A simple question, wrapped in a conundrum, smelling like strained carrots and wildly overpriced state colleges: Is there ever a perfect time to have a child?
I am almost completely serious. Is there ever a moment when you can scan the sociocultural horizon, take in all the tragedy, joy, violence and breathtaking absurdity of the world, and suddenly, everything looks friendly and perfectly apt for you to turn around and say, "Honey! The world is radiant and the Earth isn't completely tortured at the hand of heartless mega-corporations and unchecked greed! Get those pants off!"
I humbly pose this to both parents, potential parents and non-parents alike: Is there ever a time when you say, "Damn the fundamentalists and the global warming, the imminent water riots, the overpopulation, the zombies and the guns and kids mutilating their very souls via the Internet; if there's one thing the world needs right now, it's one more drooling, mewling, dreaming, screaming, shoving, loving, hopefully nice-to-dogs carbon footprint."
Do you already know your answer? Well then, what about your psycho-emotional state? Is there ever a time when you're fully prepared -- personally, spiritually, morally -- to toss a fresh baby onto the hot decks of our little spinning speck? More to the point: When it comes to having a kid, how much do these questions even really matter?
Here's the thing: These moral quandaries, at least for some, certainly seem more pressing than ever, particularly for extant liberals who care about our treatment of the planet, particularly for many liberal women I know, women of a certain age -- over 35, say -- a much-discussed, hot-topic demographic who've waited until later in life to decide to have a child, only to find the options more limited and the time more compressed and unfriendly than ever.
Indeed, I have more than a few whip-smart, ultramodern female friends who find themselves at the apex of the post-feminist conundrum: hugely successful and with multiple adventures, lovers and careers in their wake, now perhaps aching for a child and finding a dearth of upstanding male-hood available, compounded by enticing career opportunities and the aforementioned troubling moral dilemma: Bring a kid into this doomed and battered world? Doesn't that seem ... cruel? Irresponsible? Just a little wrong?
Maybe. But oh, how times have changed, no? It certainly certainly wasn't always like this...
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate, and the creator of the new Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...