When Someone Pushes You to Have Kids, Push Back
I felt incensed intensely by some of the reporters' articles I read in which Pope Francis said that choosing to raise pets instead of children is selfish. “Each of us has a calling, yes. But many of us have no calling to be parents. Why should there be shame in this?”
True Human Connection
From my close reading of Cope’s book, I gleaned that this conclusion referred to his experience with his mother’s parenting style: “[S]he liked the idea of the baby; but she liked the idea of the baby more than she liked the baby itself." "[A] baby is a romantic thing. But, of course, a baby is a messy, demanding thing."
I shudder to think how many children are experiencing the parental effects of persons who engaged in unconscious parenting. I suspect patterns of child abuse and neglect stem from this type of parental psychological profile. I offer that this is the source of potential child abuse and neglect, intentional or inadvertently due to a lack of sustainable resources, psychological or financial. This is what happens when couples romanticize having children, forgetting that a baby is not a doll or a possession, but a separate soul being brought into being with life expectations and agendas of their own. I offer that fit parent must be psychologically fit parents.
I was especially offended by the responder who said that millennials who avoid having children are doing so to avoid growing up. The two states of being, parenting and growing up, have nothing to do with each other. Being totally and healthfully grown-up must precede optimal and effective parenting. The millennials were born long after the septemberinararins and octogenarians are in power now. Having read and reflected upon Cope's book. I suspect that far too many of the septemberinararins and octogenarians were coerced into parenting by family, peers, and the society of the collective in which they grow up. Like Cope's mother and the Pope, the collective consciousness of our society romanticized the idea of a baby rather than the reality of a baby ("a messy, demanding thing ").
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Wake up, people. The child you bring forth is not a doll but a vibrant soul with soul needs of its own, no person can survive optimally if the parents objectify them. Ignoring a potential baby’s soul needs is an example of objectifying a human soul. "Each of us has a calling, yes. But many of us have no calling to be parents. Why should there be shame in this? (Cope, p. 29)." The is understandably more shame in giving birth to more children than one can afford. Even worse is the psychological unreadiness or unfitness of the two parents. Cope commented that his mother was overwhelmed by her life as a parent. She gave birth to too many children in a short time. Although she was wealthy, she was not up for the psychological challenge of caring for too many children. I can identify with what she might have gone through. I am the third child of a family of ten children.
My Own Story
My parents were very spiritual and loving, and supportive, but lacked the financial resources. As I stated before, effective parenting requires both psychological and financial sustainability. It surprised me when my mother suggested that I not join the Air Force at age eighteen but stay in the small town in which we live, get married, and give her grandchildren. Despite the financially messy situation, we had lived with for most of our lives at that time, she did not think about what she was asking me to do—give up my life for the “idea of a baby.” Like most baby boomer parents, she was thoroughly hypnotized by the ideals of the society in which she was marinated—get married, have a family, never mind how you will pay for this.
The millennials move from parenting to not parenting make more sense. “Millennial parents are responding to their upbringing with new attitudes and lifestyles. That has meant the emergence of several trends unfamiliar to older parents.” (Greenthal, 2020). It has been my observation that millennials are more likely to engage in mindful parenting—having or not having children based on efficient sustainability as opposed to the romantic notion of having kids.
It makes sense for people to choose to raise pets instead of children, this is a less stressful option. Unfortunately, pets have a shorter lifespan than children, however, the cost of a pet’s medical coverage is far less than that of children. My only personal experience of caring for a pet was a baby chick when I was a young child. I loved my chicken, nurtured it, and watched it mature. To my horror, one evening at the dinner table, I was told that my pet chicken was what was for dinner. I cried and refused to eat anything but vegetables that evening. This is an example of how choosing pets instead of children do not make us less human.
It is far less human to have children due to societal or familial pressure when you would prefer to remain childless whether you can afford to have children or not. In addition, child-raising requires much more psychological real estate than raising pets. It is little wonder why more and more people are unwilling to do the psychological investment required in parenting. Back to my pet chicken example, the only thing I had to do to get it to imprint was to throw it chicken feed periodically. No expensive education or healthcare coverage was required.
Cope, S. (2017). Deep Human Connection (Kindle Edition). Australia.
Greenthal, S. (2020, November 24). https://www.verywellfamily.com/millennial-parents-raising-children-4158549. Retrieved from Verywell Family: https://www.verywellfamily.com/millennial-parents-raising-children-4158549