I must stop! Stop a busy, frantic, cluttered life to write. Remember me? I am a writer, though I am not a good hunter or gatherer of my own thoughts. I’ve had so many these past few weeks, and I’ve not laid a single one of them down. What was I thinking? I am painfully aware that my memory is lacking. So enough procrastinating. The topic of this post will be my interaction, or maybe more aptly, my collision with people who have chosen a child-free lifestyle. I will try to summarize what happened.
I belong to several forums. While at one of them, I went into a “childfree by choice” group because I was curious about them after hearing other chit chat about them. I hung out there for a couple of days, then got involved with helping out the mod with her banner. While around the group, I made some comments and got in trouble by asking a question, getting straight to the point.. well more of a-thought-came-to-my-head-and-I-posted-it. Never thought I’d get the reaction I did. I don’t want describe it in such a way as to intentionally leave myself in a good light, so I’ll just say it. Oh, this is not for you to judge, just some of DragonMommie’s rumbling and grumbling. I am quoting myself, but not the responses I got because I don’t think it’s appropriate to do so without their consent, so here goes. This was my post:
“I’ll just say first that I do have a child. As a mother, I’d like to say that I’d rather see you ladies choose not to have kids than a women who would get pregnant then have an abortion.
“Oh, maybe I spoke too soon… is abortion part of what your choice is? Understand I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but wondering if I misspoke to begin with.”
As you can see, I indeed, put my foot in it. One person really went off on me for “assuming” that abortion was a “primary” mode of birth control. In general, the reaction was negative and everyone thought that my post was assuming. One mod said that their reaction was severe because they are constantly being pushed into the position of defending themselves, and I can understand that; but this generated roughly 36 posts, with one wondering what I was doing there, because they were not looking for a parent’s perspective, yet they state that everyone is welcome in the group.
This is my second post, after an irate response or two:
“I didn’t mean to offend anyone… and that was an honest question. Understand that I’m an outsider here and making an assumption is part of trying to learn more about the women in this group. It’s an assumption I made because, well, a LOT of women are having them, whether they make that decision (to have an abortion) because they want to remain child-free as their chosen lifestyle like you women have, or just got “caught”.
“As you can see by my original post, I am guessing at what exactly a woman who has made your choice of not having children does to stay child free. I can also assume that you (or anyone) will practice abstinence, or use condoms, the pill or whatever. Again, I know that I’m an outsider here, but since I was here, I wanted to LEARN more about you as a group so that I don’t have to make assumptions.
“Again, sorry. I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone. Also, I am sorry if I am not explaining myself clearly.”
It was after this post, I was basically told to lurk and learn. Ask questions, listen to answers, and that I was making up the answers first, before asking questions. I wrote this last post before I left:
“Some of you are pretty touchy for me. I just came in here to see if what other threads were saying were true. I realize that, as a group, you’ve been judged harshly and that has definitely left scars. If you had really taken the time to read my post, to see what the idea was behind it, you would have seen that, even in my ignorance, I meant no malice.
“I’ll give you a present and never come into this group again. Hope you don’t treat all your guests this way.”
Needless to say, they took exception to this post. They made some assumptions as well. Like they assumed that my post was acusing them of using abortion as a primary means of birth control. I was accused of flaming everyone, then they all flamed me. I did correspond with a mod, privately, and we had some decent conversations and she helped me understand “childfree” as opposed to being “childless“. Unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement, and agreed to disagree. The thing that struck me was that all the other people in the group were congratulated on being “respectful” after they fell all over my post, yet they seemed to be as like a pack of wolves. I quickly dropped out of there and was accused of not taking responsibility for my comments, though I did post that my question was an honest one and not meant to be disrespectful. It seemed as if there was a cement wall erected and nothing I was going to say was going to have any effect, so I removed my presence. Someone said that it would have been better to stalk the group and read the hundreds of posts already in there to “get the feel” of the group before I plunged in with the reference to abortion. Now, I don’t have time to read hundreds of posts. I do not have the luxury of t-i-m-e, period. I guess that is something they will never understand. One minute stolen here and there could never compare to the luxury of having the whole night, every night, to yourself. It is a group and the people are there to talk. I mean, they had no qualms about airing their own views about parents and kids, in general…
not all hardly positive. I guess that’s their perogative, but when you are officially welcoming guests to comment, be prepared for some of it not to be all polished and to your liking.
