7 Billion, Reflection

A lot of us were in our twenties or thirties when we were in the Netherlands. We came, we studied, and some of us fell in love with other fellow students. My husband and I did. I also know at least five other couples in my year who also did.

Five years after, one by one these multinational couples are turning into parents of beautiful babies! All except my husband and I. We’re excited to see the facebook photos of our friends and their babies beaming with happiness, but somehow we are never compelled to make that happiness ours.

We love kids, and I’ve been working for years now in nonprofits for children. But having kids on our own is a different case. It’s such a big decision, something that we don’t want to rush into. But some people think that’s too bad… Don’t we want to give the gift of American citizenship to our baby, while we’re here in the U.S.?

To these kind of people, I always reasoned that we’re here for different purposes, that we’re busy, that it’s expensive, and unlike in our home country Indonesia, here there’s no family members who will be able to help out taking care of the baby.

These are valid reasons, but I know that they are temporary. Once we return to Indonesia, we may need to think of other excuses to tell people… until the day comes when we do want to have kids (not until the day when we’re ready to be parents, since I know that we’ll never be ready).

Will that day eventually come though? Years ago I always thought that when my peers are becoming parents, I may feel the urge to join the club. Now when most of them are parents, I know that it’s not true. I still can’t imagine entering parenthood and I never seem have what Ayelet Waldman called the ‘baby-lust’: the longing to kiss those small feet, or the craving for those chic strollers and other baby gears… Not me.

In addition, early last week the UN predicted that the world population has reached 7 billion. The world population is growing so rapidly, it was 6 billion only in 12 years ago. The resources are getting more and more limited and life won’t be any easier for the younger generations. Do I really want to bring another life to this already overly crowded world?

Sometimes I think I love my unborn kids too much that I want to protect them from the harsh life, all the pain and all the suffering that are in this world. Yes, they can always be born for us to love and protect, but I’m afraid we won’t be strong enough for them. Maybe it’s my lack of faith… But perhaps it’s going to be better if they never got the chance to visit this world at all.



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