Everyone knows that Mormons and Muslims make babies with world domination as their goal. But what about the rest of us? Why do we end up breeding?
If magazines with the word “journal” in their title are to be trusted, then there is at least one well-documented theory. We breed because we’re dumb. That came out wrong. The data doesn’t show that breeding is dumb, it shows that the less educated and lower paid we are, the more children we have. Want the same sentiment in a more positive tone? Try “children are the wealth of the poor.” Aww.
If we put stock in casual conversation, middle-class couples have children because they bought a dog a couple years earlier.
Back on the research front, we know that foreigners who are new to this country breed like bunnies, but that only lasts a few generations. By the third generation (statistics show) they only want one or two children. And those little guys probably won’t talk funny anymore anyhow. Yawn.
But these sweeping generalizations are only scratching the surface. I want specifics. I want to know how individuals make the choice. More than that, I want to know why this topic seems taboo to me? If I tell you that my parents told me that I was “unplanned”, it feels like they wouldn’t be happy that I’d shared that information because it makes them look “bad”. (For the record, I’m pretty sure that my older sister was the reason for the wedding, my younger brother was unplanned, and that I am a gift from God.)
It seems that in the past people had a lot of children because children meant workers, which meant wealth. Adam Smith (of 1776’s Wealth of Nations fame) wrote that a widow with a bunch of kids was very attractive to men back then. Seems like that couldn’t be further from the truth these days. And then in the past babies died a lot, too. So there’s that to take into account. Today, with not so many youngsters passing while on the trail, couples just don’t seem motivated to risk pregnancy’s dangers as much. Or some such reasoning.
And we can’t forget birth control’s far reaching consequences. How many people wouldn’t be alive today if latex was self-lubricating?
I’m curious how many of you have ever asked individuals why they had children? I have. Well, I’ve asked men. (Where are you ladies hiding again?) It’s shocking to me. Tied for the number one reasons are “it felt too good to pull out” and “We(/I) were drunk.”
Never experiencing it myself, sadly, according to locker room tales I’ve heard that some women have an ability to really make mixing the baby batter together seem desirable as the last of the sweat forms. And I know a few fellas who have described their primal finish to be the same as how a shark’s eyes roll back when they go for the kill. Where do these men and women learn this behavior? Maybe it’s genetic?
It feels weak to admit that I want more children. I think that’s because if I admit it, and then don’t have anymore, it will be known that I have an unfulfilled desire in my life.
Why did I do my part to create H-, you ask? Because it was what married couples do. It was time. You know, the dog thing.
Why do I want more children? Because when we were camping the other night and alone in the tent I awoke to the sound of her giggling while in a dream. I just pictured her brain creating fantasy images of her stuffed Twilight Sparkle tumbling through the air; no on a rainbow! Yeah, Twilight Sparkle would likely be around a rainbow or two. Maybe Pingu was there too. And then, later that night, as I started shuffling around to see a man about a tree, H- wakes up and says, “Daddy, if you’re ever scared-” pause “-if you ever need anything, I’ll be there for you.” Good to know. And I hope so H-.
Mel Gibson was in a movie about depression called, “The Beaver”, a few years back. One of the previews on the DVD was for a movie centered around immigration whose title I can’t remember. But in the trailer there was a scene where a teenage son asked his father why he ever had him. The father said, “To give life meaning.” I’m with that dad. What else gives life meaning? Work? My passion? Writing? Spreading the gospel? No, when all is said and done, life is about people. That’s why we keep creating them.