Having kids creates financial, environmental strain

I don’t want kids. Yep, you read that right. The cute pudgy, runny-nosed li’l humans that you get to teach how to tie their shoes and spell words like s-t-u-d-y-i-n-g and c-a-r-d-b-o-a-r-d? I don’t want any. Not even one. 

“But they’re so cute!”

“Don’t you want to pass on the family name?”

“You’ll change your mind when you get married.”

Okay, maybe. But probably not. And here’s why. 

For me, a huge turnoff regarding pregnancy is all of the bodily changes a woman goes through. 

I’m not talking about morning sickness and stretch marks. That stuff can occur even when a tiny human isn’t growing inside a woman’s uterus. 

The stuff that gets me is the tender breasts and back problems during pregnancy. During labor, the release of the  ‘mucous plug’—uh, gross?—the potential of vomit and excretion and the general pain of not only delivery itself, but also the afterbirth. Personally, I don’t do well with that stuff. 

Aside from all of the physical changes that I am simply not down with, kids are expensive as hell.

According to USA Today in 2018, excluding the cost of college, a middle-income family will spend $233,610 on raising a single child. 

Financial experts recommend putting away six months of living expenses before having a child. I’ll out myself right now and say that I’m living in the dorms my senior year because I can’t afford to move off campus. 

Can you imagine saving six months worth of housing costs, gas money, groceries, utilities and more? I sure can’t. 

On top of living costs, new parents must also afford new expenses for the baby, like clothes for a fast-growing tot, food, childcare and medical bills. 

The average college tuition ticket price for in-state students was $10,116, out-of-state tuition averaged $20,577 and private colleges like Augustana averaged $36,801 for the 2019-2020 school year, according to US News. 

Despite the physical pain and high price tag of having kids, my biggest reason for not having kids is actually to support the environment. 

According to NPR, the average global temperature is supposed to raise almost 4 degrees Fahrenheit by midcentury. 

Experts say this must be avoided or Earth’s inhabitants face heat waves, severe drought and serious impacts on ecosystems—all of which affect the way we live our lives. 

Philosopher and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Travis Rieder says that a 4 degree increase would make the planet “largely uninhabitable for humans.

The U.S. and other first world countries produce the most carbon emissions per person, according to Rieder. However, the poorest nations are far more likely to suffer the cost of climate change. 

Another argument (that I vehemently agree with) is the idea of protecting your kids from climate change by not having them. Why would I want to raise children in a world where the climate makes them—and if not them, poorer children in other countries—suffer?

A study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that “slowing population growth could eliminate one-fifth to one-quarter of all of the carbon emissions that need to be cut by midcentury to avoid that potentially catastrophic tipping point,” said NPR. 

So there you have it. Pregnancy sucks, labor is painful and gross, kids are expensive and it almost seems more humane to avoid having children if they have to grow up in a world where the temperatures are so hot in the summer they can’t even go outside. 

I’m pretty set on this; however, there is always a chance I could change my mind. I’ve got a few years before I’ll be making this decision. 

As cute as children are, and as fulfilling as motherhood might be, for now I still can’t shake the feeling that abstaining from populating the earth could be one of the most sustainable things a person can do.

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