Actually, I understood you perfectly the first time. I didn't understand the logic being used by people who were sniping at you, and at least one of them was just actin' all crazy-like.
You were clear. Remember, though--it's not what you said, it's what they heard that they responded to, and they filtered it through their own emotional contexts first.
Here here! Precisely what (I think?) I was saying. :)
I got ya.
2005-09-23 01:22 am (UTC)
Actually, I thought you wrote it quite well.
I think it's just that the whole child-wanting v. child-free issue is never without primitive emotions tangled up in it.
Up until I was 34 years old, I was about 99.99% certain that I a) never wanted a child, and b) really shouldn't have them. What changed that? Well, more than anything, I'd say being married to polityx
, whom I knew would make a great father - and I figured might temper my weak spots! But there was also something about age involved in that equation. For one, I had done many of the things in life that having a child would've compromised or negated... For another, I kept seeing myself sharing parts of life's journey with a daughter (no, it wasn't a son, so sue me - fortunately for me, it came out the way I wanted it to!! ;)) and telling her things and hearing things from her.
That said - my own parents should never have married and should never have had my brother and I - I'm just glad they messed that one up and did have us.
Having spent many, many more years in the "nope... don't want kids" camp than in the "well, actually, yes I do - and hey, it seems like I'm actually good at this" camp - I really understand my childfree friends.
From the first day we were married, my Dad started in on polityx
and me to produce a grandchild. It used to really piss me off. There's no reason to take on the burden (and yes, while a joy, it is also a burden and shouldn't be taken lightly in my book) of raising a child because it would make *anyone* else happy, other than yourself.
You seem to have a great grip on it yourself. Erin's lucky. She's also twenty - so there's a *ton* of time in life for her to decide where she really stands. If she ends up childfree - well, she'll still be your daughter!! If she ends up having a child or two - well, hopefully she'll do it when it's right for her and is actually a choice rather than a mistake.
You really didn't botch the entry, you know - you're just like I am in that we start with the "backstory" and move on to the entry, and then get mystified when people get stuck on the backstory.
There is no way that having a parent tell you, even off-handedly, that you shouldn't have been born is not going to be an arrow to your heart whose wound never really heals.
I think you've done an excellent job processing all of it.
Thanks, sweetie. It was sort of weird to write about a painful memory and then get attacked for being selfish. That backstory thing is an odd duck.
What? Now you have something against Disney World?
Actually I love Disney World. But not as much as Erin loves snowboarding. [g]
When I read your entry, not once did I think you were in any way making a statement regarding your daughter's post. It seemed just to remind you of something that your father once said. I honestly don't see in your post anything that attacked her decisions. And certainly, you have two daughters, so one making a decision to not have children does not entirely rule out the grandchildren possibility.
I think it was a very well-written post. :)
Ever feel like your in a glass bottle?
No seriously, I don't know what I would do if my mother, and step father wrote in a online journal and regularly read mine.
And then, even if your family understands each other but the outside audience misunderstands...
I think your weathering it well.
And know that I couldn't ever achieve that same internet freedom and honesty. Or audience. Sometimes it must be great- but I think this is a fine example about how sometimes- it just blows up in your face.
Thre three of you make me smile. :)
Yeah, it's exhausting to be misinterpreted, but the risk of writing. I am mostly amused.
I think it's because just as you have a knee jerk reaction to hearing someone wanted children, many people have a knee jerk reaction to your reaction.
Whether or not to have children is a very personal choice, so much so that some people take another's declaration not to have kids very personally. If I say I don't want kids, people not infrequently take it as I've just said they are stupid or crazy for having them. Since they're feeling attacked they may respond with the attitude that I'm immature or selfish for making such a choice. That it's about me, not them doesn't seem to enter into it. It's such a major decision, I think all parties bring some baggage with them, making it a rather loaded topic. I'm curious, do you have any idea why you have such an immediate strong reaction?
