A Conflicted Mind or perhaps Ovaries

Posted on June 14, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Authenticity begins with honesty, right? Well in the name of honesty, I am feeling conflicted over the birth of a high school friend’s twins. On the one hand, I am aware that my friend and her partner are incredibly overjoyed right now and I would never want to take that away from them. They went through a great deal of emotional and financial stress to get pregnant and undoubtedly thought long and hard about having their babies before conceiving. Unlike straight couples who can “make a mistake” that turns into “the greatest gift of their lives”, same-sex couples are not in such situations. Therefore I have no doubt that my friend and her partner will do everything in their power to raise healthy, well education, well adjusted, happy children; who will make the world a better place. And who am I to argue against that?  The icing on the joy side of the cake is seeing many supportive Facebook posts from high school acquaintances who have obviously become more open minded since last we walked the halls together. It seems as though babies, child rearing, and creating family have become universal desires and responsibilities for so many of them that the fact that there are two mommies instead of a mommy and a daddy doesn’t seem so important. This is just one more story to illustrate that GLBT families are being recognized more and more and through recognition are receiving (albeit slowly) more and more of the basic rights we should expect as citizens of this country.

So from both a individual and larger picture, it would at least seem as though there should be no reason for me to feel conflict and yet I do. I do for a few reasons, most notably because many of the congrats acknowledge an underlying deficiency model that our society created and readily buys into: those who don’t have kids don’t live full lives. We are forever without the joy, bliss, love, meaningful life that children bring AND there’s nothing else to fill the void. In and of itself, this model rubs me the wrong way. Some people choose very purposefully not to have children and I hate the idea of living in a world where these people are “missing out” while others who shouldn’t be parents for various reasons are getting “the goods”. I also hate the idea of living in a world where we don’t recognize the costs of having children, especially for people who are in same-sex partners or are biologically unable to reproduce. Science has gone a long way in helping use out in this area, but it comes at a heavy cost. Should those that can’t afford children really be seen as “less than”?

Like most areas where I feel conflict in my life, I don’t have a simple solution. Throwing myself a “No Baby shower” a la Samantha Jones doesn’t seem quite fitting, nor does avoiding Facebook to stay away from Baby comments and pics galore. I don’t want to discount the joy my friend is feeling or take away from the gains many others have made in recognizing and rejoicing in the creation of another non-traditional family. I just want people to be aware of and address the ways in which people without children are treated and looked at in society. Some of us choose to be childless and some of us don’t. Some us may have children some day and some of us won’t. All of us long for happiness, bliss, love, peace of mind and deep connections to those around us and having a child is not, nor should it be seen as the only end to these means.


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4 Responses to “A Conflicted Mind or perhaps Ovaries”

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Amen! I agree that the social pressure to have children is still there for many of us reproductive-aged women and it’s not the path that everyone should have to take to be a full, healthy, loved, valued member of our society.

So well said, Ruth! I agree completely that we are not “less” by being “childless.” Unfortunately, society doesn’t quite know what to do with those of us that choose not to have kiddos. For what it’s worth, I understand what you’re saying!

Very powerful post, Ruth. I am moved by your reflection and your spirit, and I agree with you and wonder how I can do/be better in creating a more caring space for all people in my own sphere. Thank you for giving me something to work on and sit in.

Thanks to those who read the post. I feel like it got some people thinking and that’s always my greatest hope. It has sparked some interesting conversations for me and definitely made me aware that context is everything in this situation. For example, a 20 year old single mother may have a very different opinion of how society treats her, than a well-established couple of “child bearing age”. Those with children can be just as marginalized given the right circumstances.

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