To Breed or Not to Breed...Ecotrain QOTW

in ecotrain •  2 months ago 

The @ecotrain question of the week is “do you think it a good or bad idea to bring children into the world in these troubled times?” Interestingly enough, this is something I've often pondered. I have two beautiful girls and they have been a blessing to me, but I didn't always want to have children.


Growing up, as I started to see the hardships in the world around me and the cruelty inflicted by others, I came to the conclusion that it would be cruel to bring a child into this world. I didn't have the smoothest of childhoods anyway, particularly as puberty approached, so why would I want any other child to have to try and deal with this?

When I was 15, my sister had her son and he was a handful for a single mother. More example as to why I didn’t want children and I said as much to my partner some years later. Yet as he started heading towards his 30s, he expressed that he did want children, so at 25 I had my first daughter and soon wanted more children. Being pregnant and being a mother brought another perspective into the question of bringing children into this cruel world or not. Growing a new life within yourself is a miracle that every woman should be able to experience if they wish. It's not something I can describe, but it's a wondrous thing and I couldn't deny it to anyone. We considered having four, but decided that two was really more within our means for the quality of life we could offer.

I'm a generation X, child of baby boomers. My parents were born after the war into a time of rationing in the UK. However, things began to improve for them over the years. By the time I left home, things had improved to a point where we had a better start to our lives than our parents had, but that was soon to change and it was always something I sensed would change. The 2008 global financial crisis was the wake up call and things have been in decline since. From a boom in the housing market where everyone could buy, we've reached a point where gen Y and Z would be lucky to get onto the housing market at all. Job security is a thing of the past and no matter what your qualifications, getting work isn't easy.

We've had a short period in the western world where the standard of living began improving beyond what it had ever had been, but it was rather like a pyramid scheme and at some point the people coming in later were going to lose out. The baby boomers ended up being the only winners, which is probably why they get so much stick. When things got tough they could take on more working hours or another job, but today there are few jobs, whether people are ready to work hard or not.

So times are troubled, but are they any more troubled than they have been throughout history? Life has never been a walk in the park and there will always be challenges to overcome, so we're always going to inflict a tough life on any child brought into the world. However, these days we currently have something to face that we've never faced before, the highest human population the world has ever known and the effects of a century of over consumption.

The uncontrolled economic growth and consumerism could never last forever anyway and we are now waking up to the destruction it's causing. Surely adding more people isn't going to help relieve the burden? Yet maybe the very people who have enough concern to question whether they should bring children into this world are the ones who are best suited to raising a child with an awareness of the harm we are capable of. Even if they choose to adopt instead of adding to the population, they have a lot to offer a child.

I'm not about to play God, however, and try to dictate who should or shouldn't have children. I don't even like the way that depopulation is being touted as a solution above over consumption. Environmental journalist David Roberts touches very well on this subject and why he doesn't talk about it. I'm also not one to judge either way on someone's choice to have our not have children. It's a strong instinct to want to procreate and carry on our genetics. It's also a personal choice to follow our own moral compass. If I had a genetic disorder which would pass onto my children and make their life much more painful than most, then I don't think I could have justified having my own children, but I'm not in the situation of someone like that.

I don't think there can be an accurate answer to this question, merely a discussion and ultimately it's always got to be an individual (or couples) decision.


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I don't want to bring a child into a planet that seemingly has no future. I'm no trying to be alarmist with this comment, so I shall provide some context.

When I was about five or six, I was a reader who could not be satiated. I read every book I possibly could find. It all started with a book of the universe, and is probably my earliest "reading" memory.

"In several billion years, our star will become a red giant and swell in size. It will book the oceans of Earth, and life on this planet will cease"

My immediate thought was "We need to build a rocket ship and go elsewhere."

Over the ensuing decades and watching consumerism and capitalism envelop every single thing (and extract all possible value from it with nothing 'returned to the environment) - I am even more convinced now at the prospect of a barren landscape on Earth, devoid of human life.

If I can stop one more person suffering in that future, then I would have done good in the world.

I could probably write a whole post on this topic!

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Those sorts of things would often go around my head too. I reached a point where I realised I could constantly be in fear of what might happen or I could try and make the most of life while I'm here. Nothing is permanent, even this universe, at least as we know it. Lots of generations of creatures will live before the earth is swallowed by the sun. Extinction level events have happened throughout history and will continue to happen before the earth is gone.

