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jmoon219
May 16

Sad story of giving into societal pressure

2 comments

Edited: May 16

Hi there. New member here. I am single and child-free by choice. I have sort of a lengthy story I'd like to tell. I apologize in advance for it's length. I've never wanted kids and despite what everyone tells me, that has NOT changed with age. I am in my 40's and it remains that way. I have a friend whose story makes me so sad. I've known her for going on two years. We hit it off when we first met. We had a lot in common. Or...so it seemed. As time has gone on, the friendship has dwindled. We are still friends, but we are not nearly as close as we once were. It really hurts me too, because here was an individual who really did appear to be just like me. But, the truth was, she was just pretending to be. As it turns, out we are two VERY different people. And it all boils down to one thing. Kids. She loves them, and I do not. For the first several months we were just going along having a blast. And then, I found out something. That she was a great grandmother. She is only in her 60's, so I suppose she is a younger great grandmother. But, I started to feel very uneasy when I discovered this. After all, I had been telling her all about how I didn't like kids, didn't ever want kids, how there was so much more to life than kids, and she was agreeing with me wholeheartedly. Or, looking back, was she?

 

I felt awkward when I found this out because, I had been saying some rather unflattering things about children, and here she is a great grandmother, which means that she could not have gotten there without having been a mother and grandmother first. It made me wonder if she deep down thought that I was some kind of monster. I finally had to say something about the elephant in the room. She assured me that I had not offended her in the least and in fact, she respected and admired me for having the strength to live life on my terms and not cave into societal pressures. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what she had done. Some more months went by and I saw something I wished I had not. I saw her with her great grandchildren. She was a completely different person around them, which, granted, is to be expected. But, she seemed so fake around them. Or, that's how it seemed to me. Was she really just being a fake around me, and the person that I was seeing with these young children was who she really was? It broke my heart. I was thinking "where is this amazingly fun free spirit that I have come to know over the last several months? Where is my hardcore feminist friend? Because I have no idea who this goofy, baby talk babbling, kid loving maniac is".

 

I walked out in disgust. I told her that the person I met months ago was welcomed to call me anytime. But...this nut job could go take a flying leap. I figured I had burnt my bridge with her. But, surprisingly, I had not. She reached out to me and said that there was a lot about her that I didn't know. I said that that much was quite clear. She then proceeded to tell me all about her past. She had told me about ex-husbands and what not. But, she had not told me one thing in regards to her kids. It was odd, because she didn't even have pictures up of any of them. Not kids, not grand kids, and not even great grand kids. At first, I did not want to know, but, I figured, I already knew too much, so what the heck. After all, I had seen her run around and act bat crap crazy with her great grandchildren. It all began when she was young. She, like me, did not want children. However, very much unlike me, she caved to societal pressure. So much so, that she went against EVERYTHING that she believed in. She became subservient to a man, something that just flew in the face of her feminist views. She got married and then, she got pregnant. She was forcing herself to love the whole, house wife and mother thing. The domesticated life that she said that she did not want. Awhile later, her first child was born. Her daughter.

 

But, then, it all began to unravel and she headed down a rabbit hole that she could never climb out of. Her husband died very unexpectedly. She was, in a word, screwed. She desperately searched for another man. Somewhere along the way, she got knocked up. No idea who the father was. And, then she gave birth to her second child. The first of what would turn out to be 4 sons, and ultimately, 5 children. She didn't learn from history. She got knocked up again. This time, she knew who the father was, only he did not want any part of this. Later, she met her second husband. He married her despite the fact that she already had two children and a third on the way. And it lasted...all of six months. She gave birth to her third child, second son, and he just went to pieces because she had no time for him. He beat her. He sexually abused her. He slapped her daughter around. After he was gone, the man who knocked her up with her second son came back into the picture. Just long enough to impregnate her...again...and bolt. So now, she is by herself with three children,a fourth child on the way, a crumbling house with two bedrooms, no job, not a penny to her name, and seemingly no hope whatsoever. So, she then gives birth to her fourth child and her third son. And promptly begins to search for another man.

