I regularly have nightmares about discovering that I’m pregnant. These are my nightmares. In the nightmare, I’ll start scrambling to find a pregnancy test to retake—these results cannot be true. I feel like I’m falling through quicksand. I wake up from these dreams sweaty, and terrified, and so glad it was just a nightmare. So if I want a real answer to the question how do I feel about having kids, I’m pretty sure that’s my subconscious letting me know. But there are a lot of reasons I am consciously afraid of having kids.
I’ve been talking to my peers who are right around that age when they may or may not have kids, and I’m learning something: millennials in particular are frightened of bringing kids into this world. Here’s why…
1. New gender rules
We are glad that gender norms are dissipating, but we also aren’t clear on what the new rules are around talking to our children about gender, or assigning them a gender. Sure, when they grow up, they can choose their gender but…what about when they’re just babies? And toddlers? Will we mess them up by calling them “he” or “she?”
2. We can’t afford houses
We just can’t do it—not nearly as much as our parents’ generation could. And we don’t want to raise our children in apartments. We want them to have yards, and live in nice, suburban neighborhoods, too. But…we can’t afford it. And we need to stay in the city to be near opportunities.
3. Violence in schools
It’s hard to even talk about with a shooting happening so recently, but the reality becomes more horrific when you think of this: when was the last time there wasn’t a shooting recently? There are bulletproof backpacks on the market today. We don’t want to send our kids into this world.
4. What new drugs are out there?
We can’t even possibly imagine how drugs have evolved since we were teenagers. When I was in high school, the biggest deal around town was either green and smokable or white and sniffable. That was it. But you know that narcotics have become complicated and often fatal today. I don’t want my kids in a world where those exist.
5. Raises aren’t commonplace anymore
Remember the days when everybody just got a three percent raise, every year, no matter what, in order to keep up with cost of living increases? Yeah…me neither. That’s because this is an antiquated tradition that our generation doesn’t experience. So we are just scrambling to figure out how we could possibly afford children.
6. Politics feel volatile
We are unsure what role America has on the global stage. Let’s put it this way: we are the opposite of Switzerland. Will our children be able to travel and feel safe? Will they be able to travel and feel embraced?
7. Social media is terrifying
Now that social media exists, we feel we’ve lost any possible hint of control over our children’s activity on the Internet. Every day there is a new app in which they can interact with strangers online and post videos that may be inappropriate and then—poof—disappear.
8. How do we discipline kids?
Last I checked, we aren’t allowed to spank them or even say the word “No.” How do we discipline them anymore? How do we tell them they’ve done something wrong? Really, what are the rules?
9. We are still paying off our own student loans
It’s hard for us to think about starting a college fund for our children when we are still paying off our own student debt—which many of us are.
10. We don’t want our kids to have debt
We want our kids to go to college, but we don’t know how we’ll pay for it, and we don’t want them taking on debt. So, the best we can hope for is that we somehow become millionaires before our kids turn 17?
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.
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