The Weather

Why-to Have a Child

*why-to: a short and helpful guide to motivate one’s pursuit of activities

either

a.) previously not pursued

or

b.) pursued so regularly that no one knows or remembers why they’re doing them in the first place.


Why-to have a child:

I wonder if, when our kid is born, we’ll be opened up to the world reborn in such a way that all of the brilliant stimuli that already exists around here will suddenly become brighter and more vibrant. Maybe he will—his body coated in a light, soft, downy coat—spring moment by moment to each new experience with an uncontrollable energy.

Danielle and I have often talked about going to the zoo or, better yet, an animal sanctuary, and seeing these incomprehensible creatures from our son, Niko’s, perspective. Sensation at that age isn’t dulled by the words and abstractions that constantly occupy the adult mind. For Niko, the fur of an exotic animal will pierce directly into his eyes and course through his body, a temporary sort of heaven on Earth.

In turn, his wild coo or startled cry will unlock something, a wealth within my wife and I. Just beneath the surface of our overly constructed adult experiences, there’s those intrinsic memories from our own childhoods. When we saw animals for the first time or went for a walk beneath the bristling trees of a dense, coniferous forest, snot drying beneath our nostrils to the point of discomfort.

We’ll find ourselves engaging in and creating new ceremonies, washing the day out of Niko’s hair and tucking him into bed for an approaching tomorrow. More formally, when he graduates from school or partakes in some arcane religious ritual, like Hanukkah, we’ll be reaching all the way back to our forbearers and pulling some tradition into the present as if to tie him to the primordial soup of our prokaryotic ancestors to ensure that he doesn’t drift off into space.

He is the product of a pair of previously separated interstellar beings reuniting after a lifetime of separation. Joining together, their infinite love for one another coursed through their insides and emanated outwards, intertwining to form an entirely new life. In that way, this thing that we’re making, currently incubating in Danielle’s uterus, is a divinely simple act of loving creation beyond any form of art that could be fabricated.

Niko will go on to develop from a chimp-like toddler to an angular adult. Our impact on him will be permanent, burrowing deep into our child’s bones and muscles and forming the basis of his psyche. Everything we’ve done well will serve to motivate him, cause him to spread decency in the world. Everything we’ve done terribly

Why-to not have a child:

Will be the reason for everything he does wrong, any pain he inflicts on others or dumb mistakes he makes that send him into a world of suffering. The act of creating a child is itself a tacit agreement to cause that organism to suffer because while the pleasure one can experience as a human in this life is often found in the small, but profoundly deep moments of joy available, pain seems to be more abundant, from the sharp and excruciating to the dull and aching. And even when there is no pain, there is an existential boredom that permeates every non-moment between those memorable blips of beauty and episodes of agony.

Why-to not physically manifest a child:

I can’t speak on the behalf of women, but, from the looks of it, childbirth is extremely painful. If a mother chooses to go the unmedicated route, that means tolerating what some describe as the worst pain imaginable with the hope that, as the baby approaches the vaginal curtains to the outside world, the suffering will become so blindingly white-hot that it lifts her into a higher mental plane that transcends all worldly concerns.

Why-to be lifted into a higher mental plane that transcends all worldly concerns:

The color white is the combination of all other colors. Reversed through the prism of perception, we enter into a statelessness where time and space are completely absent.

From this state, it’s possible to see the entire map of the reality situation laid out before you. The problem is that, in this state, there is no language with which to comprehend any of it. Therefore, it’s best to feel it out instinctively.

Directly in front of us are those fragile first months of Niko’s life.

Why-to get the TDAP shot while pregnant:

Since 2012, the CDC has been recommending that, in order to pass the antibodies onto her child, pregnant mothers between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy should get vaccinated to fight against whooping cough because of a rise in the illness in the U.S. While it may not be that dangerous for adults, whooping cough can be fatal to infants.

Why-to not get the TDAP vaccine:

However, throughout pregnancy, doctors generally consider many medications to be dangerous to the developing fetus. Moreover, researchers have found a link between fevers experienced by the mother during pregnancy and the development of autism and schizophrenia in the child, later in life. This is due to the effect of the immune response on the cerebral development of the fetus. Researchers have also shown a very small correlation between mothers getting flu shots when pregnant and a slight increased chance in autism in the child.

