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To think having children is selfish?

(35 Posts)
NeoShadowChaser Fri 15-Jul-16 09:01:21

I have 2. I never thought about not having children. Now I have them I think it's been for purely selfish reasons. To make MY life better.

Yes, I want to bring them up to become worthwhile contributors to society. I know we need to procreate to keep the human race alive. But, individually, ultimately, it's quite selfish.

In light of the Nice attacks yesterday I could cry at the world I've brought them into and all because I wanted my life to be richer with them in it.

NapQueen Fri 15-Jul-16 09:04:58

It doesn't feel like a selfish act when you've had to sing Twinkle Twinkle Bastard Star for the 15th time in a morning.

Or when you fancy a night out with the girls but need to curtail the Prosecco as the kids will have you up at 6.30.

I don't want to trivialise your emotional reaction to the Nice attack (similarly I worry about the world my kids will grow up in), it is horrific what has happened.

But whilst the act of choosing to procreate may be to satisfy a selfish desire, actually raising kids is utterly selfless. It's pretty much all for them. Or so it feels during these early years. Roll on relatively independent teenagers!

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 15-Jul-16 09:10:42

It might be a bloody scary world but I would rather by far have the chance to experience it and all of the beauty joy and even sadness that comes with it, than to never exist at all.

NeoShadowChaser Fri 15-Jul-16 09:12:11

This is the first time where I am now actually scared to go to crowded events/places. Yes, with previous attacks, it has crossed my mind about my busy commute to work etc that it could happen. But with this one, it's making me feel extremely anxious about it happening anywhere crowds gather. And any holidays we go on.

I know "that's what they want" blah blah but this time I think it will stop me doing things.

Yes, we have to be selfless after we actually have our children and put them first. But that's a result of us being selfish in the first place and a condition of making our lives better iyswim.

NeoShadowChaser Fri 15-Jul-16 09:13:30

My emotions are obviously heightened at the moment sad

WalrusGumboot Fri 15-Jul-16 09:14:44

I think it's more satisfying a primal instinct personally, if that makes us selfish I'm not so sure.

jellycat1 Fri 15-Jul-16 09:15:40

I know what you mean Neo but as above, I'm sure our kids would rather have a life than never exist. We just have to do anything we can to keep them safe.

Theoretician Fri 15-Jul-16 09:16:24

I agree, no-one is doing the world a favour by having children.

In general children would be better of not being born: if they don't exist, they've lost nothing, because there's no-one to miss what they would have had, but if they do exist, they will be exposed to suffering outside our control.

We don't need to keep the human race alive. I mean, we, as individuals, don't usually or necessarily have that as an important life goal. We breed because we don't have the desire or will to negate the inherited predisposition to do so.

Theoretician Fri 15-Jul-16 09:17:27

better off

EdmundCleverClogs Fri 15-Jul-16 09:19:01

It is a selfish choice to have kids, but not a bad one. We can only raise our children to be loving and inclusive, and hope they do not treat each other the way our generation have.

Maybe your children will help make the world a better place.

The reality is that awful things have always happened so I expect most parents have had the same thoughts at times. When I was young it was IRA attacks and the threat of nuclear war.

It seems more raw and immediate because you can see horrible images on the TV and the newspaper. One hundred years ago thousands of parents accross Europe were waiting for news back from the Somme.

LifeInJeneral Fri 15-Jul-16 09:19:39

It doesn't feel like a selfish act when you've had to sing Twinkle Twinkle Bastard Star for the 15th time in a morning

Dolphinsanddinosaurs Fri 15-Jul-16 09:22:07

Yes it is selfish, but that doesn't make it wrong. I am sure your children would rather be born into this world, with all its troubles, rather than not be born at all.

As far as allowing it to stop you doing things, the problem is, you can't know where they will target, so where to avoid. Unless you are literally going to stay indoors, and give up normal life entirely, there will be some risk.

I think we all need to be vigilant, as much as possible, and report anything that looks suspicious, but it is not practical to avoid all public spaces.

