Thursday, April 17, 2014

Will Miss #43 - liberal ideas about birth control (reflection)

My husband and I were talking about some theoretical concepts regarding life and how people choose to live. It's all pretty complex stuff, but it comes down to the choices we make and how we "buy" ease in the present at the expense of some benefit in the future. For example, you might decide to buy a frozen pizza instead of making your own dinner. You spend more, get a less nutritious meal, and probably have less overall satisfaction with the food. You're borrowing money and health from your future for convenience in the present.

I'm not criticizing this tendency. We all do this in different ways and this isn't about morality, but an observation about how we lead our lives. The way in which this relates to birth control is how the role of children has changed in developed societies. Having babies used to be a way of buying an easier life as more kids meant more potential economic, lifestyle, or work support. In the present, having children is actually a way of forfeiting future comfort for the immediate gains of enjoyment of babies/kids or simply avoiding the use of birth control.

Because having children tends to be about future hardship rather than future gains these days, birth control plays a pretty important role in modern lifestyles. A lack of moral hang-ups about whether or not to use it (and not discouraging it from being freely available to young people) allows people to be thoughtful and make certain choices without any sort of psychological baggage. I still miss the way in which the Japanese were non-judgmental and pragmatic about such issues rather than emotionally activated and dogmatically oriented.

1 comment:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly that people should make a conscious choice as to whether they will have a child(ren) or not. I have seen far too many people become parents who were not really prepared or equipped emotionally to handle all the responsibilities that it entails. They as well as their children suffered because of this.

    Your piece, however, fails to note that children in some instances can be of great benefit to parents. Ie, when the latter require support in their later years because of severe, disabling medical conditions. Both of my parents and one of my wife's parents struggled with cancer for many months before they passed away. Having one or more child close by afforded them some important support and, hopefully, some peace of mind in their final months While it was stressful at times, to say the least, it also allowed us to 'return the favor' of the love and devotion which they showered on us when we were younger. Some wonderful and poignant moments of closeness took place during those final months. We came away satisfied knowing we had done 'the right thing' with our parents.

    As you must know, the Japanese have an expression which describes these circumstances in life: oya-ko-ko. When 'the child becomes the parent.' Their living
    in multi-generational homes up until the post WW II era means that they, generally, understand and endorse these practices.


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