I often read the blog The No So Secret Life of an Adoptee. I find it interesting and educational. However, a recent post really had me shaking my head: 10 Reasons You Should Keep Your Baby. Her items are the numbered ones. My responses appear below each item.
1. Your baby will love you no matter who you are, what you have been through, or what you have.
Probably true, but not a good reason to keep a baby. Can you be the parent you want to be? Can you be the parent your child deserves? Sometimes, the answer to those questions are “no.”
2. Your presence, touch, and voice calms your baby. You are just that important and special (smile).
Babies are pretty darn good at responding well to any attentive caregiver. Jackson and Cassie were both perfectly content and calmed by our presence, touch, and voices.
3. Your baby is going to look into your beautiful eyes for strength and courage to fight through obstacles because you are the sign of strength.
Not a good reason to keep a baby! You have to be strong and courageous first, not become strong and courageous by having a baby.
4. Your purpose intensifies with newfound ambition for work, school, goals, and dreams.
Not necessarily. For some people this is true. Some people find themselves pregnant and do a complete 180, finding their purpose in life. However, there are 400,000 kids in foster care in the US. How many of those parents thought that their baby would be their reason to shape up?
It’s really hard to go to school, work, and be a parent, which is what is required for anyone who hasn’t graduated high school or college. It’s hard enough to just work and be a parent. New parents need a lot of resources and support, even more than usual if they are still in school. There’s a reason why about 50% of teen mothers never finish high school and less than 2% have their college degree by age 30.
5. Smiles will never go out of style.
You could also say “Babies are cute.” It doesn’t mean you should be a parent.
6. You will have the chance to be a real life superhero, not just on Halloween.
Parents aren’t superheroes. Any parent who thinks of him or herself as a superhero is delusional. Parents can be awesome people, but we are mere mortals. We make mistakes. If you go into parenthood thinking your kid is going to idolize you, you just might need counseling. By the way, neither of my parents were ever my heroes. I will be surprised if Jackson or Cassie says either of us are their heroes. I don’t think we should be. I think we’re parents, and that’s enough. (Upon reflection, if you are a firefighter, police person, doctor, or belong to another profession that regularly saves people’s lives and/or the world, then you might not be delusional if you think of yourself as a superhero. And your kids probably should idolize you.)
7. You can be yourself.
I can be myself with my husband. People can be themselves with their best friends. Being one’s self has nothing to do with parenting. In fact, I’m not myself when my kids are around. I have to watch my language, for one thing. I don’t talk about things that interest me or share deep dark secrets. Maybe I will when my kids are older, but for now, when I’m with my kids, I am in Mom Mode ™.
8. Free entertainment – The smallest moments are priceless.
Oh hell no! First, babies aren’t free. It costs an average of $250,000 to raise a child in the US. Second, while babies and children are entertaining, they are not here for the purpose of entertaining you. You want entertainment, rent the movie Clue. Babies are adorable and cute and giggly. They are also frustrating, easy to damage, and energy sapping.
9. Your hugs and kisses are everything to your baby. Only you can provide the real deal.
Nope. Anyone who loves a child can provide real hugs and kisses. You don’t need a biological connection for that.
10. YOU GET TO BE A KID AGAIN without having to make up excuses!
Once again: Oh hell no! If you are not a grown up, you have no business raising a child. Now, I know what the author meant. She meant, you get to play with toys again, go to the park again, see Disneyland through the eyes of a child… Yes, all of that is really fun. I get to play with Transformers now! But I also have to be the one who knows when it’s time to put the Transformers away. I have to put my foot down about bedtime and eating sweets and watching too much TV. I have to pay the bills and make the dinner and do so many things that children should not have to worry about.
I might be able to come up with 10 Good Reasons to Keep Your Baby, but that’s another post.