Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Philosophical Parent: Choosing Children
My series continues.
I'm trying to think about the decision to get with child. There seem to be two aspects to the decision-making. You have thoughts about "why?" And you have thoughts about "why not?"
It seems like these two categories of thought are very different, though I'd love to get some feedback on this. The "why?" thoughts are barely even thoughts. You just have a desire to be "with child." Women talk about "baby lust." Babies start to look scrumptious. You want your own. You have images in your head--red-headed 5 year old, whatever. A kid that's yours. That's an important element. But it's all very formless.
In other words, the thought about wanting a baby isn't analytical or instrumental. You don't think I want a baby that has these attributes, and will do this and that for me. Baby-desire is much more crude than that.
And then there's the "why not?" phase of deciding whether to have a baby. Now things get analytical. Now there are tangled, vexing issues about whether this baby's life is going to benefit or harm him, and us, and...it can get complicated when there are issues about the child's genes or the circumstances he or she will be born into. To what extent should those "why not?" be given veto power? But first...
What I am wondering about is the "why?" thoughts. Is it true that they are so primitive and formless? I'm not looking for theories about this, but personal experience--yours, your friends', your partner's...whatever.