When having children is not an option

By Nina Steele 

The decision by Hermann Goering’s great niece to have herself sterilised so she doesn’t run the risk of giving birth to a monster, was widely reported in the media recently. We also learnt that her brother chose to be sterilised as well, citing the same concerns. That got me thinking about the myriad of reasons why people choose not to have children.

Explaining the reason behind her decision, Bettina Goering said: “I had my tubes tied at the age of 30 because I feared I would create another monster”. She goes on: “I look like him, for a start – the eyes, the cheekbones, the profile. I look more like him than his own daughter.”

In another interview, she explains her decision further, saying: “My brother and I had the sterilisation done in order not to give life to other Goerings… I was feeling responsible for the Holocaust, even though I was born after the War, because of my family, who had an active part in it.”

Often, particularly on social media, you hear people say very unpleasant things about those who choose not to have children. A lot of it, quite ignorant to be honest.

What puzzles me when some people argue that everyone should have children, is the little thought given to the individual. It is all about what society expects, regardless of personal circumstances. They never seem to quite grasp the idea that what is right for one person, may not be right for another. The level of ignorance is often breathtaking.

There are so many reasons why people choose not to have children. Just like Bettina Goering, you may want to stop your bloodline, for one reason or another. If environmental concerns are at the top of your agenda, you may be worried about the impact of more human beings on the planet. Some people with hereditary diseases don’t want to pass their defective genes on etc. Whatever the reasons, they are all valid, particularly at a time of overpopulation.

Having children is one of the greatest responsibilities that will befall a person, and who better to judge someone’s suitability than the prospective parents themselves. How can a total stranger or even a member of one’s own family purport to know a person better than they do themselves?

Anyone who comes to the decision not to have children is likely to have thought about the issue long and hard, unlike many people who have children ‘by accident’ and then hope for the best.

First published on May 11, 2016

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