Tiny Feet

I was browsing through WP the other week and came across a post about a woman’s decision not to have children. Notable, I guess. Somebody being able to reproduce but choosing not to. I’m not sure why, and it’s nobody’s business but her own. But I did think it might be a good subject for a post.

Nowadays, I would agree with her. For environmental reasons. Does the planet really need another consumer? Bringing up my daughter, I was immediately struck by the amount she consumed, or that we consumed on her behalf, before she even popped out. All those disposables had to get disposed someplace.

But it wasn’t always so. From an early age I knew I wanted children someday. Two would have been ideal.

When I met Mrs Bump, she didn’t want children. We had fun together, but our different outlooks would have been a deal-breaker, sooner or later. I don’t think you can disagree on that big an issue, and still stay together.

Except that Mrs Bump changed her mind. She decided that she would like to have a child. Yes, with me! But seriously, that’s pretty big, that particular flip. If I’d made up my mind, I don’t think I’d have changed it for anyone. But she did.

Having made that life-changing decision, we went back to being quite relaxed about it all. It takes months to conceive anyhow, right, so why get stressed? A month later, she was pregnant.

After the birth, everything happened less often. But we never took steps to prevent a second, it just didn’t happen. And that became convenient for me, because my experience with one baby was rapidly putting me off a second.

Looking back twenty years, I found child-rearing probably the most underwhelming experience of my life. I’m glad it happened, I understand the process of fatherhood, so have better empathy with other parents, but I’m thankful that it only happened once.

There is also my daughter. Our relationship is strained and we are not at all close. But I don’t wish her out of existence. I’m not sure how big a part I want to play in her life, but I’m glad she has a life.


Anyway, I just thought it was an interesting subject, that’s all. It’s one of the few “big” issues where my view has about-turned. I wonder, does anybody else have views on this one that they would like to share?

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

24 thoughts on “Tiny Feet”

  1. I didn’t want to have children in my teens and early 20s. I simply thought they were too annoying. But I fell in love with someone who did and changed my mind. It was the best decision I’ve made and my daughters have brought me so much joy. They were/are annoying too, but it didn’t matter. I fell out of love with their father, speaking of annoying, impossible people…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen you post about your daughters. It shows.
      And I think it is totally different, isn’t it? The relationship with a partner compared with to a child. Or can be. I spend life not getting on with either 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very honest blog and how many couples have a proper discussion about the most important decision you will ever make! It is the riskiest venture and if we all thought of what might go wrong the human race would die out. You might have a seriously disabled child or severely autistic and unless you are both saints your relationship could be ruined. Of course you could also have a healthy child who is very challenging; the nicest parents, the most reliable citizens can have a child who wreaks havoc at home and school and is pretty hard to love. Happily most of us don’t regret who we end up with and are glad we had them, but couples who are intentionally childless also lead perfectly happy lives. Our three are totally different and so are their partners, but they all get on and I’ve been glad of all their support since being widowed. One pair have no intention of having children and it’s good if couples can share that decision, otherwise families and friends speculate and worry they are bereft when they are very happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit with us, I don’t think there was a great deal of discussion. I mean, we discussed it to the point where each of us knew what the other wanted, but beyond that, it was entirely on her. One time she said “no” and the next she said “yes”.
      Ironically, despite it being my initial desire, she has been a far better parent than I was.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Parenting is being pecked to death by chickens. I read this in my sister’s living room and laughed, childless and unaware of how true the statement was, but at the time, I saw it as a big joke. Having said that, parenting is unconditional love and a chance to make the world a better place by molding individuals that are loving and empathetic and can maybe even fix some of the problems too big for me to tackle. I am glad that I have two children, as they are life-long mates and great partners. I had that growing up with two sisters, and I decided that if I was going to have one, I would be sure they had the chance at the same bonds. There are some cultures/religions that believe the souls of those born select their parents. It could be for a variety of reasons, but in that case, it seems we have little control of the nature of our own offspring, rather that they have much to learn and yearn for us and who we are as individuals. My children challenge me, but they also challenge me to love with even greater intensity than I ever knew existed. Thanks for sharing, Mr. B.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lots of it, as you know, depends on the person, timing and attitude. I was truly thankful that I did not have children with my first wife. As time went on and our relationship soured she wanted one desperately thinking that it would solve the issues, and I desperately did not want any, knowing that it would destroy what was already failing.
    When I married again, years later, having children seemed to be the simplest most natural thing. The time was right, and the people were right. Not all are so fortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s interesting that you raise this. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts over the last couple of years. And (apparently) women feel a lot of pressure by society to have kids. There is still this underlying expectation out there that women will get married and have kids. I must admit I don’t remember feeling that sort of pressure. But I can imagine it to be true. And, in the perception of women, men don’t get the same kind of pressure. So I think a lot of women who decide not to have children feel they have to defend their decision with detail and precision. Interestingly, as somebody who has had children, I now feel the need to defend THAT decision for the reasons you mentioned – consumerism and the environment. I certainly don’t regret having children but I am deeply fearful for their futures. Even although we were aware of all these issues when the children were born, we really believed the world would change a whole heap faster than it has. But it turns out Australia is by far the worst in this regard of the OECD countries and it’s hard to live with that. Changes in the US since Biden’s inauguration make me happy though. I comfort myself that the US is a much bigger fish than us while cringing at what my own country looks and behaves like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At Davos a few years ago. Trump was president, and Greta Thunberg was invited to address the conference.
      I was struck at the time by how many more of these “leaders” take his side over hers, whatever the rhetoric. It’s not just Australia.
      I admire your optimism in Biden but I don’t share it. However good his instincts might be, he is relatively impotent. Even the well-thought-of Obama welched on making climate cuts, presumably for fear of not being able to sell them to the American people. Don’t forget, 50% of the US still supported Trump over Biden, so he too has an impossible sell.

