by Jess

My brother has a rather interesting view point on having kids, he believes it’s wrong and selfish because that child hasn’t asked to be born. We quite frequently disagree on it, not that I don’t see his point to a certain extent but there is no way it could be done any differently and the primary instinct of our human race is to reproduce and keep it going, I can’t really see that changing any time soon.

I have read quite a few things recently though about the environmental impact of having children and it got me thinking because I really do care about our planet and know something has to change if we stand any chance of saving it.

I’ve literally always wanted to have kids, from a very early age I loved playing with baby dolls and the one week in primary school when we made flour babies to look after was the only part of my entire school life that I actually enjoyed. I looked after it for an entire week like it was a real baby and just loved that feeling of having something to care for, then when I became a mum in real life I loved it just as much. It changed my life for the better in so many ways and made me so much more confident as a person. I’ve achieved more in the last seven years than I have in my entire life before that.

Until recently I had always hoped to have another baby at some point, I guess a big part of that was because I enjoyed breastfeeding and babywearing so much and wanted to experience it all again, babies are so special and I loved those early months. In fact having spoken to a few people recently I think I have struggled the other way round to most, whereas a lot of mums find the first year the hardest I found it the easiest and it’s now my kids are older that I struggle a bit more. For me it’s because you can’t just fit them into your life anymore, life becomes all about them, that sounds really selfish doesn’t it?! When you have a baby you can stick them in a sling and go about your daily life but when you have two very vocal children you can’t do anything unless you have their approval.

Still I know how quickly the years fly by and that it won’t always be like this, I also know that when I have my freedom back I will miss having young children around me all the time. I am already starting to see signs of that freedom too, the kids have lots of friends where we live and sometimes will be out playing for hour plus every day they are doing more for themselves. I feel like we’ve moved onto the next stage in parenting, the baby and toddler days are now behind us.

I would have happily done gone back to them again but then the articles I started reading made me question why I would do that. Being vegan, cutting down on plastic, recycling and driving / flying less are good but don’t even compare to the positive impact of not having another child. According to this article and many others like it, having a baby is one of the most destructive things you can do to this planet.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden found having one fewer child per family can save “an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year”. “A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” it said.

Back to my brother.. he sent me an article a couple of nights ago about the women who are choosing not to have children at all because of the environmental impact and although I once would have seen it as really extreme I do now totally see where they are coming from.

I’m not writing this to pass judgement on anyone who is still choosing to have kids by the way! Had I never read articles like these then I no doubt would have had more children at some point but now I can’t just ignore it. I just don’t feel like I can justify having any more children, there is no real need for it. I’m not perfect and have a long way to go in the whole zero-waste area of my life but if I can make a big difference by not bringing another child into the world then that is something I am happy to do. So let’s just say Matt’s dreams have come true and I’ve finally given him the green light to have a certain little procedure done 😉 What with this and me deciding I don’t want to get married anymore he can’t believe his luck! Haha.

We have touched very lightly on the topic of adoption though, it’s not something that we could ever consider now (due to being skint, having a tiny house and trying to build our businesses) but in a few years if we were financially doing well then it’s definitely something that we would look into.

What do you think?

Would the environmental impact make you think twice before having / having anymore children?

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Marla October 19, 2017 - 12:22 pm

Honestly? No it wouldn’t. I know how selfish that must sound but I suppose in many ways, you could say ever choosing to have children is selfish full stop. I think my own instincts to nurture and love overcomes any concerns about environmental issues. I think using the environment as a reason not to have kids is pretty extreme to be honest. I mean lots of people don’t want children and that’s their right of course but to do it for the good of the environment is extreme. You’re putting your green concerns ahead of your own primitive desires surely? I can’t help but think that it’s something you might come to regret. Or not of course. It just seems very extreme to me even as somebody who really does try and live as green as I possibly can.

Jessica Amey October 20, 2017 - 3:24 pm

I definitely don’t think I could have let it stop me from having kids as it really was something I wanted so badly but it is definitely going to stop me from having the amount that I originally wanted, I did want 4 but will stop at 2 now I think as now I’m aware of the impact I don’t think I could just ignore it. I guess it’s also that thing of bringing kids into a world that is so overpopulated with so many problems, it’s pretty scary and I do wonder whether it would have been something I’d have taken into consideration had I been making the decision as the person I am now… it’s an interesting one!


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