This is a full-on rant. You have been warned. Here’s a little tune to keep you company while reading:
A few days ago I read a post on the blog dreamgaze about having kids and it really got me thinking. Cham’s post on dreamgaze brought up a lot of arguments on her side about why she’s not ready to have a child just yet. Why she may not even want one at all. The most compelling point to me is the fact that she’s scared of the world she would be bringing her child into.
Before I touch more on the subject, let me tell you a story…
I have a good friend who is the same age as me. We graduated high school together this June. A while before that she randomly asked me to meet someone – turns out it was her new boyfriend. Now I am an extremely open-minded person, I honestly am. But when your 18-year-old friend has a 30-year-old boyfriend you do start to wonder. It’s not that I don’t think they’re good together; it’s not my place to judge. What did strike me as alarming though was a conversation I had with her new man about the prospect of kids. From what I have gathered though getting to know him better is that he loves kids. His job even involves kids. And I imagine that nowadays 30 is a good age to start thinking about having some of your own. ‘I would like to have kids with her in the next five years.’ I remember sitting there utterly speechless. Does she know about this? Is she okay with this?, I kept thinking to myself. Their relationship has progressed extremely fast in the last few months – they are moving in together starting 2018 (but they basically already live together anyway) which is already a huge step for someone my age. But kids? I just had to ask her if she was really already planning that far ahead. So on one great night we spent drinking at a playground (seriously one of my fondest memories), my drunk self just blurted it out. And to my surprise, she actually confirmed that she was on board with her boyfriend’s five-year-plan.
Now all of this would be fine if I hadn’t witnessed her complete disgust with children in the past. She would roll her eyes whenever she saw a child. She would tell me that she never ever wanted to have kids. ‘Why would anybody want some? There’s already enough children in this world!, she would constantly say. It still strikes me as strange that she changed a part of her (world) view so drastically. A part of me can’t help but feel like he might be pressuring her, whether it is intentional or not. Or maybe love changed her – what the hell do I know about love, right?
I have never actually thought about birthing a child myself – it’s just not something I see myself doing in the next few years. Mind you, I am eighteen and am in no rush to be responsible for another life. People my age shouldn’t be even concerned about that stuff yet in my opinion. But here is one person in my environment who is actually mapping out her entire life plan regarding children. I always thought that a relationship with such a big age gap, especially when you’re young and trying to figure out who you are, could never work – mainly because well, you’re just in so different places with your lives. I mean clearly, he’s thinking about the future and marriage and kids in a very serious manner. And at 30, I Imagine I would be doing the same. But at 18?! I cannot relate. At all. Is it wrong of me to question her future plans? Should I talk to her about this? Do I even have the right to voice my concerns?
I would like to conclude this post by finally addressing the matter dreamgaze first brought up; if bringing a child into this world is even a good idea. It is true, society places an abnormal amount of pressure on children in this day and age. The Internet, technology, the rise of social media – all of this has effected and will affect the way kids grow up. It has influenced society in more ways than I can even count. We measure the quality of our lives or ourselves by constantly comparing with the picture perfect images people post of their perfect lives. The reality we see online is fake, heaping on more and more pressure. To be accepted as a normal piece of society, we have to fit the norms and patterns drilled into us form an early age. With everything happening in the world of politics, who know’s what the world will look like in five years time? Is this state of the world really a place we want our children to grow up in? Is it fair to them? No. They will be the ones forced to fix all of the mistakes being made right now. And I am so, so sorry for that. But as every historian will likely tell you – it will only get worse before it gets better. The question is how much worse this world can take.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the issues brought up in this post. Don’t be shy, say hi in the comments!