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Old 03-23-2019, 01:33 PM #21
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Default Re: "You've failed yourself as a female because..."

Nice! Thanks for posting the quotes!

And yup. I'm single, and in my mid-40s now, and for lots of reasons never felt like I *wanted* kids. I think it's only been recently, as I've gotten older and had the chance to see some people (much saner people than my parents) who really enjoy parenting and have great kids and a happy family, that I've started to slightly understand why anyone would want that.

Honestly, I grew up feeling like *I* was a burden, and kids in general were a pain-in-the-butt. On top of that, my brother had a ton of problems and was scary/violent growing up. I remember being in college, feeling like I had finally "escaped", and wondering why on earth I'd want to risk having kids, if that's how bad it can be.

My only weirdness... I've got a friend who used to be my manager. Fantastic guy, great dad to his kids, was a wonderful manager and I really enjoy talking to him. We were talking about this at one point, and I mentioned that I didn't want kids... in part because I felt like there was a lot that I wanted to do for myself, and I didn't think I had it in me to make the sacrifices necessary to put kids first.

He told me that was incredibly selfish.

Well, yeah. I guess by definition it IS. But, at the same time, it seems better to recognize that you're not cut out for the level of sacrifice necessary to be a great parent, and to not have kids at all... rather than to try anyway and be miserable (and possibly end up hurting the kids too, in the process).

*shrug*. It stung in the moment, but I also realize there's so much about my life that he doesn't understand, that his view isn't really reflective of my reality.

Heck, I haven't dated in... like 20 years? Since college... so even if I *wanted* to start a family, it's not like there's anyone around to help. And since I can barely handle taking care of myself some days, I definitely don't feel well-suited to taking care of kids on my own!

Maybe part of the problem is that we can't really openly talk about mental health in our society. And that plays a big role here, at least for me. If I hadn't grown up in a neglectful crazy family with a brother that regularly tried to kill me, if I hadn't had other traumas, if I had come from a loving and supportive family... maybe I'd be better at relationships, dating, and maybe the idea of having kids would just make sense to me.

I realize that's not the case for everyone, but for me, I just don't know. It's like there were so many things kind of stacked against me going down that path... it just never really was an actual option for me, in a way.

But other than that one friend, I don't tend to talk about it with people.

Oh! But I did go through a phase where my mom was *crazy* about wanting grandkids. O...M...G.... it drove me crazy. Not just asking about *me* having them (to which I'd reply, "with who? Who do you think is going to be the baby daddy in this situation mom, given that I'm not dating?!" - to her asking about my sister and her boyfriend, and if I thought they'd have kids.

At one point my grandfather actually brought up how sad my mom was that she didn't have any grandkids.

*Sigh*.
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Old 03-23-2019, 01:36 PM #22
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Default Re: "You've failed yourself as a female because..."

I think my Dad would like grandkids, but he knows he would have to get them from my youngest brother. I wouldn't mind being an aunt. I just know I couldn't handle a child full-time.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:47 PM #23
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Cool Re: "You've failed yourself as a female because..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by guilloche View Post
Nice! Thanks for posting the quotes!

We were talking about this at one point, and I mentioned that I didn't want kids... in part because I felt like there was a lot that I wanted to do for myself, and I didn't think I had it in me to make the sacrifices necessary to put kids first.

He told me that was incredibly selfish.
You are not selfish. As long as you love and care for others, and not solely for yourself, you are not selfish. I knew a single person who dedicated her life to care for the youths in her community. It's ridiculous that people call you selfish just because you don't want to have kids. You care about your family and friends, and you are willing to contribute to supporting other women here on PC with your perspectives. You are not selfish at all. You are cool !
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:35 PM #24
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Default Re: "You've failed yourself as a female because..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by guilloche View Post
Nice! Thanks for posting the quotes!

And yup. I'm single, and in my mid-40s now, and for lots of reasons never felt like I *wanted* kids. I think it's only been recently, as I've gotten older and had the chance to see some people (much saner people than my parents) who really enjoy parenting and have great kids and a happy family, that I've started to slightly understand why anyone would want that.

