Musings on life, alphabetically.
“Do they have a family?” is generally the first question my mother will ask about someone. She means, “do they have children?”
As if that makes them more interesting.
Hmm, an interesting follow-up to your previous post. I know fertility used to be the measure of a woman's worth, but I had hoped those days were long gone.
There is sometimes a measure of "well, at least they didn't have children" when people divorce or die, which I guess means at least fewer people are in massive pain. I understand that, of course, but it doesn't lessen the individual pain...Which isn't exactly what you were saying, but it's what leapt to my mind.
It is always assumed there is a dark story behind why someone doesn't have kids. and if there isn't a dark story forthcoming, like with my friend Gretchen, it's assumed to be selfishness or psychological immaturity.I think personally, I'm very aware of myself when I talk about being a mother with women who are not mothers (whether by choice, circumstance, or desire unfulfilled--even the nuns I'm friends with). I don't want it to define me, and I don't want the childlessness to define them. It's like a white person trying to be race sensitive for the first time, though, tripping over my words and stopping myself.
H: Well to be fair my mother is 76! But yesterday in the office, the talk was constantly about babies. And try being a woman without children in election year. Noone seems to want your vote! IB: Yes. It's that feeling that we're more expendable.B: Don't get me started on the "selfishness" assumption about why people don't have children vis-a-vis those who do!! LOL! But I like your analogy about being race sensitive. It's all about attitude and openness really. I love being involved in the lives of children of friends and family. It's when I'm looked down on because I don't have my own that I get irate!
Over the holidays I visited with a couple who have one adopted child—an international adoption (said child is now 26). We were discussing bits of this issue, and my friend said that without question, having children is a selfish act. (I, childless, was saying it was both selfless and selfish; she, having decided she had to have one, came down totally on the side of selfish.)B: I like what you said about not wanting either status to define one...
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