When faced with the question, "Do you want kids?" many millennials are shrugging and lackadaisically saying "NOPE."
"NOPE NOPE NOPE."
After all, long gone are the days when sex was reproductive; where the natural progression after marriage is 2.5 thankless spawn and a white picket fence in suburban hell.
Today's copulating post-youths are much more interested in their careers and life goals than they are in raising from a larval stage a human money suck, and as a result, our nation's birth rates are declining.
According to data from the Urban Institute, birth rates among women in their 20s have declined 15 percent between 2007 and 2012, and research from Pew uncovered a longer-term trend of people skirting parenthood — the number of blissfully child-less couples has doubled since 1970, with only about half of women ages 15-44 squeezing some out.
This decline in baby blobs worries some people, like your grandma, in part because there's still a undying taboo around with people (particularly women) who chose not to procreate. Ladies who choose not to violently blast forth from their uteri a living person have been referred to as "shallow" and "self-absorbed cat ladies," and even the cool pope has said the decision not to reproduce is fundamentally "selfish."
Too bad millennials don't give a flying shit what the cool pope says, even if he did release a rap album.
So, to find out why so many of us are saying "piss off" to parenthood, we sought out some opinions from our readers and friends. The responses are from people of all walks of life, and reveal that there's quite a plentiful grab-bag of reasons why none of us want little poop machines anymore.
1. The world kinda sucks now.
Sometimes the decision to not be a parent is as simple as wanting to spare a child from having to live in a world of jerks and terrorism and disease and our increasingly shitty ways of communication. There are many times that we ourselves regret being born into the time we were, and we don't really see the global situation improving enough to want to raise our kids in it. For all we know, there's going to be some sort of I Am Legend zombie apocalypse any day now and we'll all have to make suicide pacts with our loved ones to avoid an even gorier death so … no kids allowed.
"Have you watched the news lately? That's exactly why I don't want kids." – Taylor, 23
"As I grow up myself, I realize more and more the kinds of shitty things people are capable of. Kidnapping and rape and bullying and terror and stalking and identity theft and … I could go on. Having experienced a couple of these things myself, it would break my heart knowing I was bringing an innocent child into a world where all that was possible. I feel like I'd have a really hard time not sheltering them or not being overprotective." – Cammie, 26
"One word: Trump. If that dude wins, I have a really hard time not picturing America as a smoldering nuclear wasteland. That's no place to raise a child." – Manuel, 28
2. We're poor as hell.
In case you haven't noticed, you have no money.
That would be because millennials are the highest-educated, worst-paid generation ever. We can't even crawl, bruised and bloody, out of our student debt holes, so how are we supposed to afford the lifetime of cash hemorrhaging having children entails? We could make diapers out of our old vintage band tees maybe … but … no. We love that Devo tee.
In fact, many people we talked to specifically named their student loans as a reason for not being able to afford kids — a trend that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, if the total student debt of the Class of 2015 is to be believed.
"When a kid leaves your body, it costs a pretty $20-30K. I've got $52K in student loans to look forward to. That's negative money I have to feed and clothe and educate a kid. Not trying to bring up a dirt baby." – Seth, 25
"I'm lesbian, so unless my girlfriend grows a dick and balls, paying for a surrogate or artificial insemination would be a huge medical bill. Dogs are cheaper." – Drea, 27
"I can't even live off my pathetic salary, so how can I give a child the life they deserve?" – Micah, 23
3. Traffic and high rents make life miserable for the people that already exist.
The world's population is already out of control. Why add to the symptoms of overcrowding and environmental concerns? Adding more humans to the equations will only put further pressure on cities, the earth and worse — traffic, and we'd rather not be directly responsible for that. We'd rather be part of the solution, by learning to live with cleaner carbon footprints, sourcing food locally and using recycled materials, than be part of the problem.
"There are too many unwanted kids on the planet as is, and many of them are starving, underprivileged and have no resources. I don't want to contribute to that. I'd rather help kids that are already in need. I'm adopting if I ever decide I want kids. People don't understand how bad having a large population is." – Aimee, 27
"I have to say my commitment to the environment is greater than my commitment to humanity. Without an environment, there can be no humanity. So, I'm keeping my pussy shut." – Heather, 24
"I think we need more motivated innovators compared to mindless repopulaters. There are enough people as it is. Look at Denver. You can't even get a studio apartment for less than $1,000. If I can't afford to live my life because overpopulation increases demand and therefore prices, what's my kid gonna do? He's sure as shit not going to live with me until he's 30. I'm 28 and I live with my parents because I can't afford housing and it sucks. I can never masturbate." – Dante, 28
4. Pregnancy is … not … hot.
Even with all the medical technology we have, childbirth is a strenuous, excruciating, expensive physical ordeal. Some women just aren't into the idea of using their uteruses as a rental property, and they don't want to be a food source for something that lives inside them. The idea seems parasitic in nature and altogether kind of gross.
"I'm in med school and I'm fine around blood and guts, but when it comes to labor and childbirth, I feel lightheaded and nauseous. I just can't. Not for me. I'd consider a test tube baby if I could afford it, but like I said, medical school." – Adelaide, 27
"I'm just not one of those people that thinks pregnancy is a beautiful. I see pregnant women and my eye bulges and I feel grossed out by the whole thing. There's like, a person inside them. The only thing I want inside me is a vibrator or 26 burritos." – Zara, 26
"The idea of someone having to cut my vagina open or open up my stomach and uterus to get a baby out of body is just too much to handle. I guess I'd adopt, but I can't deal with the reality of a person bursting me open and then sucking on my tits. I can't even handle having a yeast infection so I don't know how I'd do with my pussy getting torn apart. My mom had to have an episiotomy (a surgical cut in the muscular area between the vagina and the anus) when she had me, and she couldn't have sex for a year afterwards. Fuck." – Harlan, 25
5. Because these days, people have kids for selfish reasons.
Ever hear a person say "I want kids to see if I've really learned everything I've learned" or "I just want to see what kind of person I'd make"?