Honestly, I grew up feeling like *I* was a burden, and kids in general were a pain-in-the-butt. On top of that, my brother had a ton of problems and was scary/violent growing up. I remember being in college, feeling like I had finally "escaped", and wondering why on earth I'd want to risk having kids, if that's how bad it can be.

My only weirdness... I've got a friend who used to be my manager. Fantastic guy, great dad to his kids, was a wonderful manager and I really enjoy talking to him. We were talking about this at one point, and I mentioned that I didn't want kids... in part because I felt like there was a lot that I wanted to do for myself, and I didn't think I had it in me to make the sacrifices necessary to put kids first.

He told me that was incredibly selfish.

Well, yeah. I guess by definition it IS. But, at the same time, it seems better to recognize that you're not cut out for the level of sacrifice necessary to be a great parent, and to not have kids at all... rather than to try anyway and be miserable (and possibly end up hurting the kids too, in the process).

*shrug*. It stung in the moment, but I also realize there's so much about my life that he doesn't understand, that his view isn't really reflective of my reality.

Heck, I haven't dated in... like 20 years? Since college... so even if I *wanted* to start a family, it's not like there's anyone around to help. And since I can barely handle taking care of myself some days, I definitely don't feel well-suited to taking care of kids on my own!

Maybe part of the problem is that we can't really openly talk about mental health in our society. And that plays a big role here, at least for me. If I hadn't grown up in a neglectful crazy family with a brother that regularly tried to kill me, if I hadn't had other traumas, if I had come from a loving and supportive family... maybe I'd be better at relationships, dating, and maybe the idea of having kids would just make sense to me.

I realize that's not the case for everyone, but for me, I just don't know. It's like there were so many things kind of stacked against me going down that path... it just never really was an actual option for me, in a way.

But other than that one friend, I don't tend to talk about it with people.

Oh! But I did go through a phase where my mom was *crazy* about wanting grandkids. O...M...G.... it drove me crazy. Not just asking about *me* having them (to which I'd reply, "with who? Who do you think is going to be the baby daddy in this situation mom, given that I'm not dating?!" - to her asking about my sister and her boyfriend, and if I thought they'd have kids.

At one point my grandfather actually brought up how sad my mom was that she didn't have any grandkids.

*Sigh*.
Hello Guilloche,

thank you very much for sharing your truth here. I am so sorry that you had a painful childhood...the behaviors of your brother sounded very frightening. You deserved a safe, peaceful, and loving childhood. I am sorry that was not your reality.

It makes sense to me that after a very difficult and unstable upbringing, you would not be drawn to the idea of having children. I do not think you are alone in that. Though, as you astutely noted, these conversations are often not easy to have in society therefore many people could be silently agreeing with you.

Your friend/manager's comment that you are "incredibly selfish" for choosing to not have children was WAY over the line. Here's a thought for you - is it possible that he was not actually responding to your life choice/beliefs at all but his own....sounds to me like you unwittingly hit a nerve with him and he reacted to what was triggered within him. We of course cannot know what is in that man's mind or soul but it's worth thinking about. In general, when a person oversteps or says something cruel, it's typically not about the receiver...it is indicative of something going on with the giver of the comment. If you see what I mean.

Here are my thoughts on the "people who don't have children are selfish" idea in society. (Btw, my father used to say that on a regular basis and he was an abusive parent...interesting, right?)
When a woman decides not to have children (for whatever reason) that is NOT an act of selfishness. It is the decision of an emotionally intelligent, wise, and LOVING person. Yes! I said loving! To bring another life into this world, one that a person is not able (for any reason) to adequately care for, support, and love is not a healthy or selfless thing to do. It will inherently cause suffering to the child who is not wanted. There are so many parents in this world abusing and neglecting their children. Are those parents selfish? Yet strong and loving women who do not want a baby and wisely choose to not have one are deemed selfish??! That’s completely backwards!

There’s actually a yogi who, believe it or not, says that modern women who choose not to procreate should be given an award! He believes that with the current birth rate, the world will not be able to sustain the human population in 50 years. He thinks fewer people should be having children. And yet, there’s still this intense and bizarre bias in society that people MUST have babies. All people! That’s an extreme notion. Extremes are usually illogical and unhelpful. We don’t have to accept them.

Oscar Wilde had something very helpful to say:
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people's lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognizes infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one's neighbor that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him. A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.

