We need to change how we think about childbearing.
Having a child is probably the single most expensive decision someone in the developed world can make. Once a child is born, one becomes responsible for that child’s food, shelter, emotional support, education, and a thousand and one other needs harder to anticipate and describe, sometimes through socialized systems that ease access to various goods. The guardians of children become their first and fastest path toward accumulating the possessions that they will then use to gain their first taste of independence. Parents and other caretakers and among the most important fonts of culture, moral growth, and personal development that any person will ever have. The enormity of the caretaker’s role is so well understood that it routinely features in sexist writings that insist that women should be content with that specific influence on the future and desire no additional option or greater agency than that.
But there is one situation in which that understanding is ignored: the decision to have a child.