Newsweek reports on recent research indicating that contrary to popular opinion, having children makes people less happy, at least until the children leave home. This will no doubt please the happily child-free, who seem to have a thriving set of self-satisfied communities.
Unlike many of my fellow breeders, I feel no desire to persuade the intentionally childless to change their minds. Lurk in their forums long enough and you’ll conclude that inflicting any of them on children would be cruel.
With that said, I think what we have to remember, when considering research like that featured in Newsweek, is that the purpose of our lives is not the maximization of our own happiness. If that’s your aim, then eat, drink, and be merry. On your deathbed, gather about you your pictures of stress-free European vacations, those novels you had time to relish, the pay stubs from all the work that being childless enabled you to do.
I will have gone before you, most likely, because having children is hard work, and stressful, and at times it sucks the very life from your bones. But I will go, God willing, to the sounds of my children, and their children, having knit myself into a community not of selfish convenience, but of blood and toil and heartache and joy. I’ve made every mistake it’s possible to make as a husband and father, but this is where I belong.
So go immerse yourself in the wonder of You, and I will pour myself out for this helpless flesh of my flesh. Go live your sterile marriage, and I will struggle to preserve this union that has brought forth life. Have your happiness, and I will take my portion of suffering, and we will see whose joy is greater, in this life and the next.