Way back when I was 20, I didn’t like the idea of having kids. I wondered if that feeling would change. In my late 20s I realised it never would, although as I get older it’s been refined down a bit to not making kids of my own or being around those children too young to talk to. It’s when they start talking and asking questions that I take an interest; most adults have given up on asking “why” years ago. Whether crushed out of them by their education or ground down by a dull relentless job, the curiosity is gone. Not so with children, they can ask why 100 times in a row if you have the patience for it. Usually after I have coffee.
With a world crammed to breaking point with the seething hordes of an endlessly expanding human population, why would anybody in their right mind want to make more? With so many children needing adoption on a global level why the surplus?
We accepted that it’s much better to adopt a dog from a shelter than breed our own dogs or find a breeder, and the uptake shows. But we seem to have an innate need to produce more of ourselves. It makes evolutionary sense , but in this modern century it doesn’t make logical sense.
What is the cultural reason we all seem to want children and want to encourage others (especially our offspring) to have children? Is it really as simple as our children’s toys we had when we are young or are there forces at work on adults? The tax rebates and welfare available for Australians certainly encourages a lot of people to have more children where it would have been outside their budget to do otherwise.
My doctor has known me over 10 years. He knows I have no children and didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow when I asked for a referral. The receptionist at the clinic’s first question was if I had spoke to them previously. Her second was more poignant: do you already have children? As if that’s a requirement. It’s not: if you do 3 counselling sessions or pre-freeze some future kids. There’s no rules about dumping the semen-sicle later, so it works out a little cheaper. But Counselling is more suited to those of us who love a chat. Notice how there is no counselling sessions for anyone that WANTS kids. It’s as much a decision with permanent implications as choosing to never be able to have them. So why not?
Today I made the booking. It’s not like the process was not started already. My only regret was having to wait almost a year due to my wanting to fly on a week I had off last year. Wearing a paragliding harness was not the kind of thing one can do 3 days after a vasectomy.
So my package turned up in the mail. The usual disclaimer forms (it has some minor risks including a 1 in 80 chance it doesn’t work now, and a 1 in 500 it doesn’t work somewhere years from now). The 1 in 80 can be circumvented via a test 12 weeks after surgery. Its always a possibility that I have 3 tubes not the usual 2, and the easiest way to see is the follow up test.
Interesting things I will have to do now include not taking my vitamins, eating Panadol (acetaminophen) before surgery and buying myself some tighty-whities. My boys are used to roaming free but they will need a house to recover in…. its been over 20 years since I wore anything but boxer shorts.
See how some other people think about having children:
For Simone Alin, an oceanographer focusing on ocean acidification at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle,
Alin’s frank discussion of the looming oceanic apocalypse is perhaps a product of studying unfathomable change every day. But four years ago, the birth of her twins “heightened the whole issue,” she says. “I was worried enough about these problems before having kids that I maybe wondered whether it was a good idea. Now, it just makes me feel crushed.”
I try to take care of myself and the planet when I can, but like all middle class westerners I’m constantly tempted to consume.
I pay more for food because I choose healthy food. As a single man I have a lot more control over what I eat and buy than I would if I had a family to feed. The lack of sugar and carbs in my diet has the added benefit of being low in calories while making me feel very full. I had a similar diet back in 1999, but I was skinny then and lost too much weight. In my thirties now, I have switched back to it because I now have the weight to lose. I am a vegetarian again, and the amount I pay for food is about the same as when I did eat sugar and meat. It’s because I eat less calories that it costs the same. But it’s hard as an almost live-alone human to be bothered to cook for myself sometimes; after all I’m the only one who is going to appreciate it. Add in my reduced healthcare and it starts to look cheap. The last check-up at the doctor had the doctor sit back and say “whoa”. At first I was worried before he informed me that my blood pressure and resting heart rate was “about the expected numbers for a rather fit 25 year old man”. Your diet determines your health, even the Australian cancer council agrees that your diet is the greatest factor in determining your future cancer risk. Sure the fried chip smell spilling out of a MacDonald’s smells good, but thinking about how I feel after eating it is enough to put me off eating it. It helps to unplug your aerial and stop watching TV. Best of luck to you all, because sugar is harder to quit than cocaine. Growing livestock is one of our largest sources of the greenhouse gas methane 1, as well as our biggest user or arable land that was once forested wilderness with biodiversity. So after everything went “grain fed” I went back to being a “lactovegeterian”, while I enjoy the food I do hate the name “lactovegerterian”. I hope somebody comes up with a better one.
But all this still did not seem like enough of an effort or statement about what I think of the earth and our place in it. There was still one more thing to do….
