Some reflections about parenthood in these times
“We should not bring children into this world.” This is a common phrase among some friends, family and colleagues – some with children and some without. A phrase increasingly uttered during a pandemic unfolding amid a worsening climate crisis and widening inequalities. The news is constantly discouraging, especially in countries like my beloved Colombia.
Reflecting on this phrase, I have asked myself if it really is irresponsible to bring children into the world. This is my answer.
The reality. The world is not worse than before; some things have worsened our quality of life, but others have improved it. Indeed, the world seems to be doing better than in many other eras, but the bad news is what sells the most, and of course, in the age of the internet, bad news flies fast and untethered.
The uncertainty. We are born in the world for things to happen, says my husband. In other words, we don’t control everything and that just by being alive, there is room for good and bad in life. If we had complete certainty that our children will be born exclusively to suffer, then perhaps we could talk about selfishness or irresponsibility. But people generally believe that they can provide for their children, and that the chances that their children will have a good life are high.
The easy way out. Obviously, it is just an extrapolation, but a generalized decision to not bring children into world would lead to the disappearance of humanity. Is there a notion more disheartening?
The commitment. Of course what is happening in the world hurts me! Of course, it scares me that our children cannot have a perfectly happy childhood because of a pandemic, corruption, wars, or whatever is to come. But in response, my commitment to my children and the world grows. I promise my daughters that while I have life, it will be to take good care of them, love them and coach them to be content. I promise the world that as long as I have energy, I will work to make my daughters good global citizens, women of high values, women who, in whatever role they play, help maintain balance on Earth by weighing on the side of those with compassion.
I do understand the other point of view. From the headlines, the world does not seem to be suitable for children. However, humanity must seek to be suitable for the world, and with that understanding, raise children. It is not irresponsible to bring children into the world; on the contrary, it is a great responsibility that, as a mother, I accept with fear, with love, with optimism.