So here’s a quick disclaimer: I’m a pediatrician. At least I’m training to be one. But I’ll be finishing up in 3 weeks. And then, I think I’ll be hanging up my stethescope for a bit. I’m also single. No children. But I have a lot of friends with reasonably adorable offspring and I have one rather sweet looking nephew courtesy of my younger sister who is, by far and away, a lot more put together than I am. One of my best friend is a radiology resident who is desperately trying to have a child and another best friend is heading down the matrimony road and presumably motherhood as well.
In spite of all these role models around me, and my chosen profession, I have no dying desire to have children. Yes, I do sometimes have a little pang that tugs at my heartstrings when I talk to a well behaved child. And for the most part, children make me laugh. At least, the small ones anyway. Children stop being funny right around the pre-teen age in my humble opinion. Of course, the nurses and respiratory therapists, and other residents cannot help but ask me for my reasoning.
Well, let’s start from the beginning. Most people view pregnancy as the most wonderful thing in the word. They also think its a sacred journey. But if you think about it, pregnancy starts off as a ball of cells that grows and grows inside the poor woman’s womb and while its growing, new blood vessels grow to connect the ball of cells to the host in its attempt to extract the nutrients it needs to grow. Sound familiar? Yeah. That’s how cancer cells work too. They grow and grow and grow. Thankfully, there is an end to these blood suckers. If the woman is lucky, the childbirth is smooth and both mother and child is safe. And in the modern day of medicine, childbirth is expected to be smooth and danger free. Except when its not. People forget that childbirth used to be, and still sometimes is, a killer of women. Hemorrhage, uterine eversion, eclampsia, sepsis, obstetric obstruction are all common causes of death for women during and after childbirth.
And let’s not forget what happens after the child is birth. Formula milk? That costs a lot of money. Of course, people say that the joy of a child is worth every penny. Well, formula milk isn’t the only thing that’s going to cost you. There’s the doctor’s visits, the food the child will need while growing up, the diapers, etc. And the breast feeding enthusiasts say that breast milk is free. Erm, free to a certain extent. Where do you think all the calories of milk come from? Who’s producing the milk? Why, mom of course. And Mother Nature never fails the laws of Evolution. Even if mother is starving, has barely any stored nutrition for herself, she is still able to breast feed. And since a child is built to tug at the heartstrings, she’s going to feed the child even if she’s starving herself. And so while the child suckles, the poor mom is losing more and more nutrition.
And that’s just the beginning. A child, an infant, has no concept of time. Or the idea of weekends. Children don’t understand that mummy and daddy worked hard all week and would like to sleep in on the weekends. They wake up when they wake up. And while they can nap whenever they wish, parents cannot. There’s a lot of sleepless nights when the child falls ill. And believe me, children always fall ill. They are inherently dirty. Children are a cesspool of germs and they pass these germs to their friends like musical chairs.
And of course, children have a mind of their own. What? You mean they don’t do as you say? Erm, yes. Children have minds of their own. They can refuse food. They can refuse to wear a helmet when they ride their bicycle. They will find ways to avoid doing homework. But when they end up in the hospital because they have a concussion from falling off their bikes, or if they are suspended from school because they ‘talked back’ to their teacher, who frets and worries in frustration? Yep. Mom and Dad.
And oh yeah, did I also mention that your child will hate you? Not hate in the real sense of the world. But once they learn the word, and realize just how much hurt it can cause, they will use it against you, especially when they don’t get what they want. Its hurtful. And cuts through you in the deepest sense of the word. It takes quite a bit of strength to survive it. The first time anyway.
I’m not completely against children. And I’m also not against the rest of the population having children. Please, go ahead and procreate if that’s what you wish and if you think that you are willing, and able to make the necessary sacrifices just for that one moment when the child decides, out of the blue, to say “I love you”. But there are some of us who don’t want children because we think about all the responsibility it involves, and the lost weekends and vacations, and well, we just don’t want them. I’m perfectly happy being Auntie J. Perfectly happy buying toys or whatnot once in a while. But please don’t expect me to re-arrange my schedule for your child. I don’t want a child because I like to live life the way I want it. And please don’t expect me to drop everything simply because your little baby decides to have a birthday party. If I can make it, I certainly will. If I can’t…maybe expect the gift in the mail.