“Leaving behind books is even more beautiful — there are already so many children.” ―Marguerite Yourcenar
Hello. My name is Alice Minium, and I am twenty-six years old. In a controversial move, I have somehow failed in a most significant aspect of my womanhood- I have failed to bear children. Zero. Zero point zero. I have borne zero point zero children to society, and if I was to die right now in my apartment, the genetic line of Alice Minium would undoubtedly die with me.
While the inevitable decline of Alice Miniums is in itself a tragedy (because the world should ideally have as many of me as possible), I do not consider this sufficient cause to begin attempts at reproduction. There is a whole lot going on there, when it comes to the decision to have children, and I am fortunate that it is a decision I have at all. But it is my decision. And, interestingly, it’s a decision that’s largely dominated by one-sided debate. Even discussing the potential downsides of motherhood is considered tantamount antisocial behavior. Simply stating that you find the premise of childbearing to be generally unpleasant is in itself an inflammatory claim. Do you hate children? What’s wrong with you? Do you hate humanity?
No, Karen, I love children. I also love potatoes. But I don’t want to grow a giant potato inside my body and then force it out through my genitals, do I?Additionally, if there were no more potatoes left on earth, that would be a different story. But there are plenty of children on earth. There is no scarcity of children. And there are plenty of unloved, unwanted children. Why do you think it’s a good idea for me to make another one? Why is that so utterly important? We all love potatoes, Karen. We don’t all feel like opening potato farms.
Despite the fact that I am, yet, young, the Karens of the world abound with their disapproving glances and pained questions. And there is no greater Karen than my mother. At my last birthday party, my mother paused before my…