Ivan Natividad: A welcomed addition
The first time she broke the news to me I nearly pooped my pants.
It was over Skype, a then popular video chat website.
I moved away and we were two months into a long-distance relationship. A couple weeks had passed since she took the flight across the country to visit me for the first time.
In that four-day visit, we admittedly went a little crazy over each other.
I sat at a desk in my tiny Washington D.C. studio, and she on the floor of her San Francisco in-law apartment.
She held the pregnancy test up to the screen.
There are few moments in life when you know that everything has changed. At the time, I knew that was one of them.
More than five years and three kids later I was right.
Having children can be seen as a burden. Just another obligation taking time away from other things you want to do.
“We’re taking a month to go to Greece this spring. Do you want to come?”
“Ah dangit, I wish I could but my son has this thing called a school year which is kind of important. Are you free in 15 years?”
“Buying a motorcycle today man. You should get one too.”
“I’d like to but I think that increases my chances of dying … And that would kind of suck for the kids.”
“Going out to the city tonight. Can you make it?”
“I can’t man, it’s movie night and I’ve got kettle corn on the stove, a kale smoothie in the blender, and broccoli bites in the oven. We’re watching Moana for the 50th time … So much fun times.”
Oh yes, having kids is easy. Taking care of them is the hard part.
So why have them at all?
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. fertility rates reached a record low in 2016, and interestingly another report found that millennials currently are not having enough babies to replace the generation before them.
In November, The Daily Beast ran an op-ed claiming the lack of births can be attributed to “a crisis of confidence. This is about a lack of hope. This is about a possibly irrational feeling that things are getting worse, not better.”
Could this be true? That our apathy and pessimism has transformed into a realistic stance that the world is so screwed up that it would be irresponsible to bring a child into this hell hole?
I’d be lying if that thought never crossed my mind.
From reality television to the advent of drone bombings, there is a lot to dislike about the way things are going.
“Oh and there’s that debt thing and the … DOW ‘something’ is falling … and what else are people worried about?”
While we should take these things into account when we have children, at the end of the day, if you want to have kids … Have them. If you don’t … Don’t.
The world will never be good enough. It’s as good as it will be right now.
This all reminds me of that Martin Luther King Jr. quote that gets beaten to death quite often. I think it goes something like “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
Take that how you want, but in my own jaded, pessimistic way, I feel like maybe it’s not too late for the babies. That as they grow their purity and naivete, this time, can be preserved enough for them to continue to demand more from this world — to dream eternal.
So in August, when my wife told me she was pregnant again, I didn’t poop my pants.
But I was concerned about the financial and material things that come with having children, and we came to the agreement that this will definitely be the last one.
I like to joke around with friends about how my retirement has been postponed another five years, but in all honesty I’m looking forward to having another baby in the house.
There is a sense of purpose I get from knowing that the things I do, and the life I lead is not just for me, but for them.
And in their own way, they give me hope that they can learn from all the mistakes I have made, and get things right in their own way.
Ivan Natividad is Digital Editor at The Union. To contact him call 530-477-4242 or email email@example.com.
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