As a parent myself, I can tell you that there are countless reasons not to have children

As a parent myself, I can tell you that there are countless reasons not to have children

Anyone planning to have a baby should consider the reasons not to (Image: Sarah Whiteley)

‘And if they are afraid of dogs?’

‘Loss of freedom’

When Lorella Palmer, a 22-year-old from London, listed her reasons for not wanting children on TikTok, I found myself nodding along.

To be honest, I’m surprised it only gets to 10; there are millions of reasons to decide not to reproduce. Millions!

Many people assume that it’s just another milestone in life to reach, achieve and mark, rather than thinking seriously about the issue of procreation and deciding whether becoming a parent is right for them personally.

Because even though some of Lorella’s reasons are ironic, it doesn’t make them any less valid.

In her video, when she refers to her first reason, “No takeies backsies,” she says, “What if after 10 years of having a child I wake up one day thinking, ‘You know what, I’ve tried, me?’ I’ve tried this, it’s just not for me?”‘ And she’s absolutely right. It doesn’t matter at 18, children are a lifelong commitment.

Obviously, as they become adults, children become more independent and less dependent. But at 38, I still call my parents regularly for emotional advice and practical help, and everything in between. I would be devastated if they weren’t still there for me. They are the two people you should be able to rely on for unconditional love and support, regardless of your age.

Lorella also lists the fact that while mothers are expected to be good parents, fathers are rewarded for their efforts, the fact that she would have to do school runs and packed lunches for 16 years, and the worry of whether the their children would. be afraid of dogs

All fully justified, in my opinion.

He also cites the loss of freedom, the fact that the children get so sick, the housing crisis that prevents him from being able to buy a place to live, the fact that he does not share food and that he does not want. add to the struggling education and health system.

Oh, and the minor matter of labor pain.

While some of these are more serious than others and the entire video can be dismissed as a twenty-something girl doing little, as a mother of two, they all resonate with me.

Immy and T love Bluey

Of course, for every reason not to have a child, there are dozens more to have one (Image: Sarah Whiteley)

I worried all nine months into my pregnancy about whether I and my pathetic pain threshold would be able to get a baby out of my vagina (in the end, I never knew, as I ended up having two C-sections ).

And my two children, Theo, four, and Immy, two, are afraid of dogs and it’s a nightmare. Whenever we go to a friend’s house, the first question we both ask is if that person has a dog. Once we stopped to talk to someone on the street and Theo was so scared by a passing dog that he jumped into the road.

And of course, these reasons are just the tip of the iceberg.

Recently, I’ve been very scared about the heat wave and the environmental crisis, worrying about whether I was responsible for bringing two children into such a damaged world.

Then there is the total lack of space: physical, emotional and mental. I had never heard of the phrase “touched” before I had kids and I heard it before I could define it. The oppression of constantly having another body. And, when they’re older, jumping on you, sleeping on you, trying to poke your nose…it’s exhausting.

You don’t have a minute to yourself when they’re around. And even when they’re at daycare or at their grandparents’ house, you still have to be ready to let it all go if they have a temperature, a rash, or vomit, things that happen far more often than ever before. you would have noticed

No more last-minute trips to the movies with your significant other, and even well-planned ones are a rarity. I remember someone telling me this before I gave birth, and it wasn’t until I had Theo that I realized how true it was. You don’t realize how long the trips to the movies are, or how late they are, how guilty you feel for imposing on grandparents or friends, or the cost of a babysitter to make it an exorbitant night out.

Even now, I wonder if we did the right thing by having children. I have nightmares about what would happen to Theo and Immy if something were to happen to me and my husband Tom and the impact this trauma would have.

Or, even worse, I wonder if I would be able to handle them if something happened to them. I’ve followed Archie Battersbee’s story through tears, wondering how on earth his poor mother is going to get out of bed every morning after what’s happened.

Yes, of course, for every reason not to have a child, there are dozens more to have one. The love you have experienced, both for them and from them, the intensity of that relationship that is like no other.

And obviously, I’m very grateful that I was even able to have my two beautiful children, with infertility affecting so many.

But even though, at 22, Lorella has plenty of years to change her mind, I’m still very glad that she came forward with these reasons.

Because anyone planning to have a baby should consider the reasons not to.

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