There is all this talk and discussion about the end of hope, about better not having children.
The argument goes that they would only be left to face a horrible future, born into despair.
Better, then, to let it be.
It is an understandable thought, sure. The conscious family planning involved in it is rather commendable, too.
It is also dangerously misguided, though.
Here are two things to also think about:
One, the world that we are born into, and even the world we have simply lived in for long enough, becomes our normal.
Yes, a dangerous normal of extreme weather events, collapsing ecosystems, inundated coastal areas – you name it – is not an easy world to live in.
This, though, is where we need to remember history.
Two, the world has always been ending. Sometimes, people were expecting the apocalypse – and it didn’t come. At least, not as the rapture, the second coming.
Wars, colonizing powers disrupting everything, conquerors – there was a lot of human-caused pain.
Pestilence, plague, famine, drought, earthquakes and tsunamis and volcanic eruptions – people have lived through a lot. Or actually, people have died a lot, civilizations have collapsed – but peoples and humanity have survived.
Even just plain child (and maternal) mortality, if we want to think of it all in the context of having children, was high. Chances were, mothers didn’t survive childbirth; many, if not most, children didn’t survive infancy.
That’s where the argument not to have children gets really disconcerting:
Humanity has continued through a lot. While we are alive, we are of influence, for better or worse.
Saying that there is no hope, that having children is cruelty – it just tries to conquer the pain of not doing enough, of not knowing what to do to make things better rather than worse, by convincing oneself of having given up.
In a world that needs our better actions, in lives that need to be lived, with skill, *that* is cruel. Even to ourselves.
Let’s accept that life is hard – and live it.