Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Truth of Selfishness

All our lives, we are told that if we don't want to have children, we are selfish. Don't believe me? That's because you probably have children and have never had to hear it. And I don't mean the good best-me-I-can-be selfish which actually exists but of which most people are ignorant, but the me-me-me-I-me selfish because the world revolves around me selfish. "You aren't having kids? That's awfully selfish of you." "You don't want a baby? You must be very selfish." I won't get into the how and why of that, because I pretty much don't understand it, but I will say I used to agree and be OK with it. I figured since I didn't want to do the things that are involved with having and raising a kid, I must be selfish. Selfish with my time, my relationships, my possessions. OK, so I'm selfish. And I'm fine with that.

Except now I'm not. I've come to my senses. I got tired of being the bad guy, when the truth is actually the complete opposite. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing more selfish than having a kid.

From the very beginning: "I'm having a baby!" "I'm expecting!" "We're pregnant!" (Of course, that last one is always annoying. If anything, the two of you together failed at birth control. We? Your partner ejaculated and nothing caught it.) Look at all of these statements. They are all me-me-me.

Then the next eight months or so are all about you. How you are feeling, how nauseated you are, how your boobs look, what you can and can't do, what you want to eat, what you can't eat. How you are dying for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine but you can't because you are pregnant. How important it is that the world makes concessions for your condition. How you can't go into a place that serves a certain kind of food because it will make you ill. How you can't be expected to act normally and do certain things because you have hormonal fluctuations and you forget things because you are pregnant. It's not your fault. And no one else has ever been through anything like this before. Just you. It's all about you. Is that not selfish? That no one else's workday or home life is important because you are doing the very important job of breeding? Yeah, see, my life and my job are still going on over here and you are now negatively affecting it because you are the selfish one, not me.


selfish

/ˈsɛlfɪʃ/

adjective 
1.
chiefly concerned with one's own interest, advantage, etc, 
especially to the total exclusion of the interests of others
It doesn't end there. Oh no, it's just the beginning. Birth. Endless stories about what it what like and what the child does minute to minute. Come see my new baby and I will tell you all about me and what I went through and what my my my life is like now that I don't get enough sleep and it's so hard for me and you have no idea because you haven't been through what I have been through because you're too selfish to do what I did and I don't want to hear anything about you because it's all about me and what I'm going through because I'm more important than you because I brought another life into the world, so selflessly.

Somehow, it's all twisted into some weird illogical thing of not being selfish because it's all about this other life brought into the world. "See, it's not all about me, it's about my kid. So that's not selfish. I'm thinking only of my child. I'm very noble, after all. Not selfish at all. How can it be selfish when everything I do is for the good of my child?" Well, let's see. Let's go back to the definition posted above. Your kid is your own interest and you are chiefly concerned with your kid to the total exclusion of the interests of others. You can't attend something because of your kid. You can't get to work because of your kid. You can't pull your weight on a project to which you committed because something came up with ... your kid. That's all well and fine. You are raising a human. It takes work, and so-called sacrifice (although don't even try to tell us you didn't know what you were getting into - we knew enough to not get into it). But don't dare say I'm selfish and you are selfless for what you are doing. I'm still over here pulling my weight, and now yours. Because your life with your kid is more important. How does that make me the selfish one? I have to work around you and your pregnancy/kid things that come up because ... I'm selfish? I don't think that's how that works.

Let's look at that definition again with a different lens. "Chiefly concerned with one's own interest especially to the total exclusion of the interests of others." Why does one have a baby? When you ask, the answer is "because I wanted one." Or five. So, that was to your own interest to the total exclusion of the rest of the world, which is overpopulated. Too many humans for the resources here on this finite world. Humans are not endangered. If you weren't being selfish, might you have adopted a human that was already here, rather than further burdening the system? Rather than creating more of a carbon footprint? No, having a child is the very definition of "selfish."

Are all who procreate like this? Of course not. Not at all. Those that aren't like that have never called me selfish. So this was never aimed at them. There are wonderful parents who are really good at it and are raising wonderful kids and everything is grand. Those people are awesome. Those people never make it everyone else's problem. They are not selfish and would never accuse me of being selfish. I don't know how they do it, and they are super-aces in my book, because I could never do what they do.

Because, you know, apparently I'm selfish. Begin again.