Yes, The World Sucks and Yes, I Want Children Anyway

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

As a woman in my 30s who doesn’t have children but who potentially still could (and I include adoption under the definition of “having children” in this context, as I’m extremely open to adoption), this affects how I view Fandango’s Provocative Question. But before I get into the question of children, let’s set the context for the state of the world.

Yes, The World Sucks…

Let’s start with the obvious. Between poverty, inequality, deeply broken political systems, terrorism, racism, sexism, massive environmental problems, human rights violations, the state of media, education, and social media, the impact of COVID, and recent war, the world is deeply broken and fucked up. I think many would agree that we live in a world that is frightening in terms of the amount of and magnitude of its problems. And I don’t really think there is reason to believe that things will improve in any meaningful way any time soon. So, we’ve established that the world sucks.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Compared To What?

But when considering the question of whether children born into this world will have a better life than previous generations, it’s important to consider the baseline that we’re comparing to. I do not claim to be a scholar of history, but was there really a time in history when there weren’t egregious human rights violations, diseases, humanitarian crises, and/or geopolitical conflict going on in some part of the world? I also do not really believe that there have been any real changes in the nature of humanity. Humanity has largely sucked throughout most of human history. That arguably hasn’t changed.

Also, I think it’s also important to recognize the ways in which the world has improved vs. the past. We have advances in medicine and technology that our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. Expectations like marrying for love, having an education, having some flexibility in choosing a job/field – these are things that we’ve only come to expect as a given comparatively recently; these weren’t always an option in previous generations. There’s a ton of work to be done still to ensure a safe, fair, just world for all, no question. But I think it’s important to acknowledge where there have been improvements. I’ll also acknowledge here that in spite of the general global chaos and awfulness, my personal circumstances are good. (This is something I don’t always do a great job of appreciating).

Reframing The Question of Children

Fandango’s question as originally worded was “Do you think, given everything that is going on in the world, that children born these days will have a worse or better life than their parents?” But to me, this question is somewhat irrelevant and suggests a false choice between the possibility of having children now and having children a generation ago. If the answer is that children born today would have a better life, a person who had children 25-30 years ago likely can’t have children again now to take advantage of this. And on the flip side, if children born today have it worse than children born 25-30 years ago, there’s nothing that I as a woman in my 30s now considering children can do about that. I can’t go back in time and have children 30 years ago. No one can go backwards or forwards in time. The relevant, actionable question is not whether children were better off being born in the shitty world of 30 years ago vs. in the shitty world of now, but whether, given that the world is shitty, should one bring children into it.

To Have Children in a Shitty World

Many have agonized over the question of, given the state of the world, particularly with respect to climate change, should they bring children into the world.

The legacy we’ve left future generations? Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Everyone in entitled to their own opinions on this, and the decision on whether to have or not to have children is deeply personal. I don’t begrudge anyone’s personal decision on the question of whether to have children. I do question the premise that this is a more uniquely awful time to have children vs other points in human history. Keep in mind that children have been born in concentration camps. During genocides and in war zones. In the midst of natural disasters. During the Bubonic Plague. But even though this reason does not really resonate with me, I respect anyone’s personal decision regardless of their reasons.

It is important to remember that this is a question between having children in a shitty world vs. not having children at all. The question isn’t having children in a shitty world vs. a non-shitty world. Obviously, the non-shitty world would be ideal, but that doesn’t exist. There isn’t some alternate non-shitty world place where you can have children there instead if you don’t like this world.

There is no alternate planet in case you dislike this one. Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

I Want Children

The world is shitty, and likely going to get shittier. I want children anyway. Perhaps this is selfish, although I don’t think this is any more or less selfish than any other personal desire for anything else.

Realistically, there is only so much I can do to make the world my children live in less shitty. There is only so much I will be able to do to shelter them from the shitty world. I can only do my part to make my family/home/community for them as beautiful, supportive, safe, happy, loving and nurturing as possible.

Perhaps my children will get mad at me for raising them in a shitty world. I mean, I hope they don’t, but children often get mad at their parents for the decisions their parents made at some point during their lifetime, so this could certainly happen. Of course, my choices here are “raise them in the least shitty world that I possibly can” or “not have/raise them at all”. If circumstances permit (I’ve already written extensively about how very unhappy I am that I do not have, and may never have, children), I choose “raise them in the least shitty world that I possibly can”.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels


  1. I don’t think there’s anything selfish about wanting kids! I think it can be selfish to have kids and then abuse or neglect them because you couldn’t care less, or you weren’t cut out for parenthood, but I can’t imagine that applying to you!! I feel your pain and want you to have kids too because I know you’d be a great mommy!! Here’s hoping!! Similarly, I want soulmate love!! I think we’re both deserving of our deepest desires!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with this. Also, statistically (rather than the anecdotal impression which get from the news, which tends to highlight awful outliers), the world is getting better: longer life expectancy, less poverty, less disease, less violent crime and less war (while acknowledging that these things are relative and that the reduction in war generally over the last few decades would be scant comfort to those currently living in Ukraine, for example).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “…it’s important to consider the baseline that we’re comparing to…” Exactly! Wanting to have children is natural, and it is necessary. All the Malthusian BS is just that BS. Under population is a serious problem, especially for aging societies like Japan, Europe and the US. China’s one child policy has created serious population problems and imbalances for China. No woman should feel guilty for wanting children or for having children. Adoption is a great option for women who can’t have children.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that children should be wanted and cared for. Many children are not wanted or well cared for–sometimes the adults are doing the best they can with the poor hand they are dealt and sometimes they don’t really care. Nobody should have to have a child and people who have them, please do the best you can for them. Adoption is certainly an excellent way to provide a home to a child who otherwise might not have one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The world has always been shitty, and the only main difference between that shittiness and today’s is a f**kton more nukes. That said, I love my children and grands and don’t regret them for an instant, even though we may all die tomorrow… which was always the case really. The thought of nuclear annihilation makes it seem more sobering but hey. It might not happen…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. Not to be morbid and of course I wish all of us and all of our loved ones long, happy, healthy lives, but death via nuclear warfare, natural disaster, disease pandemic, on top of the many other more mundane ways that life can be tragically cut short, has pretty much always been a possibility.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The three most joyous days in my life were my wedding day and the two days on which my now adult children were born. There is nothing that even compares to the breadth and depth of those relationships.

    Do my wife and I have conflict? Have my children caused me pain? Of course. That”s life.

    Is it a troubled world? Yes. That is part of the human condition. But there are moments of pure joy for people, for countries and for the world.

    I hope and pray for you wonderful motherhood. It is a wise choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think this is soo well written and considered. I learned recently that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the world is going to end very soon so they don’t see education or careers as very Important. But, interestingly, they still have children. Anyway, I just like the way you think through and analyse things. I hope you get to have children soon.


  8. “…but was there really a time in history when there weren’t egregious human rights violations, diseases, humanitarian crises, and/or geopolitical conflict going on in some part of the world?”

    Well, there may have been such a point in history, but that would have been before humans became the dominant species on the planet. The common theme in all that you mentioned is that those issues are all man made. But the new, overarching, and most challenging issue that our children will have to confront is climate change (as you pointed out). And unless we take constructive steps to stop its progression, it’s hard for me to imagine how the stage is being set for our children and grandchildren to live a better life.

    That said, the desire to have children is natural and ingrained and I understand why, despite how shitty our world is and how much shittier it might become, you still want children. I was thrilled when my grandchildren were born and I want nothing but the best for them. I just worry about what their futures will be like if we can’t even get our act together to save our planet so it can continue to host human beings.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Speaking as someone who worries about the state of the world for today’s children – this is an excellent post that’s well thought out, particularly your statement about all the other bad times in human history.

    Plus, the globalisation of knowledge is relatively very new to mankind. We’ve just started to know about catastrophes happening elsewhere (and everywhere) thanks to dissemination of news, but human suffering is as old as time. Humanity /could/ call it quits… OR keep advocating for good, learning and progress, the latter for which you need new generations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And yes, great point about the globalization of knowledge. We can disseminate scientific findings, data, news in a way that we never could before. Whether we do anything useful with that capability is a different question, but this is something that really never existed in the past. Improving the world is a choice that we as both individuals and as a collective society have to keep making.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gosh I never even thought this far ahead, I’m so behind in getting my shit together… But yeah, the world sucks, who knows what’s coming next, but I don’t believe that should dictate life choices. Provided we’re left with choices, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, you got back on WordPress, so that’s a great first step, right?! Missed ya and hope you’re doing well!

      In all seriousness, I get that there are people who have the mental capacity to worry about how their children/grandchildren will fare with climate change, but honestly, I don’t have the capacity to worry about something that far in the future. My concern is whether or not children will actually happen for me. I figure if I have children and then my children face world disaster, my kids are welcome to hate me then and I’ll 100% forgive them for hating me. But also, people have had children in all kinds of horrible, hellish circumstances with no reason to believe that circumstances would ever improve.

      Liked by 1 person

      • (I wasn’t fully gone now that I think about it. I was lurking and creeping without clicking anything.)

        The kid thing is never an easy thing… If one waits for life to be perfect before they can start anything, then they’ll never start.

        Liked by 1 person

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