 

She remarries yet again. This time to a drug addict. He managed to rob her and her kids blind, even despite the fact that they had nothing to begin with. That wonderful marriage lasted 8 months. About two years later, she begins sleeping with a married man. He knocks her up with child number 5, son number 4. He already had three other kids with his wife, who he was not going to leave (just cheat on her instead) so, naturally, he wanted no part of this kid's life. So, for years, 6 people, herself plus 5 children, live in a two bedroom house. The term child support is literally foreign to her. She would not have known what it looked like if someone handed it to her on a silver platter. Time goes on and while she is done having children, she is not done raising them. When her daughter started having children, my friend was the one who raised them. She did so until they were teens. In all, she raised 8 children. When her sons started having kids, she finally drew the line and told them that she could not raise another child or she was going to die. And she meant it literally, because a doctor informed her that she did not have the stamina to do it anymore and it would kill her.

 

And if all of that was not enough, my friend was actually asked to raise her great grandchildren. Because her oldest granddaughter is not fit to be a mother. Thankfully, for her own physical well being and sanity, she declined. I know that none of this is what my friend really wanted out of life. She didn't want kids to begin with, and she sure as heck didn't want the life that followed. No fathers, or any support from any man in any way, shape or form, poverty, despair, etc. Yet, she did it. To her, giving into society's pressures was more important to her than her individuality. I think that while she did want to do like I am doing and live a child free life, she has ultimately adapted to what her life became. And what I thought we had in common, we really do not. Having raised 8 kids, she is a kid person. Through and through. We are on opposing sides of the fence. And what is really sad, is, she did not have to be where she is. She jumped to that side of the fence, not because she had a change of heart, but because she thought it was the "right thing to do". Assuming that you have made it through this LONG story, I certainly thank you. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

FamilyOfMe
May 26Edited: May 26

Your friend has certainly lived a difficult life. I really enjoyed reading this story because it made me re-consider my attitude toward those with children. When it comes to being childfree, so much of the conversation is centered around defending our choice against the judgements and assumptions of others. We hold our heads high in our belief that having children is a choice and that it is a valid choice. However, this certainty in our own belief leads us to make assumptions about those who have not made the same choice. Namely, that they made a choice. It's easy to believe that all women have the same options and opportunities that we have, but this isn't the case. Some women are forced into childbearing by others, some cave to societal pressure, and some, like your friend,become stuck in a cycle they cannot escape. It makes me sad for these women and for myself. I feel sympathy for their situation and guilt over my ignorance. Your friend's story makes me realize that women in her situation are made to feel as guilty and shameful about their situation as childfree women. We are all defending our lives against one assumption or another.

jmoon219
May 28

Thank you kindly for your reply. My friend and I have drifted farther and farther apart. I think that the feminist in her loves me, and the kid loving goofball in her hates me. Deep down inside of her lives an amazing feminist woman. But, that's ALL that part of her will ever be. Deep down inside. She forced it down because she was too intimidated by society. Perhaps that was at a time when feminism was met with severe backlash. No telling how many strong feminist women did exactly what she did and just let themselves be forced into child rearing. And forced themselves to reject who they really are and embrace a life that they did not want. There was a time when my friend vowed that if anything, a man would be subservient to her, not the other way around. And if someone as strong willed as she once was could be coerced into changing, then anyone can, sadly. She told me to stay true to who I am. She has so much respect for me (or that's what she said, she may have been lying to appease me, who knows). She said that no man would ever order me around, because I was just too strong for it, and she admired that. We used to laugh at how I would be the one wearing the pants if I were to ever get married. And that I could intimidate even the strongest alpha male. And she would even warn me "don't end up like me, darling. Because once you cave in, once you raise that first kid, it NEVER stops". And she ain't kidding. Because apparently, once you reproduce, you are then obligated to be a mommy to every last replicant in your family, even if they already have a mommy. If you ask me, that's a crock of you know what.

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