I am obsessed with babies. It is not that I want to hold them – actually I am scared to hold tiny babies. Nor do I want to kiss them. I simply want to look at them. I haven’t always been this way. This obsession is something that has grown in me over the last few years.
Related to this obsession is the joy I now find in looking at pregnant women. I am thrilled when I see a woman who is obviously on the way to having a baby. But, I have learned I need to be careful about showing this delight. Smiling broadly at a pregnant woman can get a man into trouble. For some women this is unwanted attention. I suspect some on whom my gaze lingers suspect that I am into some strange fetish.
My friend Bill frequently tells women who cross his path, “Do you know that all women are beautiful”. I am inclined to agree with him. But for me the top of the pops are pregnant women. They are not only beautiful, they are miraculous. They are on a journey which hopefully will lead to the birth of a child. And that tiny infant will be needy and loveable and powerful, with the power to change everyone who contacts them. The thought excites me.
The white race to which I belong is having fewer and fewer babies. In most countries like New Zealand/Australia, the birth-rate for people like me is now below the replacement level. The stats say that for every couple just 1.7 infants are born and the graph continues to decline.
However, the world population is not going down. Other races and cultures will push global population to 9.8 billion by 2050.
It is true that by having fewer children communities like mine are helping to slow down global population growth. That’s a positive.
But ,I see a problem looming. Fundamentalist groups around the world of all brands, Jewish, Moslem, Christian to name a few, usually have large families. Why is this a worry? A basic tenant of fundamentalism is that we are ‘right’ and if you oppose their point of view you are ‘wrong’. This is as true for Christian fundamentalists as for any other group. It seems to me that it is inevitable that fundamentalists of all stripes will dominate the world in the foreseeable future. Going on their past records, this will lead to a growth of confrontation and conflict. Not a happy thought. But it is undeniable. It is written in the math.
However, into this mix there can be a wild card. Fred Jay’s song, ‘When a Child is Born’ resonates with me. The lyric says that the birth of a child, any child brings ‘a ray of hope’. A soliloquy in the song captures what I am thinking. “The world is waiting- waiting for one child Black, white, yellow, no one knows – but a child that would grow up and turn tears to laughter, hate to love, war to peace And everyone to everyone’s neighbour
In Western culture at this time, it seems to me that the value of every new baby is vastly under-rated. The emphasis in the media and culture is pushing the other way. Same sex marriage is portrayed as a ray of hope for humanity. No doubt for a few marginalised individuals it is. For me the problem with same sex marriage is that it cannot lead to a new life – that is a baby. I read and watch the BBC every day and it is obvious there is a constant campaign to affirm the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) life style.
Years ago when working in television in Sydney we learnt that advancement in some areas of the TV production world was greatly helped if you offered same sex sexual favours to your superiors. Later in Perth we learnt of similar pressures in the professional dance world.
I fully accept that some babies are born that way – that is with mixed or muddled sexual orientation. But my observation is that interest in same sex relationships can also be ‘caught’ – picked up. When media superstars and sporting heroes proclaim their same sex orientation it has an impact on those who idolise them. A recent survey in Britain found that 50% of teens were fluid in their sexual orientation. (link beneath). This is a sizeable increase on the views expressed in similar surveys just a few years ago.
In recent years in our society designer dogs, miniature and fluffy pooches, and cute cats are taking the place of babies and children. Pet grooming and pet vets establishments are growth industries. I recently saw a pet care facility that is open 24 /7. It is well known that the cost for pet health-care exceeds the cost for human health care. Pet owners complain about this but the number of pets continues to increase. Why? Because our pets give their owners unquestioning love and also provide wonderful photo opportunities (selfies). Hang on! Isn’t that what babies do?
In the west, the whole human saga is being rewritten. With longer life and more leisure time the joys of sex are increasingly been coming to the fore. And no one is complaining about that – least of all me. But, the prime purpose of the sex drive is being ignored. A recent article on the BBC website advocated sex for pleasure only.( (link beneath). It proclaims that sexual relations with whoever takes your fancy, of whatever gender will soon be the norm. The main purpose of sex, the article states is for sexual pleasure. As for the reproduction of the species this is a side issue. In the future, women who want babies will utilise artificial insemination. The whole notion makes me shudder. I oscillate between feeling I’m just too old and its time for me to toddle off the planet, and feeling aghast that this is a doomsday scenario.
I have seen it again and again. Babies are powerful. They change people in remarkable and unexpected ways. I have seen young women who were obsessed with fashion and style change course and become homemakers. Sporting buffs whose life was consumed with hard-core physical action become as soft as butter in the presence of their baby. Rigid priorities come tumbling down and a whole set of new goals are accepted overnight. No matter what they used to proclaim, the parent who holds a baby is suddenly committed to building a better world, safer more friendly community. Cynicism is defeated. Determination to work for peace and justice is kindled. The power of the baby does this.
I am aware that what I have written above is idealised. Sadly it doesn’t happen for every couple with a new baby. However, in the majority of cases it does. And on another tack, I know babies are poo-factories but then again so are pets – unless they are stuffed pets! Parents will from time to time complain about the smells their new arrival emits. However, for most this is a small price to pay for the joy their infant brings.
As for me, my obsession with babies continues to increase. I want to use what influence I have to encourage young people to fall in love and marry (yes I believe in that also) and go ahead and make babies.
So now you know what a dinosaur I am. What a hopeless agenda I have. And finally, just to prove I am even worse than you think, for me all this baby making stuff has it’s roots in my understanding of Jesus. So there, now you have me in a ‘nut’ shell.
- Sorry to say I was not aware of the insights I have written about when my own children were babies. I was too busy to fully experience the gift I had in my children.
- Being a man I can’t comprehend the pain and distress of childbirth. All I can do is to thank every mother for her heroism.
- A proportion of the population cannot have babies. I note that some of these are amongst the most enthusiastic baby lovers. And for their part, babies share their magic and their power with whoever will notice them.
Sexual attitudes amongst teens.
Sex with whoever you like whenever you like