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What motivated you (not) to have babies?

Man is unique: we are the only species with the capacity to decide to procreate or not to procreate. Other animals "just do it".

Certainly, subconsciously there may persist a biological "need" or an instinct to breed and propagate our genes. But still, consciousness allows us to decide not to do so.

In case you decided to have babies, or to not make babies, which is the main motivation for this decision?

-social pressure?
-ecological arguments ("overpopulation")?
-love?
-a subconscious urge?

My personal reason: I will (try to) make babies just because I can. And out of pure curiosity.

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    Oct 7 2011: I don't actually enjoy them.

    In fact, I don't understand why anyone in their right mind does, really.

    (a) I get to grow big as a house, then
    (b) endure the labour and childbirth portion (and let me tell you that being able to read since two meant I clearly read material that was DEEPLY age-inappropriate early on, including learning the meaning of words like 'epidural' and 'episiotomy' long before I should have - and I am not sure that is info I want even now), then
    (c) comes the baby, which frankly seems to have way too many things coming out of it - noise, poop, barf - followed by having a small child who will require way more attention than I am interested in giving anyone, and then
    (d) a teenager!

    I like my life. If I feel like having an argument, I can pop online and choose the timing and topic as suits my taste. And it's never about vegetables or socks or whatever other thing is currently bothering the small person. If I want to read a book, I can sit down and read it cover to cover if I want.

    A few boyfriends ago I dated someone who was bothered by the amount of time I spend on my business - and that's a grown man.

    Some people are just not cut out to be mothers and I have known I fall into that category since I was a child myself.
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      Oct 9 2011: .
      Interesting view, Gisela, and very honest at that.

      I do have a question for you, though. Don't you feel any social pressure from peers? Women of your age with kids don't make you feel like you're missing something?

      I ask, because some people can be overwhelmed by social pressures; others don't care.
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        Oct 9 2011: Yeah, I've never been particularly susceptible to peer pressure.
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    Oct 7 2011: Hi Laurens,
    I think the hormones were speaking to me loud and clear. I never even imagined that I would NOT be a mother...I just knew that I would. Being a mother was/is the most precious and enjoyable role I have played in this life time.

    One piece of advice for you Laurens...I would have a little more than simply "curiosity" when making the decision to have children. While it is one of the most fullfilling experiences, it is also one of the most challenging, with a great deal of responsibility that one should be wholeheartedly ready for.
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      Oct 7 2011: Hi Colleen, thanks for the advice. Maybe I've used the wrong word, but "curiosity" can be a correct motivation. Like someone trying to climb Mt Everest or travelling the Amazon river out of pure curiosity: it takes a whole expedition, a lot of effort, preparation, money, motivation, desire...

      Maybe fathers are more lighthearted about having kids than mothers?
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        Oct 7 2011: Hi Laurens,
        I agree that curiosity can be a great motivation, and I live life with the curiosity of a child...just because I can... so I understand that piece.

        In your original statement..."My personal reason: I will (try to) make babies just because I can. And out of pure curiosity"....I didn't see some other important pieces of the puzzle, like effort, preparation, money, desire, etc. It appears that you do understand the "whole expedition":>)

