November 18

“Dear Apocalypse”

[The Advice Column for our Troubled Times]


Dear Apocalypse,


My wife and I discovered an empty nursery room in the house we claimed after The Great Collapse.  There’s a sturdy crib with soft flannel bedding, and a mobile of healthy-looking animal shapes suspended from the ceiling.  The surrounding wallpaper has colorful pictures of dinosaurs.

It made us think about the family who lived here before.  We never did find their bodies on the property, and none of the photographs include any children — so it’s likely they never got the chance to use the nursery.  Heart-breaking, really.

It’d be a shame to let this room of brand-new furniture go to waste.

So my question is:  should my wife and I have our own child, or should we adopt?

I’m leaning towards adoption, since we could choose the sex and a boy would match the blue blankets and dinosaur-motif already in place.  My wife seems to favor giving birth, which I’m guessing is some kind of biological instinct that’s been intensified by the world-wide population decline.



Empty Nursery in Newport



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Dear Empty Nursery,


Perhaps I should call you Empty Headed?

First, a baby girl would be perfectly happy with blue blankets and dinosaur wallpaper.  Please avoid the type of patriarchal, sexist assumption that got us into this mess.

Second, an adopted child would be your “own child,” regardless of the circumstances of birth.  If you don’t believe that, then you’ll be a pretty lousy parent.

And finally, instead of attributing your wife’s input to some reflex of “biological instinct,” it’s worth recognizing how brave she is to even consider childbirth in this era of limited medical access and increased likelihood of serious complications.  Data collection is unreliable, but best estimates suggest the mother has a 62% chance to survive childbirth, with the child’s odds significantly lower.

For the species itself to survive, humanity needs all the healthy babies it can get.  That includes risking new births, but it also means taking care of children who are already here…and November 18 used to be designated as National Adoption Day.  Still, local availability of medical care should factor significantly into your family’s decision.



The Apocalypse