Friday, February 3, 2023

Decisions

by Anna Avery Zapanta | November 27, 2022

A week ago while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a video of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, speaking out on the threat of a collapse of the world’s population because of people choosing not to have children. This led me to wonder why this would be the case since it seems as though the world’s population is just growing, even reaching a whopping 8 billion!

Why is it that several people nowadays are choosing not to have children? When I asked myself the same question, I found myself answering: “Because it just doesn’t make sense to!”

Seeing how most adults have difficulty keeping up with expenses, bills, and other costs, adding a child would do nothing but worsen the situation. With the uncertainty brought by the declining economy, the deteriorating natural environment, and poor living conditions, a child would be out of the question. 

According to a report from the Asian Development Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic has set the fight against poverty in Asia back by two years. This brings us to a never-ending dilemma of sacrificing time spent in the family to have the financial means to provide for them.

Let us not forget to factor in the expenses that rack up as early as pregnancy. The cost of regular check-ups, ultrasounds, and prenatal vitamins is already a painful chip on the savings. We have yet to take into consideration the healthy food, maternity clothes, and other needs and expenses an expectant mother has to worry about. 

If I struggle to take care of myself on a day-to-day basis, how much damage would I bring to a child I cannot ensure I can devote all my time and energy to? Children are not just cute things to have that we can play with whenever we want. They deserve respect and dignity because they too are human beings who will eventually become adults and members of society.  

Awareness and validation of mental health are getting better and slowly being accepted by more people. People are also more self-aware and recognize that they may not be in the best mental state, nor have the mental capacity to be responsible for something as crucial as raising a child. 

Many would argue that it is selfish not to bring a child into the world. Many would also say that the reasons stated above are mere excuses to avoid the responsibility of being a parent. However, I find it to be a selfless decision. It is selfless to abstain from the ‘joy’ of a child to avoid being the subsequent reason that child would barely have any ‘joy’ in theirs. 

Everyone has their definition of success and purpose in life. Just because raising children and having a family used to be the measure for that, it does not mean it is the same now and for everyone. 

I’ve repeatedly heard the phrase “You either focus on your family, or you focus on your career. It’s never both.” While I disagree with some technicalities of that statement, it does urge me to get the message across that nobody – regardless of sex, gender, social status, financial status, race, or religion – should have to feel guilty if they choose one over the other or decide that they’re capable of both. 

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