Building a ship to go elsewhere is on the agenda, it seems, but if we can't change we'll just harm another planet.

Did you know that in recent years there has actually been an increase in forestation? It's only happened recently and some countries are, of course, still cutting down more trees than are being replaced, but it's not something I was expecting to hear any time soon. Don't underestimate the younger generation. They still have enough optimism to believe things can change and, indeed, bring about change.

If we continue as we were, things will indeed become barren, but more and more people are making changes. It's not going to happen quickly, these things always take generations. That's assuming those in power don't have a population cull before that.

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The world is a better place with your two girls - as you have helped them to live free and grow to be good people.

Not sure I can say the same for many other people.

I would say in nature, when conditions are bad animals stop producing children until better conditions come. This is how competition levels are some what controlled. Since the industrial revolution, conditions have remained OK for humans so such natural connection is lost.


Thank you. 😁

Yes, nature is very good at maintaining a balance. We've been circumventing her for generations now to have the highest population ever. It's not just down to better healthcare either, because some of the poorest places are seeing population explosions. I wonder if the ability to transport food to practically anywhere on the planet has an impact on it. Crop failure would have meant starvation for all in the area once, but not so much now.

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Its actually incredible that we have the freedom to elect not to parent children; for most of human history they've been the most reliable way to save for retirement.
A barren woman was considered a waste of resources; and each generation cared for their parents right up until death, to set an example for their own children to follow.
We're at the tail end of the world's longest running pyramid scheme.

Yet maybe the very people who have enough concern to question whether they should bring children into this world are the ones who are best suited to raising a child with an awareness of the harm we are capable of.

So true. If the idea of parenting doesn't scare you, you're probably going to suck at it.

So why did I choose to have kids? Its an excellent question.
My best answer is that they've always existed.
I couldn't picture their faces and I didn't know their names; but they've always been there.
I had them because I missed them and wanted to meet them.


That's a beautiful reason to have kids. It was never going to not happen.

If the idea of parenting doesn't scare you, you're probably going to suck at it.

Someone recently said something similar when I was sharing some teen daughter problems. She said, "if you don't feel guilty you're not parenting right." I'm getting some new perspectives.

That looks like a good book. I think secretly everyone likes farts. They're one of the funniest body functions going!

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I think the author, Zoe Blake is Hamish Blake's wife; funny guy on the radio.
Kids love all that gross-out stuff at the moment :)

It's interesting reading these posts. I never wanted kids for various reasons but we are facing some unprecedented challenges as a species, so I am grateful that I'm not inflicting that on something I spawned.


I have days when depression gets to my eldest and when she complains about her eyesight (short sighted like me) that I feel awful for inflicting this upon her.

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I think you nailed it with "I dont think there can be an accurate answer" and "Im not about to play God". A meaningful contribution to an important discussion. Thank you.".

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There has always been something that bugged me about 'baby-boomers' and Gen-X....

What happened to us (Gen-X)? We had such a revolutionary fervour? We recognised the bullshit that generation had done / was doing.... and then nothing. We kinda just let it all go to shit.



The young fervour is lost as we get forced into line and disillusioned. Now it's all about the millennials and boomers shouting it out while gen Z leave them to it and realise everything's screwed up and no-one's going to do anything about it, just argue. Gen X is just a by stander who everyone's forgotten about! At least we're not getting blamed for everything. Lol!

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this was a great read, keeping it SO real and sharing so much, thank you! Its good to get to know you a little more through reading this,, i am also Gen X, i love that name, it describes us so well!

im happy for you that you did discover the miracles of kids, that inner joy and unconditional love that it brings.. that is worth more than life itself for many mothers and fathers.. luckily what we never know we do not miss ;=)



You can't miss what you never knew. That's so true. It makes me think of feeling bad that someone is missing out because they can't or don't eat certain things. The poor kid who never tasted sweets! Forget that he was healthier for it.

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Oh, so it WAS you, @minismallholding, in whose post I saw the graph you shared in a comment to my post. I remember reading Roberts' article via your link, which incidentally some other friend of mine shared on another social media site. Thanks for the inspiration.
By the way, I also agree with what you said about genetic disorders... Though I consider that a completely different subject, I think it overlaps in the sense that we don't want our children to suffer from something we know we cannot prevent.

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