Post # 1
I watched a show called “True Life; I’m Desperate to Have a Baby.” It really puzzled me. The two couples had absolute tunnel vision about having a baby. They were both going through IVF (and had had several failed attempts each). They seemed obsessed with having a baby and had all these hopes and dreams (like it would make them joyful and blissful and “fill a gap”).
They are clearly assuming having a baby is bound to be an amazing, positive life experience, but that is far from guaranteed. Think of all the murderers, rapists, psychos, and people who are just plain bad or are just miserable to be around; they were all babies. They must also be assuming their child will be healthy (or at least healthy enough to be enjoyable).
It makes me think of my neighbor…She has a pre-teen boy who is clearly mentally unwell. He howls and cries and carries on at all hours. When I first moved into my house, I called the police because I worried someone must be abusing a child. You can’t understand a word he says, and his mom has had to call the police so they can help her get him back into the house. I’ saw her crying with her face in her hands when her son hid in the shed and wouldn’t come out. He doesn’t seem to do anything but cry. It’s so sad…I imagine she’ll have to live with him and take care of him her whole life, or pay to put him in an institution. I volunteer at a non-profit thrift store, and many mentally challenged people come in to volunteer. Many of them still live with their parents. I can’t imagine being happy living with my 50 year old child…
By the end of the show, one of the women was successful in conceiving and had her baby. The other woman’s 5th attempt at IVF failed. She cried for days in her bedroom and was distraught. Then she and her husband started raising money so they can pay a woman to be their surrogate (which costs $40,000).
Anyway, I’m just wondering what the expectation is and if they can understand that there could be a negative impact on their lives in having a child, rather than a positive one. Why not just be happy with the hand you’re dealt and realize you can be happy without becoming a mom?
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2012 - Father's Vineyard Church/ A Touch of Class Banquet Center
@bunnyharriet: Anyway, I’m just wondering what the expectation is and if they can understand that there could be a negative impact on their lives in having a child, rather than a positive one. Why not just be happy with the hand you’re dealt and realize you can be happy without becoming a mom?
I’m trying not to be overly sensitive to your last question as someone who has dealt with infertility and is currently pregnant, but I don’t think you understand for someone who wants nothing in the world more than a child, that there will always be that hole in you. Out of all of my life dreams and goals, the biggest thing I wanted to accomplish was to be a mother, and I probably would not stop looking for a way to make that happen. I probably would have given up on IVF and started looking into adoption, but I would still be looking for a way to become a mother. I’m fully aware that having a child is not going to be all rainbows and sunshine. I also know that I will not know true happiness in my own life until I am a mother.
Also as someone who works with special needs children, I can tell you that even though that your neighbors life is hard, that she does have those moments with her son that make all those other bad ones worth it. The parents of my students have accepted that their normal is not going to be other people’s normal and most would not change that for the world. It almost seems like you are insinuating that if you have a special needs child you can’t have a fullfilling life with your child and that is absolutely not true.
Post # 5
@Mrs. Doily: +1,000. I too have dealt with infertility and DH and I are bound and determined to one day have a child. Whether that results in having to go as far as IVF is yet to be seen, but being parents is incredibly important to the both of us and we intend to make it happen.
Of course there will be negative impacts on your life as a mother or father. You’ll have limitations obviously, and it’ll be emotionally trying at times. However, isn’t that just like being in a commited relationship? My point is, that no matter what huge life event you face (marriage, children, career change, etc) there will always be a negative effect. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and achieve what you ultimately want in life. Just because I have dealt with infertility, does not mean that I am going to quit trying to be a mother. Because in the end, that’s what I feel is supposed to be a part of my life. Being a wife AND a mother.
Post # 6
I am not yet a parent, definitely want to have children and I think I have a pretty clear-eyed idea about the fact that motherhood isn’t all snuggles and baby toes. Like anything else in life, it comes with some sacrifices and some difficulties and a whole new set of responsibilities and expenses and things to worry about. But despite that, most people say its worh it, and I know it is something I want to do.
It’s like marriage. Sometimes I miss how easy it was being single and not having to worry about anyone else. And who knows – my DH could turn into an abusive monster, run our credit into the ground, develop some sort of awful illness… But is that a reason not to marry someone? Theoretically something bad *might* happen so single people should just be happy with the hand they are dealt?
Post # 7
@Mrs. Doily: I understand what you’re saying. However, I have friends who have confided in me that they regret having children, even though they love their child/ and children. I have had 3 friends confess that to me. I think they feel comfortable telling me what they would never tell another living soul because I am childfree by choice. (Btw, none of them have special needs children).
I understand that having a special needs child doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling relationship, but I also think you can’t say that for women, the good moments outweigh the bad. I am sure many wish they hadn’t had a child at all. There is a sub culture that women in particular need to act like being a mom is fulfilling and “worth it”, but for many women it isn’t. If the women who do not enjoy being a mother and regret it were able to be more honest without being made to look like horrible people, I wonder if women would have more realistic expectations of what motherhood would be like. I have been told it’s 90% frustrating and 10% good. Also, studies show that people are happiest when they are married and have no children.
Post # 8
Some people have hopes and dreams of becoming parents just like others dream of doing other things in life. No one starts trying to conceive thinking that they will bring into this world a murderer or a psycho. Sure things happen, but that shouldn’t stop people from pursuing their dreams. Bad things can happen in every area of life and concentrating on that only paralyzes one with fear. It would be like not marrying because one is thinking of the many marriages that end up in tragedy, homicides, court battles, etc.
Post # 9
Happiness means many things to many different people. I think it’s silly to assume that couples struggling with infertility are unaware of the possible ‘negative impacts’ of having a child. I know that if my SO and I were ever struggling with infertility (God forbid) we would do whatever possible to have a child because it is important to our happiness.
I’m also confused with what you mean by “healthy enough to be enjoyable”. Sure there may (or will) be many ups and downs emotionally and physically, but for some people having children is an important life goal, and leads to happiness no matter what the situation. Then again, not all people are the same, right?
Post # 10
@bunnyharriet: Some women want to be mothers, as in that is their goal in life type of want. I’m not one of those women, but I know enough women that are that way that I get it. My mother would not have ever been happy not being a mother- it’s just not something she would have been able to get over. In fact, I am an only child (not for lack of trying) and it has really eaten at her over the years that she could not have more.
BUT, while she was raised in avery old fashioned household where all the women didn’t finish high school and were expected to look pretty, marry young, and be a SAHM. And I don’t feel like most families raise their children like this anymore, but I have friends my age who wanted to be a SAHM and never had any other life goals. I don’t really get it, but I think some women just have it ingrained in them and want children so badly that not having them is just too devestating to accept.
Post # 11
@bunnyharriet: First, your attitude towards special needs children is dismal at best. I have a special needs brother and he is incredible. My parents have been through a lot with him but he really is an awesome kid, and we are lucky to have him (“perfect” or not).
Second, I doubt that many parents decide to have children based on the fact that kids are all sunshine and rainbows…. 99% of people are able to recognize that this is not realistic. I don’t have kids yet, but I am so excited to become a mom because I think that it will be one of the most challenging and rewarding things that I can do as a person, NOT because I assume that kids will “make me happy”.
Post # 12
@bunnyharriet: “I have been told it’s 90% frustrating and 10% good. Also, studies show that people are happiest when they are married and have no children.”
That’s like saying children are happiest during summer vacation! Of course they are–they have almost no stress and almost no worries!
But I work in infant care, and I can only think of ONE parent EVER who looked like they regretted having a kid. I think those numbers are reversed–if you’re in a place in your life where having children is a responsible decision (you can afford them, you have adequate housing and enough food), kids are easily 90% amazing. Even babies!
Post # 13
@bunnyharriet: I think that it is highly underestimated how much the caregiver-child interactions play a role in a child’s life (& ultimately adult’s life). I saw that same episode and from what I could tell, the successful couple most definitely was happier because of their child. I guess by being childless by choice, it would be difficult to understand their perspective of needing to become parents and being fulfilled by that.
I don’t have children yet, but I know that my life will not be completely fulfilled until I do.
Post # 14
@lovebirds08: I do agree the couple looked happier, but in all fairness, the baby was only an infant. What could a tiny baby do so young to make you miserable? Kids make their parents miserable when they’re older. Two of the women who told me they regret having kids have children that are adults. One of them has a 38 year old son who is a very successful lawyer in Chicago (he doesn’t give him mother the time of day) and her 34 year old daughter has had debilitating depression since she was 12 and has tried to kill herself 3 times.
Anyway, I’m probably just overly sensitive to the negative things that can happen. My dad was a good dad, but that didn’t stop my oldest sisters from beomcing drug addicted prostitutes (one of them has been missing out of Florida since August 13, 2012. I had to give a DNA sample the other day so the cops can check the DNA database for a match.) My 14 year old sister, who I think was Dad’s favorite, died of an asthma attack on March 3, 2004. My 21 year old brother is schizophrenic. It is heart breaking. I can’t imagine how dad can cope with everything that has happened. I guess I wonder and assume he would have been happier if he hadn’t had any of us because he wouldn’t have had to go through losing my sisters, and my brother becoming schizophrenic. Were the good times worth the last 10 years of heartbreak? I don’t know…
Post # 15
@bunnyharriet: I’m going to be honest and say at times it has made me happier and other times it has depressed the crap out of me. Financial hardships are A TON more difficult with children. Having to say “No” to everything, all the time, just plain sucks. I ended up unemployed for a year and a half and am now only underemployed. I can get a second job, but the trade off is literally only seeing my children a few hours a week. So not worth it to me.
I also have 3 friends with special needs children (1 autistic, 1 fragile X syndrome and 1 SMA) and though their lives are by far more difficult than mine, they seem to be truly happy with their lots. Even the one who’s daughter has SMA (it stands for spinal muscular atrophy) wouldn’t trade her daughter for the world, though they have decided not to have any more children because it is genetic. She will not live to see adulthood. Her parents have known this since she was a few months old. She cannot walk, her spine is deteriorating. Still they are happy to have her for whatever years they can. Not every parent is that capable. I consider these parents to be heros for their children.
Some people just don’t want to be parents and that’s fine. Those people should not have children. But anyone thinking of becoming a parent should know that there is a chance that everything will not go as planned. And then you just have to deal with it. Some are more capable of dealing than others. That’s life. That’s everything in life, including marriage and children.
Post # 16
@bunnyharriet: and that is definitely the hard part and I understand why you asked this specific question. Trust me, when I think of having kids, these exact same possibilities enter my mind. My older brother experienced significant trauma in the first 3 years of his life and subsequent trauma thereafter… he is mentally/emotionally a 12 year old. My experience was the exact opposite and therefore we are exact opposites. But it DOES scare me that my child could have some form of a mental illness just based on my family history (even though I don’t think that I suffer from one :/).
However, I now (thanks to grad school) have extensive knowledge of infant mental health and know that there are risk factors in early infancy that have detrimental effects in later childhood/adulthood. The two examples you mentioned… i think that son just sounds like a jerk 😉 hehe… but the daughter, that is just sad that she couldn’t seek help for depression since it can be manageable… and it also makes me wonder when that came into being (childhood? trauma? unfortunate life circumstance?)
I get it though, I really do.