That's bullshit. Those are selfish, self-absorbed reasons to have a dependent human pupa.
Kids aren't personal experiments. They're not mirrors we can admire ourselves in. They're their own living, breathing people and they'll look how they look, learn what they learn, and be who they are regardless of us. If you can't accept that and you're only in it to see what part of yourself would be transmitted to a new human, please, wear a condom.
"People say it's selfish not to have kids, but I think it's selfish to have them. Think of all the overcrowding and disease and depleted resources we're already facing. To bring them into the world just so you can see what the hybrid of you and your partner would look like is so dumb." – Fiona, 24
"I think these days, with social media and selfie culture, people are so self-obsessed that they see children as another mirror they can see their own reflection in, or even as an accessory they can use to get Instagram likes. They're almost like cute little status symbols, but I don't ascribe to those beliefs. I don't think people are thinking about the future needs and wishes of their kids as much anymore … instead they're thinking about what kind of self-image having kids will portray to others." – Gabe, 30
6. We'll ruin them up with terrible parenting.
"Have you met me?" was the response we frequently got from people when we asked why they didn't want to be parents.
Not all women are preprogrammed with maternal instincts, and not all men have an urge to spread their seed. Some of us are self-admittedly shitty human beings, and the worst thing we can imagine doing is repopulating society with mini versions of ourselves.
What's more, some of us don't even like kids. Cool parents, amiright?
"I have personally have never felt the "motherly instinct" that women speak of. I've never felt my "biological clock" ticking. I have had multiple encounters with children throughout life and it is always awkward and uncomfortable. If I feel that way, and I always do, I probably shouldn't raise one." – Brandy, 28
"Children always have irritated me to no end. You know that thing they do when they stare at you from over a restaurant booth or on the plane? I can't. The only time I enjoy children is when they are quiet, humble, intelligent beings, which is basically only when they're sleeping. I'm not charmed by them, so for me, the logical solution is to not have any of my own. My absolute biggest pet peeve is when other people expect me to think their shitty kid is cute. They look exactly the same as all other kids." – Ryan, 29
"I'm a complete mess. I drink and I fuck and I get absorbed in my work. I have all these qualities I dislike about myself that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, so I'm sure as shit not going to wish it on my own child. Meanwhile, I really do love my cat."- Colton, 25
"I don't want to know what a little me would be like. Have you met me? I can't even keep a plant alive." – Allen, 31
"I'd rather spend my energy, time and money helping people that are already alive than spend those things on someone who doesn't exist yet." – Rachel, 32
7. We want careers. So sue us.
New research suggests the idea of "having it all" — both a family and your dream career — is an unattainable, bullshit myth. So, unsurprisingly, a ton of people we talked to cited the whole career vs. kids thing as a reason not to grow a human life inside their bodies. Many people worried children would keep them from achieving their highest potential.
"My dad was an airline pilot because he loved flying. That was great, but he was literally never around for us. When I got older, I admired him for doing what made him happiest and I want to follow in his footsteps, but unlike him, I'm not going to launch myself face-first into my career at the expense of my children. Maybe someday if I feel I have time to actually be there for them, but right now, there's no way." – Amelia, 25
"When I picture my future self and the lifestyle I want to lead, I don't see kids. I love my job and I want to get the most out of my career. The thought of having to give that up to do things like spoon-feed mushed peas to a baby who will die if I'm not around her 24/7 is too stressful for me. I'd always be worried that, in trying to better myself and make myself happy, I'd be hurting my child in the process." – Wyatt, 26
"Every single person I know that's had kids in their 20s has given up their lives and careers to become a housewife or househusband. Even if both parents are working, one person always has to work less, or has to focus less on themselves and their dreams and aspirations. I've worked so hard to get where I am and given up so much to reach my goals that the idea of giving up even more to stay at home and reroute my life in a different direction for the next 18 years doesn't do it for me." – Kathryn, 28
8. Because they're not going to fix anything.
So many idiotic people have kids because they're bored, their marriages have gone stale, or because they think it'll award them some sort of arbitrary social status. But kids aren't Band-Aids; they're life sucks who demand your complete attention for a minimum of 18 years. They're not going to fix your marriage or make you a better person, and again, those are selfish reasons to have a child.
"One of my friends just had a baby because she thought it'd make her boyfriend marry her. That's fucking crazy." – Tyler, 27
"My family has been putting so much pressure on my fiance and I to have kids because they're 'worried about what people will think if we don't.' I don't care what other people think. Other people are not going to dictate what I do with my body and what comes screaming and crying out of it. If my family, or society for that matter, rejects me because I don't conform to the life path they expect me to, then they're not people I care to associate with anyway." – Natasha, 25
"Way too many couples think kids equal commitment. Nope." – Oliver, 25
9. We don't even need a reason; we just don't want them, so stop asking!
It's like if someone put a tuna fish sandwich in front of your face and was like "Here, ya want this?!"
Maybe. Some people love tuna. Others don't. Neither needs a reason why.
What we do with our bodies, careers and money are personal choices and no one's required to provide an explanation for why one way or the other.
"It's my body and I shouldn't have to explain to people what choices I make with it." – Jalise, 31
"I can't really explain why. It just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel like me, so why would I do it?" – Kyle, 27
Art cred: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro