Today, CBC News (Canada’s state broadcaster that receives 1 billion dollars of taxpayer funding annually) published Kristen Pyszczyk’s opinion piece with the headline, “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids.”
First of all, as Mother Teresa once asked, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”
Secondly, a taboo is something that is “prohibited or restricted by social custom.” Of course some things should be taboo — like children attending nudist events, or asking a woman who might not be pregnant if she is, or asking newlyweds why they don’t have children yet. Not everything is appropriate. And, it is literally impossible (and would be utterly meaningless) for anything and everything to be normal.
There is no such thing as “too many kids.” Accordingly, it is already a bad idea to criticize to parents for the children they do have thereby insinuating that certain family members are superfluous. How dare you, Ms. Pyszczyk.
She proceeds to decry that ours is “a society that generally celebrates procreation with almost militant cheerfulness.” In fact, ours is a society where 1/4 of procreated persons are not born because their mothers decide to abort them before meeting them.
Pyszczyk then says, “While having a child or five is a very personal choice, it’s also a choice that affects everyone who inhabits our planet.” She attempts to justify population control through shaming parents by saying “the survival of our species depends on it.”
So she loves the survival of our species in general, just not a celebrity couples’ fifth child in particular.
Recall the character in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov who says:
The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular. In my dreams, I often make plans for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually face crucifixion if it were suddenly necessary. Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. I know from experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I hate men individually the more I love humanity.
Pyszczyk says she objects to women being told that they need to have kids to have a meaningful life and wants “alternatives to motherhood” – “options for a fulfilling life that don’t involve taking 20 years of their lives to care for offspring.” But, as she wrote in this Globe and Mail article, the alternatives she has sought have not fulfilled her. She reflects:
Alcohol began as a way for me to have fun and meet new people, but in recent years it’s also become my main support system. I used alcohol to combat the isolation I often felt in my personal – and more recently, professional – life. I often think that society handed me a drink rather than give me the resources to enable me to cope with my experiences, which have included sexual assault, anxiety, financial strain, depression and now addiction.
In another piece, Pyszczyk desperately wants to assert “that abortion is a valid choice and can be a normal, if not difficult, part of a woman’s experience.”
The trouble is: alcohol does not combat isolation, abortion will never be normal (even if, God forbid, a majority of women abort), and agonizing over the “possibility of an asteroid” will never bring fulfilment like changing your own child’s diapers can.
Pyszczyk’s column has already received 3,681 comments, which is quite a lot. I doubt parents are taking her criticism of them too seriously, though. They are likely too busy fulfilling their lives through countless acts of sacrificial love for their children whom they love infinitely and unconditionally.