MargaretCavendish Fri 15-Jul-16 09:26:10

I think it's more satisfying a primal instinct personally

I agree. My partner and I are about to start trying for a baby. We've discussed it at huge length - yet another conversation about the logistics of shared parental leave over breakfast this morning! - but even though it's sort of a rational and reasoned decision, I've been shocked at how primal my desire for a child has become. It does feel quite animal. In particular, my desire for his children and the sort of - I can't find quite the right word for it - fierceness that that idea stirs up in me. If I'm honest it scares me.

malvinandhobbes Fri 15-Jul-16 09:29:22

We are mammals. All living things reproduce. We are just the only ones who can manage to make ourselves feel guilty about it. It is enormously hard work and there isn't actually much evidence that parenting makes us happier. We reproduce because we are living creatures on earth. This is what we do. The world of living things (including humans) has always been fraught.

AristotlesTrousers Fri 15-Jul-16 09:29:50

I agree with pp about a biological aspect. Didn't Richard Dawkins write about the "selfish gene"? I think it's just part of the human condition. Keeps us going.

Bravada Fri 15-Jul-16 09:32:26

MyKingdom those are beautiful words. Me too.

londonrach Fri 15-Jul-16 09:34:51

It is very selfish and i cant wait to meet mine (pregnant). Not sure i could do twinkle twinkle 15 times!!!

Batteriesallgone Fri 15-Jul-16 09:35:01

It's selfish to eat too. All that ground given over for growing your food. Selfish.

The idea of biology = selfish = bad is pretty incompatible with the continuation of life tbh.

NeoShadowChaser Fri 15-Jul-16 09:38:10

I'm not sure I would rather exist tbh. As already mentioned we wouldn't know any different if we didn't.

Agree about the primal instinct to procreate and about wanting to have your partner's children specifically.

RichmondDame Fri 15-Jul-16 09:46:50

I'm sorry that the terrible events in Nice have shaken you so much.

Yes of course having children is selfish but as others have pointed out that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. In fact our children here in the UK are being born into a world that is much safer for them than it would have been 100/200/300 years ago.

They would have been far more likely to die of childhood illnesses, die in a war or struggle to live on the breadline (or even below it) before than they are likely to die in a terrorist attack today. I know that these big attacks are scary and dramatic but in the UK you are 8 times more likely to kill yourself (if you're 20-34) than anyone else is to kill you.

We are very lucky to live in a safe part of the world with food and water and shelter and though it might be hard, it is important to keep some perspective on the reality of the situation. And the reality is that your children are hugely likely to live their lives in safety and relative prosperity.

Don't look back in 50 years and regret all those worries that tinged those years with your children growing up.

If your concern is more for the general state of the world - I'm afraid I don;t think much has changed over the long term, it is as ever it was - we just have 24 hours news now. We've perpetrated our share of massacres on people over the centuries but with no facebook/twitter the vast majority of people were none the wiser.

Piemernator Fri 15-Jul-16 09:52:19

Thomas Malthus had it right way back in 1798, there are too many of us. But don't get bogged down by world events it's too depressing.

stickygotstuck Fri 15-Jul-16 09:55:23

Totally agree.

Never understood why people say that not having children is the selfish option hmm. I have one DD, I had her because I wanted to, to my surprise - but also by some biological instinct.

TopiaryBun Fri 15-Jul-16 09:56:08

The idea of biology = selfish = bad is pretty incompatible with the continuation of life tbh.

This exactly.

It only stirs up human beings in the first world because there's still a maddening and reactionary stigma surrounding people who choose not to have children, and the word 'selfish' is bandied around a lot in that context. (I was childfree by choice till almost 40, so got more than my fair share of it.)

lifeofdino Fri 15-Jul-16 09:57:29

In the 80's it was the IRA, I will always admire my parents for not passing on the fear, I feel like I must do the same with mine.

The world has always been evil, we need to make sure that people who are on the side of love and peace are in the majority, the only way to do that is to carry on doing what we are doing and not give in to the fear before our children are even born.

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