If you have ever pressured someone to have kids or even encouraged procreation at all, (like, because you had kids, for example), I want you to pick up your phone right now, call the dirtiest, smelliest, tree-hugging hippy you have ever known, and ask if they can get you some hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Buy as much as you can. A solid pound, ideally. Then, I want you to cram that shit down your throat by whatever means necessary and just sit there for an hour or two until it kicks in. Once it does, I want you to throw up so violently it hurts your lower back, and then proceed to experience the absolute worst, most horrific trip of your life — hour after hour of mental torture, like a waking nightmare of introspection, paranoia and psychedelic rape in the twisted claws of your every inner demon — and worry the entire time you’ll be stuck like this the rest of your life. (You won’t, I promise.)
After you’ve come back down to reality, cleaned the vomit off the floor and changed into a fresh pair of undies, I want you to reflect upon just how badly that trip sucked; how you will never try mushrooms again, even if someone paid you. Think about how astounding it is some people actually enjoy tripping balls on mushrooms. (I know I do! Mushrooms rule.) And finally, I want you to think back to that one time you pressured or even lightly encouraged someone to have children, and read the following two points very carefully:
- Fuck you.
- Just like taking psychedelic drugs, having children is not for everyone.
Okay! So as you’ve probably realized by now, my German wife and I are right at that age when the pressure to have children is hitting its zenith. Virtually all of our friends — in the States and in Germany — have at least one child, if not two. The rest are either trying pornographically hard to make one, utilizing the latest fertility science to make one, going through hell to adopt one, or literally can’t make one because they’re gay. (Personally, I prefer the gays.)
But it’s not that I’m against the idea of having kids — if they make you happy, sweet! — I’m against the unsubstantiated pressure to have them. If my wife and I ever decide to try and make some disgusting little half-German, half-American sperm troll, it won’t be because all our friends did it, or because my wife’s biological clock was ticking itself to pieces, or because the entire world seems to operate on the existence of children; it will be because we genuinely want to grow our family and expand the amount of love in our lives. (And because we’ve become a couple of narcissistic assholes who want to xerox ourselves in the form of a little pink monkey who will someday hear — and understand the full gravity — of the terrifying, inescapable, ever louder footsteps of death’s relentless pursuit.)
Given the choice, we’d probably summon our little cervix demon in Germany, rather than the United States. I don’t understand how anyone other than rich people can afford to have kids in the States. With healthcare, insurance, education and the basic necessities like food and clothing, the math just doesn’t add up! (Well, not my math, anyway.)
Okay, so say we drop the goblin here in Germany. Some of the information we’d probably want to gather in advance would be:
- A general overview about having a baby in Germany
- Pregnancy and prenatal care in Germany
- Healthcare for babies in Germany — is it good or bad?
- “Kindergeld” and paid time off for new parents in Germany
- Raising a child in Germany — what’s it really like?
- Education for kids in Germany
- Why birth rates in Germany have been falling
And then, uh, yay, I guess; we’d have a kid — just like everyone else on earth. But for now and the foreseeable future, we don’t. Instead, we have money and pressure. So naturally, my wife and I talk about having kids all the time. (Well, my wife brings it up a lot. I don’t really give a shit.) But we do discuss it: the pros, the cons, the fundamental insanity of human procreation… you know, that sort of thing.
So the other day, as we were eating breakfast together, we talked about the (apparently) hotly debated topic of having just one child vs. two, and how incredibly expensive having just one might be. That’s when my wife put her bowl in the sink, ran the faucet and exclaimed:
“Imagine sharing all our money with this thing who eats the hair off your head!”* **
*My response: “Jesus that’s gross.”
**From the German expression, “Jemandem die Haare vom Kopf fressen,” which in this case more directly translates to, “Er frisst mir die Haare vom Kopf,” and is similar in meaning to the English expression, “to be eaten out of house and home,” only waaaaaaay the hell more disgusting.
Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!