Millennials and Gen Zs are changing their minds about kids. In the States, 15% of women and 24% of men have no children by the time they turn 40. In the U.K. and other European countries, a whopping 60% to 80% of people postponed the idea of pregnancy or abandoned it altogether. Staying child-free is becoming the norm. Yet many people, especially women, are still pressured to bear children.
On the brighter side, being pro-choice isn’t stigmatized as much anymore. Abortion has been legalized in many states, and countless women are thankful for it. Abortion doctors have insisted time and again that the procedure is healthcare, and it’s true.
Some women didn’t even end their pregnancies by choice. They only had to do it to save their own lives. But of course, women who chose to end their pregnancies have gotten healthcare out of it as well. Going through nine grueling months of pregnancy isn’t worth it if a woman is already burdened with other heavy personal matters.
That said, if women or married couples choose to delay parenthood or opt out of it, we should commend their decisions. Here are some reasons it’s best for all of us to follow their example.
Childbirth Contributes to Global Warming
If you want to help save the earth, don’t have children. According to research, having one fewer child would have significant effects on reducing carbon emissions, therefore helping curb climate change. It’s a difference with a bigger impact than just saving energy, conserving water, and other sustainable activities.
The logic here is simple: The more children are born, the bigger the population grows. And we’re already overpopulated as it is. Our sheer number forces animals out of their habitats so that we can have shelter. And when we build our shelters, we compromise forests and bodies of water.
However, the solution here isn’t to stop having children because low birth rates would eventually lead to an aging population. Instead, we should reconsider the number of children we want and when to have them. If you want five kids now, try to go for just two. Maybe in time, if we manage to delay climate change, you can have more.
Parenthood Changes Your Life Forever
Though most parents say their kids changed their lives for the better, that’s not the case for everyone. Those parents might not have talked about the challenges of pregnancy and parenthood. Carrying a child for nine months is hardly comfortable. It can put your life at risk, too, as proven by mothers who died while giving birth. Moreover, prenatal healthcare is expensive, making it unbearable for parents who didn’t plan their pregnancy.
Parenthood also takes away your individuality. Once someone depends on you, you’d have to abandon your hobbies, and sometimes, your career. This is especially true for mothers. Whichever you choose to prioritize, you might never please everyone.
On the one hand, choosing your career will make people assume that you’re a negligent parent. On the other, quitting your job to look after your kid will make people say that you don’t help your spouse with the expenses. Mothers barely get the best of both worlds, so if the struggle isn’t worth it for you, it’s okay to go child-free.
Mothers Face a Disadvantage At Work
You may think the workplace has now outgrown its gender biases, but they haven’t. Many mothers are assumed incompetent in the workplace because their commitment to their jobs is being doubted. Fathers, on the contrary, don’t face the same disadvantage. In a study wherein researchers submitted fake resumes of men stating to be fathers, these fake applicants were called back more often than child-free men applicants, and of course, mothers.
Parenthood Can Destroy Intimacy
Caring for a child 24/7 can take time away from your partner. Some parents keep their intimacy alive by going on date nights every so often, but not all parents have this luxury. As a result, their marriage goes stale, potentially leading to divorce. Unsurprisingly, a study has found that child-free marriages are happier ones.
Other Things Deserve Your Attention More
If you don’t want to have kids now, you don’t need science-based reasons to back you up. It’s your life, so the decision to have kids is solely on you. If you want to become a parent after a few years, that’s great. If you don’t want it at all, that’s also great. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, remember that those on the opposite side don’t deserve contempt, as you would also expect them to respect your side.
Having children and your own family is lovely, but deciding to enter this life should be your own. Consider the factors that can affect it so that you can make a well-informed one when the time comes.