Sometimes, I thank people for not having kids.

I know that society tries to pressure you into changing your mind as if everyone else has the right to decide your fate, so I’m proud of those who stick to their choices anyway. To anyone who wants to have kids, I respect your choice, but no one should force others to follow their own path too. I’ve seen lots of unselfish reasons to avoid procreating, and here are my favorite ones:

1. We have a population problem already.

We have no shortage of children on this planet. In fact, we’re drowning in new kids! Amongst our more than 7.4 billion people alive today, we’re seeing that the birth of a child happens every second. In 2016 alone, the world’s population has grown by 18,790,800, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet! The BBC reported that considering the consumer demands keep rising annually along with the population expansion and that 1 billion people are already starving to death, we’re already reaching a breaking point in terms of the unequal distribution of the world’s resources. source

2. Who needs to have kids when you could always adopt?

Actually, it’s a lot more selfish to have your own child than to adopt a child who desperately needs a home. If you really want to raise a child as a selfless act, then you wouldn’t think twice about adopting instead of giving birth yourself. Every time someone chooses to have a child instead of adopting one, another child spends their life suffering in an orphanage, feeling that no one wants them and that they’ll never be good enough. One Russian study of 15,000 orphans living in government-operated institutions found that when orphans became adults, 6,000 of them were homeless, 3,000 of them went to prison in three years and 1,500 of them took their own lives. If you want to make a difference, then you know you can give an orphan a chance to believe in themselves and all their good potentials by helping them to live a normal, healthy life. source

3. You could mentor a child instead.

Volunteer in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as a mentor if you love kids but don’t want to commit to raising one. That’s a great way to give back and make a big difference in kids’ lives. source

4. Your job may already be making a huge contribution to society.

Thank you to all of you who have devoted your life to a good cause for your career, like being a social worker, emergency-management specialist, nurse or doctor. You are serving society in a very big way already. Of course you don’t need to have a child in order to “make the world a better place!”

For example, do you think ER doctors who are out saving you and your family members have an abundance of time and energy to give birth to and raise children? Let me rephrase that: Would you want them to perform surgery on you after staying up all night without sleep because their kids couldn’t? Here’s what a real ER doctor has to say about his life:

“‘What are your average work hours?’

“‘The industry average is 8-12 hours a day, 3-5 days per week. It varies significantly week to week. There is no such thing as a regular schedule in emergency medicine.’

“‘Are there any special techniques or habits you have for making it through a long day?’

“‘Other than being well-rested, well-fed and well-exercised before coming into work, not particularly. It takes an enormous amount of physical and mental energy to make it through a full day. My shifts are only 9 hours though, which helps.’” source

5. You could be thinking about the bigger picture.

Know what you’re capable of. You know your budget and your living situation better than anyone else. You understand how it can do more harm than good for society as a whole to throw a child into your life when you’re struggling to pay the bills already and you don’t have any support for you to take off of work as needed. So many parents are raising kids already who can hardly afford to do so:

“Out of the 12 million single-parent families in the United States, the vast majority — more than 80 percent—are headed by women. These households are more likely than any other demographic group to fall below the poverty line. In fact, census data shows that roughly 40 percent of single-mother-headed families are poor. Why? Experts point to weak social-safety nets, inadequate child support and low levels of education, among other factors.” source

6. You know you have lots of other ways to find fulfillment.

You have so many ways to find meaning in your life without having a child. For example, just look at how many religions and sacred, native cultures exist in the world! Plus, you don’t need to live vicariously through the life of a child either. You recognize that you are fully capable of living the life you want to live right now, and you’re happy enough with the choices you’ve made to accept your past and who you decide to be now, in the present moment.

As Jennifer Aniston said,

“I don’t have this checklist of things that have to be done and if I’ve not checked them, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth or value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child.” source

Plus, in the book “All That is Bitter and Sweet,” Ashley Judd states:

“I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our ‘own’ babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here, but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again.” source

For all of these reasons and more, I respect and thank those of you who decide not to procreate for a good reason.