Author Topic: Childlessness  (Read 8345 times)

former player

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2020, 02:23:32 AM »
So, this was a couple of months ago. Since then my health has worsened (it often does during winter, but this year has been worse than most) which makes me glad I don't have children to take care off on top of everything else. It's only after this thread that I realised how often people ask when you're having children and I still don't know what to answer (4 times since the start of this thread, so maybe once a month). I say something like 'nah probably not' now and I almost sound like I believe it by now.

I'm still at loss about my career though. I still don't find a lot of Joy in my career and it's been hard to focus on my grad school text books now there's no reason to take this path anymore. I've been spending time with my sewing machine when I should have been studying, which is unheard of for me. I've always been really strict with myself.

I'm not looking forward to a family party this weekend. I'm approaching 30, unmarried, childless with a boring sounding job in a boring sounding company, still living in that tiny house in the city, still no car. I find it very hard to deal with that kind of criticism and not getting defensive or emotional.
I'm sorry that the people who have the most reason to love you just for who you are are being arseholes at not feeling able to brag about your work status and mindless spending.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2020, 03:40:21 AM »
I guess my life is just too far out of the mainstream for 'normal' people to understand. If only I was normal in one or two things, they could live with the other weird things. I'm used to it, I think I can handle it as long as no one starts to guilt trip me about not making my mother a grandma.

I have tried to explain about simple living, frugality, there's even a word in our language that perfectly explains what we're doing (consuminderen which means consuming less as a moral principle)  but people don't believe that part. They know I'm frugal so they just assume mr Imma spends everything and that's why we're poor - they don't dislike him or something but all men in our family are useless so to them this is the most logical explanation. Makes much more sense than someone actively not spending money that they do have.

scrunchythief

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2020, 07:35:55 AM »
So, this was a couple of months ago. Since then my health has worsened (it often does during winter, but this year has been worse than most) which makes me glad I don't have children to take care off on top of everything else. It's only after this thread that I realised how often people ask when you're having children and I still don't know what to answer (4 times since the start of this thread, so maybe once a month). I say something like 'nah probably not' now and I almost sound like I believe it by now.

I'm still at loss about my career though. I still don't find a lot of Joy in my career and it's been hard to focus on my grad school text books now there's no reason to take this path anymore. I've been spending time with my sewing machine when I should have been studying, which is unheard of for me. I've always been really strict with myself.

I'm not looking forward to a family party this weekend. I'm approaching 30, unmarried, childless with a boring sounding job in a boring sounding company, still living in that tiny house in the city, still no car. I find it very hard to deal with that kind of criticism and not getting defensive or emotional.
I'm sorry that the people who have the most reason to love you just for who you are are being arseholes at not feeling able to brag about your work status and mindless spending.
I'm sorry too that your family isn't being supportive.  Especially since it really isn't that unusual; I'm 30 and I'm the only one of my friends to have a child.  Most of them aren't even partnered.  Do they know about your illness?  Not that you owe them an explanation, but if they do that's even more despicable.
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Maybe it would help to prepare a couple lines to anticipate questions from your relatives?  I get asked a lot when we're going to give my daughter a sibling, even by people who know how dangerous being pregnant ended up being for me.  I've settled on "That's probably not in the cards for us" or "We're happy with our family as it is."  Or maybe if they're commenting on Mr. Imma say something like, "We're working together to save for retirement, travel, etc." YMMV, but hopefully having a prepared response might cut down on the anxiety about how to react.

ixtap

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2020, 09:26:05 AM »
There are a lot of depression flags in there, I hope that is one of the health problems you are addressing.

Once you accept the situation and embrace the possibilities that are opened up by it, you can face your doubters with confidence. Right now those who love you can't even shrug their shoulders to say "whatever makes you happy," because you don't seem to have found that.

I just want to hug you.

Manchester

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2020, 09:49:41 AM »
Imma, I'm sorry to read about the dilemma you're facing.  Life can be incredibly cruel.  As a 26-year-old male, who doesn't suffer any serious forms of ill health, there's only so much advice I can give to you. 

