I’ll turn 27 in a few weeks. I am in the prime of my fertility. And I’m finding myself facing a lot of questions, about my life and the future, but the big one is: Is it moral to have children just because I want to?

To be clear, I haven’t decided on whether or not I want kids. For one thing, I have no money, and babies require a lot of expensive stuff. (Financial costs surrounding parenthood are a whole other column.) For another, my partner doesn’t want kids.

But sometimes I do feel that primal urge, that ache in my arms that wants a child.

I don’t need to reproduce. My brother and sister plan on becoming parents, so the family name and our general genes will be passed on. I don’t run a small farm or a family business that requires the labor and the inheritance of children. There are billions of humans on the planet – the survival of the species will not be jeopardized if I never make a mini-me.

And then there are the outside forces. Any child of mine would be born into a world ravaged by climate change. While all human life involves suffering to some extent, would I be condemning an infant to grow up in a world growing hotter, more toxic, more poisoned and more dangerous than I did?

Raising a child, particularly in America, is incredibly resource-intensive. I mean, think of all the miles I would put on my car driving that kid to school and soccer and play dates. Children of mine would mean tons more carbon in the atmosphere, more plastic pollution in the ocean. Is it moral for me to do that when I could simply … not?

My mom says my grandmother had her kids despite living on military bases in the height of the Cold War, and went to bed every night knowing they could very well be wiped out by nuclear missiles by the morning, so I shouldn’t let my fears of climate destruction interfere with my thinking.

But my grandmother didn’t have as many choices as I did, either. Her kids were born in the 1960s. Having children was simply what most women did back then. Our culture has changed; now women have paths other than marriage and motherhood to walk if they want. Furthermore, access to birth control was limited and abortion was illegal. Now, while access to reproductive health services are limited in many parts of the country, I am blessed to live in Maine, and privileged enough to have insurance that will cover both the replacement of my birth control implant, and an abortion, if I need one. (At least, as long as I’m employed. If not, well, that’s what the in-the-shoebox emergency fund is for.) If I choose to bring a pregnancy to term, it will truly be my choice.

There are other worries too, of course – basic ones that I assume most women contemplating motherhood have: “Would I be a good parent?” or “Is it physically possible and safe for me to give birth?” or “What if my baby gets all of my bad genes and none of the good ones?”

I’ve considered adoption, of course, and there is much appeal to it. I would love to provide a loving home to some kiddos who need it. But let’s face it, the chances of someone handing over a child to a broke, queer, recovering alcoholic 20-something are … slim.

But I don’t need to fill out any forms to get pregnant. Also, there’s the overwhelming hormonal aspect. Every time I see a baby, my uterus starts yelling at me.

And it is growing louder.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

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Twitter: mainemillennial

 

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