Ya know, I’ll admit it. I’m that bitch who keeps my mouth shut when somebody tells me she’s pregnant. Try so hard to say nothing at all. Now, if it’s a friend or somebody I work for, sometimes I have no choice but to offer up a “congratulations,” because they expect that, per social custom. BUT…otherwise I prefer to remain silent.
Am I jealous? Hell no. Making babies is easy as anything. Now, if you’re a good person and are capable of being with a good partner to co-parent, then more power to you. Then you have my blessing. (My best girlfriend is precisely one of those types of people and has proven to be a good mom over the years, and her husband is a fantastic person also. They work well together as parents.) But the rest of society…eh…I don’t know you. Don’t know what kind of people you are and therefore don’t feel the need to congratulate you on getting knocked up, in wedlock or otherwise. Is that a calloused position to take? Perhaps.
But maybe if we didn’t pat everybody on the back every time they managed to procreate they wouldn’t feel the need to do it so often and all willy-nilly. My interest is in not perpetuating the population expansion except for when it comes to those parents who will actually be good parents. Too many shitty parents running around. My mom wasn’t worth a damn, and she claims her parents (my maternal and only grandparents since I don’t know my biological father) weren’t good to her while coming up either, largely because Papa drank too much back then and he and Grandma were young and poor and totally unprepared for raising children. As was the situation for tons of people. We can all point to gobs and gobs of people who claim to have not been raised well, to have either been neglected or abused or both. We know plenty of people who felt unwanted by their mother or both parents, and that shit leaves a mark on a kid’s psyche when they grow up knowing that (as I and others close to me experienced).
Not trying to project my own personal drama onto others, but I am keenly aware of how shit likes to cycle and how my own family is certainly no exception. It’s American as Wonder Bread. We know this. Yet everybody likes to think they somehow will prove to be an exception as a parent, and half or more of them flunk out over the course of time, for various reasons. Maybe drugs and addictions. Maybe divorce and jumping back in the dating scene and letting that take priority over the welfare of their youngens. Maybe selfishness in general where the parents don’t want to wait 18 years before they start going on with their lives as if nobody is depending on them. Maybe workaholism takes precedence. Maybe a person has a shitty disposition and can’t make the sacrifices needed in order to be a good parent. Maybe the person dotes too much on the child and spoils the hell out of them to where they grow up with an entitlement complex that leads the kid into rude awakenings once they’re grown. Etc. All sorts of shit can go wrong in parenting.
Having met some good parents in my day, I wouldn’t consider them the majority, quite honestly. People are lucky to have them, and I wish more folks did grow up in healthier environments. But as it stands, anybody can produce a baby. Becoming a good parent is a whole other challenge all unto itself, and one that not enough people seem to take seriously. And plenty do treat their first-born as some sort of experimental child, almost as if necessarily disposable along their learning process. But that first child is still real, still will carry on in life despite you not yet knowing what the fuck you were doing.
A good momma and a good daddy warms my heart to see. Makes me a little sad sometimes, admittedly, but I am grateful for those people existing. They’re good examples for the rest of us to take into account. A mediocre parent is a dime a dozen. As is a shitty one.
I don’t begrudge people simply because I choose not to have kids myself. In fact, the reason I don’t want kids is because I am afraid of screwing them up. I don’t have the background or the mentality to properly nurture them, and I had to come to grips with that long ago and also must keep it in mind as years go on, regardless of what my biological clock likes to pipe up and say.
An urge toward parenthood isn’t a good enough reason to become a parent. Your own will and desires aren’t a good enough reason. Your mistake that led to an unintended pregnancy is not a good enough reason all unto itself. Because parenthood is a serious commitment. It requires more out of you than you initially can imagine. It calls on you to become a better person, a better leader, so as to direct young lives in a productive fashion. That’s a serious investment. Not something to be taken lightly just because your hormones are acting up or an accident occurred or because you got some wishful thinking clouding your mind. And the last thing we need are anymore teens getting the great idea to produce kids out of wedlock because they somehow think that’s the “in” thing to do (I seriously doubt MTV programming is helping there).
It’s harder to not get pregnant oftentimes than it is to do so.
So, pardon me if I don’t pat everybody on the back who announces they managed to produce an offspring. That’s the easy part. Come back to me later on once you’ve proven yourself in that arena and have raised children who love and respect you but who also respect themselves and can comprehend boundaries and take on challenges.
Surely plenty will say they have nothing to prove to the likes of me, and okay, I get that. But your kids are unleashed on the world and wind up impacting a whole lot of people, so yeah, as one member of the public, I do reserve the right to at least use my voice to speak my piece on the subject. Especially if people are going to get their feelings hurt because not everybody is congratulating them right off the bat for happening to become pregnant. Pregnancy happens. Good parenting takes work and deep dedication.
If anything, I can serve as an example to others of perhaps what you might not want your babies growing up to become like. Food for thought.