Will my kids live happy lives?
a.k.a Do I want to have kids at all?
There are times when I respond with a strong YES, very simply because I see the pictures of kids and want to have one for myself, to kiss and hug and play with whenever I want to. One who looks like me and acts like the person I love the most. I get excited about the thought of my parents taking my kids for a walk, imagine them playing with each other, cooking and giving the immeasurable love that they have gathered throughout their lives.
As somebody who studies education and philosophy of mind, having a child interests me from a very different perspective too… What kind of a parent would I be? How would I help my child’s mind develop and how different would I be from all the subjectively “crappy” parents I see around me. This might sound arrogant but I believe that in many ways I would be a very good parent, especially “in combination” with my partner. I know that I will try my best to make every single day of my children interesting, stimulating and lively. Will give them trust and unconditional love, will answer their questions with even more questions and will teach them to wonder and be amazed by the world, colours, sounds, tastes, feelings and all the beautiful things around. I know I will make lots of mistakes too, but realising that I will be able to do all those good things too, makes me want to jump in bad with my partner right now.
As for the opposite perspective, their come all the ugly thoughts about pain of pregnancy, pain of responsibility, the time and energy kids will take from my personal time of peace (which is already quite a little in my world) etc. all these followed by equally strong NO.
But most of all, what bothers me is the fear, that my kids might not be happy because of all the scary things that the world might prepare for them. There is so much I can not be in control of. Their health, the incidents that might happen after they are born, the physical or mental struggles that they might have to go through. Many people say that I should not worry about all that, but I am scared of this every single day I read the news or the stories of people who struggled through life. I am not sure that the life I will give these kids will be worth living for them. I am scared that they might have such a bad luck that they might ask — why the hell did you give birth to us? Why did not you just adopt somebody who was already destined to struggle the life. I will not have the answer — my answer will be that I did it to have fun for myself.
All this becomes even more scary when I read that in 50 years the environmental crisis will reach the point where it will be extremely hard for humans to survive. Do I want my child to struggle through that? And what about AI? So many people discuss the dangers that it might bring to the humankind. Even if it does not bring any dangers for my kid’s lifetime, I am pretty sure that the virtual reality will be here in 50 years.
Do I want to give birth to a human being who will live in a world I have no idea about and which even I might think is not worth living?