When I was in my early teens, say ten or eleven, I pretended to read a book about the Russian Revolution when we were on a family holiday in Spain. It was only the second and the last family holiday we’d had abroad. I remember I liked the name Anastasia. So I decided I’d call my daughter that. 

So at some point in time, the idea of having a child wasn’t entirely alien to me. Although my motives were mostly because I wanted to call my daughter Anastasia and not because I fully considered the implications of actually having a child, to be responsible for another human being. 

And calling a child Anastasia these days would commit it to a life of chavvery. Like calling your child Chelsea. Or Barcardi. Or Morgan’s Spiced Simmons. 

I’m now approaching 36. When people tell me they want children, are having a child or are considering making one soon, the look on my face says more about my attitudes these days towards the idea of making a new human being than words could ever convey. 

Befuddlement. Disdain. Sheer terror. “Don’t! They’ll take all your time and your money. You won’t have holidays. And they just scream! Did I mention that you’ll have to give up your life altogether?!” 

I suppose it’s fair to say that the idea of having a child is now so far out of my mind that I can’t fathom why anyone would ever want to do such a thing. 

It’s horrifically patronising of myself to put my personal (and extremely cynical) thoughts on the matter of child bearing and rearing onto someone else, but the idea does quite genuinely strike the utmost fear into my heart and head. 

I guess, in a way, I consider myself lucky to know exactly my stance on this matter. Day after day you see children dragged, ignored or chided by parents that should’ve had the same thoughts as I once did. I genuinely feel sorry for those kids. And glad I didn’t do ‘that’. 

The question I’ve unknowingly asked myself over the years is, “Could I BE a parent?” 

Now, while most people can become parents in the most basic form of the word (bodily things happening, child popping out approximately nine months later), to BE a parent in the most healthiest of terms, is an entirely different beast. I’m not quite sure if anyone could ever be 100% perfect for parenthood, but I’m certain there’s many who think they are. 

I know full well that I couldn’t be a parent. And I’m happier knowing that without having to find it out the hard way. It may be fair to say that whilst I’m not childlike in my outlook, I’m neither a fully fledged adult. And when I say ‘adult’, I’m talking about the Western social constructs around the idea of adulthood. People over the age of 16, on the path of employment, career, relationships, marriage, house buying, family making. I’ve never wanted the career path, the perpetual mortgage debt, keeping up with the Jones’, the big wedding, the boy and the girl perfect family unit. I know people that say things like “I’m getting now married because that’s what I have to do.” “It’s time for me to have a child because I have to.” It’s as if they’re checking off a fucking shopping list. I know people that had children because everyone else was having children, for an accessory factor, like a handbag. There’s people out there that have children because they’ll get more benefit money. A bigger house. A drunken Saturday night mistake? How can any of that be construed as a good reason for having a child? 

To go along with the idea of societal norms, I suppose there has to be some sort of genetic or hormonal desire to clone the self too. To feel that your life must not end, that you leave behind some sort of genetically similar remnant of yourself. I find that idea be narcissism in full action, despite it being nothing more than a preprogrammed instinct to ‘carry on the species’. Who are we to judge if we’re a worthwhile specimen to reproduce? 

See, I do understand exactly how this would play out if I did have offspring of my own. And it’s not pretty.

First off, it could never sit well with myself to bring a child into ‘this’ world. It’s fucking crazy out there. It has been for donkey’s years. Maybe since the beginning of time. The eternal guilt I’d feel not being able to shield them from all the things even I can’t begin to reconcile as an adult would be an eternal burden. I remember when I started primary school, that was it. My childhood innocence and naivety was entirely over. From the complexities of social interaction to a school system not tailored in any way to the individual but rather to blanket brainwash each and every child to see the world in someone else’s way, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t send ‘my child’ out into that. So what, just keep them at home, and enforce my worldviews onto them? Not allow them to socialise with other children for fear they’ll be ruined or discover the cruel streaks that appear within peer groups and society at large? How would that help them in the long run? Therein lies the insurmountable dilemma, don’t want to send them out into ‘that’ world, can’t expect them to get by in this world by keeping them at home. Don’t even talk about allowing them to become immersed in the modernity of their own culture. Watch the crap they get on the tele these days? No way. Listen to current chart crap? No, no, no. Dad has a fucking amazing collection of music and that’s all you need to ever know. Xboxes? Game consoles? Mobile phones from the age of two? No! You’ll be learning to play drums from age of three because dad needs a virtuoso drummer on hand to jam along with. 

See, I’d be a fucking shit parent. And I accept that. I couldn’t bring up a child to fit in with societal norms. Because I can barely figure that shit out myself.

It’s for many for those reasons that I don’t even have pets these days. First off, it’s too sad when anything ‘happens’ to them. Secondly, responsibility. When I go to work, I don’t want to leave them at home alone. When I want to go away, I want to be able to go away without wondering who the hell is going to look after their needs. I wonder if I could be perceived as being selfish for thinking this way. Tell you what though, most humans are, whether they admit it or not. You get one life to bumble through, I sure as hell can’t steer my own boat and someone elses at the same time. I’m also quite aware that the inadqeucaies of my own childhood, and despite my extreme awareness of them, they would most probably continue in a cyclic fashion. History repeating itself, etc. It’s quite interesting looking back through individuals in my family history and touching on their strengths and their many weaknesses, and thinking ‘None of these people managed to get it right, with their genes in tow, what chances have I got?’

I accept that. I’ve long accepted that I am a flawed character. But in all honesty, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t.

I’m not sure why this subject matter has been playing on my mind. I guess I like to try to unravel my own psychoses. The reasons I recoil in horror when people tell me they want to have children. I do apologise for not understanding the natural drive to continue the species. 

Then again, I’m half a nihilist and almost entirely a misanthrope. My views should come as no surprise. It’d still be nice to have someone that could play drums at hand though… 
And whenever I hold babies they cry anyway.