Wanting to have a baby

There are many reasons for having a baby and many of them very bad reasons. Some want a baby to make their life complete, some to make their life better, some to cement a relationship, others for something to love or be loved by, some for the sake of housing or benefits, some to continue a family name or to hand on the family fortune or dynasty and still others quite accidentally through unprotected sex.

All these reasons omit one vital and salient fact, a baby is a person, not an object. Nor is a baby a mirror, reflection nor yet an object whose role in life is to fulfil the desires of the parents. The above are all projections on the baby, including the accidentally conceived because often the baby will bear the brunt of the mistake.

There is only one good, wholesome and valid reason for having a baby and that is for the sake of the baby, the person who will grow and take their place in the world. In general we are not meeting that criterion in far too many cases. Parents are custodians, not owners.

Regarding babies and children as beings in their own right is a very recent phenomenon. There is now a UN Convention on the rights of the child of which Britain is a signatory, sadly still pretty much in name only. Regardless of how vulnerable, inarticulate and cute babies might be, they inalienably are beings in their own right. Despite our technological sophistication we are still fairly primitive emotionally and psychologically, our inhumanity to our fellow people is manifest across the world and even on our own streets.

The parlous state of the world today has one glaring lesson to teach us adults, it is we who must learn to grow up. Our children certainly will, can we? The world we have created is what we will leave our children and, as never before, the future is a great big unknown. 

A child for the childs sake is a tough call, it's an opportunity hitherto barely or non existent, so we're breaking new ground. Are we ready for that, can we do it?


2011 Keith Lindsay-Cameron.