If you feel that you need to have children to lead a happy and fulfilled life, then I think you should pursue that choice.  You may find that you struggle with fertility.  You may find that you're advised otherwise by your doctor etc.  Raising a child is arduous, even without suffering from a chronic illness.  There's so much to consider.  But at the root of it all is the basic notion of 'yes I do want a child' or 'no, I don't want a child'.  If you want a child now, chances are you'll still feel the maternal instinct in later life.  Living child-free has numerous benefits, we all know them.  But those perks will count for little if you feel unfulfilled. 

mm1970

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2020, 10:04:25 AM »
I guess my life is just too far out of the mainstream for 'normal' people to understand. If only I was normal in one or two things, they could live with the other weird things. I'm used to it, I think I can handle it as long as no one starts to guilt trip me about not making my mother a grandma.

I have tried to explain about simple living, frugality, there's even a word in our language that perfectly explains what we're doing (consuminderen which means consuming less as a moral principle)  but people don't believe that part. They know I'm frugal so they just assume mr Imma spends everything and that's why we're poor - they don't dislike him or something but all men in our family are useless so to them this is the most logical explanation. Makes much more sense than someone actively not spending money that they do have.

It's too bad you can't just get people to accept you as that "quirky weirdo", you know?  Everyone wants you to be mainstream.

sui generis

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2020, 10:14:35 AM »
I'm so sorry for your loss and for the added complexity and burden of questioning from family/friends/society.  Although I am not in at all a similar situation in the specifics, I have been through grief like yours, and feeling so separate and different (in all the wrong ways, not the cool ways!) from everyone else.

I noticed you mentioned upthread that this is like a grief for you, and as you can tell from my comment above, I think it very much *is* grief.  And I don't want to psychoanalyze, but it sounds like you are in the very early stages with some denial, pain and depression.  And no wonder all the suggestions here don't seem so attractive or fulfilling, since you are not through that grief, and particularly those early stages.  I have no doubt that someday you'll be availing yourself of many of the options mentioned here, but now may not be the time for that.  It's totally legitimate to just grieve and accept for some time without the pressure of putting on a happy face and picking out your particular lemonade recipes for the lemons you've been given.  You deserve time to just be with your grief.

With some of the grief I've suffered, there has been varying amounts of time during which I just needed to describe the ways in which the loss was unfair at length and exacting detail of how many things and in which ways they were ruined.  This is where I found having a combination of a group setting and a private therapist super valuable.  It took me a long time to find the right settings and people and to get over the stigma of having to seek that kind of help.  But, I'm so glad I did and that I made time for that in my life.

I hope you can find the right tools for you as you're working through this grief.  That you won't feel pressured to rush it, even though it feels so awful. 

There is a happiness waiting for you in the future.  I know how it feels to be told this (both feeling that it's probably not true and even if it is, who cares, since you don't want to "settle" for that happiness that is a sad substitute anyway!) and it not to matter to the here and now.  But sometimes, that reminder may be comforting.  When and if it is, I do hope you'll embrace it.

I am happier now than perhaps I have ever been in life.  Not because of the grief and I'm certainly not grateful for the losses I experienced.  When I think about them right now, I begin to cry again just remembering.  It's always there with me.  But it's possible to both always hold that grief *and* to be happier than you thought you could be even before you experienced/realized this loss.  So it's worth working toward and taking your time with.

Most of all, I just want to say, I understand how you feel.  I understand how it feels to think everything you've done is worthless, everything you are doing will be worthless, everything is stupid and ugly.  That you don't fit in and the cosmic unfairness of the destruction of everything you've tried to build.  Of course, I want to tell you all about how that isn't necessarily true and doesn't *have* to be true.  But that really isn't the point right now, and it doesn't matter anyway.  These feelings will never go away just because a stranger, or even a dear friend, tries to reason you out of feeling them.

Treat this like the grief it is - and pursue options for treating that grief that seem most plausible for you.  I wish you the best.

Watchmaker

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2020, 11:16:11 AM »
Sorry to hear all of that, Imma. You've gotten a lot of good and supportive feedback, and I don't know what I can add to that except to second it. I have the impulse to offer "helpful" suggestions, but like sui generis said above, I'm not sure that is what you need right now.


Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2020, 11:26:29 AM »
@Manchester my partner is really clear at this point: we've tried and failed to improve my health, it hasn't worked out the way we wanted to, too bad but we're not going to take risks. He's pretty blunt (as we Dutchies are) and his conclusion is that the odds of him ending up a single parent because I pass away are too high for him to take that risk, and that it's a burden you can't put on a child. He'd rather grow old with me, without kids, than become a single father or a father who also has to look after a very disabled partner. This is something he thought through over a longer period of time. I'm not going to be able to change his mind unless my health changes radically. So the scenario's would be: accept this of don't accept it and separate. Very honestly, I couldn't do it on my own. I can barely look after myself. But yes, I know I will always regret not becoming a mother.

Honestly I don't think I'm depressed. I don't recognize myself in the symptoms. I'm not sad all the time, only when I think of this. I still feel joy at other moments. I think of it more like a mourning period where one loss leads to other life changes. Or like when you separate from your partner and you find out your relationship was the only thing that tied you to this city. In my case what drew me to my career is that it would work with family life, and now there's not going to be a family the main selling point is gone.

I think it's also a pretty optimistic thing to think that family always wants what's best for you. Mine seems to mostly want me to be like everyone else. The ones I'm close to know what's going on but not all accept the consequences. They know about my illness but don't fully comprehend how it influences my daily life. They don't see me fainting of literally falling over from fatigue. They only see me when I feel well enough to visit their home for a cup of tea. I tell them, but seeing is believing.

Some other family members don't really know what's going on because I choose to not see them a lot, but they will be at this party. They will probably harrass me over all my life choices ever and I'm just scared of either reacting like a teenager because they piss me off or getting emotional if they are just going on and on, because no, this is not something in my life I'm happy with and I most likely never will. I think on MMM on average we are all a bit more geeky and unusual than most people in society, my 'weirdness' is something that has annoyed these people for years and years.

I'm from a pretty convential background, so getting married and having babies between 25 and 30 is what people do. Most of my friends have families. Mr Imma and I have been non-married partners for ages, people have married and divorced during that time. We are definitely the exception in our social circle.

OtherJen

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2020, 11:41:42 AM »
Imma, I have to ask: is it worth it to you to attend this family party? Or would it be kinder to you (during what sounds like a process of grieving) to stay home and take care of yourself, rather than let insensitive relatives beat you up with their words?

ixtap

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #60 on: February 05, 2020, 12:04:56 PM »
Oh, I didn't mean family always wants what is best. Just that the decent ones will make an effort to back off if they see you happy.

The misunderstanding of fatiguing diseases is widespread. There doesn't seem to be much to do to combat that "If you just tried a little harder" mentality around it. Surely they have told you what diet to try, etc. People just suck and all you can do is be confident that you are making the best choices for you. That doesn't mean there isn't regret, but this is a kind of regret that, as you say, is more like grief. It will come and go over time.

My IL's are like your family. Its inconceivable that we wouldn't want a big house and nice cars and a couple of kids (but not too many). Clearly, we just don't know what it takes to be comfortable in this world. Clearly, we don't know what we want. How could their brilliant son even consider early retirement, despite the fact that he lives in chronic pain, which is affected by stress and sitting for long periods doing his work??

One thing that has helped is that we have gotten them into playing games and doing puzzles. Less mental space to ask leading questions.

Or, as @OtherJen suggests, just skip it.

SunnyDays

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #61 on: February 05, 2020, 08:11:22 PM »
Sorry to hear you’re doing worse.

As someone who never wanted kids and don’t have any, you can decide what my opinion is worth.

In regards to the upcoming family event, people  will take their cue from you.  If you sound like you feel inferior or dissatisfied with your life, others will be uncomfortable or pitying.  If you sound accepting and okay with your life, then others will accept that too.  Don’t be apologetic.  Given your health issues you’re doing fine.  If people ask, just present the facts and say you’re grateful you’re doing as well as you are.  Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.  Just because others’ lives look better, you don’t know what they’re really experiencing.  If they are truly criticizing you and you aren’t just reading that into their comments, then they need to be bluntly told they are being inappropriate.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2020, 02:54:16 AM »
I really can't just skip the party - it's organized by a close family member for a very special occasion. I never used to go to those kind of things but I've decided to come out of hiding. I went to another one a few months back and it was less bad than I thought it would be. Maybe this one will end up the same. Hope so.