With regard to your mother and grandfather....there are no wrong feelings. If they feel sad about a lack of grandchildren, then that is how they feel. However, what is NOT okay is to place that sadness upon you, so to speak. They need to deal with that sadness themselves and leave you out of it. Because your decision whether or not to procreate is your decision and nobody else's business.

Remember Guilloche, you aren't selfish for not being a red rose. If you are a different colored rose, or a different flower entirely, you remain a beautiful and valuable flower in the garden. Your petals and stem and color are no less than any of the other flowers. I for one am glad to share the garden with you and all of the other thoughtful and loving women who joined this thread...whether they have babies or not!
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:39 PM #25
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Originally Posted by ennie View Post
You are not selfish. As long as you love and care for others, and not solely for yourself, you are not selfish. I knew a single person who dedicated her life to care for the youths in her community. It's ridiculous that people call you selfish just because you don't want to have kids. You care about your family and friends, and you are willing to contribute to supporting other women here on PC with your perspectives. You are not selfish at all. You are cool !
Awww... thanks Ennie, I appreciate that!

I think there are different types of "selfish", actually.

Right now, I'm focused on myself, and that's kind of "selfish" in a very logical way, but I think it's not a bad thing. I'm trying to take care of myself, figure out what I need to function and be happy, how to literally make my life better. I think that's healthy, but I absolutely see how it could seem "selfish".

As opposed to... be willing to hurt or cheat other people to get things that you want/need, or for your own amusement. That's "bad selfish" (in my mind).

So, I'm totally OK with being the first type, and I don't think I'm the second type, so really, I don't worry too much about it

In the moment though, his comment sort of stopped me in my tracks. I hadn't realize that people actually think that it's "selfish" to *not* have kids. We have plenty of people, we're not hurting for people, and the world kind of sucks... why bring more people in to it, especially if I'm not sure I can take do a good job parenting them, because of my own issues.

But it's OK. I'm sure he has his own issues around it too. We're still friends, though sadly he's moved out of state, so we don't get to chat as much. Life goes on...

Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:44 PM #26
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Originally Posted by downandlonely View Post
I think my Dad would like grandkids, but he knows he would have to get them from my youngest brother. I wouldn't mind being an aunt. I just know I couldn't handle a child full-time.
I am an aunt and I love it! If you become an aunt, DownandLonely, I don't think that's of any less value to the world than being a mother. Thank you so much for contributing your truths to our thread!

Ps. when I was typing this I accidentally typed your name as DownandLovely!
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:50 PM #27
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Default Re: "You've failed yourself as a female because..."

Thanks, SilverTrees... it looks like we were typing at the same time!

I agree that my friend's comments probably had more to do with his own issues. He's actually a really good friend, and a great dad. I think that his "dad-ness" actually was really helpful when I worked for him, and made him a better manager. He was (usually) very emotionally intelligent, though could be a little blunt sometimes. Good guy though, we're still friendly.

I think that the decision to have or not have children has so many different inputs, it doesn't make sense to me to simplify it down to "selfishness". Sometimes, it's selfish to have kids - some people have kids because they want miniature versions of themselves, or little people who they believe will unconditionally love them and never leave. It's not really my business though, I've got enough to deal with worrying about what I'm doing in my little corner of the universe.

The Oscar Wilde quote is really beautiful! So many good thoughts wrapped up in that one! I like the idea that selfishness boils down to trying to impose your own decisions on other people, that makes sense to me.

This, "A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. " - really struck me. I don't know what/who I am yet. And, I feel so old to be trying to figure out where I fit in to the world, but that's the essence of it - I don't know if I'm a rose, or a gardenia, or a wild honeysuckle bush making everyone sneeze. And, I don't know how people figure it out!
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:03 PM #28
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Thanks, SilverTrees... it looks like we were typing at the same time!

I agree that my friend's comments probably had more to do with his own issues. He's actually a really good friend, and a great dad. I think that his "dad-ness" actually was really helpful when I worked for him, and made him a better manager. He was (usually) very emotionally intelligent, though could be a little blunt sometimes. Good guy though, we're still friendly.

