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Pros and Cons: Should You Have a Kid?

Weighing the good and the bad of child-rearing to help you make the best possible decision for your life.
Pros and Cons: Should You Have a Kid?

You're in your 30s and you still haven't had children.  Maybe your family is pressuring you or, worse, maybe they aren't.  Maybe they've resigned themselves to the fact that you just weren't meant to have children, and that if you wanted children, you would have had them by now.  Maybe you haven't found the right person yet, or maybe you have, but you're both still trying to figure it out.  That's the problem.  You tend to find yourself living in a world of "maybe"s with no solution, and time is running out, especially if you're a woman. 

Let's address, for the moment, some of the negatives that may have run through your mind while you were contemplating procreation.  You ask yourself the same question every day: "do I want children?" And your answer is always the same: "I don't know."  When you ask other people why they wanted to have children, they all seem to give you the same answer: "I wanted to be able to teach a child everything there is to know about life, and then some."  But what if being a teacher doesn't appeal to you?  After all, if you wanted to be a teacher, you'd be working in a school district.

Are you puzzled when people say, "I want a child of my own", like a child, another human being, is the latest version of the iPhone?  Or do you feel that creating a miniaturized version of yourself is the most narcissistic thing a person can do?  If so, you may admit to yourself that you're fine with never having children.  Only, the second you do, you hear that small but primal voice in your head shaming you out of declining to continue your thread of the human race.  

That should be enough negatives on child-bearing for now.  Now for some positives. 

After having children, you may realize that your overall attitude has changed for the better.  Instead of judging a mother as you walk past her, you might lean in and crack a joke about a similar situation you have experienced.  You may even be more inclined to support those in need, due to a heightened sense of empathy.

You'll also be able to finally bond with your friends who are parents, instead of bitching bitterly over their seemingly endless Facebook updates about their children, or their frequent pregnancy complaints.  You know those friends who never have time for you anymore?  If you both have children, you can get together for the greater good.  Meaning that while you both catch up on town gossip together, you can also simultaneously keep an eye on your children as they partake in healthy socialization.

You may also feel like less of an outcast amongst your female friends and family members.  This may seem petty at first, but the desire to belong is a basic human need.  The older we get, the less acceptable we become to others if we don't have a child to discuss or show off.  Women are having children later nowadays, so they can go for a longer period of time before coming under constant scrutiny. Though, a woman in her 40s with no children is sure to receive unwanted opinions from those who feel they're in the know.

Now, for the third and final part of this argument, let's remove you from the equation entirely and focus on the child.  A child will probably see the world differently than you do.  This means that he or she might be able to solve a problem or achieve a level of greatness that you never thought possible.  He or she could be the next Beethoven or Carl Sagan.  While this is all well and good, however, never underestimate the amount of work you would need to do to ensure his or her healthy development.  Child-rearing should never be done half-assed, so don't feel guilty that you aren't contributing to the world unless you are sure that what you can contribute will be valuable.

If you still can't decide whether or not to have children, ask yourself this one simple question:

"At the end of the day, would I be a happier person if I had a son or a daughter in my life?"

(Never say "child" or "baby," because they all eventually grow up.)

The answer to this question should help you realize the answer to your bigger one.

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