Posted by Karen Hadalski at 8 August 2013

Category: Uncategorized

This week’s Time Magazine cover story, as well as the discussion topic on various TV talk & news programs, has been the updated “childless” statistics.  It seems that, since the 1970’s, the number of American women and couples making a conscious decision to remain childless, or not being able to have biological children due to health problems, financial concerns, or other social/circumstantial issues has increased from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5.

Public conversation around this issue has run the gamut: From couples who don’t miss the “parenthood experience” and have no desire to change the dynamics of their fulfilling, productive lives; to women who don’t believe the hype that everyone can, indeed, “have it all:” immersion in a meaningful career as well as successful parenting, and feel a deep commitment to spending their time, talents, and energy outside the home in fields such as education, social service, law, medicine, the arts, science and the many other necessary and important jobs that serve society as a whole–including its children; to those who simply can’t afford to raise  children as they want to or who are drawn to nurturing humans who have grown-up already.

To me, this hesitation to procreate just because you can, with no forethought to what life will be like for all concerned after a baby arrives, demonstrates a much higher level of consciousness, morality, and enlightenment than simply viewing “parenthood” as a biological imperative; a rite of passage through which women justify their existence and men prove their virility/fertility.

I mean, when you think about it, serpents and lunatics “give birth.”  There are thousands upon thousands of  children in foster care and adoption networks who were born through someone, but are still parentless. The mental health system is replete with children and adults who are raised by unstable, narcissistic, incompetent ” mothers and fathers.”  Social Services are overflowing with child-clients who have been physically abused, neglected, or virtually abandoned by a “parent” whose own lack of education and financial resources placed them in a bad neighborhood and forced them to work in several low-paying jobs just to meet their children’s material needs for food, clothing, and shelter.  The only “parenting” these kids receive is from social workers and teachers– if they’re lucky; street gang leaders who act as surrogate parents and role models if they’re not.

Perhaps the next Time Magazine cover story should be entitled:  ” Parenting.  What Does It Mean and Who Should Do It?”  Now this would be a discussion worth having.

 

 

 

 

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