Monday, October 11, 2010

To have not

I can think of several compelling reasons not to reproduce again. Let’s start with our quality of life. I have commented here before about how incredibly busy I am these days. Some of the craziness is due to a rather intense deadline at work; I was warned before I came back that I would be returning to an intense, high pressure environment. Yup. True. So one could argue that the crazy pace at work is only temporary and that soon the speed on the treadmill of life will be lowered, but we all know it never really works out that way. Life is busy and when one project stops hogging all the time, something else slips in to replace it. Right now everything fits. Barely. I can work my demanding job, hubby can work his demanding job, I can run 80 km per week and write my blog, hubby can pursue his hobbies, we both get to spend quality time with la cocotte though often not together. It fits. Just Barely. It fits though the result is we have little sleep, a messy home, are living on take-out and frozen pizza, have laundry in various stages of doneness scattered constantly… you get the picture. I cannot see how another child fits in that picture without something having to go. Something big. Like running.  I know other people manage. Heck I have friends with four and five children who are runners and triathletes. But to borrow and slightly modify a phrase from any baby owner’s manual worth its salt: “All [parents] are different and develop in their own way.” I don’t know that I could make it work.

Then there’s the fact of me as a mommy. I think I am an okay mommy. I absolutely love the job and sometimes I do it fabulously and sometimes I could be more engaged, more patient, more imaginative, a better problem solver. I had an easy baby who turned into an easy toddler. I just don’t know how I would be with a more difficult baby. Perhaps I have been spoiled by this one. Yes, I had huge doubts about my ability to parent before la cocotte. I thought they would disappear with the appearance of the baby and yet, as I contemplate numero due I find myself with the same doubts and concerns about the role of mommy. But I wouldn’t be Piccola Pine Cone if I didn’t have grave self-doubts peppered with bout of low self esteem. Oh come on, who doesn’t?
Then there’s the exhaustion. I am still breast feeding 1-3 times per night. Last night it was four. I get up at 5.30 am to run. I’m exhausted. Constantly. I know it would only be worse with numero due on board and I don’t honestly know if I could hack it.
Now we come to the part that has nothing to do with me. No, not hubby. Yes, of course he has thoughts and feelings on this too but true to the occasionally bendable rules of this blog, I try not discuss personal stuff about others. No… I am talking about the bigger picture. There are many problems facing our society. Among the biggest – the looming energy crisis a.k.a. peak oil, the looming fresh water crisis particularly in areas dependent upon ground water which is being depleted at rates measures in tens of meters per year in some area, global warming, depletion of rare earth minerals. There’s many terms in which one can think of the problems facing humanity. Many lists of our biggest problems one could make. But here, really, is our biggest problem. Overpopulation. Overpopulation is essentially our only problem. All other problems can be thought of as symptoms of this larger issue. In the face of this, it just doesn’t feel responsible to me to have more children.
So that’s where I am. Perched between the yearning I spoke of previously and the gut feeling that having a second child just does not feel like the right decision.


  1. I think you are the first person I have ever heard talking about humanity, bigger picture and "good for everyone" when deciding whether to have a baby.
    Wow. I am one of those people who is really concerned about good of all other people and this post really made me thinking.

  2. I like these points. I find it interesting that the "circle of life" seems to imply that at some stage one should have kids...but I too look at those issues you raise and think "But what kind of world will I be throwing my kids into?" Not even having one child (yet!) it seems that other parents "make it work" with more kids...but it seems you really enjoy what you have and like you say, have just enough energy to do it all...I can completely understand what you are saying. Thanks for the post.