        I don't know that fathers are more lighthearted...maybe it depends on the individuals? Mothers have the unique experience of physical connection with the little one for 9 months, and it no doubt influences our relationship with the child. Also, society has encouraged certain roles for mom and pop. Mothers have been thought of as the nurturers, caretakers, emotional supporters, while fathers are the financial supporters. Those roles are changing and crossing over quite a bit, as we see more stay at home dads, and moms out in the work force, or both parents sharing all the responsibilities.
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    Oct 6 2011: I just wish for my genes to outnumber yours. Good luck to all.
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      Oct 7 2011: Lol, at least you're honest.
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        Oct 7 2011: Yeah I couldn't care less about the environment issue, for instance, since most of my environment is made of people. And people are made of rival genes.
        Few of those are a match to mine, but you never know. If the climate changes or we have to live like moles, some of my genes might face a challenge where a lot of people's genes will thrive.
        So in a way, I do keep an eye out for such changes. But the best way is getting a lot of different women pregnant and mixing my genes with some that may accidently come handy.
        I can't be anymore honest than that, whithout getting into chemistry.
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          Oct 7 2011: I hope you are as honest with all the "different women" you impregnate. You're probably aware that with DNA, it is easy to identify the father of a child, and in many places, the courts hold fathers financially responsible for their children. You may want to keep that in mind as you are "mixing" your genes. You may also be "mixing" your financial resources.
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        Oct 7 2011: Well it's not that easy. Women are picky. You have to be straightforward with them. You gotta sell your genes to them as well as your social status and ability to take care of their genes.
        If they're interested, they can hop on board with me, their genes and mine on Noa's boatcruise towards eternal life.
        If they're not interested, if they would rather go for the handsome, clever, wealthy guy... what can I say?
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          Oct 7 2011: Yes...thankfully Gerald...many women are "picky". There's not much else you can say Gerald...you've pretty much said it all...from your worldview.
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        Oct 7 2011: So that's it from Gerald. Anyone else on why women don't fancy this worldview?
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      Oct 7 2011: Gerald, in the spirit of good fun, I am pretty sure I have you beat already! My five kids, four sons and one daughter have all made it to adulthood, are all educated and better than that they love each other and know how to support and cooperate! Maybe they are deeply invested in each other because they are all certain that they have the same mother and father (they know that their mother is trustworthy and loyal!)
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        Oct 7 2011: Gerald, in the spirit of good fun, I am pretty sure I have you beat already! My five kids,

        STOP.

        You already beat me right there.

        Well done, Debra. If I wasn't in my prime, I'd consider the threat of your Smith lineage.
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    Oct 8 2011: Very interesting answers here. I don't have children yet, and when I was younger I didn't even want to have any, for many logical reasons (overpopulation, financial reasons, etc.) But in the past few years I feel more and more like I want to have kids, it's a subconscious thought mostly, not an urge, just a desire. I know it will be challenging and in a way it's intimidating too, but I definitely want to experience it.
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    Oct 8 2011: I never played with dolls as a child and any nurturing instincts I've ever had were for dogs, only. Never once thought I should have children and, only once, did I imagine what it would be like to have a child. The ecological arguments weighed heavily but, more than that, I think it was because I saw very early on in my life that most people had children for the wrong reasons. And I didn't want to be one of those people . . .
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    Oct 7 2011: I wasn't motivated. I was 20 years and about to enjoy a good life.
    But my wife had a surprise and I felt responsible.
    Then 3 more followed.
    I think most men aren't very inclined to have baby's but they can't miss them if they are there.
    And kids are very good for men to mature because if I meet people that didn't had children it is obvious to me that they missed something important.
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    Oct 7 2011: I just want to add that just because I have 5 kids people assume that I think everyone should have kids. I do not think that it is right for everyone and I certainly do not believe that it is a decision for anyone but the individual (or couple) to make or even try in the slightest to influence. I am the only person among my friends without grand kids. When my friends ask why I do not 'drop hints' or agitate for grandchildren, I tell them that I have always wanted my kids to choose happiness and what is right for them. If I have grandchildren I want their lives to be the best they can be and that only comes from parents who really are dedicated and comfortable with their choice.

    Not having kids is the most caring, kind and fulfilling decision for some people. (On top of that the literature is not optimistic about kids bringing happiness into your life unless it is the real desire of your own heart.)
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    Oct 7 2011: Lauens, this will sound corny but at that time I truly loved and adored my husband and I thought that there should be more people on the planet like him. While I was pregnant, I felt as though I were doing the most important thing in the world. Once I had my first, I realized how much I loved this child and the expansion of love he brought with him. I found my kids utterly fascinating and in truth they made me love humanity and this planet exponentially more. Because of them I am deeply invested in the outcomes for humanity long after I am dead.

    PS I just came across this. Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen the writer of the song Hallelujiah talks about his kids and parenthood just before the 5 minute mark of this interview.
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    Oct 6 2011: I won't try to have biological children unless I 'love' my partner - and won't force it unless she 'loves' me.

    I'm partially motivated to 'spread' my diverse genes (I have many ethnic backgrounds), but mostly motivated to know that I helped create a human being.

    However, not of that will stop me from adopting or becoming a foster parent, since I believe that parents are the most important people for a child and no child should be without them.
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    Oct 6 2011: Overcoming the odds.
    A few things on my list might be of help:
    1. Finding a man that will be a good father to my child.
    2. Falling in love and not falling out of it. :)
    3. The ability to experience the growth of a good human being (if that is to be so).