I do agree that maybe I got in too deep before I got the chance to know the people, but I wasn’t going to be there for long as it really is not my interest…. but.
Here is the but. I thought that I shared that perspective, to a point, because I spent 43 years without children. Yes, I know that I was childless” and not childfree, courtesy of the mod there… but I DO know what it’s like to have friends and family with children and feeling like the outsider because I did not have kids. That is the whole premise of this group. I’ve also substituted pets for children. I know what it’s like to have a mother tell me those infamous words, “You will never understand until you become a mother”. Yes, I’ve been the brunt of that one, too. See, though… and this is the thing that I could never say there, hence the motivation to write this post. That statement is true. So many realizations have been zooming in to hit me on the head ever since my Little Drake was born. And it’s NOT about that famous inborn instinct that mothers are supposed to have (and we do). Well, what that “instinct” is born of, is the stresses we experience just trying to keep our babies alive. This instinct. How else can you possibly explain why a mother knows her own child’s cry? It’s a biological connection, and not something we made up. Here is something to think about. I remember when I was childless that when I was in the company of my niece and nephew, I looked at them as being separate from me… I did not have the responsibility for keeping them safe. Oh, I would have protected them if I had to, but it was not MY responsibility. I did not have that radar that scans the big picture, the stairs, the flame on the stove, the exposed electrical outlets, the cords and wires, the too hot, the too cold… you get it? Now, wherever I am with my son, I have that radar constantly scanning our environment for obstacles…. anything dangerous. When I am walking with him, my hand is always there, protecting his head against the walls, the corners of the counter. My hands are always there, at the ever ready to catch him when he falls… and that happens a lot. This, I did not have when I was without children. I have to laugh now, because I was seriously offended back then; but now I know it to be true.
Another thing I did not have when childless was the turmoil inside about what kind of a parent I am. I am constantly analyzing my interaction with my son because I want to be a good parent. People without children don’t understand this is going on. How could they? Could they understand that? Would they trivialize it? Would they call me crazy or being just plaiin, “too much”? And, DAMN YES, I’m jealous of all the free time you have. Of the self-centered lifestyle…. meaning, the live-for-myself-lifestyle. I had it. I loved it. Now I miss it, in a selfish kind of way. I want it back! But, I too, have made my choice. In the back of my head, I know that this is what I want, and that the selfish side of me wants my own life back. So what do I do? I steal moments for myself throughout the day. It feels selfish… it IS selfish…. but it’s my way to survive. After re-reading some posts, someone had said that they’d hoped that their friends with children would give them the benefit of the doubt if they had spoken ignorantly from their own perspective. Well, I wish they had done the same for me.
There, I’ve said it. I do agree that childfree people should not have to endure the jerk-ish attitudes they do. I agree that they are not “different”, they just don’t want kids and society should not make them feel like they have to have them, or are not normal because of it. They are not to be pitied, either. They are happy with their lives. But you know, everyone at some point in their lives, encounters some form of prejudice. Whether it be their childfree status, race, creed, gender, marital status, body size,… the list goes on and on and on. It’s taken my whole life to deal with being the outsider of many circles. What it comes down to, is “are you happy with yourself?” If you are, then it shouldn’t matter what anyone has to say. I know from personal experience that if I am sensitive to something, that it bothers me, it upsets me. When I can get to the point of not being so phased, then I know that I am okay.
Now, the question of utilizing abortion, despite my time away, is still a sore spot with me, as evidenced by my last posts about it, here, and here. While I admire these people for choosing a lifestyle, I do not agree that if they become pregnant, that they should have an abortion, especially if they are married. What a shame. I think that adoption would be a good solution. If they make the choice to be childfree, they should also consider abstaining from sex because the production of children is the reason for having sex; or I should say, being open to having children should be the prerequisite before having sex. It was obvious during my time in the group that before my foot-in-mouth post, abortion was not discussed. I am wondering why that is, especially since the group is meant to be supportive to the members. You can disagree and that is okay; but it’s my blog and I’ll freely exert my views here.
Whew! Of course, all comments are welcome… but BE RESPECTFUL… and no curse words. Comments containing curse words will be deleted.