We are Dutch - in our culture it's considered a virtue to be honest, as in, to be very blunt and rude. To tell someone off when they act like that, now that is considered rude. So it's totally ok to tell someone they should sell that awful small house and buy something better in place X, but when you say 'please mind your own business thank you very much' that's considered to be haughty.

Now, the talk about the house doesn't concern me that much but they know they can get to me when they start about having a family or about mr. Imma. He's well liked in the family but he's considered to be a bit useless - he doesn't have a traditional career but he's happy doing what he does and makes his own money. He's not the doctor from the romance novels they had in mind for me. They're still waiting for Mr. Perfect to come and sweep me off my feet with a big ring and to live happily ever after in a big house in the right sort of neighbourhood and have 4 kids. But that's their dream and not mine. And even if this perfect doctor came knocking on my door, my health situation would still be the same.

Manchester

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #63 on: February 06, 2020, 03:36:19 AM »
@Imma

I think that's a fair stance for your partner to take.  He has to be on board as well.  The only thing you can do is to continue to explain how you're truly feeling and see if he changes his mind.  The most important thing is your health (both mental and physical). 

It's a culture thing, but to a British person, it just seems incredibly rude to judge someone's life, whether they're family or not.  It's funny how two reasonably similar countries can have such differing stances.  The truth though, is that you're enlightened and they aren't.  They'll spend their entire lives working towards more hollow, materialistic happiness. 

 

Maenad

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2020, 05:58:21 AM »
We are Dutch - in our culture it's considered a virtue to be honest, as in, to be very blunt and rude. To tell someone off when they act like that, now that is considered rude. So it's totally ok to tell someone they should sell that awful small house and buy something better in place X, but when you say 'please mind your own business thank you very much' that's considered to be haughty.

First, someone has probably mentioned it already, but Captain Awkward (https://captainawkward.com/archives/) has great advice on dealing with unsupportive family.

Second, I know this is weird but... have you ever considered just being rude? Accepting that this is the thing you're going to be rude about, and keep going if anyone gives you shit about it? There's a tendency in polite people to just "work around" the rude - what if you became the rude one they have to work around? Wouldn't that be freeing? If they're not bringing positives to your life, what's the downside?

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2020, 09:32:07 AM »
@Manchester we are very fond of your country (so much actually that we can see ourselves living there eventually) and I adore English manners. A lot of Dutch people don't understand it and think you guys are a bit sneaky for not telling the 'truth' but it's just a matter of getting to learn the code. You can speak the truth without insulting and that's an art you have mastered. And I like that people generally respect other's privacy (unless they're famous, it's funny how a nation full of polite people can have the worst tabloids in the world!) We have collected a whole lot of English expressions that we like to use at home.

Maybe learning to be rude isn't even a bad Idea! I feel bad already just thinking about being rude but maybe then they finally understand.

SunnyDays

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2020, 05:05:32 PM »
The Chinese have a polite way of saying “none of your business.”  It’s “Please don’t worry yourself about ..... (whatever you’re talking about.). Said with a big smile, it should shut the person down pretty quickly.  If it doesn’t, then they deserve a more rude response!

mozar

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #67 on: February 06, 2020, 06:27:01 PM »
In the northern usa we say "don't worry your pretty little head about me" in the south we say "bless your heart" and walk away.
Don't worry about your family ever understanding your situation.  It's not the case that you just need to find the right explanation and they will back off. You need to stop worrying about what they think.

minimustache1985

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2020, 07:53:07 AM »
I’m sorry your family is being unsupportive, that sucks.

