Feminist mothering affirmations

Golden top 10 on podium. 3D icon isolated on white background

Natural childbirth advocates employ birth affirmations as a form of magical thinking. They appear to believe that if they just wish hard enough, they can affect the likelihood of the unmedicated vaginal birth that they are supposed to want.

That’s nonsense, of course. But birth affirmations are also anti-feminist. They are anti-feminist because they assume that a woman’s virtue resides in her vagina, because they ignore women’s needs and desires, and because they arise from philosophies that seek to immure women back into the home.

A woman’s virtue does not reside in her vagina.

My feminist mothering affirmations rest on the opposite premises:

  • A woman’s virtue resides in her mind, talents and character. Whether or not a baby transits her vagina is no more important than whether or not she wears glasses.
  • Women’s needs — for pain relief in labor, for control of whether their breasts are used to feed their babies, for participation in the world beyond mothering — are more important than any purported benefits from natural childbirth, breastfeeding or attachment parenting. Whether or not a woman chooses to adhere to these philosophies is her decision, based on what she thinks is best for her children, not what other people, ignoring scientific evidence, think is best for her children.
  • Women — and society — benefit when they are encouraged to use the full range of their talents in the wider world, and women — and society — are harmed when women are immured in the home, forced to restrict themselves to childcare.

Here are my top ten feminist mothering affirmations:

1. It makes no difference how my baby is born.

Over the course of your son or daughter’s childhood, you will have many occasions to ponder how your actions impact your child’s life and you will second guess yourself many times, wondering if you had handled a specific situation differently might your child have been happier or more successful. Whether your baby was born vaginally or by C-section should never be one of them. It will make absolutely, no difference to your child how he or she emerged from your womb (or, in the case of an adopted child, even if he or she emerged from your womb). There is no reason for you to worry or obsess about how your baby is born.

2. There is no reason for me to suffer.

Some lucky women have a manageable amount of pain in labor and don’t need any relief. Most, however, have an unmanageable amount of pain and desperately seek relief. There is NO REASON to forgo pain relief when you are in pain. It is not safer, healthier or better in any way for your baby or for you to withstand hours of excruciating pain.

3. I am not in competition with other women.

Admittedly this is hard to believe when your friends, acquaintances and casual strangers demand details of your birth so they can compare their “performance” to your “performance,” but it’s true. It’s nobody’s business how you choose to give birth to your child and they don’t deserve to comment upon or even to know those private details.

Childbirth is not a performance that ought to be rated or compared. Childbirth is a bodily function like vision. Sometimes it works well; sometimes it needs help. No one judges women who wear glasses or contacts for nearsightedness even though their eyes don’t work “as nature intended.” Nearsightedness just happens, is no one’s fault and implies nothing about the overall health or quality of a woman’s body. Similarly, childbirth complications just happen, are no one’s fault and imply nothing about the overall health or quality of a woman’s body.

4. I am not guaranteed a healthy baby, so I need to consult with the professionals who can help me ensure my baby’s health.

Human reproduction, like all reproduction, has a high degree of “wastage,” which is another way of saying that death is a common complication of pregnancy. For example, 1 in 5 established pregnancies will end in miscarriage. No amount of wishing and hoping will change that. Similarly, in nature, nearly 10% of pregnancies will end in the death of the baby, the mother or both. Fortunately, the interventions of modern obstetrics can prevent the vast majority of those deaths, but only if you avail yourself of those interventions and the expertise of the people trained to use them.

5. I will not trust birth, because birth is not trustworthy.

Trusting birth makes about as much sense as trusting vision. No amount of trusting will prevent nearsightedness, so refusing eye exams in favor of trusting vision is stupid in the extreme. That goes double for childbirth, which is far more deadly than nearsightedness.

6. I will carefully analyze the motives of those who declare that any particular way of giving birth is “better” than any other.

When you take the time to analyze the advice and recommendations of “birth workers” like midwives, doulas and childbirth educators, ask yourself if they profit when you follow their advice. That does not mean that their advice is necessarily wrong, but it can and too often does compromise their recommendations. Instead of recommending what is good for you and your baby, they may be recommending what is good for their wallet.

Similarly, you should analyze the advice and recommendations of friends and acquaintance looking at how they benefit if you do what they suggest. Are they anxious for you to validate their birth choices by making the same choices? If so, feel free to ignore them.

7. I will not take pregnancy advice or care from anyone who won’t take responsibility for that advice or care.

If a homebirth midwife doesn’t carry insurance, and makes you sign a document declaring that the responsibility for any and all outcomes in yours, she is signaling that even she doesn’t believe that she is educated enough or trained enough to take responsibility your baby’s life or for your life. Real professionals take legal and ethical responsibility for their work; amateurs and hobbyists never do.

8.My baby does not care whether he or she is breastfed or bottlefed.

It makes literally no difference to the baby how he or she gets fed, only that he or she gets fed. Yes, breastfeeding does have some advantages, but those advantages are small and in industrialized countries those benefits are trivial.

9. Both the baby’s needs and my needs matter when it comes to infant feeding.

Yes, breastfeeding can be difficult and stressful in the first few days and weeks, and it is great to persevere through those difficulties if breastfeeding is important to you. But the baby’s hunger and suffering count for a lot, and if you feel your baby is suffering from hunger, you should feel free to feed the baby formula. Your pain and suffering count, too. If your nipples are raw and bleeding, if you have horrible pain when nursing, if you start crying every time the baby cries with hunger, dreading nursing, it is perfectly healthy and acceptable to use formula instead, either for supplementing or exclusively.

10. I will not judge my mothering by the performance of my body.

You mother with your entire body. Your arms hold and embrace your children. Your hands guide. Your lips kiss. Your brain plans and worries, and your metaphorical heart loves your child. Your uterus, vagina and breasts are trivial when compared to the other body parts, so it makes no sense to judge your mothering by whether you had a vaginal birth or breastfed your children.

Mothering is hard. I know; I have four children and I have spent countless hours caring and worrying, wishing I could carry their burdens, smooth their paths, and absorb their hurts. My children are adults now, and no doubt there are many things that they think I could have done better, but they never, ever give any thought to their route of delivery or to whether or for how long they are breastfed.

Don’t judge yourself on these issues, and don’t let anyone judge you. It isn’t simply doesn’t matter and it’s anti-feminist.

 

Adapted from a piece that first appeared in August 2014.

  • rachelmarie Acosta

    Soon these affirmations will be printed and hanging up.
    Needed them.
    It’s funny I was thinking to myself I need affirmations to move on and live with grace.

  • Chi

    Only slightly OT here.

    We talk about how the NCB movement reduces women down to their body parts and is inherently anti-feminist as a result. What about women who decide that they NEVER want to use their lady parts for that purpose? Shouldn’t they have the right to ask to be sterilized and have that request honored without having to endure lectures about how she’ll regret it and how she is doing herself a disservice?

    Like breastfeeding, how is it anyone’s business what another woman does with her bits? And even if she does regret it later, that’s her burden to bear, not anyone else’s.

    This is a link to an article about a woman in the UK who had to fight for 4 years for doctors to honor her wish for her to have her tubes tied.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3590832/I-never-wanted-baby-Yesterday-dream-came-true-NHS-sterilised-hell-trolls.html

    If a man asks for a vasectomy however, no problems.

    • demodocus

      Can’t remember where, but I did hear about a young guy who wanted one and wasn’t allowed.

      • Who?

        My bil had one at 24; wanted it undone many years on and it couldn’t be.

      • BeatriceC

        One of my closest friends is 46, a life long bachelor and a committed uncle. He has never had a desire for kids and doesn’t plan on that changing any time soon. He still can’t get a doctor to perform a vasectomy. He’s tried dozens of times.

        • Chi

          Good to know it does go both ways.

          So it may be less to do with the system itself, and more to do with the biases of the individual GPs.

      • Mishimoo

        My husband had one and I had to sign off on it. My best friend’s mum refused to allow her husband to have one, even though they had 7 kids and he didn’t want to have anymore after 4.

    • Gatita

      In California everyone regardless of gender has to go through a waiting period before they can be sterilized. Tragically that’s because there is a history of women of color being sterilized in County hospitals without understanding what procedures they they were agreeing to.

      • Chi

        That’s understandable. Give them time to change their mind and make sure it’s really what they want to do.

        But 4 years?

    • Nick Sanders

      I’d seen the headline before, but because they kept using “sterilized” instead of listing the actual procedure, I thought maybe she wanted something far more drastic, like radical hysterectomy or such. Why was she given such grief over a tubal ligation?

