In response to the various opinions on whether children hinder freedom or cause fulfillment – I’d like to examine both “freedom” and “fulfillment”.
Fulfillment has nothing to do with whether we have children or not, but rather what we do with them after they pop into the world, or what we do if they are taken away from us, or what we do with our lives if we choose to not have any at all.
Also, whether they are a factor in feeling fulfilled, or a hindrance to freedom will have something to do with the individual nature that goes into each equation. After all, the opposite of “freedom” is only the feeling that something stands in the way of what we want, and if what we want is what we have, then regardless of the external definition of freedom is, we will always feel FREE.
I’d say fulfillment stems more from doing something outside of ourselves, whether it’s feeding starving people in a third world country, or dedicatedly feeding one’s own child, or even burning a coltrane CD for a neighbor [wink].
Fulfillment will be tied into our individual capacity as well – whether we are engaging ourselves to our full extent, regardless of offspring. Again, people hide behind their children, use them as an excuse to pretend they have less freedom, in order to avoid the perceived discomfort outside of their own shell.
Personally, I live a very split life, each side detracting from the other, and I admire those who consciously choose one side or the other… But I, for myself, would not have it any other way. I may have been judged for my choices by those who deem them “not something you do when you have kids”, but I don’t abide by those social-imposed limitations on “freedom”, which, I’ll admit, comes with it’s own set of social consequence.
I’d stretch it farther to say that relationships themselves [not just parental] create an imposition on so-called “freedom” – because after all, the more people we need to take into consideration when making a decision, the more our options are limited, whether in the context of children or not.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that freedom and fulfillment clash within themselves! Many a person has sacrificed certain personal freedoms to attain their perceived fulfillment. And others still have thrown aside fulfillment, for fear of losing precious freedom.