This post won’t be long… It’s more “me thinking out loud” after a conversation I had with my original Work Mom a few days ago. She said an anecdote that I thought was very interesting while we were talking about her son and her possibly being a grandma. I won’t get into the full convo details, but I want to point out one thing.
Is the world becoming less hopeful?
My first manager from my first job was known to be my Work Mom back in the day. She taught me a lot, but her kindness – plus the fact that I was her son’s age and went to the same school he did – gave us something to bond over. As time went on, lunch sessions and heart-to-heart chats continued even after I stopped reporting to her. And after losing touch for a few years, we caught back up for a little while this week.
While talking about whether or not she’s a grandma yet (that’s her business, I won’t spread it), she said…
And that led to us talking about people having kids in general and the current state of the world.
I had never thought of kids being a proxy for “hope toward the future”, but the world is somewhat on fire in spurts now (especially since 2020).
I know that I don’t have kids and haven’t wanted any (but I’d be up for it with the right person, at least).
A number of my friends also don’t have kids and choose to just live together happily, and childless, with their significant others for a while because of 1) the risks their children may have to face in the future PLUS 2) the costs of raising children now.
I know plenty of people my age with kids — but I also know A LOT of people my age also opting out.
Elon Musk is even commenting on the matter as recently as December 2021 – flatout saying that he is concerned that there aren’t enough people…
And the Pope even revisited the issue recently, somewhat specifically condemning people who choose to have pets rather than have children.
Ultimately, there are a lot of factors playing into this issue (costs, contraceptives, the bleak future, love or lack thereof, education, surgeries, independence, shifting societal values, failed relationships, lack of attractive partners, a decline in organized religion… Tinder 🤣 etc.) – and I won’t attempt to talk about solving anything here in this post. I am neither smart enough nor worldly enough to have a solid opinion on the issue.
But… It is STILL interesting.
Why? Because I know that I am part of whatever this issue is. And I have to ask myself my reasoning for not being baby crazy at my age. I definitely know guys who are. Women, too. It is not like “people who want kids” just don’t exist.
Anywho, these are the types of things that my OG Work Mom and I discussed. And it was all rooted in the idea of “children as a proxy for hope” in the world.
I know – a big rhetorical/hypothetical discussion post! UGH!! I get it. But I really just wanted to raise the issue and get people kind of thinking about it a bit because I feel like we’re kind of moving on autopilot a bit and NOT looking toward the implications of all of us choosing to not have kids at the same time.
This is a massive issue that’s fun to think about (for some — which brings me to this post-original publishing comment addendum on this blog post: I thought about mentioning more things about infertility issues in the main text above, which I have still left unchanged, and I just didn’t — by choice. This choice was made both understanding AND not understanding the emotions involved with infertility [which is vital to admit and acknowledge]. If people took it there, I allowed it for sure – but in the scope of the post, and the original discussion w/ my OG Work Mom, we were referring to people who are specifically CHOOSING to not have kids [regardless of whether they are or aren’t physically able]. The inability to have kids and the pain with that sucks when you want them, and I honestly don’t know enough about any trends in fertility itself vs. fully abstaining from kids (if that makes sense). But, yeah – I just want others to know that it was thought about. Just a wrinkle I left as “out of scope” for the post’s comments. Back to the original post…).
I would say discuss this one with your friends and see what perspectives are out there on it. No, don’t approach it from the vantage point of, “Hey – you should make babies,” to people without kids – but talk about what the world will be like with fewer people. Ease into the topic and speak honestly. You may find that a lot of cool kids you know are also opting out of babymaking, and we have to ask ourselves what’s fueling that before we end up like this (or some variation thereof)…