      • Who?

        It’s a public system. Had she wanted to go private she may have got it done a lot more quickly.

        • Chi

          Perhaps, but the biggest problems was that her GP was pretty much refusing to refer her into the NHS to get the ball rolling.

          Just because she owns her own business and is considered ‘successful’ doesn’t mean she shouldn’t get to benefit from what is supposed to be a free public healthcare system.

          • Who?

            Must say I only skimmed the article.

            I don’t know how long the queue is when it’s elective.

            It’s very wrong of her gp to not put her in it, I agree.

            And of course, everyone gets to use the public system, but it isn’t always quick.

          • Chi

            Oh believe me, I know. Even here in New Zealand waiting lists for procedures are terrible.

            And that is precisely why we have health insurance. So that if anything comes up, we have quicker access to specialists and surgeries. Usually in nicer facilities too.

          • Who?

            Same as in Oz, by the sounds of it.

            Health insurance here is a very selective, expensive mixed bag. It’s comparatively easy to work out what things will cost in advance of them being done, but very hard to pin the insurer down re what they will pay for.

        • Wombat

          Young women who’ve ne ver had children are givwn grief/essentially denied access to sterilization in the US too. Some of it is just (usually paternalistic) overcaring – ala ‘oh, you’ll change your mind’ – but some of it is fear of being sued if she does change her mind and/or reversal isn’t successful. I’ve seen – secondhand – everything from freezing eggs required to repeated mental health evaluations (because surely a woman who knows she doesn’t want kids to the point of altering her body must be crazy /eyeroll to the stars) to flat-out age limits/refusal.

          For an elective procedure doctors have right of refusal too, both fortunately AND unfortunately. The issue is really that most doctors (especially in certain areas, either underserved or more conservative) will refuse, leaving women to travel quite far to have any hope – and yes, names of doctors who are even more willing are that precious, they get passed around. Then you have network issues and hefty costs a lot of the time.

          We need something like the injectable vasectomy being RnD’d in India atm – ‘full’ sterilization but much more easily/reliably reversed (no cutting or physocal damage). Then this might actually become a moot point. Till then it’s gonna require much harder to achieve changes in attitudes (for young men too, although usually to a slightly lesser degree).

          • Who?

            I wouldn’t know what happens in the US, but it’s interesting that an apparently open market comes to the same conclusion as a public system.

            I was wondering about the advantages over long-term contraceptives like an implant or iud, though of course they aren’t suited to everyone.

          • Inmara

            There is an “open market” for such kind of procedures – in Thailand and probably other countries too. There is a woman in my country who wanted her tubes tied and got rejected because she doesn’t have children and is younger than 25. At the end, she saved money and went to Thailand for a procedure and made an art/performance project out of it (http://snipsnap-metra.tumblr.com/ – most posts are dubbed in English).

          • Sarah

            And then, purely from a resource perspective, that raises the question of whether it’s better for the NHS for people to go abroad and pay privately, given that any complications when they return home will have to be mopped up by the NHS.

          • Sarah

            The efficiency rates for female sterilisation are around the same as those for LARC, so that’s another complicating factor. But as you say, not all women find LARC suitable, in any form.

          • Inmara

            The paternalistic attitude is strong in my country too. My friend is well over 30 and had a third C-section few years ago; she asked for her tubes to be tied during surgery but somehow doctors dismissed her and now she has to pay for a birth control until menopause hits in (insurance doesn’t cover any birth control here) or scratch funds to pay for separate surgery (not easy being sole breadwinner for a family).

      • Wombat

        Because the NHS doesn’t rhink they ahould pay for it, due to low number of requests and/or what they consider ‘bad outcomes’, most likely.

        But it happens in the US too. I went into more detail a little further down the thread but it’s a combo (across all docs, not nec in 1 individual) of beliving she’ll change her mind, ins doesn’t want to pay for it (due to similar to NHS, though both ought to be glad to save the costs of abortions or preg/childbirth, but hey), and/or fear of being sued if she does change her mind/and reversal isn’t successful.

        Edit: typos only.

        • Nick Sanders

          The “why” was a rhetorical one, meant to express frustration at the unreasonableness of the situation, but thanks for the explanation.

          • Wombat

            My bad, I dunno why but I didn’t even think to read it that way. The at least duality is obvious on reread.

            I guess I’m a little biased in that it seems a lot of people who’d have never experienced this even remotely (personally) aren’t even aware it’s an issue (intellectually).

        • Sarah

          The ‘low number of requests’ is a bit of book cooking btw, because some trusts have a policy that they’d expect the male partner to have a vasectomy instead. People in areas where this is the case know about this and often don’t make a request for female sterilisation purely because of it. So they don’t show on the stats.

          • Wombat

            Oh I’m sure there are layers and layers to all of those components both in the NHS and the US. I am not at all surprised to hear that about the vasectomy. On one hand I get it, it is less risky, easier, cheaper surgery, but on the other hand your whole argument against her getting it in the first place is circumstances may change, and then you’re forcing two people into a permanent unit for cost savings??

            I just meant that it’s not a hugely common request in young women. It certainly exists, and might even exist more if it weren’t such a PITA/stigmatized – and volume alone isn’t a good reason to not pay for something – but it’s not like it’s the go-to for young women not sure or even certain about no kids. Most make do with birth control since it’s the default. Some on purpose since it’s simpler, more open-ended, and has ancillary benefits. Some because it’s more accessible and forced on them by either lack of awareness of options or this whole situation.

          • Sarah

            It’s the default, but also sterilisation is an operation so of course it’s more risky. Many people prefer to avoid surgery if possible, which is a reasonable view. There’s also the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

            Of course, that then suggests that if a woman with full access to information prefers the more serious and objectively risky medical procedure that doesn’t offer greater effectiveness, she’s likely to have particularly strong reasons for doing so. Put bluntly, if an IUD is easier and less risky, but a woman would still prefer permanent surgery, there’s likely to be a reason why the IUD wouldn’t be easier and less risky in her particular case. If all else is equal etc, but all else never is.

    • BeatriceC

      I can kind of sort of understand a doctor’s reluctance to perform a permanent, extremely difficult to reverse, procedure that will eliminate the ability to have kids, especially for younger people who don’t already have kids. I do know quite a few people who were adamant in their teens and early 20’s that they never wanted kids and they weren’t going to change their minds, suddenly change their mind in their late 20’s and 30’s. It does happen, so I’m not totally against the doctors here. But, I think that it’s still a woman’s choice (or a man’s, in the case of a vasectomy). This is one place where I think a doctor might be right to insist that some procedure be in place to assure everybody involved that it was not a rash decision. I have no idea what that procedure could be, but I’m not entirely opposed to talking about it.

      • indigosky

        Women who want to get sterilized are not making a rash decision. That is a myth. Very few women request permanent sterilization before ever having children. Women don’t want to have surgery if they can avoid it. It is attitudes like that which keep women from being able to do what they want. A friend of mine knew from the age of nine she never wanted children. It was until she was 35 that she was able to get her tubes tied. I have two children, am older than 35 and we had to pay for my husband’s vasectomy out of pocket because our insurance said that us silly little wimmin change our minds so much that they don’t pay for it until *I* reach 40.

        It pisses me off when people do the “they said no kids but changed their minds when they were older.” Women who seriously never want kids and request sterilization feel it deep inside, and I have yet to know one that changed their mind ever. Most of those women who say they don’t want kids are not requesting permanent sterilization, because they don’t feel it on that level.

        If a woman wants it, give it to her. Let her know the consequences and how difficult it is to reverse. If she still wants it, doctors need to shut up and give it to her. Her body, her choice. They are adults and understand consequences.

        • BeatriceC

          I didn’t say they were making a rash decision. I said to assure everybody involved, including the doctor that could potentially get sued down the road, that it’s not. And I said that because I personally know several women who have changed their minds, one of whom was devastated that her tubal could not be reversed. The other two had reversible methods of birth control so it was a non issue. The fact is that many of us do want different things as 30 year olds than we wanted as 20 year olds, and doctors have witnessed first hand the emotional turmoil that can happen if minds do get changed. Because of that I can understand their reluctance and simply will not demonize them for it. I mentioned some sort of process to assure all involved. I didn’t say what because I don’t know what. Maybe it’s just a single appointment where the doc lays out everything. Maybe it’s a waiting period of a few days. I don’t know. But what I do know is that it’s not fair to automatically demonize doctors who are reluctant to do something so very permanent.

          • Wombat

            I understand this is part of the issue (it’s not usually all of it). And in theory, a doctor’s right of refusal for elective procedures is important, full stop. In practice, the issue is when it’s applied to a population of doctors as a whole and it starts to affect access.

            A doctor’s right of refusal should not make a perfectly acceptable/recognized medical service or procedure essentially unavailable to a population (be it birth control, plan b, abortion, or this – as an aside, sad that these are all women’s issues). For the first two there have essentially been solutions or they’re not to that degree (yet). The latter two is where policy gets tricky – especially abortion, but we’ll skip that for now.

            I don’t know what the policy solution is. Give the public/county hospitals some immunity from prosecution for this (with good consent and not related to standard of actual medical care), as a bastion of last resort? Or at least 1 hospital per x miles? Force ‘decriminalization’ (metaphor) of the procedure with standardized, defined, lesser hoops and let volume do the rest medicolegally? There isn’t a perfect one. But that doesn’t make the status quo perfect either, by even a long shot.

          • Nick Sanders

            Perhaps if, after every qualified physician within a certain distance has refused, or maybe after a specific number of refusals for people in more densely populated areas, a lottery would chose one who then had to perform it, but the operation is exempted from their stats and insurance and whatever barring clear error (leaving a glove/implement inside the patient, cutting the wrong side, that sort of thing). And probably exceptions to the lottery for such things as procedures more likely to be fatal/disabling than not, people wanting things likely caused by a mental disorder such as amputation of one or more perfectly functional limbs (can’t remember the name for it, but it was talked about in my college abnormal psych class), etc.

          • Mishimoo

            You’re thinking of BIID – Body Integrity Identity Disorder. It’s a bit of a tricky thing because some people with BIID will take matters into their own hands, and I’d rather have a willing surgeon (or a lottery as you suggested) help them if psych treatment doesn’t work instead of having paramedics, surgeon and/or coroner have to clean up after home ‘surgery’.

        • Wombat

          Mostly if not entirely this. There probably are quite rare cases, but with good consent they should not be the standard by which the entire procedure is measured. There are (likely way more) exceptional cases with things like plastic surgery and gastric bypass – and they are rather more intrusive surgeries/life changes – and their hoops are lesser (and arguably should be essentially gone/reduced too).

          I am the (misapplied) stereotype. I was pretty sure I never wanted kids as a teen/younger adult. Now I’m less sure (though not remotely to the point of being gung ho, even though I’m headed towards 30 and would be worried about a harder pregnancy if I did do it due to my health – so earlier = better). But I never even got CLOSE to thinking about even requesting sterilization. I would have had to be so much more serious/sure for the process to even start with me, let alone the doctor’s hoops. Vast majority of people like me are satisfied with borth control, unless just 0 higher reliability methods work for them (very unlikely).

        • BeatriceC

          Upon reflection, I don’t disagree with you. But I also can’t go full scale attack on doctors either. Some doctors are horrible, but I do t think most are.

      • AnnaPDE

        Yep, the idea of having kids was really unimaginable to a lot of my 40ish mum friends when they were in their 20s. In what a 25-year-old sees as a patronising reaction, there’s a lot of “seen that before”, kind of like with teenagers’ first love and subsequent broken heart, which they all think is totally unique.
        So yes, you’d want to make sure she means it, but in the end everyone gets to make their own mistakes… therefore even more important is to figure out in advance what to do should she suddenly want kids at 40, in particular if IVF is even possible and funded by whom.

      • MI Dawn

        I know what you mean. Youngest has always said she doesn’t want children. (One of the causes her engagement ended up breaking up – fortunately before the wedding!). She’s always used contraception, and recently had an IUD placed. Still feels she doesn’t want children. I’m good with that, and if she ever decides to get sterilized, I’d support her 100%. And if she ever changes her mind, that’s OK too.

      • demodocus

        DH was like that, though not to the extent of wanting a vasectomy. A couple years into our marriage, he suddenly did want them. That said, my best friend from college is most definitely childfree, and always has been

    • Wombat

      Men do go through similar hoops, even in the US. From just looking at/reading about others attempts it does seem to be to a slightly lesser degree – which makes some sense as much as any of this does: cheaper/less invasive procedure, freezing gametes is easier, and I’m sure some of it is attidues differing towards men and women – but it’s certainly not ‘no problem’. That could just be small sample size, but it’s something I have followed decently closely (even in my friend group).

      Edit: just typos (I smell possible future parachuters on both original post topic and comment topic)

    • Sarah

      Hmm, not sure about that last bit. A 26 year old man with no children wanting sterilisation on the NHS would likely find a few hurdles in his way too. I briefly worked in a family planning clinic, admin side, that did vasectomy referrals, and they were not at all keen on doing them for young men. I recall an unusual case of a 24 year old man who had 5 kids already and was quite certain he didn’t want any more, even at his age. This was a few years back, but I don’t think attitudes have particularly changed.

      The NHS isn’t very keen to sterilise young childfree people of either sex because it’s not particularly uncommon even in those who already have children for reversals to be requested. And sure, you could say no reversals, but the reality is if being sterilised when you want a reversal is damaging your mental health, you’re going to have a pretty strong case for the NHS to fund said reversal (not least because it will probably be cheaper and our mental health services are in crisis). The NHS website says it’s not likely to be available, but I know more than one person who’s managed it. It’s a difficult one, not least because the failure rates for LARC are no worse than for female sterilisation (of course there may be many reasons why no form of LARC would be suitable for a woman, I may be in that position myself at some time in the future).

      But I support an individual’s right to choose what to do with their body, so I think this lady shouldn’t have had to wait until she was 30. You also have to weigh up the ongoing cost of providing her with contraception until this point and potentially terminations should pregnancy result anyway.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Personally, I think if the woman understands that the procedure is generally irreversible and there is no medical contraindication, that should be the end of it: she gets the vasectomy at whatever age and reproductive status she likes.

      However, anecdote alert!, I met one poor woman when I was a medical student who had a tubal ligation and was convinced that her tubes would come “untied” eventually and was very upset when the reality was explained to her. Clearly, she did not have good counseling prior to the procedure or a good understanding of what she was consenting to. So I wouldn’t mind having doctors ask, “Are you SURE? You understand that this means no more children ever, right? Reversal is often impossible and, at the least, very, very difficult. If you think you may change your mind at some point an IUD or other long term but non-permanent birth control could be another option.” If the woman at that point rolls her eyes and says, “Duh! I want it BECAUSE it’s permanent” then go for it. If she says, “Hmm…let’s hear more about this IUD thing” then a longer discussion can ensue.

      Note: the above discussion needs to happen ONCE. Not multiple times. Certainly not multiple times over years. Like any other procedure, ensure that informed consent is given then go for it.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I’d say that men should have more or less the same thing before undergoing vasectomy. There are, however, some differences between men and women that make vasectomy a slightly more desirable procedure than tubal ligation.
        1. Men don’t have many birth control options. There’s condoms and then vasectomy. There is no IUD equivalent. This is unfortunate, IMHO, but there it is.
        2. The testes aren’t intraabdominal. As the NCB movement keeps reminding us, intraabdominal surgery is major surgery. Minor surgery on the testes is not. Thus, if the guy changes his mind later on, his risk is lower.
        But really it doesn’t matter: Bodily autonomy and informed consent hold for men and women and if the person requesting sterilization is certain that they want permanent infertility, there is no excuse for denying it.

      • Irène Delse

        This so much. Informed consent is key. Accurate counseling is necessary, as in any kind of procedure. I was reminded of that recently when I had knee surgery. I *could* have elected to refuse the procedure and go on with just PT for my dodgy knee, but the surgeon gave me the info I needed to decide I’d rather try surgery. He didn’t paint the procedure as a perfect cure, just said how he would proceed, what risks there were and how long would be the recovery. The decision was up to me.

      • Angie Young-Le

        I agree with you for the most part. However, I think that if someone wants to make a huge life changing and non-reversible decision then it should be something that takes a long time to be approved. For example: Sexual reassignment surgery. It would be irresponsible and unethical of a health care provider to quickly consent to a procedure of such magnitude without ensuring that this was in fact what the patient truly desired, and has desired for an extended period of time. And I think that they should also be required to be followed by a mental health professional before such a procedure could take place (to be certain of their motivations and resolve). This should be especially true for young people with no children, as it is quite common that young people claim to never want kids and then later change their minds.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          I could certainly see imposing something like, say, a 72 hour waiting period or specific counseling with a mental health professional or both. I just don’t think there should be an absolute requirement for either reproduction or a minimum age before the procedure will be considered. Most women in their 20s will not, all else being equal, want a tubal ligation. But those that do and have a firm and long term desire for permanent birth control should not be denied it just because “most” women make a different choice. I’d also suggest that such requirements be waived if there were a clear medical reason that the person in question really should not ever get pregnant, i.e. pulmonary hypertension or other conditions that make pregnancy a near certain death.

