The Ethical Side of Baby Making

If you asked me five years ago whether or not I would ever give birth my answer would have been no, or at least, “not likely.” Although I love working with kids I have never been particularly fond of babies so it seemed like working in summer camps and YD initiatives was perfect for me while having a kid of my own seemed somewhat selfish.

I bought into the idea that with a rising global population having kids at all is somewhat irresponsible. Why not adopt a kid in need of a home rather than creating more children? I also struggle with my own love-hate relationship to living in general.

I was tittering on the edge of suicide for most of my adolescence, with cutting, many overly dramatic nights, and puking up overdoses on nyquil in my college dorm room culminating in a three day hospital stay before the age of 21. In the hospital I was finally able to make a logical breakthrough that ended my ridiculous actions. I figured out that, for better or worse, I was alive, and the only thing that was sure in my life was that I would, at some point, die. So, why rush the inevitable? Why not experience things to the fullest instead? With that recognition my life began to change. I got a whole lot happier. I relaxed and took more risks. I am sure the leveling off of my teenage hormones also helped quite a bit. But even though I had come to terms with my life, and the suffering nature of humanity, it didn’t mean that I thought it would be okay to bring a baby into this world.

If humans suffer, constantly, why would I wish that on a being I am supposed to love? Why would I bring a child into a world where the majority of people are extremely selfish and deceitful? Where we are so bogged down with bureaucracy that individuals don’t stand a chance and corporations rule the world? Where he or she is guaranteed to be hurt, used, and forgotten for the most part? That just seems cruel.

Then Nikola came along and some biological urge just toppled in me. Suddenly I found myself unable to resist the idea of having a baby with him. There was nothing logical in our choice. It was all hormones and urges and desire. Although Peatuk was planned, the timing was not thoroughly thought out, we were just… ready.

So now I have this awesome baby sleeping next to me, sucking on an imaginary nipple, and my heart breaks for him. I see how difficult every day is for him. The shocks of the world. Things like being sick, being startled, not having the complete, undivided attention of those you love at all times. He suffers these things, and I know that he will suffer much, much more. I often wonder if I made a reckless, stupid, selfish choice to bring him into the world.

But then he smiles. One of his favorite pastimes at the moment is to have a light cloth ran gently over his face. He loves it. He kicks his legs, waves his arms, and smiles incredibly wide. He is even starting to laugh at it. His eyes are bright and I know that he is thoroughly enjoying himself. He has a capacity for pleasure that any adult would be jealous of. When he is happy it resonates through his whole body, and he is made happy by the most simple, easy things. It is this happiness that makes me not feel guilty for birthing him. These moments remind me that as much as we are capable of suffering, we are also capable of burning passions, and pure joy. Surely these counteract the suffering and pain we endure as humans.

As Peatuk’s mom I want to protect him from suffering. I want to show him as much pleasure as possible. I want to teach him to seek joy and to remember the importance of sensations as simple as being tickled with a piece of cloth. I want to help him hold onto those pleasures in life. It is the least I can do after calling him forward into a society that is so dark and backwards that it seeks to shut off our access to joy. But that capacity for joy is just as strong as the capacity for suffering. So, when it comes to whether it is ethical for someone who didn’t even want to live at one point in her life to inflict life on another, I am going to say, sure, it’s okay. Life is hard, but in the end, it is worth it. 

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