I think that the decision to have or not have children has so many different inputs, it doesn't make sense to me to simplify it down to "selfishness". Sometimes, it's selfish to have kids - some people have kids because they want miniature versions of themselves, or little people who they believe will unconditionally love them and never leave. It's not really my business though, I've got enough to deal with worrying about what I'm doing in my little corner of the universe.

The Oscar Wilde quote is really beautiful! So many good thoughts wrapped up in that one! I like the idea that selfishness boils down to trying to impose your own decisions on other people, that makes sense to me.

This, "A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. " - really struck me. I don't know what/who I am yet. And, I feel so old to be trying to figure out where I fit in to the world, but that's the essence of it - I don't know if I'm a rose, or a gardenia, or a wild honeysuckle bush making everyone sneeze. And, I don't know how people figure it out!
Thank you for this. I am glad you like the quote. I'm a big fan of Wilde.

You know I'm not sure which type of flower I am either! I think I know parts of who I am but I have a LOT of questions. Sometimes I feel sad or lost about that. Other times, I tell myself to enjoy the exploration through this crazy trip we call Life. I honestly don't know how to figure it out either. Best I can do is self-reflection and to keep trying new things. I believe I will be a work-in-progress until my last day on earth and I actually find that idea beautiful...that I'm never "finished" or "complete"....always more to explore. I have a feeling that deep thinkers often feel confused or unsure of themselves because they look at things on so many levels (some of the great geniuses of the world lived with frequent anguish). I personally got the anguish without the genius...what's that about?? It could be that everyone feels unsure of which flower they are from time to time but they don't necessarily say so?

It's not really my business though, I've got enough to deal with worrying about what I'm doing in my little corner of the universe.

Thank you for that! I agree! I am sorry if it sounded as though I was judging other people's choices. I really just wanted to point out the double standard in society because currently the tide flows against unmarried/childless women. But yes, my focus should be on myself and my corner of the Universe. That is my power and my scope. Thanks so much for sharing. You have much more wisdom than you give yourself credit for.
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:17 PM #29
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Great quotes, thank you.
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:18 PM #30
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SilverTrees -thanks!

I think some people never really have to question how they fit in the world. I think, for some people, it's just... intuitive and obvious? Or, it's happening subconsciously and they never need to think about it. Or, they make a decision and are able to stick with it.

I really, really want to do *something*. I have that *feeling* - but I don't know what *something* is, and honestly, I think it gets cloudy with the mental health stuff. It's only recently that I've realized how long I've been struggling with depression, and how much it affects everything in my life - and honestly - I still don't know how to deal with that. My life has become very small, but trying to do anything is completely overwhelming. I mean, I'm getting seriously overwhelmed by things like having to replace the dishwasher. I've been trying to replace a 15 year old car since late last year, and just get so twisted up in knots about everything (reliability, what do I want to drive for the next 10 years, costs, where will I get it maintained). It's kind of crazy.

It's just frustrating to feel like you could/should be doing something in the world, but to also be very aware of the clock ticking, and how - especially as a female (I think) - we seem to have less value in the world as you get older. This whole "body going crazy as you approach menopause" thing doesn't help either (seriously, why?!?!?!)

And, I can't find good answers. Even with therapy, there's just not a real clear path that I can see.

But, I DO love the idea of exploration (and I think it's an awesome attitude to have - please don't think I'm arguing or saying you're wrong!) - AND I also feel a lot of envy, I guess, towards people who have picked a path, stuck with it, and have become experts in their field. I've pretty much failed at that, even though that's something that I want very much! (And again, as the years go by, it feels like there's less opportunity to do that!)

I still love the flower metaphor though.

re: Deep thinkers, don't sell yourself short! You're asking really good questions that I think a lot of people don't consider at all, and have a really interesting and insightful perspective.

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I am sorry if it sounded as though I was judging other people's choices. I really just wanted to point out the double standard in society because currently the tide flows against unmarried/childless women.
No worries, you didn't sound like at all!

And, about the double-standard, I'd be curious to hear from guys if they ever do get pressure about stuff like this. I don't know why, and I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem implausible that there are guys out there getting pressured (at least from their moms!) to hurry up, get married, and start family.

But you're right, it can be really awful for women in particular, and it seems crazy to me that so much of our value as humans seems to be tied to our willingness/ability to produce more people!

Thanks!
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