It is estimated that there are approximately 130 million babies born throughout the world each year, with 4 million of those being born in the United States. That means there are over 350,000 new human lives worldwide and more than 10,000 in the US alone – each day! Out of all these babies, I wonder how many are wanted. And of the ones who are wanted, I wonder why they’re wanted. I’m curious about why people have babies. It’s not that I don’t think people should want babies, but I wonder what the motivation is behind it.
I’ve been asking. I started with the gal who cuts my hair. It went something like this: me: “Why did you have kids?” (She has three of her own, plus a step son.) her: “I don’t know, they’re a lot of fun. My kids have great personalities.” me: “That’s great, but why did you have them?” her: “I don’t know, my first one was a mistake. I have a lot of sisters – there are four of us girls.” The conversation went on like this, with me trying to pull out a reason, and her seeming to work hard to give me an acceptable answer. After having conversations similar to this one with several other people, I learned that people have children to carry on their bloodline, to carry on their name, so they won’t be lonely in their old age, because they like lots of activity around them, because of a “mistake” and because they always “just knew” they wanted children. No one said anything about wanting to love and nurture another human being. All the answers, in one way or another, were about meeting their own needs.
Then I thought, well, maybe it’s just instinct, as it is with other animals. I googled reptilian brain and reproduction, and learned sure enough, it’s the reptilian part of our brains that is responsible for carrying on the species. Just like it’s our reptilian brains that want a beautiful partner, are afraid of anything different (thereby contributing to racism), and are territorial (creating experiences such as road rage and adults behaving like tantruming two year olds). I’m not against the reptilian brain. That part of the brain helps us survive and is responsible for important functions such as breathing, digestion, circulation, elimination and fight or flight. I just wonder if we want this part of our brain to be the motivator for having children.
Having access to our instincts is crucial. Just as important, is having access to our hearts, minds and spirits. We also want to be grounded. I remember being in a pet store, over 15 years ago, with my then nine year old twins. We weren’t planning on acquiring a pet, but we saw a very cute little bunny. The bunny touched my heart, and perhaps my reptilian brain liked the cuteness. However, because I wasn’t grounded and wasn’t using my higher functioning brain, we went home with a bunny that none of us were prepared to deal with, not to mention the fact that my live in boyfriend at the time almost broke up with me over it. After several weeks of chewed up cords and wires, and losing the little guy a few times, a kindergarten teacher inherited the bunny.
How many children are born for similar reasons to my “decision” to get the bunny? We think of babies, like bunnies, as cute and loveable. We want the joy that children bring into our lives. How many children are conceived after making a grounded decision from our hearts, minds, and spirits? Not one of the folks I asked said that they had children after considerable thought (although I’m sure couples like this do exist).
How would it be different if we had a child for the purpose of bringing a soul into the world in order to help that soul manifest her true purpose, and to be able to express herself as fully as possible? How would we treat that child if we knew that her purpose in this world was not to fulfill our own dreams, but to reach her own unique potential?
I’d like to think that one day we will have children in order to be the guardians of new life. The on-line Webster dictionary defines a guardian as One who guards, preserves, or secures; one to whom any person or thing is committed for protection, security, or preservation from injury. I imagine a world in which every child has this as his or her inherent birthright, where not only are they physically protected, but where their hearts and spirits and own unique natures are loved, nurtured and held with utmost care and respect.
If you’d like to do a guided visualization that goes with this article, look under the “Guided Imagery” or “Experiments” tab.