    • T.

      As a committed asexual, aromantic, and childfree person, I can tell you that the childfree community is really put upon by the fact that people won’t sterilize us when we do want it, because of some notion we will “change your mind”.

      Having children too is a permanent decision, but you get a lot less question of “do you really want it” about that, alas.

      I would much rather regret not having children than regret having them. And frankly, I am terribly certain I do not want them.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        I sometimes think the first prenatal visit a woman gets should include questions about how she feels about the pregnancy and if she is sure she wants to go through with it–with referral to an abortion provider if she does not. Pregnancy is dangerous and shouldn’t be undertaken by someone who is unsure of whether she wants to or not. Not to mention the problems of raising the sprout once you have it…and the severe mental health risks of placing a child for adoption.

        • T.

          I think there should be more honest conversations about children, and what pregnancy entails. Sometimes when I chat with other women who are pregnant, I discover I know more about the possible side effects than they do, which is abominable in my opinion.

          Women deserve complete information. Which include a honest talk about how yes, not having children is a perfectly acceptable choice, and what having babies and then children mean.

          There should be no other reason to have children than “I have thought about it and decided this is why I want to do”. People shouldn’t be having other people just because it is “what you do”.

          I have thought long and hard and come to the conclusion that children aren’t for me. You wouldn’t believe the amount of places I had been called selfish or a monster (including here) for that.

          Both having 10 children and having none at all are feminist choices worthy of respect, so long as both have been done with thought. People don’t get it sometimes.

          • MaineJen

            It is truly shocking how much information I *didn’t* have, going into that first labor. I had no idea how much pain I would actually be in, because no one talks about that, or if they do, it is pushed off euphemistically as “Oh, but you forget all about the pain the minute you see the baby!” (News flash: you don’t). I had no idea how difficult it would be to recover from a “minor” second degree tear (it was a full six months until sex wasn’t physically painful). I was not prepared for how torn apart I would be emotionally, and how physically and emotionally taxing caring for a newborn would be.

            It’s like…they don’t want to scare you about the awful and painful aspects of childbirth and infant care, so it’s covered over with pink or blue tissue paper and “jokes” about how you can’t sneeze without peeing any more.

            Deciding that you *don’t* want to put your body through this is completely valid.

          • AA

            I guess this is due to the Internet, but I’ve heard a million stories about the erm, horrors of childbirth and postpartum period. One thing that seems to persist on the Internet though–that if you do things “right”, you have some sort of control of stretch marks or Diastasis recti. Dear Internet–it’s not in a woman’s control whether this happens or not, no matter how much cocoa butter one applies.

          • guest

            By the same token, people shouldn’t have to justify why they do want children, though. Some of the suggestions in these comments sound a little off to me, like we’re heading into “the wrong kind of people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids” territory. Right now those who want voluntary sterilization at a young age face a greater struggle, I’m sure. I just don’t like the idea of imposing similar barriers on those who do want kids.

          • sdsures

            Some people have told me that because I have cerebral palsy, I shouldn’t have kids. They have preconceived ideas about what CP is – usually too generalised and almost always from a negative point of view.

        • Irène Delse

          In my country, such an honest conversation takes place when you seek to terminate a pregnancy: you have to talk to a counselor who is trained in psychology and medical ethics, to ascertain that you understand what either choice entails. For instance, I know a woman who got an appointment for an abortion because she wanted to be sure she wouldn’t be past the legal limit, but wasn’t sure at the time about keeping it. The counselor helped her realise that going on with the pregnancy was as much of an absolute than terminating. In the end, she decided she wasn’t psychologically up to the task of bringing another human being into the world, and had the abortion. But it’s too bad this kind of discussion doesn’t happen at prenatal visits. I guess one can take advantage of well woman visits to talk about reproductive choices with one’s provider, but I don’t know if all OB//GYN are trained in counseling.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Our fertility practice required that we meet with (and pay for) a counselor before we used donor gametes or embryos. It’s annoying, because it was only if you used donors. If you weren’t, not matter how fucked up you were mentally, they’d make you a baby.

            That said, it was a good experience to make sure we were on the same page about a/nother baby, discipline, birth defects, abortion, possible divorce, extended family and all that other stuff.

  • Kelly

    OT: So we are lucky to be getting these appointments quickly but we got into the genetics office for Monday because of a cancellation. I realize that they can’t tell me anything then and it will take a while for the results but I am just happy that we are moving forward.

    • Gatita

      I haven’t seen the rest of your story but that sounds incredibly stressful. I hope all goes smoothly and quickly and you get answers soon.

  • CSN0116

    OT: “Push Back” is the realest real book ever written. Case in point-

    I was at my daughter’s kindergarten orientation Friday morning and began mingling with the other parents. I quickly found myself talking with a mom who was not only there with her incoming kindergartener, but had the cutest of toddlers with her as well. We began to chat about other children we already had in the school, and how many children we each had in total. Normal shit.

    Then…

    I tell her that I have five children and she yells out how jealous she is. She “only” has three children and badly wants a fourth. I laugh and tell her to go for it, the more the merrier! She tells me that she’s not comfortable, due to three previous cesareans, very complicated pregnancies, and painful recoveries. She elaborates on her cesarean recoveries a bit more. Shit is starting to get a little less normal.

    Then…

    In an attempt to connect, I sympathize and tell her that I can relate to the cesarean pain; I had two myself. Awwww, shit. I did it. It all went south from here. She *immediately* asks why only two cesareans and in what *order* the vaginal and cesareans came. Whaaaat?! I’m confused and – in telling the truth – quickly explain that I had two cesareans followed by two ‘regular births’ (wasn’t about to say ‘vaginal’ anything in a kindergarten classroom!).

    Then…

    Her eyes like well up with tears and she tells me how badly she wanted to vaginally birth her babies and how cheated she feels. She went on and on about how she planned for VBACs but didn’t get them. I got her full fucking medical history. With tears. Mother of God…

    I’m not mingling anymore.

    • nomofear

      Ugh, makes you wish bringing her a copy of the book wouldn’t make things weirder, potentially.

    • Sarah

      Poor woman. And poor you too!

      I find those of us who’ve had both VB and section are particularly well qualified to be able to explain why and how it makes sod all difference. If anyone knows, we do. A few times, I’ve said it, and people seem to pay attention.

    • sdsures

      I’m going to be a hermit.

      Slightly related: I have chronic pain, so I have a lot of friends who also have chronic illnesses or pain. They get it.

      But what I have no clue about is how NEW friends gravitate toward me who ALSO have things like cancer, lupus, etc.

      Am I giving off some sort of pheromone? My husband hears I’ve made a new friend and “She’s a spoonie.”

      Him: “Of course she is!”

      Can we monetize this skill I have? I got to be friends with a nice lady who reads this blog, too, and we’ve been nattering on FB. Information overload! I love making new friends, but when it includes virtually everyone’s medical history, it can be tiring.

  • Mya

    Love is truly all the matters. I am a social worker who sees children who were born at home, breastfed, etc. Those children are abused physically, mentally and sexually. They are neglected with no medical care, no food, living in filth. The mom who chooses an elective C-Section to time birth for her society luncheon and formula feeds because she doesn’t want her boobs to sag, but loves and nurtures her child is an excellent mother. Home birth, unmedicated birth, breastfeeding…none of that matters if you don’t plan to actually love and take care of your offspring.

    • Gatita

      I wonder how many home birthers are hiding abuse and illegal activity in the home?

      • sdsures

        It would be easy to do that. 🙁

    • Elizabeth A

      I have to ask: How does planning a c-section actually help you make it to the society luncheon?

      I’m all in favor of maternal request c-section, and whatever scheduling works for everyone involved, but I hear the “scheduling a c-section for insert frivolous commitment here” thing all the time and I CANNOT figure out how it works.

      I mean, if you schedule the c/s for AFTER the luncheon, you could still go into labor before it happens. Your participation is just as shaky. If you schedule the c/s for BEFORE the luncheon, well, how far before do you have to schedule it to make sure you’re up and functional the day the Junior League (or the Board of Directors, or whatever) wants you to be? A week? Three? Do women schedule their entire pregnancies so as to not interfere with meetings and luncheons that someone has considerately scheduled nine months in advance?

      Love is all that matters, yeah, but can we kill the scheduling a c-section to make a society lunch myth? I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “I mean, if you schedule the c/s for AFTER the luncheon, you could still go into labor before it happens. Your participation is just as shaky.”

        Not to mention you’ll have to be NPO (no food) at the luncheon.

    • AnnaPDE

      Example of frivolous commitment: My CS was scheduled for the due date. Primarily because I didn’t want to try pushing a 99 percentile head through a fairly small pelvis. But… we were also getting the house extended, and the last step in that was sanding and varnishing the floors. The house was off-limits for 3 days for that. Work had started late anyway, so we decided to schedule the floor guy to exactly the due date, so we’d spend those 3 (plus another 2) nights in hospital anyway. Win-win.

  • Marie Gregg

    All the “YES!” in the world to this.

  • BeatriceC

    Dr. Amy, you want a couple of redheaded visitors? I’m about ready to fly to Boston and show up in the children’s ER there with MK. At least there I’d have the back up of an actual doctor who doesn’t want to puke every time there’s a confrontation. This morning is half good news, half bad news. Good news is that the kids’ regular pediatrician is on his side and doing everything he can to help the kid. Bad news is we’re being stopped by insurance BS at every step. They’ve denied the request to pay for the nutrition drinks. I’m out of money. I have $26.04 in my primary checking account and $0.68 in my secondary account. Child support didn’t come in this week because the state of Florida (who garnishes my ex’s wages) decided they needed this week’s payment more than I did. That has to last until I get paid on the first. I’m down to a quarter tank of gas. MrC will keep me afloat until then, but we keep our finances separate. And I already don’t pay anything towards the upkeep of the house, so asking him to pay for gas, groceries, and kid stuff isn’t fair. That’s actually all I pay for. He covers everything else. I don’t have the money to buy more nutrition drinks, so I’m going to have to watch while the kid gets sick enough to be admitted again, and it’s killing me. The ped’s office is still trying, but they’re getting blocked too. The office is working on the request for the out of network referral to go to LA, but that will take a couple weeks. I’m not holding my breath that he’ll last that long without the drinks to give him at least some nutrition.

    • PeggySue

      I so wish none of this was happening. How awful for you. Insurance issues are plain evil.

    • BeatriceC

      (And to be clear, I’m not actually serious. Just frustrated. And the being broke part doesn’t help. I spent so much extra money this month with medical crap exploding around me that I’m not in very good shape. This will correct itself shortly.)

      • Spamamander

        You are absolutely entitled to vent, whine, bitch, complain, or otherwise express frustration anger.

    • momofone

      I’m so sorry for the insurance BS and the utter frustration of it all. I hope your pediatrician can get it worked out for you.

    • MI Dawn

      So sorry to read this, and I will say that sucks.

      Unfortunately (and I know this doesn’t help), once again the needs of the truly needy are being held hostage to those who abuse the system. We had major go-rounds here about nutritional supplements for the same issue (a lot of people claimed to need them – and got doctors to support that “need” – who were only using them for things like diets to lose weight and body building). So now we only cover them if they are the only form of nutrition (i.e. via tube) a person can have, not if the person is able to eat food. That hurts the ones, like your son and those others who can’t eat enough food for one reason or another, to sustain health and life.

    • Dr Kitty

      FWIW
      A cheap alternative to nutrition drinks is to add 4tablespoons of powdered milk to a pint of whole milk. That gives you a liquid which has a similar amount of calories as fortisip or similar, is versatile in how you use it, and which tastes like milk.

    • Sarah

      I respect that separate finances works for you, but feel this is one of those scenarios when it would be ok to ask your partner for financial help. Keep your chin up, you’re in my thoughts.

      • BeatriceC

        Oh, he’ll cover it, but I don’t want him too, and I feel bad. He pays for far more than half of the expenses around here and is only 1/5 of the population of the house. Like I said, I’m just whining. I hate being broke and dependent on others, including my life partner.

        • Sarah

          Understandable. You shouldn’t have to miss out on the child support either.

        • PeggySue

          I understand. But do consider this: (I’m a hospice chaplain). A family member once reminisced to me about his deceased loved one who had kind of kept family at arms’ length by not wanting to ask for help. This family member said to me, “Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to be needed sometimes. The problem is, no one ever wants to be the one who needs something.” That’s me, to a tee, which is probably why it stuck in my mind, so feel free to disregard.

        • demodocus

          Reading between the lines, he loves those boys, too, and doesn’t want to see any of you suffer. We totally get hating being broke and dependent, but sometimes you just have to beg rides to the grocery store or the drs’ office. *hugs*

          • BeatriceC

            He does love them, but he’s currently persona non grata. I don’t want to talk about it on such a public forum, but let’s just say I’m not sure when I will speak to him again is. This should be tricky since the guest room is currently occupied.

          • demodocus

            okay. *more hugs*

          • BeatriceC

            Meh. Fuck it. He cheated on me.

          • demodocus

            Kick his ass and you’ll feel better?

          • BeatriceC

            Lol. Probably. His ex girlfriend has been trying to seduce him for months. I read his text messages. He told her no frequently and forcefully. But when the stresses kept piling on and he was alone because I was in the hospital with MK, he gave in. He screwed up and he knows it. But it’s going to take some time to trust him again.

          • demodocus

            Kick her ass too?

          • BeatriceC

            That would be even better.

          • demodocus

            mwahahahah

          • Charybdis

            I wonder if Delphinium Falcon’s MMA sister is available to “have a chat” with her….

          • BeatriceC

            I have a couple MMA fighter friends as well. But they won’t hit a woman outside of the ring.

          • Charybdis

            So draw a circle on the ground and have her stand in it. ( I know what you mean, inside the cage/official fight area). Or have her stand in a fairy ring of mushrooms; it even has “ring” in the name.

            I’m just frustrated for you and wish *her* ill, very, very ill.

          • BeatriceC

            It takes two to tango, as they say. He could have kept saying no.

          • Amazed

            She’s a bitch and we all hate her. As to him, it’s up to you to decide just how to kick his ass. But do make those decisions on a better, aka chocolate head. Don’t tell me that you don’t have a secret stash for emergencies? This is an emergency if I’ve ever seen one.

          • BeatriceC

            I had an anaphylaxis reaction to a chocolate bar last week. Can’t have it unti I figure out what I reacted to. I see the allergist June 7th. I’m going to have to make due with vanilla ice cream.

          • Nick Sanders

            Have you considered becoming a supervillain to take revenge against an unfair world that has so grievously wronged you? Because if anything warrants it…

          • Who?

            This is the obvious solution. I keep my inner supervillain under very good control, but just sometimes….

          • BeatriceC

            I try to keep evil, cranky, and snarky Beatrice locked securely on their cages, though they do occasionally come out to play.

          • Who?

            My super-vlllain is far sweeter than me. And then she gets dark. Very dark.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m holding out hope that it was something in the chocolate bar that wasn’t the chocolate itself. That leaves the option to make my own from pure chocolate and doesn’t deprive me of it for the rest of my life.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I always figure, I’ve got a good start on being a supervillian. If nothing else, I have the advanced degree, so I can be Dr. Supervillian.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Do you like cinnamon? I could send you some virtual snickerdoodles to help while you’re getting it sorted out. or virtual vanilla kipferln.

          • sdsures

            I might.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Oddly my sister is terribly gentle outside the ring with the exception of sometimes not knowing her own strength.

            But she is a younger sibling. If you want her to annoy the shit out her she’s fully capable of doing so. She’s heavier than she looks and if she dead weights on top of you…well I hope you brought a book. She can keep you there quite a while!

          • Mishimoo

            He what?! Now I want to come over and kick his arse, how dare he?!

          • BeatriceC

            It’s complicated because we have an open/swing/BDSM relationship. I’m actually less upset about the sex than I am about the fact that he turned to her for emotional support through sex if that makes any sense. We are open but we have veto power. I only have issues with her. He could sleep with every other adult female on the planet and I wouldn’t care. Her I care. And the emotional aspect is 1000 times worse.

          • Mishimoo

            I get it, it’s not my thing but I do understand and what you just said is exactly why I’m angry. The one damn person that you’re not okay with, I imagine that you’re said as much, and he turned to her while you’re stressed with middle kiddo? That is absolutely gutwrenching and I’m so sorry that’s on your plate now along with everything else.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m not going to leave him over this. H s a good man and a great step father to my kids. I do love him and I know he loves me. But he’s human. He made a colossal mistake in the face of unimaginable stress. I can forgive him for that. It will just take time. He knows he screwed up and his apology last night was sincere. That helps.

          • Mishimoo

            Oh good *offers hugs*
            But yes, still infuriating and still something that isn’t going to just go away, it does take time. Even so, I hope things get better for you all soon! (Because dammit, why do so many bad things happen to you? It’s distinctly unfair and you don’t deserve it.)

          • BeatriceC

            What’s funny is they all cluster at once. Having disabled kids is hard, but manageable. It took a long time to finally break free of my parents and they did a lot of damage, but we are working through that. The behavior problems in the kids can be dealt with. It’s better than still being under the influence of the evil ones. And the stuff about them sabotaging my marriage was a long time ago, though I’m only just now finding out about it. Overall I’m actually really happy with my life. MrC really is a good man. He makes me happy. My kids are great kids. I truly enjoy being their mother. I just got hit with a perfect storm of crap. And MrC caved under the pressure. We will survive this and hopefully come out stronger.

          • Lisa Cybergirl

            He’s under stress because the house is a mess.

            You’re under stress because MK is ill and in the hospital and the doctors don’t know what to do.

            By those rules, you should get to cheat with Benedict Cumberbatch (or equivalent hot actor of your choice), who is there to deliver you a metric ton of good chocolate.

          • BeatriceC

            There’s also the whole wedding and dead mother of the bride. He does have some serious emotional shit going down.

            We have been talking all day. My kids are at friends houses houses and his visiting daughter and her boyfriend went out. I think we have made a breakthrough. I don’t feel like my heart is going to break through my ribs and explode in a million pieces. That’s improvement.

          • Who?

            Bad week-hey, bad month.

            I’m so glad you’ve opened up to each other.

          • Lisa Cybergirl

            To be honest, I just had hernia surgery, I’m stuck in bed, bored, and taking pain medication. I feel like I need to add my brilliant ideas to every conversation on the internet. I ought to read a book instead.

          • BeatriceC

            I thought what you said was funny. It made me laugh. It put some things in stark perspective. That’s a good day thing. But I also want to be fair to the guy who is struggling with his own issues.

            I hope your recovery goes well!

          • demodocus

            It’d be the emotional side for me, too, and we are not in an open relationship.

          • Charybdis

            ??!!!!!!??? He. Did. What?

          • BeatriceC

            *sigh* I did spill more of the details below (above? I have my comments set to filter “newest first”). And we fought again last night and now half the neighborhood knows. One of these days I’m going to learn to control the volume of my voice when I get angry. Let’s just say I’m not very soft spoken when I’m happy. When I get mad I could broadcast a baseball game without the aid of a speaker system.

          • Charybdis

            I know; I read what happened. I just couldn’t believe that he had done so whilst you were (and still are) in the throes of numerous major crises.

            The one damn person in the world that could/would get under your skin like nothing else, and he picks her. Insult to injury when your strength/tolerance/patience is wearing tissue thin; just what you didn’t need on top of everything else.

            I hate to sound like a broken record, but I am so sorry all this is happening. And you can’t indulge in a Mass Chocolate Experience to help. 🙁

          • BeatriceC

            He’s human too. We fought/talked last night. He’s been unhappy with me on a few counts for a while. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, but the issues are there. What he doesn’t recognize is that what he’s unhappy about is the direct result of all this crap hitting me all at once. I can only handle so much. So I prioritize. I let the house go. I don’t stay on top of the kids and their chores. It’s too much mental energy and I don’t have it. But he’s autistic and has mild OCD, so those things take on a HUGE priority to him when everything else is falling apart. It’s his way of exerting some control so he can handle the rest. We’re at odds there. It sounds stupid when I write it all out, but there it is. He feels like I’m not taking care of his emotional needs because I’m not doing the one thing that would help him deal with all these stressors. I feel like he’s not taking care of mine because he’s pushing me to do things I don’t think I’m capable of. Where do we go from here? (rhetorical question…not expecting marriage counseling here.)

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I don’t envy you with dealing with that combination of diagnoses. I have the autism but maybe only a smidge of OCD and I really don’t know how my husband puts up with some of my “quirks” as long as he has.

            Don’t really know what to say except that I sympathize with you from the other side of the fence as the one who can sometimes be unreasonably difficult on stupid issues and be blind to what should be obvious suffering.

          • BeatriceC

            I think I just need to do what he needs. But it’s not fair. I make changes and do things to make everybody else’s life easier. Just once I’d like somebody to give me a pass for not doing everything perfectly.

          • Charybdis

            I hear you on that. I’ve had my set of challenging issues lately and have also felt that everything has fallen on me. At the end of April, we had a severe thunderstorm, hail and strong straight line winds that knocked out our power for over 12 hours. This caused the frozen water reservoir in the fridge to thaw completely and leak out . The leaking water went from the kitchen, down the dining room, into the living room, through the wall between the kitchen and downstairs bathroom, out the bathroom door, into the hall and the closet under the stairs. I called our insurance company and they sent a remediation company out. The remediation guy ripped out over half the downstairs carpet and pad, set up 7 fans and a dehumidifier and let them run for 72 hours. The evaluator was due on the Monday morning and the remediation guy was picking up his stuff that afternoon. DH couldn’t be home for any of that, because he is an accountant and the last week of the month and the first week of the next month is really busy. So I got to deal with all if that, picking DS up from school, getting him to BJJ class, feeding the dog, getting her to the vet for her annual checkup and shots, etc, while basically living upstairs because downstairs was a shambles.

            I also had to be the one to pick the new flooring and paint, meet the moving guys who were packing up the downstairs, be home when the painters came, continue the chauffeur service for DS and be home when the flooring guys came.. So I was working crazy hours (my job is hella flexible and I’ve been there for 20 years) so we didn’t get behind, managing the repair of downstairs, plus grocery shopping, laundry, etc and DH couldn’t help with much because of the timing.

            In the middle of all this, my mother, who had pneumonia in March, called one evening saying she was having trouble breathing, was lightheaded and was going to call 911 and unlock the door and wanted my opinion on which hospital to go to. I told her to go to Hospital B and to let me know what was going on. She calls awhile later and says she is at Hospital A and that she has severe bronchitis. They aren’t going to keep her, so she will call when they are letting her go. I jump in the shower, so I’ll at least be presentable when I go to pick her up and take her home. After I get out of the shower, DH tells me that my brother called. (My brother has Asperger’s and lives with my mother. He is employed and had been at work). Mom left him a note telling him what had happened and where she was going. He told DH that he was going to the hospital. I was relieved because I figured he would give Mom a ride home. ,No such luck. Mom called about 9:30 saying that she could go home and could I come get her. Apparently my brother arrived and was antsy, pacing and flapping and not willing or able to cope and wait patiently for the breathing treatment to end so he could give Mom a ride. So she called me. I picked her up and got her home, but it blew my plans to get to work by 5 am so I could leave by 10 to get home to meet the movers who were bringing our downstairs back, since DH couldn’t get off to do so.

            It’s hard to be the logistical plate spinner, trying to manage a gazillion things at once and it sucks that when I ask for/expect help or need some slack myself, others aren’t willing or able to give the help I need. Then I feel like a jackass for getting angry/upset that people aren’t willing to help me or take the initiative to ease some of the stress.

            Gah, too many words to basically say that I understand your frustration and pain and wish like hell I could help you somehow.

          • Who?

            Wow.

            I have had times like that too, it’s so hard and they do pass. It’s so hard to ask for ‘help’ because really what you need is for others to take on some responsibility so your head can be more clear. And when we step up and do ‘everything’ then that becomes the new normal and from there up we ramp again.

            Hope mother is okay, house gets sorted, and work and kids and dog and all are nicely lined up at some point not too far away.

          • BeatriceC

            Hugs. I really do know that feeling. I hope your mother feels better soon!

            I do have some good news to report. He finally conceded that he doesn’t understand but he will just believe me about how I process stress. He’s agreed to take over chore enforcement for OK and YK, leaving me to deal with MK (he and MK butt heads a lot). That will take some of the pressure off me. There’s a lot more work to do, but this is a start.

            Also, we were all alone in the house. Making up can be fun. Bwahahahahaha.

          • BeatriceC

            I have a sneaking suspicion your husband would say something similar as I do. His quirks are with it. If you look beyond those quirks, he’s an amazing, sensitive, loving, caring man and he makes me unreasonably happy. I simply cannot imagine a life without him.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            He says he does like that even with the misunderstandings at times he appreciates the point A to point B thinking I have when problem solving instead of point A to Fish! that he can get at work.

            But I still acknowledge I can be a pain in the ass lol.

          • FormerPhysicist

            You can’t, but can he afford someone to come in and do some of the chores?

          • BeatriceC

            Not really. He spends a lot making up for what I can’t pay for. This house is insanely expensive to maintain. It’s a 4200 (ish…there’s some discrepancies in the plans) square foot house in an expensive neighborhood in San Diego, CA. The tax bills are horrendous. The utility bills are insane. It’s old so things keep breaking. He just had to plunk down $3k to fix the pool pump. We have to drain the pool and resurface it soon. That’s going to be a few thousand bucks as well. We need to rip out half a bathroom because we have one shower/tub that can’t be used at all. He does all this so it’s possible for me to keep paying for MK’s figure skating. If I didn’t do that, we could afford a housekeeper. And then, and he’s right about this,, the kids really do need to be doing more around the house. He’s not wrong about that. But when it comes down to it, I just lose steam and don’t have the mental energy to enforce chores. It should be easy, but it’s not.

          • FormerPhysicist

            It’s not easy. I don’t have the mental energy to enforce chores, and I think my life is the definition of “normal”. I can’t imagine what you are going through.

          • Who?

            My deep dark parenting secret is that I never enforced chores. Just could not be bothered.

            My children are both now high achieving and productive members of society who each have a university education, hold down good jobs, cook and clean for themselves in their share houses etc. And they both left home-like rats out of a drainpipe-as soon as they had gainful employment, which is my bit of anecdata about indulged kids hanging around forever.

          • BeatriceC

            Part of it is that he sees me struggling to keep up with it all. This house is freaking gigantic and it’s a metric shit ton of work to keep even in reasonable shape. There are five people in the house. The work should be split among us. It shouldn’t all fall to me. He takes care of all the outside stuff and generally keeps his own stuff taken care of. The boys do what boys do, and leave a trail of crap all over the house, and both their toilets get unreasonably disgusting. We don’t use either of those two bathrooms, so his position is “why the hell are you spending energy cleaning them?” He’s not wrong, but sometimes it really is easier for me to just do it myself than to get the boys to do it. The problem is I don’t have the energy to do it myself. Honestly there are days I sit here on the computer and just stare at it for hours because I literally cannot get myself to stand up. The mental energy is just gone.

            We’ve come up with some ideas to help each other. When I’m that low I need him to say “Maggie, are you struggling? What can I do to make this easier for you?”. When he’s fretting about everything he needs me to be more on top of the little day to day things. We can both get what we want if we can work together instead of against each other.

          • Who?

            Sounds about right.

            I don’t think expecting people to pick up their trails of crap is chores, it’s just being a responsible human. At one stage I had a laundry basket into which any ‘crap’ (as defined by me) got dropped. It sat in a vestibule outside the two bedroom doors. Child asks ‘where is my X’? I say ‘where you left it or check the basket’. They got the idea it was just easier to put it away, or at least out of my sight. If their things were too precious for me to dump in the basket, then they were too precious to be left lying around.

            Bathrooms, well. I am as stubborn as all get out, and happily left ones I never had to go into, then made them clean them usually when there were guests coming.

            It’s hard learning to ask for help, but worth it.

          • An Actual Attorney

            If it were easy to get teenagers to do chores, everyone would be doing it. Teens suck.

          • sdsures

            *sending virtual chocolate and a voodoo doll*

          • sdsures

            ?????!???? 🙁

    • Deborah

      I have great difficulty understanding the American health care system. Hope this is resolved for you soon x

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        FWIW, so do we all, including many of the people who work within it.

        • MI Dawn

          Word!!! Currently trying to understand why my employer/insurance company paid $250 on a 14K surgery and expect me to pick up the rest. I’m sure it’s just a coding issue, along with authorization allowances, but I just don’t have the spoons to deal with it at the moment.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            My usual advice in this situation is to resubmit, appeal, and generally fight it. Insurance companies know that if they deny the claim a certain number of people will just give up and not fight it, even when they are very clearly in the right.

            Hmm…any lawyers out there know if this behavior is legal? If not, could there be a profitable class action lawsuit…

          • MI Dawn

            Thanks..I know the system. I work for my insurance company and I’m sure it’s simply how the doctor coded the procedure. I usually let the office fight the battles until I need to jump in (and if I need to do so). It’s just frustrating at the moment.

            I just checked, however, and all the other claims were paid correctly and first pass – YAY! because that was a huge issue from my previous surgery. So it’s only the surgeon, and I know that’ll get worked out eventually.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            *sigh* As you say, I’m sure it’s some sort of administration issue, but ARGH!!! on your behalf. May it be sorted out quickly and soon–perhaps by your doctor’s office? Mine employs someone to deal with precisely these sort of issues. “Yes, well, Dr. Smith has been an OB for 35 years, and says that an anatomy ultrasound is the standard of care, which it is. I’m sorry you disagree, but you’re wrong, and you ARE going to pay for Mrs. Green’s. Here’s why…”

    • Lisa Cybergirl

      Would you consider putting up an Amazon wish list (with a fake name) with the kind of nutrition drinks he needs, so that if anyone has a couple of bucks they could gift you some?

      • Charybdis

        I had thought about suggesting something like that, mainly because I have an Amazon gift card I’m never going to use myself and I’d be thrilled to have it go to good use.

        • CharlotteB

          Ok, I’ve had it and I’m going to be that person.

          Please please think long and hard before doing any such thing. I watched the whole “Razing Ruth” thing, and that has made me…suspicious.

          I’m not accusing anybody of anything. Just…when stuff starts to sound unbelievable, especially (ESPECIALLY) when combined with mentions of financial difficulty? My BS meter goes PING PING PING.

          *ducks*

          • BeatriceC

            Only I’ve said no and will not under any circumstance accept any gifts. I’ve asked manufacturers for coupons and I accepted samples from the pediatrician. That’s it. End of story. If any of the regular people here whom I trust would like me to verify anything, I am happy to do so privately. I can prove everything I’ve said if necessary. I can provide screen caps of medical records, text messages between myself and my ex-husband, screen caps of text messages between MrC and his ex-girlfriend and if my checking accounts. Every single bit of it is true, but I will only send those things to a select few of the regulars. And I still won’t accept gifts from anybody here. I never asked and said no when it was mentioned.

          • BeatriceC

            BTW, Deborah, KeeperOfTheBooks, demodocus, sdsures, Cherybdis, formerphysicist, who?, An Actual Attorney, DelphiniumFalcon, Mishimoo, and Dr. Amy herself are welcome to ask me to prove myself. There are probably others that I’m not thinking of.

          • Mishimoo

            Considering that I guessed who you are from being on another site with you even though I haven’t been on regularly, where you haven’t ever asked for anything except a space to rant (and there have been plenty of people booted from there for asking for money regardless of the rules) I’m fairly sure you’re real, unlike the aforementioned people who were booted. Were you there for the dramas of the TTTS pregnancy where the person was lying about pretty much everything and didn’t rub the non-believers noses in her ‘proof’?

            Edited to add: Chocolate?! 🙁

          • BeatriceC

            I was there for a few of them. And yes. The only thing I want is a place to vent. Well, it also makes it easier to manage for parole to say “yup, that sucks.” I’ve said a few times I’m just ranting. The financial crap will fix itself. I simply spent more on medical stuff this month than I really could afford. Once my regular funds come in next week everything is magically better. My budget is right but it’s manageable. I just have to live through a couple lean weeks.

          • Mishimoo

            Thanks to those dramas, the current possible scammer on my tumblr, and my own cynicism (yay trust issues!) if I didn’t already know of you, I’d probably have beaten CharlotteB to raising that point because sometimes one wonders how much shit can happen to one family. But it can, sadly. The kids I used to teach in creche/sunday school who have a different bone disorder have the worst luck. I won’t share their medical history because that is rude, but it is just one thing after another; none of it nice. It’s incredibly awful, and I hope your budget recovers soon. How is MK going?

          • Lisa Cybergirl

            She hasn’t asked for anything. She has given a very clear and consistent “no” to any offers of help. I think if she were a fake, she would be saying “yes”.

            She’s had a whole lot of crap land on her at once. I believe her, if only because I’ve had that happen before!

      • BeatriceC

        I hate asking for things. I did email the companies that make the drinks to ask for coupons and the pediatrician gave me a bunch of samples.