Science will never be complete. It is the method of expanding knowledge that accepts that we can never know everything yet should still strive to do so.
So it’s earth overshoot day. The day of the year that estimates when we have used up as many resources and made as much pollution as the earth can withstand in a whole year. The rest of the year is borrowed time. I prefer to think in terms of “population overshoot day” if no babies were born between March and December, the earth wouldn’t be so overpopulated. So every baby born after , say, the first of March would be an overshoot baby, and more than the earth could carry.
Bought my first briefs in 20 years today. The cheap ones because they only have to last a week. Especially if I turn them inside out….;)
“Then I grew up and slowly but surely came to the conclusion that EVERY human being is bad/evil in one way or another. BUT, luckily there are ways of trying to distant oneself from the rest of the wicked hoard, two of them is adapting a vegan “lifestyle” and becoming an anti-natalist. And that reminds me of something I have to say. Thinking that humanity sucks, and that life is meaningless and bad (which it is) doesn’t mean that you’re free to impose suffering and violence upon anyone (neither human or non-human people) just because you don’t give a shit any more. If you see the truth, you should try putting it to good use instead; go vegan, don’t breed, be nice.”
The consent forms are signed, the preparations are made. But I am still very nervous.
I would rather let a stranger cut my balls with a knife than have a kid. Literally . But the night before any surgery is always a nervous wait. I suspect this is going to be a lot more painful than grommets, and have wider implications. But I woke my friend up out of bed to sign the waiver (and print it too). Hopefully he can give me a lift home tomorrow, but taxi will work fine too if I can still figure out stairs and locks at that time. It’s an exciting time but to be honest it’s also a fearful one. Kind of like jumping off a mountain in a para-glider , but not knowing where you are going to land, and there is no hope of ever climbing that mountain again, or having to make weekly payments, feed, clothe, educate or explain why the world is in such a bad state to said mountain. Or cleaning the mountains nappy. Actually it’s not like paragliding at all.
Still having a disagreement with my 3d printer about what nylon does and doesn’t want to stick to, hopefully I’m asleep in bed soon. Hopefully it’s the last time I sleep as a fertile reproducer in a world of diminishing resources and freedoms, dooming my offspring to repeat the problems of my species past….
The only people I have told my plans to so far is my doctor, the clinic, the pharmacist selling me codeine/panadol (acetaminophen) and my 55 year old friend signing as witness. I don’t expect it to come as a shock to my friends, it’s my family who might be a bit surprised though.
Doctor: what made you make this final decision?
Me: the state of the planet, it’s not improving and the last thing it needs is more little people, especially ones like me.
Doctor: what is your current method of contraception?
Me: involuntary abstinence.
Now I’m just minutes away. Time to get into the surgical gown. I am nervous and excited, I hope the doctor isn’t having an off day…. Here we go…
Phew! All done. Now I’m home, head full of ether, tighty-whities full of frozen peas. I have now removed myself from the gene pool and am towelling dry on the proverbial sun chairs.
Apparently my “unusually large” scrotum made it easier. Gotta be good for something.
I even got to watch on the big TV. That sort of thing fondles my curiosity, where others just cringe at the thought.
It was almost painless, just 2 pin pricks and the pressure when the tubes were flushed out.
In fact the most painful part so far is the bill. $1,400 just for the surgery, along with all the other associated expenses and time off work I can see this will end up costing almost $2,000 in total. It’s a high end clinic and there are much cheaper places with simpler operations charging just a few hundred, but like I told my doctor: sometimes when it’s critical irreplaceable equipment you want repaired or modified it pays not to go with the cheapest quote.
So now it’s the day after and I can finally remove the cold pack and have a shower like a normal person. I can’t go anywhere because I can’t stand comfortably for more than 2 minutes and I certainly can’t do any sudden movements that might make me jiggle. so I’ve been taking this downtime to sign up to tinder. Everybody else has already.
Finding partners with no children who don’t want them is a bit hard, but it’s getting easier:
The last steps left to do are to :
7) wear firm fitting cotton underwear day and night for 10 days
8) after dressing is removed, have as much protected sex as possible until you have done your 12 week sperm test and have received final clearance from us.
While it won’t solve all our problems, I’m very happy to not be adding to the problems of this planet, but there’s always more I can do.
Until then, I’m going to keep working on tinder. After all, it’s doctor’s orders, baby.
I thought a vasectomy would stop my wife from falling pregnant again, instead it just changed the colour of the baby…
Girls don’t have the Cohunas to get a vasectomy…
I could have written a few more testicle puns, but I don’t think it would have made a vas deferens…