A Male Millennial’s Perspective on Having Children

This is Part Two of a two part series where Jennie and I debate the pros and cons of having children. For a measured and mature response to this issue from a woman’s perspective, please read Jennie’s post here. You’ve been warned. 

Ivan here. 

Life is a dubious proposition. Consciousness - I think we can all agree - was not a great idea. And yet when I think about the prospect of bringing another life into this world, I can’t help but wonder:

Maybe some mistakes are worth making. 

To be, Or Not to Be

We all know what life is: a rollercoaster ride. Everything is uphill from ages 0 to puberty before we make the swift descent into adulthood. Then we’re just a few loops and pirouettes away before the ride comes to an abrupt halt. Hear that whooshing noise? That's time carrying you past a lifetime of loss and disappointment. 

I know I’m skipping a few steps, but who would put another human being through all of that? Think of the children. Growing up can be the ultimate tragedy.

This is just an opinion, but having a child may be the most selfish decision two human beings could make. Not only is there the implicit assumption that your genes are worth replicating, there’s the hubris of thinking that your offspring has a rightful claim over the world’s scarce and diminishing resources.  

There’s the love argument, I suppose. But what is love if not a pair of eyes to watch you die and someone's hand to hold as you're doing it? And why do I even need a kid for that when I’ve got Jennie? The actuarial tables say she’s going to outlive me. 

4 Reasons Why Having a Child Might Be A Good Idea

1. At least it won’t be boring

I can show it all the wonderfully sad and sadly wonderful things about life before I peace out. There’s also the added benefit of living vicariously through them and seeing the world through their eyes. Can a few precious memories compensate for a lifetime of loss and suffering?

2. It’s not coming out of my body

The only point I’m making here is that the physical toll taken on my body will be minimal. I don’t agree with people who say that fathers are just as important as mothers. No matter how hands-on I end up being as a parent, the fact is nothing’s going to be coming out of my body and nobody’s going to be pumping me for milk.  As such, I have the luxury of thinking about this as a win all around. And that’s why Jennie has ultimate veto power on the kid decision.

3. To balance things out

Not going to mention names, but some people shouldn't have children. In fact, it seems like the less qualified you are to be a parent, the more you end up procreating. Now I’m not saying these kids are doomed necessarily, I’m just pointing out that they’re up against house odds. 

One way to make the world suck less is if more responsible parents started having kids to offset the irresponsible ones. We don’t need to match them one for one. Who can keep up? 

4. To add beauty and surprise to our lives

This may sound hokey, but if life really is a box of chocolates, you can rest assured that I will be trying every single one. As hesitant as Jennie and I are about having children, it could turn out to be the best thing we ever do. The trick, I think, is to have low expectations and we’ll always be pleasantly surprised!  

Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play... I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
— Oscar Wilde

My Verdict in 2017

In all seriousness, having children at this point is a binary decision for me; I see myself having either no kids or exactly one kid. Both scenarios provide Jennie and I with sufficient wiggle room to continue crafting our “Origami Life” without making too many compromises. 

Besides, if I’m thinking about my time as currency, I’d rather be really good and focused on one thing than mediocre at a whole bunch of things. Timing is also an issue. I can’t foresee us doing as much traveling in the first 3-4 years of a child's life (it won’t remember anyhow), so we would have to hunker down somewhere for longer than usual. 

Anyway, that’s where I stand at 28. Jennie and I will check back in a year to see if anything’s changed.

How about you? How would you break down this life-defining, terrifying, do-or-die decision?