According to her mom, Danielle had an allergic reaction to the whooping cough vaccine when she was one month old. So, basically we have to worry about the baby becoming autistic or possibly dying.

In the distance, there is what appears to be about a year into the future: a mess of emotions, tangled up in diarrhea splattered on diapers filling the ocean with putrid waste. We’re both exhausted and joyful, despite an inability to know what any of this is or why it is or why we should keep going.

Farther out, there’s the drug talk and trying to eloquently explain why-to not do drugs, but only of a certain kind and in certain environments. There’s also the sex talk, which isn’t as hard as one would think, but it has been overly complicated by a society hell bent on bending the dopamine receptors in our brains to enact relationships that serve the powerful, with mainstream manufactured pornography cruelly twisting the psyche to perceive a world in which happiness is transactional.

The Earth has become a desolate hellscape as we age into decrepitude. The oceans are lapping higher on new coastlines formed by eroded land. To a surfer, this wouldn’t seem so bad, except that the water is toxic and it’s usually too hot out to enjoy it.

By the time he meets anyone he loves enough,

Why-to not have your son circumcised:

Circumcision is most popular in the United States, with very few other countries on the planet engaging in this practice and some people seeing it as a form of genital mutilation against an unwilling infant. It’s also on the decline in the U.S., though the majority of boys are still circumcised shortly after birth. And, in particular, in the town where we plan to raise him, most boys actually don’t get circumcised. Therefore, if Niko were circumcised, he’d be different from most other boys in his hometown and on Earth.

Why-to have your boy circumcised:

Which could actually be a good thing because it might make him seem unique. More importantly, it may be cleaner in that the boy does not have to be trained to clean smegma from his foreskin.

It’s been argued that boys can be taught to clean their foreskins just as girls are taught to properly clean their vaginas.

But, in our society, if you’ve ever seen a young boy’s bathroom and the toothpaste that cakes onto the sink or the piss that cakes onto the toilet bowl, it’s hard to imagine that he would be able to properly clean himself any better.

But circumcised kids also have to learn how to clean themselves properly.

It’s also been shown to reduce the transmission rates of HIV, HPV and yeast infections, as well as the chances of penile cancer—all of which seem like pretty strong reasons for pursuing this activity.

the gender and sexual spectrums are hardly a thing anymore. Neither is marriage. And society appears to be more equitable. So, though the Earth may be roasting away and there’s only 2% biodiversity left on the planet, at least social constructs have become fun and things are more egalitarian and it’s clear that we’re all on the same team. The hope is that, one day, we’ll be able to develop some technologies for reversing the effects of the previous generations.

And by the time that occurs, we’ll be dead, maybe knowing that it will be okay for our grandchildren and their children.

The medicated route, though it may avoid this pain mentally speaking, could have a cascading effect that only complicates the process with further medical interventions. After a mother is given IV pain medicine, she will be confined to her bed so that she doesn’t fall. As a result, she won’t be able to walk around to allow gravity to push the baby along. In turn, she may be given Pitocin, the synthetic alternative to oxytocin, to trigger contractions. The pain from contractions augmented by Pitocin may cause the mother to call for an epidural or spinal anesthetic, which makes it difficult to feel the actual pushing process, prolonging the final phase of labor. Use of these pain relievers also has a small chance of causing nerve damage and permanent migraines. Due to this difficulty, the doctors might ultimately opt for an episiotomy, cutting the muscle between the vagina and the anus, or a cesarean section.

Naturally, as this behavior is built into the evolutionary model that drives each generation of humans, Niko will blame us. Every mistake we’ve made will be his impetus for self-improvement or self-destruction and he will trace each flaw in his being back to that behavior of ours that caused those issues. Too much affection or not enough. Too much discipline or not enough. While he may love us, he will also hate aspects of us, those aspects that make him hate himself.

