When We Prefer Pets to Children

I’m gonna get a lot of email about this commentary, so let me say this up front: I like animals. And pets are wonderful things. But . . .

In her 1992 novel, “The Children of Men,” P. D. James told the story of a world where it has been 25 years since the last child was born. In this dying world, kittens and puppies are pushed around in prams and receive the treatment previously afforded to human infants.

Twenty-five years later, it seems that life is imitating art, though in James’s novel, childlessness was the result of a mysterious and catastrophic collapse in male fertility. Today, it’s the result of people’s choices. But in both James’ dystopia and today’s celebration of personal autonomy, the result is the same: Animals have become substitutes for actual children.

This substitution was the subject of a recent article by Bradley Mattes of the Life Issues Institute. In it, Mattes told readers that “according to government statistics, an increasing number of women from the millennial generation are opting out when it comes to having babies.”

“Instead,” Mattes continues, “it appears they’re finding an alternative more to their liking.”

That “alternative” is what might be called “pet parenthood” and its substitute progeny, “fur babies.”

What’s more, many millennials are approaching pet ownership the way previous generations approached first-time parenthood: preparing “for their impending bundle of joy by reading books and consuming other available research.”

Now the obvious question is “Why?”

Several people Mattes quotes help us answer that question. One thirty-year-old told the New York Post that “It’s just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out.”

Another thirty-year-old, writing in Charlotte Magazine, wrote about how she went from wanting to be a stay-at-home mom to a pet parent. In her words, pets “give us a greater purpose without making our lives mainly about theirs.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet