Post # 1
Got married last summer and DH and I are now talking about plans/timelines if we decide to have children. DH has basically said that if I want kids, he’s happy to have and knows he would adore th but he has never been one of those guys who feels the need to have children so he would be equally happy if I didn’t want them.
I have grown up always wanting to have children however it has been just in the last year or so I have started to wonder about this. There are kind of two sides to this- one is actually I’ve felt the urge to have kids less and less the happier I have become in myself and my life and I’m a bit scared of how that would change, but the biggest factor that’s made me question it is that I’ve become much more environmentally aware. I know that having a child is one of the most damaging things you can do for the planet, particularly for those of us living in western countries. I dont like to preach to others or judge their lifestyles but for my own I try really hard to live my life to the notion that every thing we do and every choice we make is important because they all have an impact, no matter how small it is- I won’t even buy a new kind of peanut butter until I’ve researched where it’s come from, if it contains palm oil, etc. This makes the choice of having children really hard, it’s such a huge thing and will have a massive impact but, I’m pretty positive that I want to have kids and I feel so guilty about that.
We have seriously considered and looked into adoption but there are a lot of problems around that where I live- length of time, very few parents here actually give up their children for adoption so those that are have usually been forcibly removed which leads to a range of difficulties, forced open adoptions where the birth parents have more rights than the adoptive parents (I have seen this done to the detriment of the child), adoption agencies playing down children’s issues to adoptive parents so they aren’t unprepared or ill-equipped to deal with certain issues. I work regularly with children who are adopted or in the are system so I have seen the impact of all of this first hand and it makes me nervous about adoption although I also know that my husband and I would love a child who is not biologically ours just as much as a child that is.
I know that environmental agencies advocate a maximum of 1-2 children per family so if we did decide to have children we would almost definitely ensure that we have no more than two.
Has anyone else dealt with this sort of conflict within themselves when deciding whether or not to have children? What did you end up doing? Is there anyone out there who actually wants/wanted children but has decided not to mainly for environmental reasons?
I know that discussions around having/not having kids can get heated but I don’t want to create a debate around that. Just very keen to hear from others who have thought this way themselves and hear what they went through when making their final decision.
Post # 2
the thought has definitely crossed our minds. There are already too many people on the planet so of course we’ve thought about how we’d just be adding to the issue. However, your only options are to not have a child or adopt. For most people, the option of not having a child isn’t possible because that’s what they truly want. Adoption isn’t an option for a lot of people because of the cost. Ultimately, we’ve decided that we will try for a child. I’m perfectly happy with only having one but would be willing to have two. Definitely no more than that though.
Post # 3
SO and I have decided to have only one child less for environmental reasons, but as you said they are expensive and neither of us has an interest in giving up a good chunk of our money, freedom and time for more than one. We think that one will be difficult and life-changing enough as it is.
If you don’t mind me asking, though, how do you grade something as being an environmentally healthy product? I more often then not look for products that are healthier for me, but I think a lot of the bad products tend to be less environmentally conscious. Though I’ve heard things about almond milk production has a greater detriment to the environment than soy, but almond is better for you… which is just something I’ve heard, not anything I’ve done a lot of research on.
Post # 4
I decided not to have children when I was very young (4 years old), but I did discover the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement in my mid-teens, and found them interesting and amusing. However, I can’t say that environmental advocacy, activism, or consciousness really plays a very large part (if any part at all) in my/our reasons for not having children.
Post # 5
while I do agree with you, I think in the end having children/not having children has to be an emotional decision. Either you want children, in which case you will love them and raise them to be decent environmentally conscious people, or you don’t want children, in which case don’t have them 🙂 I’m environmentaly conscious but I really wanted children… so much that it outweighed anything else..
Post # 6
Ironically, the type of people who are environmentally conscious enough and responsible enough to really think about the decision to have children are just the type of people who should be having children.
Post # 7
Thanks for the responses.
If we have children this would almost definitely be what we would also do. We are about to move to a semi-rural location so it’s likely that we would have two (in quite quick succession) as the opportunities for making friends would be more limited than in the city.
I try to look at how far they have come from, what impact their production has had and the ethical/environmental policy of the company that makes them. I know I definitely amn’t always making perfect choices and there’s lots I still don’t know (it wasn’t that long ago that I actually found out about any issues around almonds) but I’m trying my best with what I do and actively trying to learn more so I can make better choices. I tend to drink coconut milk which apparently that has less environmental impact than almond or soy milk (I didn’t actually start drinking it for this reason though, I just prefered it) but I don’t know how it compares health wise to either.
I get this but I think that it can’t just be emotional although that’s a really important factor and it’s the one which is making me lean towards having them as I’m know how much I love children and I’m sure that I would love to have my own in my life. I just find it hard to think to myself that what I want outweighs the impact that it can have overall.
There’s this. I’ve heard this said before and thought about it myself and on one hand I agree with it but at the same time I think someone has to limit the number of children they have if we are to stop our population from growing exponentially.
Post # 8
I never thought of it as “environmental” for some reason, but yes, I guess so. ONE reason I chose not to have kids is there are already way too many people on this earth! 7+ billion! That’s plenty. More than plenty.
Post # 9
We’ve decided that after 2 (if we even have two, we might stop at one) we will adopt. The environment isn’t the only factor going into the decision but it is a consideration.
Post # 10
That makes sense. I guess it depends how much work goes into making a box of almond milk vs. coconut milk. You can probably harvest a few coconuts for the same amount of milk as a large number of almonds, but then you have to factor in time it takes for the tree to produce, growing season, water, man hours to break the almonds down… lots to think about.
Post # 11
Yes we are too populated, that is ONE of many reasons we chose not to have children.