For my part, my current plan not to have kids comes from watching far too many of my irresponsible friends have kids far too young with the wrong people. This leads to single motherhood, poverty, and emotionally disturbed grade schoolers. It's not terribly enticing.
Utterly agree with you. My final attempt to clarify
I think that not choosing kids is a perfectly valid and responsible decision - goddess knows the world doesn't actually need more of them.
I think something that had occurred to me while reading it, and responding to it,
was that Erin is going to see that post. You're on her friends list. Those things you didn't want to say to her because you were afraid they'd sound snarky? She's going to be able to see them anyway.
I understand and respect that it sequed to a memory of yours, and that was what you were writing about. But... well, I don't know Erin, so I don't know how she'd take it. But if my mother were to say anything like that in a public post about me, I'd be upset. And hurt. And wondering why, instead of coming to me directly with her feelings, she would take it to a public forum and let it be discussed and debated whether or not my not wanting to have children, because that's a commitment I don't feel capable of making, makes me a bad daughter.
Just my two cents. Or ten, more like.
I think Erin will understand. We have a very good relationship, and she's found herself written about on my journal more than once.
If she doesn't, I will apologize and try to explain. It won't be the first time for that, either. [g]
I understood you the first time. I didn't understand some of the comments you got, though.
Yeah, I was pretty perplexed myself.
It wasn't you.
People were obviously seeing words that weren't on the screen. Go figure.
I got it the first time.
2005-09-23 05:05 am (UTC)
I'm in total accord with the comments in this round. You were clear the first time around, and 95% of your entry was about your own memories anyway. And it's your journal, and your daughter. As long as she doesn't misinterpret your words, it really doesn't matter what the bystanders think :)
I also think it's so great that you're not pressuring Erin to start pumping out kids right away. My parents have some sort of mental block against me dating anyone but at the same time always talk to me about the future and all the truckloads of kids I'll have. It's almost like they're guilt-tripping me into it. I personally haven't decided either way, but having the parental units breathing down one's neck is never a help.
It looks to me as if it is significantly about people judging your emotions, which is common and understandable- though such judging is also pointless and inappropriate.
And then they bounced into judging emotions that they figured you also had. Which was just freaking surreal.
It's all an education.
Indeed, and a risk every time one opens one's mouth in front of an audience.
Your entry looked pretty clear and honest to me. Sorry you caught a load of other folks' projected shyte for it.
It happens. 'Tis an imperfect form of communication, this internet thang.
I understood you perfectly. Possibly better than I'd like. My father consistantly wished (out loud) that he hadn't had me (though not the same for my younger brother). And my daughter (only 13) has already started saying that she doesn't want to have children. I understand her decision perfectly, but I sometimes have that same knee-jerk reaction. Though, overall, I'm very much the "people shouldn't have children if they don't want them" type. It just seems to have become a delicate issue in recent years...so its always tough posting anything, from any particular view, in a public setting on the internet. Seems that someone is always going to misunderstand.
I have a strong feeling I was an unwanted child, although I've never directly (or indirectly) asked my mother about this. I probably never will, since our relationship is non-existent.
It may be one of the underlying reasons I've never really wanted children myself. I've been able to come up with all sorts of justifications and reasons that SOUND good, because, well, I don't want children and never have. But those justifications and reasons never really seemed to touch on the REAL reasons why I've never had children (and don't plan on it). I don't know what the real reasons are, and why the thought of having children is so terrifying to me, but I've just kinda accepted that I'm happy without them, for whatever reason.
The issue of child-free vs. having kids is divisive. I've left several childfree communities because of the blind unreasoning hatred and vitriol against *any* children and their parents (and the not-very-cute terms they use, like "moo" and "breeder" and "crotch-dropping", make me cringe). I don't hate kids - I just don't want to raise them.
That's the attitude that fries me - what, you sprang fully developed from the forehead of Zeus? I sometimes think they doth protest too much.