This story on young women getting sterilized is sad and worrisome

(AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama)

This story comes from Bari Weiss’ Substack. The author, Suzy Weiss, focuses on the growing trend of relatively young women getting sterilized because they decide they never want to have children. I knew there were people like this, so-called anti-natalists, but I found hearing their stories a bit sad and worrisome. For instance, a 31-year-old aspiring actress named Rachel Diamond:

Growing up near Hershey, Penn., Diamond always assumed she’d have a family of her own. Then came college at Arcadia University; her political awakening, away from her conservative roots, and towards progressivism; and a therapist who she found online a few months after graduation who made her realize that being spanked as a child was deeply traumatic, and that it made her fear authority figures like her father. She decided that she never wanted to be one herself. Never ever ever…

Last year, the number of deaths exceeded that of births in 25 states — up from five the year before. The marriage rate is also at an all-time low, at 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people. Millennials are the first generation where a majority are unmarried (about 56%). They are also more likely to live with their own parents, according to Pew, than previous generations were in their twenties and thirties…

The Rapture — sorry, the end — is upon us, and this is no time for onesies. So says The New Yorker and NPR and AOC. According to a new poll, 39% of Gen Zers are hesitant to procreate for fear of the climate apocalypse. A nationally representative study of adults in Michigan found that over a quarter of adults there are child-free by choice. And new research by the Institute of Family Studies found that the desire to have a child among adults decreased by 17% since the onset of the pandemic.

The article suggests that a lot of this is based on the idea that the world is such a disaster it wouldn’t be right to make someone suffer through it. I really wonder about people who believe this. If you live here and now you are quite literally better off than most of the people alive today and the vast majority of those who have ever lived anywhere. The idea that this relatively comfortable existence is both too good to clutter up with kids but also too brief to make someone suffer through the coming collapse seems a bit confused to me. Consider these two quotes from different people in the story:

I think it’s morally wrong to bring a child into the world,” said Isabel, 28, a self proclaimed anti-natalist who lives in southwestern Texas and did not want her last name in print. “No matter how good someone has it, they will suffer.”…

Chelsea, a 25 year-old in Sacramento, told me kids “kind of gross her out.” She’s weighing the risks of going under the knife, like infection or mood swings brought on by anesthesia, but says regret isn’t one of them. “What’s there to regret?” writes another Redditor, “That I’ll be too happy? Too free?”

Literally, one person is saying they’ll be too happy to bother and the other is saying life is such suffering that creating a new life is cruel. How do you reconcile those two ideas?

I guess it’s possible you don’t have to square this circle. People can have different reasons for reaching the same conclusion. But part of me thinks the latter view, i.e. kids ruin a good time, is the more honest reason. The other explanation sounds a bit like a post-hoc rationalization from someone who, at base, wants to live a self-centered that doesn’t involve caring for dependents, but who also wants to look enlightened while doing it. It’s not that I don’t want to shop at Costco or have to think about someone else all the time, it’s just that climate change makes it all so pointless.

I could be wrong but that’s how it sounds to me. Of course I’m biased. I have three kids and couldn’t imagine life without them. Just last night I went for an unplanned drive because my oldest forgot something she needed at home (she was at school about 40 minutes away). It was inconvenient and yet, we stopped for some drive-thru and talked for half and hour in a parking lot and it was the best part of my day. That’s a reality I don’t think the anti-natalists can really grasp because they’ve never experienced it. Most of the time, even when life with your kids isn’t ideal, it’s still so much better than life without them. It’s their choice of course but I feel a bit sad for them and a bit worried for society as a whole if people having kids and wanting to have them becomes increasingly unusual.