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The Baby Trap
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After several years of careful soul-searching I had my tubes tied, and I've never looked back. For years folks told me I'd be sorry some day. Never happened -- in fact my confidence in that brave decision has grown over the years.
Parenting is a very tough job that I hold in such high esteem I didn't feel up to it myself; not everyone is cut out for it. We don't expect everyone to be surgeons or piano virtuosos or Olympians; it hardly makes sense that everyone possesses the complex skill set to nurture children to healthy adulthood. (Look around you; the evidence for that is everywhere!)
My decision was a very personal one -- I intuited that, for many reasons beyond my control, I would be a horrid mother -- and I don't advocate it for anyone without a great deal of careful thought. But I advocate equally careful thought for those contemplating parenthood.
Before I learned not to tell people I'd had myself voluntarily sterilized, I shared that fact with a very pregnant acquaintance. She was aghast and sputtered, "But-but -- what if you change your mind? That's so permanent!" I couldn't help myself. Call me a bad person, but I gestured toward her belly and asked, "What do you call THAT?"
Peck's book fell into my hands at a critical time and shaped my life in ways I couldn't even anticipate. I sincerely believe the world would be a better place if EVERY young person read this book before becoming sexually active.
Like Professor Tom Leykis, I have never wanted children. Grew up around them, disliked the noise, that weird kid smell, all of of it.
Ellen Peck remained childfree, wrote about it and hopefully this terrific book will become popular again, before too many young men and women find themselves in that awful role of Being Parents for all the wrong reasons.
We need to make more people! And now here we are...edging our way ever closer to making Soylent Green a reality...dead oceans, species disappearing, more and more and more....people.
Having kids doesn't help your marriage. It doesn't fulfill you. Think of what we as a species could do for those who are already living if we weren't so narcissistic and focused on creating mini versions of ourselves. The mind boggles.
The overall message I got from the book was
T H I N K before you reproduce. I have observed what society, media, everyone says about having kiddies and then observed the reality and they DO NOT square in the slightest.
Also (to me) the underlying unwritten advice is: if you are going to have children, BE SMART. Date a man (or woman) for well over a year. ASK QUESTIONS! DO NOT think you are going to change a person after you have married and DEFINATELY after you have had a child. Children DO NOT save marriages, they provide more of the original tension that produced the early marital problems. You marry a party animal? don't think they will settle down once the calf is dropped. I HAVE OBSERVED too many women who only complain AFTER they have repro'ed. Then they start whining about problems that were as plain as a wart on the nose.
This book is full of these observations, full of the hypocritical examples from ads in the media, film, etc.
Again the main message is THINK BEFORE YOU REPRODUCE...
two cents ¢¢
Most recent customer reviews
The Baby Trap
(New York: Bernard Geis, 1971) 245 pages
A very good book by a militant non-mother, giving all the arguments.Read more