I don’t want to have kids, but I may want to become a parent one day. There is a massive difference between those two desires that many people seem to ignore. The latter means doing my part to raise a human being who will hopefully go on to become a constructive part of society. That human being needn’t be borne from my womb — any womb will do. And that human being needn’t have my quirky genetic traits — any traits will do. The former implies bearing the human being I will raise to become a constructive part of society. In this day and age, literally the only reason I can find for opting for the former rather than the latter is pure selfishness.
Now, just to be clear: selfishness isn’t inherently bad. I fully understand the novelty of mating with someone I think is tops and miraculously creating a third human who will be equal parts of us both. I even, sort of, see the appeal of voluntarily putting yourself through the agonies of pregnancy and then pushing that watermelon-sized spawn out of your lemon-sized vagina. And though I hate all babies (except cat babies -- they’re okay), I can see why people think they’re cute. I totally see the appeal of it all, but what I don’t see is the need. There are a shit-ton of kids who already exist in this world and who need people to love and raise them as their own and if all I want to be is a parent then it doesn’t matter where the kid comes from, does it?
I’ve heard all sorts of rebuttals to this statement like “What if the kid’s parents were crazy?” or “What if the kid has a disability?” What rot. First of all, let’s all step into the twenty-first century and not refer to mentally ill people as “crazy” or consider people with disabilities to be burdens.
Secondly, let’s all show a little more compassion. I always believed that the point of having kids was to become a parent in order that future generations be full of better people. I always believed that the point of having kids was to impart your own wisdom on to the next generations in the hopes that they would continue on your good work and do more good work of their own.
Turns out, all that isn’t having kids, it’s raising them. I don’t need to carry a parasite in my womb for nine months and then spend hours in agonizing labour pushing it out just to raise it. Why is a child borne of some other womb any less deserving of my maternal generosity than one that I myself bore?
When I told my mum I didn’t want to have biological kids but may adopt some, she didn’t like it, but was supportive of the plan. Until I told her that I never planned to get married and therefore would retain my beloved last name and insist that my children bear it as well. Her response was, “But how can you call them Khan when they don’t have Khan blood in them?” That right there is the problem, my friends. What is blood and biology but chance or luck? Why is a name more important than giving human beings the love, attention and care they need and deserve? Literally, what is the difference between my adopting a child and raising it and my birthing a child and raising it, except the biology? And who cares about that anyway since we see examples every day of how nurture has just as much (if not more) influence on childrearing as nature?
There are some who will flat out say that they want to go through the trouble of biologically having children because they want to see their genes passed on to their kids. They want to see a child they made themselves and, you know what? The admission of selfishness is fine by me. It’s the dismissing of the idea that insisting on having biological kids instead of adopting isn’t purely selfish when there are literally millions of kids worldwide who need even just one parent. And there’s still so many countries who won’t even allow same-sex couples to adopt these kids, so really what the hell are we doing here?
People say it’s a shame that gay couples can’t adopt, but then these same people go out and flaunt the fact that they have the option and encouragement to choose to either have kids biologically or adopt, and instead of helping out a living, existing human being they opt to add to the world’s population problem by bringing even more humans into it. It makes no sense. And it doesn’t make sense because it’s all wrapped up in emotions and traditional ideas of what constitutes a family. Even though the idea of what constitutes a parent is starting to vary and shift, the majority of the world still seems to have this idea that a biological child is more their child than an adopted one would be.
But that’s another thing about wanting to have kids versus being a parent, because anyone can have kids, but not everyone can be a parent, and knowing which one it is you really want to do is important to consider before embarking into parenthood. Myself, I hate babies and I’m not too fond of children either, but I love cats. So for now, I’m going to continue on being a fur mama, and when I’m ready to be maternal towards a creature that has less than four legs, you can bet your ass that I’m going to adopt.