At the risk of offending any confirmed non-breeders here I'll ask my question anyway. So I was reading this article in Details magazine http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201104/no-baby-boom-non-breeders
My question is, much like a vegan diet seems horribly puritanical and, using Sally Fallon's words here, "prudent" it seems equally unnatural to me to never desire to procreate with one's partner. Does anyone else think that these trends could be due to an increasingly unhealthy population? Maybe a combination of no longer seeing virility/fertility in our malnourished partners and an overall decrease in sexual desire?
I understand that the introduction of birth control has a lot to do with it and people are getting it on without that pesky pregnancy side effect. Obviously, I and most people not living in an agricultural environment will have no interest in being baby factories but a population of humans no longer having interest in creating little mini-me's is worrisome to me. This coupled with increasing rates of infertility seems like mighty dark foreshadowing to me.
I've been watching "Human Planet" on Discovery channel and watching these strong nimble, virile people, almost all of whom are breastfeeding effortlessly, climbing up trees with ease, munching on snakes, forest tubers, freshly hunted meat, etc. It's just got me thinking about our childless state.
Yes, Arctic monkey concerts are fun and so are childless nights on the town but as a new mother, making children seems like such an inherently biological urge to me.
(On a side note, after a year of being unable to conceive last year, I got pregnant one month after starting the Atkins diet. I had no idea Paleo or WAPF existed at that point.)
Again I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone who is sensitive about this topic.
No, it's not a bad thing.
There really is an upper limit to the number of humans this planet can support. What that number is doesn't matter. All that matters is it's somewhere in front of us, blocking the road and we're picking up speed every day.
I even think of it as an evolutionary adaptation, a kind of homeostasis regulator. The closer we get to overpopulation, the fewer of us want to procreate. Makes all kinds of sense to me.
A bad sign of what?
I'm not having children (and I'm 40) because I've never been crazy about kids and want to keep living my own life.
Look around... not many people are truly happy, and we live in a social structure that promotes waste, consumerism and greed, and it's not making many people happy. Exactly what is bad about not wanting to push a child into that environment? How is it a "bad sign" that I don't need to find fulfillment externally or through someone else?
How is it a bad sign that I live in a day and age when I CAN actually make these choices with some ease?
How is it a "bad sign" that my lifestyle uses less resources? More gasoline and plastic junk for the rest of you LOL...
I think it's mostly socioeconomic. Children cost a lot of money in our society usually and people don't really reach a period of suitable income until their 30s or later. We have a disconnect between when it's appropriate in our "lifecycle" to have children culturally/economically and when it's appropriate in our biology. One of the biggest causes of infertility is simply waiting too low, though there are some other worrying things out there like the major decline in semen quality in all men of all ages.
Personally, I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, but I think women should start family planning in their late teens/early twenties so they can adjust their relationships and career trajectory based on their family goals. On one site people attacked me for saying that since "things change." Yeah, of course things change in EVERYTHING, but that doesn't mean making plans doesn't help people.
Maybe because I was homeschooled I spent a lot of time growing up around older women (at church and other places) who were struggling to conceive and it had a big effect on me. Every women has different priorities, but I decided to make having children before 30 a priority.
EDIT: There has been some talk here about how having a child reduces risk of breast cancer. In the extremely enlightening article "The breast/nipple/areola complex and human sexuality" I learned that this only works if you have the baby (not just get pregnant) before you are young (before 24, though before 30 seems to have an effect, albeit a lesser one). Luckily, merely stimulating the nipples (IE in a erotic situation) seems to also have an effect 0_o
It's difficult for me to swallow the association here of veganism and bad health with not wanting to have children. I know the author of the ? is trying to put a paleo spin on proper diets and the desire to have kids, but there is far more to it than that.
So, no I don't think that diet/lifestyle can be blamed for the personal decision not to have children. I ate a pretty good diet in my 20's and 30's and didn't take the pill ever. So I don't know why I never had the urge to have a kid. I always figured it would come over me.
Much like the idea of adopted pets, I someday want to take on foster children and/or help with my friends children, which is enough for me.