Whatever’s hard to pin on us will be easy to pin on the larger socioeconomic system, a system which brutalizes the majority of the population to drive easy comfort to a small minority. To do so, it dehumanizes its subjects, categorizes them, and then makes them have it out on one another. Things like the kid’s gender, race, ability, economic background, even physical appearance and size will be used to guide him to enact the evils of the system while simultaneously benefiting and suffering from that system. For every breath he takes, someone on the other side of town will be losing a breath. The planet ekes on, machinery spouting toxins into the air, water and soil until none of it is potable any longer.

Ultimately, after broken legs and hearts, a debilitating muscular disease and being subjected to the evils of capitalism, he will die, which could be the most painful moment of his brief life on Earth. Throughout that short existence, a parent can only hope that their child found something so wonderful about being alive that it makes up for everything bad that happened to them and everyone around them.

By then, a parent can only hope that the world is better by the time the child leaves this world than when they entered it.

Maybe the best way to calculate the decision is by determining one’s own satisfaction in life. If I’m happy, despite everything, maybe the kid will be, too. The very fact that both of us, after having gone through all that we have been through, consciously decided to create life, would seem to be a testament to the fact that we are happy.

Knowingly, and lovingly, we created life, believing that things are, in fact, good. We are good enough and life is good enough for us. Then, as this new creature explores the Universe ahead of him, we will hope that it will only get better and that, as a family unit, we will make it the most beautiful thing we can possibly experience.

“Why-to have a child” Recap:

  • World reborn
  • Energy
  • Incomprehensible creatures
  • Heaven on Earth
  • Wealth within
  • Ceremonies
  • Primordial soup
  • Act of loving creation beyond any form of art
  • Cause him to spread decency
    • Why-to not have a child:
      • Pain
      • Dumb mistakes
      • World of suffering
      • Existential boredom
      • Episodes of agony
        • Why-to not physically manifest a child:
          • Childbirth extremely painful
                • Why-to get TDAP shot while pregnant:
                  • Mom can pass antibodies onto child
                  • Whooping cough fatal to infants
                • Why-to not get TDAP vaccine:
                  • Medications dangerous to developing fetus
                  • Link between fevers mom and autism/schizophrenia
                  • Small correlation between moms getting flu shot and slight increased chance in autism
                  • When Danielle was baby, she had allergic reaction
          • Worst pain imaginable
            • Why-to be lifted into higher mental plane:
              • Statelessness w/o space-time
              • See entire map of reality
                • Why-to not have son circumcised:
                  • Uncommon
                  • Genital mutilation
                  • He’d be different
                    • Why-to have boy circumcised:
                      • He’d be different
                      • Cleaner
                  • Boys can be taught to clean
                    • Hard to imagine
                    • Reduce transmission of HIV, HPV and yeast infections
                    • Reduce penile cancer
              • Maybe knowing it will be okay
          • Further medical interventions
          • Confinement
          • Nerve damage
          • Permanent migraines
          • Episiotomy
          • Cesarean section
      • Blame us
      • Larger socioeconomic system,
      • Dehumanization
      • Enact evil
      • Machinery spouting toxins
      • Broken legs, hearts
      • Debilitating muscular disease
      • Evils of capitalism
      • He will die
  • Hope
  • Make it the most beautiful thing we can possibly experience

Why-to recap why-to sections:

After exploring why to pursue activities, it has become apparent that the whys behind any given activity can become quite involved. So involved, in fact that, by time you’ve finished considering those whys, you may have lost track of why-to consider why-to pursue the activity in the first place. In order to help us keep our reasoning a bit more organized then, we will provide a section recap for each activity that is explored.

Why-to embolden keywords throughout why-to sections:

To further help us organize our whys throughout each section, it might make sense to embolden keywords related to those whys as we go along. May the bold font first help catch your eye and then encode those whys in your memory for future use or, if you need to refer back to this guide, it will be easier to find the why when returning to a previously read chapter.

“Why-to recap why-to sections” Recap:

Why-to recap why-to sections:

  • Organization
    • Why-to embolden words:
      • Catch the eye
      • Encode words
      • Easier referencing

*Part of the Why-to Project on Patreon.

Michael is the founder of The Reality™ Institute, a service institute dedicated to determining what's real and what's not so that you don't have to. He is a graduate of the MFA Critical Studies and Writing Program at CalArts, and a firm advocate of world peace. He currently resides in Oregon with his magical wife, Danielle.