‘I’m doing the world a favour’, I often tell myself, particularly as I glance at the magazines upon the shelf. On the cover of the majority, there are glossy, smug photos of baby riddled celebrities adopting their polished, self-satisfied pose. Exiting the corner shop, I almost stumble over a child who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer and is whining loudly in the aisle. The exasperated parent patiently oversees the situation. She is ‘just trying to get some shopping done’. I sense her growing irritation. I meet my friend for coffee. She begins to tell me how tired and low she feels, but she doesn’t get to finish as from the buggy comes several high pitched squeals. Now she has to dash off to a play date for her eldest. She tries to get the youngest’ coat back on. Crying, he furiously resists. Another friend says she’s lost her identity. She has no more sense of ‘self’. Her children are often rude to her, defiant and it's affecting her mental health. She blames herself and seems confused, questioning her parenting skills. She wonders if she should ask the doctor for some ‘special’ little pills. I log in to social media to message a long distance friend of mine, images of people’s offspring flood the screen and demand my time. Trying not to become distracted, I ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on a few. Of course, these are lovely photos, but there are so many to scroll through. At times, it’s overwhelming, our increasingly child obsessed society. I witness pressure and expectation causing imbalance and insidious anxiety. Success, peace and happiness one could say, are now subliminally measured by one’s ability to bear a child, be a family and take a thousand photos treasured. Children can indeed bring happiness, but should we be so quick to conform? With our frazzled brains and short circuit minds, I see many struggling to ‘perform’ the role of ideal and perfect family whose ‘spinning plates’ steadily multiply. From birth to adolescence, they don’t seem to diminish as the years goes by. Then there’s obesity and poverty, war, starvation and depression. Paranoia and megalomania grips our incompetent, corrupt politicians. How can we protect our children? Why bring them into this crumbling world? Even more anxiety to contemplate as around us chaos is unfurled. Racism, hate fuelled terrorism, sexism, homophobia and persecution, we also have to teach our kids how to battle for a fairer, kinder evolution. This responsibility is ours to bear, as well as getting World Book Day outfits right. Perhaps, not having children after all, is a blessing and not such a woeful plight.