I think it's a very good thing. We have enough people on Earth. And there are always going to be plenty of people who want kids.
Once a country achieves a good quality of life (and reliable contraception) for both women and men, the birth rate plummets. It's just how it is. Give people choices in how to live their lives, they will choose to have fewer children on average and more will have none at all. Having kids is expensive, and while it can be rewarding, it's not exactly fun and games. Totally understand people who choose not to reproduce, although I know I want at least one biological child.
I don't really see a decline in children where I live; but it may also be that since getting pregnant and having a child, most of the places we go are child friendly. There are plenty of children being brought into the world right now.
I think that if you don't want to be a parent - you shouldn't! It is NOT an easy job - especially to be a good parent. It's full of sleepless nights, worry, lack of social-life, sex-life, stretch marks, leaky boobs etc. etc. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE being a mom - but if you aren't sure, or don't want to be I totally support your choice.
Growing up, my parents were the only couple out of their friends to have a child - the lives that the DINKs (double income no kids) were able to have were rich and amazing. So was our life though too - I really think it's all about what you want out of life.
According to the article, my husband and I are "undecideds" and it's for a multitude of reasons and "unhealthy" isn't one of them.
Most parents I see look exhausted, slightly aggravated by, and ready to bolt from their children. Sure, there are other parents who obviously love spending time with their kids, but none of them seem energized by it and even they are almost constantly correcting the kid. It's an always on, no-break job.
I have thought about it and realized I would be in a perpetual state of worry if I had a kid. I still claim Undecided status as, since I haven't actually ever had a kid, what if I'm wrong? But I haven't convinced myself it would be healthy for me--or the poor kid who would have to live with me--to take the chance and then deal with all that stress.
Besides, I have plenty of nieces and nephews. 8)
On the contrary, it's actually completely unnatural to desire to procreate and is wholly the result of cultural influences. Humans are the only animal that says, "I want a little fat version of myself to be brought into existence." The rest of the organisms on Earth simply copulate and then cope with the result. If you raise a human in a lab, they don't ever have a conscious desire to create babies unless you introduce the idea to them. It's not hard-wired simply because it's not necessary to do so. We have evolved to have sexual desire, which indirectly leads to reproduction, so there's no need to hard-wire an actual desire for the end result itself. The "biological clock" as it is often described is a total myth; it's a cultural clock.
I embrace my sentience and choose freedom over self-imposed slavery to offspring.
An interesting hypothesis, but I am doubtful. I don't see how ill health would lead to a desire not to have children or lack of desire to have children. The most plausible mechanism would be ill health reducing sex drive and thereby leading to people not wanting to have children. But I don't think that this is the explanation, because however far ill health is reducing our sex drives, I don't think that this is the cause of increasing numbers of people not wanting to have children. If this were so, then the people not wanting to have children would also not be wanting to have sex, but I suspect that this isn't the case. In fact, I should think that many of the people not wanting to have children still want to have sex (and maybe don't want to have children because they still want to have sex unimpeded by children) and that there are lots of people with no sex drive, but who want to have children.
I suspect that the explanations are all primarily sociological and these reasons are easy enough to imagine. The article cites enough though: "We watched [parents] struggle to pay bills, find suitable apartments or houses to fit their families, and work at jobs they didn't like because they needed the insurance."
I appreciate that this is going to be totally controversial but this is said from the viewpoint of a teacher in a deprived area in the UK. What I seem to see (and I may be wrong) are intelligent educated thoughtful people choosing not to have children whilst people with less aspirations and who place much less value on education or even employment having more than two children - in some cases many more. It may just be what I see but I know families with 5 generations living - grandparents in their 30s and 40s, parents in their teens and early 20s who have never worked. Obviously there is an issue here with our benefits system but if you are implying that poor health leads to a decrease in desire to reproduce then I'd say the opposite - it is the poor, uneducated and most unhealthy who have the most children round here. I hope it is just a symptom of the particular area I teach in - still recovering from the closure of the mines by Thatcher in the 80s - and not a nationwide trend but I have to say that it worries me.