I appreciate this may be seen as a provocative post from a childless person, I genuinely don’t mean it as that, it’s just something that struck me very strongly while walking in the snow today.
Since I left Fun Palaces (all of two weeks ago) so many people have said “I hope you’re taking some time off now” or “are you going to rest now?” a) like I’m 87* not 57 and b) like they think there’s something wrong with keeping on creating, making, growing work.
I know there is a fill-the-existential-void element to making creative work, to any making, of course there is, but it hit me forcefully this morning that this same attitude simply isn’t applied to the creative work of making humans.
Creating a new human being is also about filling an existential void, as well as love and passion and desire and drive – all of which can be said of creative work.
The world does not need more people, we have a climate/population crisis now, no longer looming, having children is something we try to do because we have a drive to do it, a passion and desire for it, and yet saying to someone having/trying for a second child “maybe you should have a break now” would be considered deeply rude at the very least. (I know this does happen when people are having a third or fourth or more children though, as if there is a limit to how much creating/making/growing/loving each of us is permitted.)
Other than acknowledging we live in such a pronatalist society that creating humans is seen as beyond/better so people just don’t see an equivalence, I’m truly struck by how weird it is that one kind of creating (creative work) can be seen as ‘doing too much’, but the other kind of creating (making humans, which surely involves SO MUCH work?!) is ‘natural’.
Might it not be that all creating is ‘natural’, even as it is also, all, filling a void?
Parents, feel free to respond with all the annoying times people suggested you stop after one child, though most stories seem to be that one child families are considered not-quite-there … hence secondary infertility being a genuine concern.
Image is daphne in snow in garden this morning.
*if I make it that far, I definitely want to be creating at 87!
Personally, having two daughters, each of whom has one daughter and feeling that’s plenty, I think nobody should personally put a limit on somebody else’s creativity or children but I also think more widely that we have too many people on this planet and that women are of equal value, regardless of whether or not they have children.
thank you Sarah, very much in agreement with you.