What? Me…Selfish?

How often is it suggested that SWaNKs are selfish people? My guess would be – often. I believe that those who have chosen not to have children are frequently thought of as selfish human beings for not doing so. But, selfish people exist in all of society whether they are single, married, with children or without. So why are childless people the target of such ignorant, broad labeling? Is it jealousy over the amount of freedom that we have and that others so desire? Is it because we made a choice that others felt wasn’t a choice for them?

I can think of many different and selfish reasons why people DO have children. Here are some of them.

Because I want to have grandchildren one day.

Because it would be fun or interesting to see what the child would look like when our gene pools are mixed.

Because I want to play house – for real.

Because having a child would mean that our family name would live on.

Because it would make my life more meaningful.

Because it would make me feel wanted and needed.

Because I want to have a little version of myself around.

Because someone will need to take over the family business.

Because I want to be loved unconditionally by someone.

Now, who are we calling selfish?

I have an aunt who is a SWaNK. She is one of the most thoughtful, giving and self-LESS human beings that I have ever known. Yet, I imagine that she is also looked upon as being selfish for not having kids. I know of many other childless men and women who are thoughtful and giving people and who care for other humans as much as they care for themselves. And because they have chosen not to have kids, they too are labeled as selfish.

Are we seen as selfish because we put our own needs and desires before those of an unborn child? Perhaps we’ve put more thought into the consequences of bringing a child into the world who might not receive the love or dedication that they deserve because we are aware of our own limitations and lack the commitment and interest that is required to be a good parent. In this case, we’re actually doing an unborn child a favor by recognizing that we would not be able to nurture them the way that they need to be. Personally, I know deep down inside that I make a great auntie or “big sister” to children, but that I could never be a great parent because I lack the passion for it that I feel is necessary to do it well, as well as the financial means to raise a child.

So, doesn’t it make more sense to leave the parenting role up to those who embrace it, love it, are interested in it and are able to rise to the challenge? Not everyone is good at mechanics or cooking or creating art, so who how can it be expected that every woman will be a good mother and every man will be a good father. I’m sure every single one of you knows someone who is a horrible mother or horrible father. It might even be your own. Some people just have no business having children. So, it’s better to recognize your capabilities as a parent before having a child because an unwanted or unloved child is a tragedy for them and so many other people involved in that child’s life. And that brings us to the subject of adoption, which is a whole other subject. Thank goodness for those who adopt.

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