I agree with being rude, or coming up with a canned response.  I still remember H’s aunt telling me she was giving us a year to make MIL a grandma- it was a sore subject since we had been trying to conceive for 8 months at that point.  It caught me off guard so I think I just laughed awkwardly and changed the subject but I imagined a number of retorts after the fact.  In your case I’d probably expect a few questions and have some pointed or sarcastic answers.  “When do you plan to have kids?” Oh, about a year after people stop asking- thanks for resetting the clock!  or, When my doctor says it’s reasonably safe for me to carry a pregnancy, so about a quarter past never.  or, You know that’s not in the cards for me medically, so unless you’re volunteering to be my surrogate I don’t know why you keep asking.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #69 on: February 07, 2020, 08:44:49 AM »


We are Dutch - in our culture it's considered a virtue to be honest, as in, to be very blunt and rude. To tell someone off when they act like that, now that is considered rude. So it's totally ok to tell someone they should sell that awful small house and buy something better in place X, but when you say 'please mind your own business thank you very much' that's considered to be haughty.

This would be really hard for me to take.  If "mind your own business" in considered "haughty' I agree with the others that you should just be rude back.  Just say "your kids are brats so that's put us off having any of our own" or, if you want to be slightly less "honest" ie. rude in other cultures you can say "we don't want kids."  If they keep prying you can say "raising kids looks like a ton of work and we're not interested."

ixtap

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #70 on: February 07, 2020, 08:51:07 AM »


We are Dutch - in our culture it's considered a virtue to be honest, as in, to be very blunt and rude. To tell someone off when they act like that, now that is considered rude. So it's totally ok to tell someone they should sell that awful small house and buy something better in place X, but when you say 'please mind your own business thank you very much' that's considered to be haughty.

This would be really hard for me to take.  If "mind your own business" in considered "haughty' I agree with the others that you should just be rude back.  Just say "your kids are brats so that's put us off having any of our own" or, if you want to be slightly less "honest" ie. rude in other cultures you can say "we don't want kids."  If they keep prying you can say "raising kids looks like a ton of work and we're not interested."

The whole point here is that the OP is working on coming to terms with not being able to have kids. This ain't just .normal mind your own business crap, this is family poking at an open wound.


ysette9

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #71 on: February 07, 2020, 12:13:32 PM »
In the northern usa we say "don't worry your pretty little head about me" in the south we say "bless your heart" and walk away.
Don't worry about your family ever understanding your situation.  It's not the case that you just need to find the right explanation and they will back off. You need to stop worrying about what they think.
Both expressions may look polite at first glance but are actually fairly rude. Though I believe the “bless your heart” can be said with honest intent and be nice. I’m not from the south though.

robartsd

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #72 on: February 07, 2020, 12:59:28 PM »
In the northern usa we say "don't worry your pretty little head about me" in the south we say "bless your heart" and walk away.
Don't worry about your family ever understanding your situation.  It's not the case that you just need to find the right explanation and they will back off. You need to stop worrying about what they think.
Both expressions may look polite at first glance but are actually fairly rude. Though I believe the “bless your heart” can be said with honest intent and be nice. I’m not from the south though.
Yes, I'd prefer "Please don't worry yourself about [none of your business]," with out the "pretty little head" or "bless your heart" if there is any possibility that those phases would be taken as condescending. Said confidently and cheerfully, they should take it that you are aware of their concerns and handling any issue on your own as an adult - if they aren't mature enough to do this, don't make that your problem.

ixtap

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #73 on: February 07, 2020, 01:14:22 PM »
In the northern usa we say "don't worry your pretty little head about me" in the south we say "bless your heart" and walk away.
Don't worry about your family ever understanding your situation.  It's not the case that you just need to find the right explanation and they will back off. You need to stop worrying about what they think.
Both expressions may look polite at first glance but are actually fairly rude. Though I believe the “bless your heart” can be said with honest intent and be nice. I’m not from the south though.

Bless your heart can sincerely mean "thank you."

However, in most contexts, it usually carries an implied "you poor misguided soul," at best. It can range all the way up to "now fuck off before I stab you." Perfect for OP, I would say.

ysette9

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #74 on: February 07, 2020, 01:21:19 PM »
Though translated into another language, who knows what layers of meaning it could shed or gain

ixtap

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #75 on: February 07, 2020, 01:38:57 PM »
Though translated into another language, who knows what layers of meaning it could shed or gain

Good, they will stop pestering and start asking "What is this new idiom that you are attempting to introduce?"

