareveno said...

Childree people are precious in our overpopulated world. Anyway, it is stupid to attack someone because he or she has had many children. Once they are born, they are part of humanity. We have to convince as many people as possible to have few children or no children at all because we need a "mild return" of world population (www.rientrodolce.org).

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Since you're both repeat posters, I'm letting the linking stand. But, try to remember to e-mail me about them before you post them in the future. Thanks. One of the lengths is in a foreign language and my base understanding of that language tells me it's not NSFW and fine for school, so... it stands. The link to the other blog has some language, but other than that it's fine.

Xena said...

kilted dad
I never said you generalized. I was trying to imply that you are treating trojanman as a child not able to make this decision at this point in his life. It is a common thing people do with the childfree-by-choice. We are told we are old enough, mature enough, and intelligent enough to bring another human life into this world, but we are not old enough, not mature enough, or not intelligent enough to decide that we do not want to bring another human life into this world.

Could trojanman change his mind? Yes.
Should we belittle the decision he has currently made because he might change his mind?
No.

And just to note - please do not take this as a personal attack. I am just trying to inform those with children of the difficulties faced by those who have decided to be childfree. The "give it some more time" line is commonly used by people with children and feels very belittling and a quick way to end the conversation with no real discussion.

Emily said...

I'd feel fine belittling trojanman since he decided to start throwing derogatory terms around.

Emily said...

the reason people say "give it more time" is that many of us used to think we'd never want kids.

although, I wouldn't say this to a childfree-but-not-rabidly-anti-kids person. I would feel fine saying it to the nutters like trojanman who refer to kids as sprogs and whatnot. kids aren't for you? fine with me. you hate kids and loathe their existence? something's fucked in your head.

mildareveno said...

I put the link to clarify the concept of "mild return" ("rientro dolce" in italian). The website has an English and an Esperanto section.w

Allyson said...

although, I wouldn't say this to a childfree-but-not-rabidly-anti-kids person. I would feel fine saying it to the nutters like trojanman who refer to kids as sprogs and whatnot. kids aren't for you? fine with me. you hate kids and loathe their existence? something's fucked in your head.

Why does a rabidly-anti-kids person need more time than someone who isn't rabid?


To Allison and Poodles, both of you described children only in terms of liabilities or burdens. You might want to question those assumptions a bit more. I'm not saying you should change your mind and have kids. But I think you should reevaluate your view of what it means to have kids. It's considerably more complex (and wonderful) than diapers, late-night feedings and the loss of movie time

My parents have been telling me how wonderful it has been to have kids for basically my whole life, and I just never bought into it. I suppose, though, that kids aren't a liability if you work hard enough at striking a balance in your life, etc. But some of us are really happy the way things are, and we don't want to risk the liability. "I'd rather regret not having a baby than regret having one" is a pretty common childfree phrase, and it's one I endorse wholeheartedly. I can't guarantee that I would enjoy being a mother. I can't be certain that I would love my kids. So if I hit menopause and regret not having a kid, at least I can say I chose the lesser regret.

ozatheist said...

Having been married for many years and having no children, by choice, I can see, to some extent, where Trojanman is coming from.

Possum, I think your original answers were very good. Likewise godless geek your first comment.

kilted dad and any others of the "give it more time" ilk. Give it a rest. The worst thing to hear when you have made the decision NOT to have children is people saying "give it more time". Funnily enough when I was in my mid 20s I liked the idea of having children, now in my 40s no way, and I'm glad I didn't. Each to their own, I say.

"give it more time" is almost as offensive as a religious person saying to an atheist "you really know god, you're just denying him because your afraid" (or something similar). A rational person is allowed to make a rational decision, others should not deride them for it.

Unlike some of you I can see where the atheist argument against children may come from.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't
religious people, particularly Catholics and Islamics virtually directed to have lots of children? So logically if you aren't directed to have lots of children you'll only have the amount you desire? Thus atheists are more likely to have less children?

Hey, it's an idea.

Tojanman and any others interested, check this site out: child free zone. The book has some very interesting insights.

No offence to Possum, and all the other parents out there, but not all of us want children.

PS: no cats, no dogs
PPS: I hope the link is OK, I have no affiliation to it except I liked the book.
PPPS: sorry about the long response Possum, it's late, I'm tired.

Berlzebub said...

I have one daughter (4 y/o), a dog, a cat, and my wife is raising a 36 y/o boy.

That said, I agree with everyone that having a child, or children, is a choice, but it should be a responsible choice. You should know as much about what you're getting into as you can. You'll never know everything, but the more you do know the more likely you are to make the choice that's right for you.

As for peer pressure... I received more peer pressure to get married and have kids than I ever did for drugs. It's very possible that's one reason why I waited so long for both. I didn't get married until I was 29, and we didn't have our daughter until I was 32. Some members of my family were concerned, but I've always been the "black sheep". When asked, I'd simply say, a) "We're not ready, yet", or b) "It's none of your business". 'b)' normally came after someone asked 'a)' more than twice.

Biology would say that we only need one copy of ourselves. Would you agree? Having more than a copy of yourself strains the environment.
Those two arguments don't go together. For one, as others have pointed out, biology says we should have as many kids as we can before we get to old to. That way, our genes will be more likely to continue on. Of course, in the past that practice could have primarily been caused by a shorter life expectancy. You would have a higher likelihood of some children reaching reproduction (marrying?) age. Now, it isn't as much of an issue, at least in the more developed countries.

As far as environmental impact, Trojanman contradicts himself:
What is that meaning? We all have to make earth better for kids? I don't think that's my responsibility. I get mad when I hear this stuff since it makes me feel like my life is important only to make the world better for sprogs of the universe.

So, having kids strains the environment, but Trojanman isn't concerned about protecting the environment, at least for benefitting future generations. Him calling them "sprogs" also demeans himself, since he was one in the past. Children are not "sprogs" they are people in the early stages of development. It's up to everyone else to show them how to be responsible for their actions in the future.

Some people want to have kids, and some don't. It doesn't make either one "selfish" (regardless of how many they have), it just makes them individuals. However, Trojanman seems to want a reason not to have kids, and seems to have a chip on his shoulder about people who have more than he thinks is appropriate. It's a personal issue, and people have various reasons for having more than one child, or no children at all. Calling children "sprogs" and parents with three plus children selfish is suggestive that Trojanman is correct in his decision to not have any children. He isn't responsible, or mature, enough to have them, yet.