To procreate or not to procreate, ask the damn question!

Many years ago I made the decision, not to father any children. It came damn close to being a decision of celibacy, but I'm a man not a rock.

I made this decision, many years before I got married.

To be honest, I can recall exactly when and where I made that decision. I can still see the play-ground around me, the "top" I used to play with, the music class-room I happened to be staring at, the noise of the "kids" around me, the horrid school uniform of Afrikaans Hoërskool Durban Noord.

It was a few months before my 13th birthday.

Yes, I could write pages on what was going through my mind at that moment, so I'm going to try and keep it brief here.

You see, I did something I'm convinced very few people ever do: I tried to understand my parents.

Believe it or not, but in that instant I tried to see the world from their perspective, trying to understand what it is they are experiencing in life.

The picture was grim to say the least. From my parent's perspective, life was a huge pain in the anus. Mostly because I wasn't willing to do what they were doing for us as kids.

In that instant, I realized that there are things I'm simply not willing to do for or on behalf of other people. I became utterly aware of the fact, that there are sacrifices I am simply not willing to make. But I also understood the sacrifices a parent has to make on behalf of a child.

So there I had it. An unwillingness to make sacrifices and a situation where sacrifice is demanded, expected and utterly necessary. That was all it took for me to realize, that I am one of those people that should not have children.

Today, I'm 34 years old... Nothing changed.

That same "sacrifices-required" vs. "unwilling-to-make-sacrifices" situation still exists!

And this is where life becomes a little tricky. There are consequences to every choice one makes, and I have to live with the consequences of this choice.

I understand, that if I reach old age, I will not have the comforts that children provide. I completely get the fact, that there is an entire section of life-experiences I'm denying myself. Yes! I know and understand that this could very well be a decision I eventually regret.

But the alternative is far, far worse. Make no mistake, I might have been 13 years old when I made that decision. But I did not make it idly or without due consideration.

The simple fact is, if I did have a child, that child would end up knowing many people related to and friends with his/her father. But they'll never know their father. Again! There are sacrifices I'm simply not willing to make.

Now and then I get the odd aunt or granny trying to convince me that I'd be willing to make those sacrifices if I had a child.

To them I say this: What if I do have a child and I'm still unwilling to make those sacrifices? What then? Would you be willing to raise the child on my behalf? Would you be willing to make the sacrifices for that child, that I'm unwilling to make?

After hearing that, they go quiet very quickly. Because they realize they are romanticizing the idea and ideals behind having children. While completely forgetting about the sacrifices they had to make along the way.

Again, I get it! I understand that there are people like my younger brother, who would not be able to live without a child. As long as I could remember, I've seen him with a child in close proximity. He is what I would call "The natural father".

Personally though, I've never been able to picture myself with either a son or a daughter. I literally get angry the moment I start thinking about some of the things I will have to do as a father. My patience immediately vanishes and I instantly ask the question: Why the hell should I put myself through that?

Any parent would know; just asking that question is more than enough to disqualify someone as parenting material.

My issue with the whole thing, and the reason I'm writing this, is that there are far more people like me, with children, than there should be.

Wither it's admitted or not, I have a sneaky suspicion there is a huge portion of society having children, while they belong to a group of people who should not procreate in anything other than the most desperate of circumstances and then only with the greatest of reservations.

When I say the most desperate of circumstances I honestly mean desperate. That is; Nothing short of the imminent extinction of our species. And even then, it would be far more humane to the children, if they were either given up for adoption or fostered by people who should have children.

And here follows a warning, given to those who are parents.

Never! Ever! Under any circumstances, ask someone like me, to be a guardian for your children.

I mention this because I've been asked twice in the past 3 years. The problem is that my aversion to children is also the very thing that makes me so damn attractive as a guardian. Because I don't have children, I have a mild temperament towards them, and enough expendable income to seem like I'm doing quite a bit better than I actually am. Add the expenses of less than one child to my life and the whole pile goes flying. What's more, is that I'd probably end up sending the kids to boarding school, just to get them out of my hair.

Yes, I am a heartless-bastard in that respect. I make no excuses, I take responsibility for limitations I know I have. By letting people know this in advance, rather than commit to something I know I will not stick to.

Every time I've been asked to be a guardian, I've had to do the responsible thing and convince the parents, that I'm the last person they should be asking.

And just in case some dumb-ass out there wants to start punting the whole "You should aim to overcome your own limitations". Here's my answer too you:

Yes, there are boundaries you should push. When you are risking your own life and future, that is fine. Enjoy taking the risks and rejoice when you are successful. But the future of a child, is not something to take for granted, or toy with.

Now, to all those people trying to convince me that I should have children:

Please stop. I understand that you are concerned for my wife and I. I understand you think it strange, that there are people like me. I honestly get it. Please, ignore your own discomfort with the situation for a moment, and try to understand my position.

Like so many things in life, there are two crucial parts to raising children.
- ability and
- willingness

You have to be able, you have to be willing. Me... I might be able, but I'm definitely not willing.

So, too procreate or not to procreate. Yes, there are extreme conditions under which I would choose to procreate, and I do reserve the right to do so, but honestly do not see myself raising a child.

If you have any level of responsibility, you should be asking yourself the same question.