When I was a little girl my dream was to populate the Earth. While the Earth did seem to already have a population, I wished to fill my country, the United States of America, with as many human beings as possible, so they could buy stuff and pay taxes to sustain the economy and government for generations to come. I had a reoccurring nightmare that the birthrate would fall and it would be all my fault. My mother would calm me, saying, “Don’t worry honey. You will grow up to increase the birthrate, no problem. Just wait.”
I had no idea yet how one contributed to the birthrate, but I knew as a future woman it was my sole responsibility. No one else was gonna do it for me.
When I became an adult my parents expected me to move out and get a job to pay for my own rent, food, and clothing, and that’s where things got complicated. I was forced to become a “career woman.” And somewhere along the way, I decided that rather than contribute to the birthrate’s increase, I’d dedicate my life to its decline.
It was no one’s fault but mine. I had a job where I made less money than my male coworkers, which made me work harder, for longer hours, and drove me to the point of obsession, climbing the corporate ladder so I could afford to live—but that’s not the reason. I could have totally stopped my “career” in its tracks and contributed to the increase of the birthrate if I really wanted to, all by myself without anyone’s help, but I had made a firm decision not to do that.
I never found a suitable partner. And it was not because of fate, karma, or chemistry—or the fact I had to work seven days a week and had no time to develop relationships—it was because I think men could sense the growing wanton desire in me to resist contributing to the increase of the birthrate and looked elsewhere for companionship.
I froze some eggs, but only because I could. Not because I wanted to bear children. Ha! I think the eggs knew that. I once took them out for a spin with a sperm donor and they didn’t bite. You have to want to contribute to the increase of the birthrate for them to take, and I had already made the choice to do the exact opposite.
I watched with delight as my childbearing friends danced around work schedules, childcare, education, and healthcare. Laughing to myself, knowing all along I could have done it better without any help from anyone, including a partner or a job with reasonable parental leave. It was simply because I had shifted my personal goals from increasing the birthrate to plummeting it to the ground.
Climate change and pandemics are no excuse either. Sure they can delay meaningful relationships, impede financial goals, and end the world as we know it, but really, for me, it came down to a simple choice. Do I want to increase or do I want to decrease the birthrate? I flipped a coin and guess who lost? The future of the US economy.
When the end of humanity comes a reporter will ask a man, “Why didn’t YOU increase the birthrate?!” But I will tell that reporter to stop. Men, of course, were raised to care very much about birthrates and spend their entire lives preparing for parenthood, but it was me, me alone, to blame. I will say, “I DID IT BECAUSE I COULD!”