In discussing the drop in the fertility rate in the affluent, well-educated demographic, Joy Pullman gives young married couples nine reasons for having children. In fact, she says, go ahead and make it a project for this year to have a baby!
“When I was a teen and in my early 20s,” she says, “nobody told me how fulfilling and meaningful I would find having children. So I suspect nobody has told most other young people either.” She and her husband now have five children. “The truth is,” she concludes, “children are a reliably excellent investment in your long-term personal development and happiness.”
She makes that case in an article entitled 9 Reasons You Should Have A Baby This Year If You’re Young And Married. Read the entire article, which will also be meaningful if you are no longer young and have already had all of your children, like us empty-nesters. Her reflections hold up whether you are looking forward or looking back.
I will give you her 9 reasons. For each one, go to her article for what she says about each point. From Joy Pullman, 9 Reasons You Should Have A Baby This Year If You’re Young And Married:
1. Your Future Self Is Begging You To
2. It Will Loneliness-Proof Your Life
3. Pregnancy Is More Likely to Go Well Before 35
4. There Will Probably Never Be a Better Time than Now
5. Parenting Is Easier and More Fun When You’re Young
6. Kids Make You Happier
7. Kids Aren’t as Expensive as You’ve Heard
8. Kids Are More Adorable Than the Best Instagram Feed
9. It Will Make You A Much Better Person
On that last point, let me give you a sample of what she says, showing too why Joy Pullman (a Missouri Synod Lutheran) is one of my favorite Federalist writers. She points out that we often pay great attention to our physical well-being, to the point of sometimes hiring “personal trainers” to help us with our diet and exercise. But we seldom pay as much attention to our moral and character development, which also requires discipline and effort. Children, she says, can help us become better people:
Children are an excellent moral trainer. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all need one of those. (I guess God decided I need five.) A spouse does the same thing, but since the spouse is an adult the effect is often not as strong as with children. Children are wholly dependent on you putting their needs first. To be a good mother or father, therefore, becoming less selfish is mandatory. . . .
I have also noticed a stronger impetus to listen, observe, and otherwise try to understand and empathize with people with different personalities, as kids are often very different from you and each other, so loving them requires learning. Children are a huge investment in your social capital, as well, for they help you make new friends, spur you to volunteer more, and keep up connections.
Perhaps those of you who are parents can come up with additional reasons why that particular vocation is so rewarding. If so, tell us about them in the comments.