Skip to comments.So You Want Me to Breed?
Posted on 05/30/2007 11:21:26 AM PDT by qam1
Contradictory messages about women's fertility are breeding like rabbits this week. In largely-Catholic Brazil, the government is subsidizing birth control pills so poor women can afford the contraceptive, despite a recent visit by Pope Benedict XVI, who mainly used his time to condemn abortion, contraception and sex outside marriage. In China, officials are rounding up rural, pregnant women and conducting forced abortions to enforce the mandatory one child policy.
In Canada, on the other hand, I'm the problem. Thirty-something. Childless. And a threat to Canada's future economic well being. The nation's fertility rate has plummeted to 1.53 children per woman, and Maclean's has published the latest cry of alarm: "Hey Lady! What will it take to make you breed? Your government needs to know."
The culprits, according to the article, are female education and fiscal autonomy, secularization, birth control, Sex and the City, a heightened desire for personal freedom and the angst that comes of bringing a child into a dangerous world. "In a hyper-individualistic, ultra-commodified culture like ours, motherhood, for better and worse, is less a fact of life than just another lifestyle choice."
You don't have to read much between the lines to discern the big class bias behind all of this hand wringing. Stats actually show that young, unmarried, uneducated, non-professional women are doing just fine in the baby department. The elitist worry seems to be that the "right" kind of woman is forgoing kids. Read: middle class and up.
The Maclean's story goes on to crunch the economic equation such women face -- and believe me, I've done the numbers myself.
The cost of a kid ranges from $260,000 to $1.6 million depending on whom you talk to. Women lose income when they have a child, unlike men, the "motherhood penalty," of about 20 per cent per year. Kids are the "new glass ceiling," only 74 per cent of women who leave the work force are able to return, and only 40 per cent of those return to full time, professional jobs. Mothers are 44 percent less likely to be hired than non-mothers with the same resume, experiences and qualifications. So not surprisingly, while the majority of male senior execs have kids, the majority of female execs don't. In short, women bear the costs -- financial and career -- of having children. "These days, it's not just a matter of a woman wanting children, it's a matter wanting them at the expense of everything else she's worked for."
What solutions flow from this analysis? Cash incentives don't work to address the problem, (paging Mr. Harper) but the French experiment does. Among many other benefits, the government provides an extensive, free child care system where parents can leave children on a moment's notice, a calibrated income-tax rate for families, and a tax deduction for in-home child care help. The fertility rate has soared to 2.0 from 1.8 in just two years. And some feminists say the real victory is that women no longer shoulder alone the social burden of reproduction.
Fine, let's say we wave a magic wand and make all that happen in Canada. The financial and career barriers have disappeared like a stinky diaper in one of those diaper genie things. There's stimulating, free daycare. I can keep working part time and spend time with my pretend child. I can keep climbing the career ladder, rung per rung, with my child-free sisters....
All well and good. But next time my friends and I get together to discuss the baby question, I'd invite the editors of Maclean's, and any wonk they'd like to bring along, to join us. They would hear a conversation very different from the one reflected in their input-output, incentives-driven analysis.
They would hear women struggling to reconcile head and heart.
When my other child-free but child-keen friends get together we don't talk about having kids to stimulate the economy, provide skilled workers and pay for boomers to have hip replacement surgery. We don't consider it our duty to solve the "crisis" caused by boomers retiring without enough young people to pay for their medicare. We don't lie awake at night fretting over the looming labour shortage, even if Canada does wind up, as projected, 1.2 million workers short by 2020.
We don't imagine it our purpose in life to produce labourers, consumers and taxpayers.
What we talk about a lot is whether it is morally right to have a child, given what we know about the state of planet.
My friends and I talk about how people like us in developed countries are vacuuming up the world's resources. We belong to the 10 per cent of the world population who consume 90 per cent of the Earth's resources. We talk about global overpopulation. We talk about children in other countries who don't have enough to eat or access to medicine.