Not really, families are never that simple.

js82

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #76 on: February 07, 2020, 08:56:42 PM »
In the northern usa we say "don't worry your pretty little head about me" in the south we say "bless your heart" and walk away.
Don't worry about your family ever understanding your situation.  It's not the case that you just need to find the right explanation and they will back off. You need to stop worrying about what they think.
Both expressions may look polite at first glance but are actually fairly rude. Though I believe the “bless your heart” can be said with honest intent and be nice. I’m not from the south though.

Bless your heart can sincerely mean "thank you."

However, in most contexts, it usually carries an implied "you poor misguided soul," at best.

This is pretty close to my understanding.  As I understand it, "bless his/her/your heart" is frequently used in reference to someone who is well-intentioned but misguided/unsuccessful in whatever they're trying to achieve.  It's not used in reference to someone who is deliberately being a jerk.

*note, I am not a southerner, and this was something I am recalling based on an explanation I was given.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2020, 10:34:01 AM »


We are Dutch - in our culture it's considered a virtue to be honest, as in, to be very blunt and rude. To tell someone off when they act like that, now that is considered rude. So it's totally ok to tell someone they should sell that awful small house and buy something better in place X, but when you say 'please mind your own business thank you very much' that's considered to be haughty.

This would be really hard for me to take.  If "mind your own business" in considered "haughty' I agree with the others that you should just be rude back.  Just say "your kids are brats so that's put us off having any of our own" or, if you want to be slightly less "honest" ie. rude in other cultures you can say "we don't want kids."  If they keep prying you can say "raising kids looks like a ton of work and we're not interested."

The whole point here is that the OP is working on coming to terms with not being able to have kids. This ain't just .normal mind your own business crap, this is family poking at an open wound.

My close family know the exact issue, the wider family is aware of my health issues but doesn't know the exact details. If they thought about it for a moment it wouldn't be difficult for them to figure out this is potentially a sensitive issue - but the problem is people don't think. 'We don't want kids' would probably cause worse reactions because not being able to have children is one thing, choosing not to is basically immoral, or at least makes you a selfish mean person. Which of course is really stupid too, lots of people don't want children and that's totally fine if that's their choice.

What I hadn't told yet is that a cousin of mine recently divorced after a long unhappy marriage. I don't know him or his ex well, neither of them seems to be a particularly nice person. She was already disabled before they married, they chose not to have children. I don't know them well enough to know if that was because they just didn't want them or due to the circumstances. But the general consensus in my family is 'you can't expect a man to care for his wife, do all the housework and get nothing in return forever (by nothing, they mean no children) '. Even my closest family members seem to be convinced of that. I did say 'well, Mr. Imma is in the same position, should I expect him to leave too?' but I was told 'of course not, you're not in a wheelchair, are you?' . Which is true, but sometimes I think that would make things more clear.

@EmmanuelGrand87 the thing is, having a family for some people is the life they want to live, and what makes them happy. If it isn't for you, fine, don't choose to. But I think most people have families because they deeply want to, not because society tells them to. Honestly for me 'living life as I decide' is never going to be possible. I'm trying to bloom where I am planted and a lot of days that works, but if you asked me pre-illness 'what is your life going to look like when you're a grownup' it wouldn't have been this. 

mozar

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #78 on: February 08, 2020, 07:05:59 PM »
You are way too enmeshed in your family's opinions. You need to step back. There are books you can read about boundaries and codependency.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #79 on: February 09, 2020, 01:36:13 AM »
I think the last thing I am is codependent - as I said, I'm not usually in touch with these people and I used to avoid those gatherings, but I don't want to hide myself any longer. There are only two relatives I'm in touch with regularly (by which I mean a few times a month). One of those two has a special occasion and I'm going because it's important to them. It just feels like I'm walking into an ambush. I reached out to friends from my hometown and they recognized my story in detail, so I guess this is a cultural thing and not just my family. As an unmarried childless woman you're basically completely at the bottom of the pecking order so I expect I get even more shit than they do. It's exactly why I moved away and cut off contact with most of my family. The good news is that the weather is terrible today so I expect a lot of people to stay home. Maybe it's not going to be so bad after all :)

