#4 — Personal experience
Don’t get me wrong: I am NOT one of those “childfree movement” types who suck up bandwidth bashing “breeders.”
I have no desire to turn my barrenness into a cause, and don’t care who does or doesn’t reproduce. Fill yer (baby) booties!
Appropriately enough for such a “selfish” sort, my childlessness is all about me.
But first, some history:
In agrarian times, people had lots of kids because they were an asset. You needed extra hands at harvest time. Plus the infant mortality rate was off the charts.
The shift from country to city meant children became liabilities. Another mouth to feed, taking up space in a crowded tenement and unable to earn their keep after the passage of child labor laws.
I’m a city kid, born in 1964, when birth control — while available — wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today.
And by “city” I don’t mean the fancy part of town. In my old neighborhood, babies were mostly “accidents.”
Middle and upper class folks in those days at least had the sense to disguise their aversion to parenthood with liberal bromides like, “I can’t imagine bringing a child into this horrible world.”
In my part of town, though, fathers and mothers “joked” openly and incessantly about how much they hated the summer break. If anyone was innocent enough to remark, “Your son” (or daughter) is so adorable,” said parent wouldn’t miss a beat:
“Wanna take ‘im home? You can have him!”
The one thing children were good for was going out for smokes when mom or dad were too drunk and lazy to get off the couch. Until they changed the laws about how old you had to be to buy cigarettes, that was pretty much my job.
My earliest memory is being thrown into a Christmas tree by one of my dad’s drunk friends. (For years I thought I’d imagined that, but the guy who did it apologized decades later, at my father’s funeral.)
Being a dad was eating into my father’s partying, so he took off shortly thereafter, and never paid child support. My mother had to work. She hated every minute of it. I hated every minute of it. She cried every night, but didn’t think I knew.
Everyone, including her, recited the contemporary “best-practices” line about how my parent’s divorce wasn’t my fault.
Except it was, and I knew it.
Therefore we can see how having children ruins your life, and how easy it is to ruin your children’s.