As a new vegan and a young single woman, I have yet
to really think through my views on childrearing.
Am I going to have children? I have almost always thought
so, and thought I would look forward to it. But what
about the environmental impact of bringing a child into
the world here in North America, and what about the
Will I bear my own or adopt? There are no adoptions
in my family tree; I have no foundation for understanding
the dynamic of an adoptive parent-child relationship.
Emotionally, I would prefer to have my own children,
but maybe that's vanity -- wanting to see something
of me grow up -- or the basic survival instinct -- my
body wanting to fulfill its reproductive role. But wouldn't
it be more humble and open-hearted to adopt a child
who needs parents, and have my own growing experience
in the process of raising such a child?
Will it make me a bad person or a bad vegan if I choose
(as I suspect I will), despite these good reasons, to
bear a child or two?
Will I raise my children vegan? I truly hope so. But
what if I marry an omnivore? I don't think it's likely
that I will, but if I do I will have to respect his
views on how his child will be raised, if I want his
respect in return.
If I have vegan children, how will they react to the
world around them? Should I keep from them, in their
toddlerhood, the knowledge that other people eat dead
animals? Or should I explain, gently, why we won't go
to McDonalds or Burger King? Will they feel ostracized
in school when they don't eat what everyone else is
eating or if they choose not to wear an item of non-vegan
clothing that happens to be in vogue? Will I home-school
them as a result? Will I make veganism a conscious choice
for them -- actually giving them the option to be omnivore?
At what age? Will I be able to deal with it if they
choose not to be vegan, or will I fall back on the "my
house, my rules" edict and insist on my children being
vegan while they're at home?
Will I be able to find a family doctor sympathetic
to veg*nism, who will not attack me for raising children
without feeding them animal products? Will I be able
to find babysitters who won't inadvertently or deliberately
try to feed my children non-vegan food? Will my omnivore
family try to undermine my choices for my children and
try to get them to eat meat out of misguided concern
for them or misplaced anger at me?
So many questions! And I probably would never have
asked any of them if it weren't for becoming vegan this
spring. One change can set off so many avalanches from
the things we thought we knew. Our whole outlook is
tumbled and reformed.
Prince Edward Island, Canada
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