Growing up, I never gave much thought to being an only child. I actually lived a hybrid existence, considering that indeed I had a brother and sister, except that they were 25 years my senior. As far as I was concerned, I was living the dream by having siblings but never having to deal with the fighting and sharing. However, only children get a bad rap.
This soon may be changing as our generation is approaching our twenties and thirties.
As much as we do not like to admit it, we are in a cultural revolution of sorts. Women have been in the workplace for some time now, marriage equality is gaining ground and people are beginning to think that more than one child if not, none may or may be the right thing to do.
Our generation is product of a lineage that had bigger families and lower divorce rate. There are arguments for why this was or was not a good thing, however, things are going in a different direction now and it is time that our thoughts catch up.
Even as a parent, I do not think that not having children is a bad thing. If having children makes the individual(s) worse parents because of resentment, stress and undesirable responsibility, then I see no reason why one must compromise on behalf of expectations.
This can be particularly damaging for females, considering our biological capacity. With female bodies being discussed so openly in political discussion, as if they are an entity all their own, it is no wonder that the same disrespect and insensitivity finds its way into personal discussions.
Whether that be from family members, friends or colleagues, it seems as if everybody wonders when she is going to make room for baby.
There may not be room for baby. With debt looming over most of our heads, and an economy that makes a minimum wage job after graduating college look appealing, the family model may look a bit different in the years ahead.
Families are a great thing. I am sure most people enjoyed being an only child or having siblings. But procreation does not make a person or couple any better or less as far as their worth.
The values that lie so deep within our culture regarding family needs to be redefined. No one should over be made to feel guilty because they did not have children or only settled with one. It is not the number of people that makes a family, but the love within it.
There is no need to have multiple kids anymore. The children do not need to go out and work to support the family, and with the improvement of medicine, infant mortality rating is very low. Economically speaking, children are more expensive now than ever before.
As far as partnering and marriage are concerned, I do not recall there being any requirement in the fine print, unless already discussed between the participating contributors. If couples want to have kids, great, if they do not, that is no ones business except their own. Emotions cannot be helped at times, as family and friends may feel disappointed, however, making those people feel guilty for not doing something you think is fit is selfish and inconsiderate.
As we continue this revolution, there are many things that are doing to be redefined and examined. Children are amazing and I love being a parent. But I am a firm believer that not everyone needs to be one. If we are all concerned about our contribution to the world, perhaps those who choose not to have kids or one are contributing more.
Kids take commitment, and if a person desires to not make that commitment and commit to something else, maybe that commitment will be seen in the cure for cancer or world hunger. Lofty ideas, yes, but trying to do something you do not want to do can sometimes turn catastrophic, and children should never be the result from pressure.
Holly Mayer is a junior English major and ethnic studies minor. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.