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    2. You have made me think, though. Maybe the initial desire I felt to have children was societal? I’m not aware of it, but certainly I would have been more easily influenced back then.

      But I don’t buy your gender analysis, or at least I think it’s one-sided. For any stereotype a girl was expected to conform too, I reckon there was also a stereotype that boys were expected to conform to. I remember the look on my mother’s face when my daughter was born – I had done my duty. I think you are right, there is pressure to reproduce, but it is heaped onto both genders.

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      1. I tried to indicate with my words that it was not my experience, only what I had heard. Of course stereo types are not limited to one gender or one race or one religion. Stereotypes are a way the limited human brain finds to make sense of the vast and varied world. Everyone is subject to stereo types whether because of their hair colour, the clothes they choose or the car they drive. It’s irritating to be boxed but very easy to do the boxing entirely unconsciously.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Having or not having children is a personal choice. In our culture, the moment a couple gets married, people start expecting this news within a year. If it doesn’t happens, all sorts of advice starts pouring in.
    My own experience with having children is one of great bliss. Not that raising them is not hard. It was and on some levels, children always are a responsibility. But I’m richer and better because of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am a better person for the experience, too. But it was a bad experience.

      For me, identical in that respect to the stroke. I’m a lot more “aware” of things now, than probably I would have been. Even though the stroke itself left me damaged.

      Does that makes any sense? I think we often learn more from bad experiences.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It does. The experience with your daughter was quite unpleasant when she accused you of something you didn’t do. It was I think the most unhappy thing a parent can face, other than losing a child. Then you had the stroke. That made life difficult for you, but it also taught you the value of life. I understand you completely.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Parenting is tough, I am telling this by looking at my parents who work their bodies 365 days a year to make sure we their children can live without worries.
    Good to read about your personal experience too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I never wanted children and never regretted not having them. I love my nephews and being an aunt, and I have given lots of love and care to animals over the years, but nope, kids were never meant for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah now that’s interesting because this woman’s post was actually about her experiences dating. How men would ask all kinds of rude, personal questions even, like, out on a first date. Literally people had known her 15 minutes and felt it was appropriate to talk about her reproductive ability. Did you ever get that? Just seemed incredibly rude to me.

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