Kind friends have soothed some of those concerns. Some have offered, brightly, that we might find real solutions to looming environmental apocalypse quicker than we think. Others have told me I should feel entitled to do what makes me happy. Hey, you're only here once! And some have provided this reassurance: if I create and raise a happy, healthy person with a small footprint who respects others then that's a kind of service to the planet.
Thanks, everyone. So far, though, your lullaby is still not quite strong enough to convince me.
What I would need to breed are reasons based on ethics not economics. That's how I've approached other personal decisions like which career to pursue, or even what clothing to wear.
I don't know, I'd have to see a picture first.
Drinking up for the cause!
I’m kinda glad so dark and selfish a soul won’t have any young minds to poison.
What she meant: What we talk about a lot is whether it is
morally right easy enough for me to have a child, given what we know about the state of planet I think I know, and how much of my precious time and money it would suck away.
It's laughable to hear a liberal talk about morals. Their morality is entirely artificial, based on what fits their particular plans at the moment.
If that's where you and your childless friends are mentally, please, I beg you.. DON'T BREED! You are too ill informed and too riddled with indiotic liberal guilt to remotely be a responsible parent.
After having read some of this fine lady’s prose, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is good she has not bred, and I further propose that we start a fund to pay for her tubal ligation. If we collect enough, we can “fix” her like-minded friends to which she refers.
A man willing to wear the skirt in the family.
That's just the convenient excuse du jour. The real reason is that the author and her friends (and much of her generation) don't feel grown up enough to take on the task of raising a child - because they are still children themselves. I applaud them for not making what in their cases would be a serious mistake.
Offset, probably, by huge amounts of low-skill immigration and the dominance of the propaganda instruments in the schools and the media by the left, which uses them to inculcate the ideology of ethnoracial separatism and the victimization culture.
Those numbers don’t make a lot of sense. The real measure is the child per liberal woman and per conservative woman. By what this article comes up with is 1.47 kids per couple for libs (death rate) and 2.08 for conservative couples which is a replacement rate to keep population stable.
However, with liberal social programs we need a replacement rate of about 2.5 to pay for all of the stuff the current boomers and X’ers will consume.
Absolutely! I only recently saw it for the first time, but it's moved right near the top of my favorites list. The only unrealistic thing about it is the idea that it will take us 500 more years to get there. ;)
“What we talk about a lot is whether it is morally right to have a child, given what we know about the state of planet.
My friends and I talk about how people like us in developed countries are vacuuming up the world’s resources. We belong to the 10 per cent of the world population who consume 90 per cent of the Earth’s resources. We talk about global overpopulation. We talk about children in other countries who don’t have enough to eat or access to medicine.”
What a load of rubbish. Whether or not a Canadian woman has x number of children isn’t going to make a bit of difference to any of that. Poor people in sub-saharan Africa aren’t going to be any less poor because you don’t have another baby. Indeed, people in the developing world depend on us in the developed world to provide markets for their products while they try to fight their way out of poverty.
Just admit it, lady, you don’t want to have kids due to selfish reasons. That’s not necessarily bad or evil, but at least be honest about it.
qam1 is right “There’s been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that’s left is the bill to pay.” The lib boomers have had a HUGE narcissistic party and just turned it all over to us. I’m listening to Rush talk about the oil prices. These libs have prevented a refinery from being built in 20 or 30 years and now tell us we are slothful because the oil use is going up. Mind you these are they boomers who had hot rods as kids and grew up in a culture where songs like “oh donna” were popular. The same generation that didn't enforce the borders becuase the issue made them feel bad. Thanks alot.
She convinced me, she and her friends shouldn’t breed. I hope she spreads the word far and wide.
That would be an encouraging statistic if it weren't for the fact that liberals reproduce not so much by having children but by recruitment. When conservatives send their kids off to college there is no telling what they are going to get back.
The problem as I see it is we are going to have 12-20 millions of illegal immigrants who will be largely voting Democrat. I fear for the future of the Republican party.
Yes, that’s a problem, and it’s the whole reason that Democrats support bringing them in.
Remember that those 12 million have probably 10 family members they’ll bring with them.