iris lily

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #80 on: February 09, 2020, 03:43:21 PM »
I think the last thing I am is codependent - as I said, I'm not usually in touch with these people and I used to avoid those gatherings, but I don't want to hide myself any longer. There are only two relatives I'm in touch with regularly (by which I mean a few times a month). One of those two has a special occasion and I'm going because it's important to them. It just feels like I'm walking into an ambush. I reached out to friends from my hometown and they recognized my story in detail, so I guess this is a cultural thing and not just my family. As an unmarried childless woman you're basically completely at the bottom of the pecking order so I expect I get even more shit than they do. It's exactly why I moved away and cut off contact with most of my family. The good news is that the weather is terrible today so I expect a lot of people to stay home. Maybe it's not going to be so bad after all :)

Thos is weird to me. I am not denying your experience, but I do wonder if this is Dutch culture as a whole?  I will say that in Iowa we know the culture of a town in our state with high %of Dutch residents to be rather, errr, insular and perhaps even rigid. Anyway.

As someone who is at least one generation beyond you, perhaps two, and who was single and childless by choice into my mid 30’s, I never got this kind of judgement or pushback from my immediate family or from my extended family in the Midwest. I got a mild question or two from inlaws when we married about the baby thing, but it didnt persist.

I think it was a combination of

1) my parents thought that whatever I was doing in life  was perfectly fine  and projected that to others

2) my extended family of 8 uncles, numerous aunts, lotsa cousins, etc were simply accepting of who we are

3) my own hide is tough  and I do not “hear” queries as criticism; I hear questions as conversation starters or genuine curiosities about my well being

4) Midwestern values are pretty straightforward and accepting
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 08:06:06 PM by iris lily »

lutorm

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #81 on: February 10, 2020, 12:48:00 AM »
I'm not going to attempt to put myself in your shoes, but it seems people have found practicing Stoicism helpful for handling the kind of situation you're in, particularly about not being able to do the things you always imagined would be in your life. I didn't see it come up before in the thread so I wanted to mention it.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #82 on: February 10, 2020, 08:05:02 AM »
Yes, I think it's Dutch culture in general to be quite rigid and many communities are very insular. The whole tolerance thing is something we pretend for tourists. My own family is from the catholic countryside (while the country is mostly protestant) and from my own experience family is much more overbearing there. My partner's family is from the orthodox protestant part of the country and while they may not agree with some of our choices that's more of a quiet disapproval. I much prefer that.

The party went much better than I thought. There were only two awkward moments, one where an acquintance of my mum came up to me to tell me she was also medically advised not to get pregnant, went ahead anyway and everything turned out alright. I said something like 'well good for you' and then she got distracted mid-conversation and walked away. My partner witnessed that and was pretty pissed off about it.. Maybe she noticed his frown and that's why she walked away. And a relative also set up an impromptu job interview with an acquintance's husband. I'm totally not interested in that job and to make it extra awkward I was headhunted for that specific position a while back and flat out refused. I think I politely talked my way out of that too.  I just told the husband that I'm not looking for a new position right now and that I'm happy where I am, while my relative kept interfering to stress that I was in fact looking for a new job and that his employer would be perfect for me.

Manchester

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #83 on: February 12, 2020, 09:25:41 AM »
@Imma

I hope the weather hasn't been as bad there as it has here.  I spent Sunday twiddling my thumbs with City's game being postponed due to the wind.  I'd seen a few games in the Netherlands had been postponed as well.

Happy that your party went well(ish).  I think awkward encounters like impromptu job interviews are part and parcel of these things. 

Sending positive thoughts to you and Mr Imma and hope you're reaching a level of clarity on where you stand with this topic. :)

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #84 on: February 12, 2020, 02:52:42 PM »
Our weather was pretty bad too, I was actually surprised so many people still showed up at the party! All our games were postponed too and Mr. Imma was actually glad about that because he was going to miss them otherwise. Sunday plans are always a challenge for him because he doesn't want to miss any games. Even when we have no other plans it's complicated enough to figure out when to watch which game, as he follows both the Dutch and English competitions. He's not exactly a City supporter though ;) He's a ManU fan and I prefer Liverpool....