A reader in our Mexico bureau sends the following link to a Dear Prudence letter, which he characterizes in his e-mail below:

A single 65-year-old lady with twin four-year-olds conceived by fertility treatments (of course), and she’s completely uninvolved, unable to relate or parent them (yes, secondhand report, one side of the story, but very believable).  What a horrible, sad story.  It’s like they were to be little pets.  As a father of twins, it breaks my heart to think about it.

I followed the thread on decadence and children (or lack thereof) with interest, coming squarely down on the “It’s selfish not to have kids” side (in most circumstances, naturally; we could all think of exceptions, I think, though economic reasons in the US don’t strike me as very legitimate).  But this story shows that there are situations where it’s decadent and selfish to have kids.  That’s the flip side of married 20/30-somethings deciding not to have kids.

What an excellent point. What is the common link? People thinking of children as lifestyle accessories — something that’s possible, and maybe inevitable, in a culture that has lost its understanding of childbearing as part of a natural order. That is to say, a culture that believes there is no unseen order we can know, and by which we must strive to live; that there is only choice and its expression.