        • Lisa Cybergirl

          OK, it was just a thought.

          • BeatriceC

            No worries. You’re fine. I have issues accepting help in any form, which is part of my problem. But the money stuff will be okay next week. I’m just venting. In the meantime MrC covered what needed to be covered. He will complain when I lay him beach, but he will just have to get over it.

  • Megan

    I’d add this:

    “My baby is a person with their own unique personality and I am not responsible for all of their moods or actions.”

    I thought of this today because my 20 month old is having a bad day. Whining and tantrums all day no matter what I do. It’s really easy to blame yourself on days like this (I’m not paying enough attention to her, She’d be happier if she were with Daddy, etc) but honestly, kids are people who have bad days too and nothing I’ve done today to make her happy has helped.

    • Dinolindor

      My son and I definitely have days like this where we just are on different wavelengths. Now that he’s 5 he can verbalize some of it, which is helpful – a few weeks ago we were having a series of bad days of just not understanding each other. Then one day he woke up and said “Mommy, I’m not grumpy with you anymore.” And we were back. Nothing I could do about it until suddenly our moods lined up again. Kids. It’s like they’re people or something.

    • Kelly

      I love this as well. People want to blame the mother for every tear a child sheds. Sometimes I do everything right and they still have tantrums and cry incessantly.

      • CharlotteB

        Plus, if you’re out and your toddler starts to meltdown (say, because you won’t buy him something) you’re judged because your kid is throwing a tantrum. If, however, you buy the $3 toy because you’d rather not deal with the screaming, you’re seen as an overly permissive parent, who will raise a self-indulgent, spoiled child.

        Can’t win.

        • Kelly

          You can’t and n order to keep my sanity, I just don’t look at people’s faces when I am with my kids. That way I don’t see their reactions. I have decided to shield myself from the public’s condemnation. The other thing that I have learned as a parent is that I will fail in public many times until I figure out what works. The public does not allow for failure. You must perfectly manage your children at all times or you are a terrible parent. I will only judge if a parent is not trying, otherwise, I just don’t care.

    • Deborah

      Ditto for teens and young adults 🙂

    • nomofear

      Oh lord yes, fourteen month old here who’s making me dream of going back to work. Then I remind myself – at least it’s not a boss yelling at me. However, at least I’d be able to understand what a boss was saying.

    • sdsures

      Pre-veral kids are more frustrated, I think, because they know they can’t tell you exactly what the problem is.

  • SL27

    I actually use this affirmation: I am a good wife and mother because I love my family.

    It helps with the mommy guilt that comes with everything: how I feed my baby, how often I cook and clean (or don’t), how much TV I let my toddler watch, how much I work some days, etc.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    OT, but I gotta vent: Dropped my son off at daycare (preschool, it’s a room of 5 yos) today. While we were standing in the door, I saw one of the boys (call him A) throw a block and hit another little girl in the eye. Poor girl.

    But the problem is, this is not the first incident I have seen with A. In fact, in the last year, I have twice seen him hit another child, and now this. Now, it’s not like I am there all the time. This is during my brief stops, dropoff, pickup, and one was during a karate class they had.

    After the second time I saw him hit another child, I talked to the director and let her know I was unhappy.

    But that isn’t the half of it. Kid A has had run-ins at other times, not surprisingly. He went through a stage where he was de-pantsing the girls. He went through a stage where he was biting the girls. Most of it is with girls, like this morning, but the two incidents I saw was where he hit boys.

    I am not the only one who has talked to the director. Some of those whose kids were affected have also done so. But they still allow him there.

    Fortunately, my son only has two days left. One of those is the last day with his best friend, so he has to go then. I’d like to find a way to miss the last one. This is bullshit.

    I just heard from the girl’s mom. Apparently, yesterday A yanked something out of another kid’s mouth and pulled a tooth. I assume it was loose, but he has no business doing such.

    This kid is a monster.

    Sorry for the rant, but I am seriously not happy.

    • Amy M

      I”m surprised the school isn’t willing to take more action with that kid, considering all the complaints. There was a similar situation when my boys were in preschool-daycare, with a girl who just had no impulse or self control at all. She would hurt kids (usually accidentally, iirc) and destroy things. She ended up leaving the school, though I don’t know if she was kicked out, or if her parents were convinced that she would do better somewhere else.

    • AllieFoyle

      Well, he’s also just a child. I don’t know if there is an issue at home, a developmental problem, or if this is just a phase he’s going through, but it’s really the adults’ job to manage the situation better. Calling him a monster or kicking him out of the program isn’t going to help him behave better. I do sympathize though. My kids have been on the receiving end of kids with behavioral struggles, and of course it is very upsetting. Conscientious, well-trained staff can usually deal with this kind of thing pretty well though. Some of the more difficult kids in my older child’s preschool have grown up to be perfectly nice, normal kids, so there is hope.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Kicking him out of the program may not help him behave better, but it will help the rest of the children.

        • CSN0116

          Yep, the majority don’t get to suffer for the sake of one. And I’m assuming there is a tuition fee involved to be in this daycare so fuck that noise. As a paying customer, and keeper of my child’s safety, it’s not my problem to “help” him and whatever issues he has.

          Bofa, you’re better than I. I had a girl removed from my twins’ preschool class three years ago for less. Her behavior was abhorrent and she took away copious amounts of attention from the teacher AND aide just to deal with her tantrums (and the staff at this school is beyond magnificent and capable, she was just *that* obnoxious). I was paying for that teacher and aide’s attention, too, and refused to deal with my kid getting the shaft. A shame too – everything wrong with her had to do with her newly divorced parents competing for her love and affection; it was nauseating to watch and those people needed a fucking therapist like none other. But, at the end of the day, not my fucking problem.

          • anonamom

            Boy, that’s a christian attitude! I hope you are proud of increasing the stress and difficulty on a family that was apparently already troubled. Wih a huge dose of superiority and divorce-shaming too.

          • CSN0116

            What makes you think I practice Christianity or its behavioral guidelines?!

            And I wasn’t shaming their divorce. I don’t fucking care about divorce, my parents have five between them! I was speaking about the fucked up way these people were handling their child post-divorce and how it was affecting the child’s behavior. JFC.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Well, he’s also just a child.

        True, but you know, Allie, there are 23 kids in that classroom that I have NOT seen hit others in the class even once, much less twice. There are 23 kids that I have not heard about pulling down the pants of the girls. There are 23 kids who have not had multiple incidents of biting. Yes, “biting” is something that happens in daycare, especially in the younger rooms (2s, mostly), but for this kid, biting is part of a pattern of violence toward others.

        I agree that we don’t know if there is an issue at home, a developmental problem or if it is a phase. But I don’t really care. For those that are trying to correct the behavior, it will be helpful for them to know. But in terms of keeping kids in his room from getting hurt, it doesn’t matter why. What matters is that they have not been able to keep other from getting hurt, even after multiple complaints and concerns from many parents. Therefore, what they are doing is apparently not enough.

        While the kid’s actions piss me off, my disgust is mostly foir the lack of real action by the daycare. They talk about transparency and behavior modification actions, but a) telling parents that their kid got hurt by A doesn’t prevent any problems, and b) their attempts at behavior control have failed.

        I talked with the director today, and just let her know that I was unhappy about the situation, and that I am really happy that we are about done with that place.

        Fortunately, my son has been able to avoid any issues, but that is because he avoids A. And that’s not fair. Why should he and the other kids in the class have to avoid the kid who is violent? If he can’t interact appropriately with others, he is the one that needs to avoid interactions with them, and the parents and daycare need to make sure that is what happens.

        • AllieFoyle

          As a parent, I completely sympathize. It isn’t fair, and no, the other kids shouldn’t have to be fearful in school or have their experience negatively affected. I think you absolutely did the right thing by going to the director and expressing your concern. She needs to deal with the issue effectively, for the sake of all the kids. Behavioral problems in preschool are common enough that any early ed professional ought to know how to address them. I’m not excusing the behavior or suggesting that you just accept it.

          Kids with behavioral problems are often coming from a place of disadvantage in some way. Kicking them out of preschool just ends up being a way of passing the buck — the problem that isn’t addressed in preschool becomes a much bigger problem in elementary school, and so on.

          • Amazed

            But It isn’t Bofa’s job to cry over the kid’s disadvantages or try to fix him. Bofa’s job is to look out for his own kid. It’s also the job of the parents of the other 22 kids.

            When this kid is kicked out of enough preschools, his parents will have to do something about this – because let’s not kid ourselves, there is only as much as the staff can do when parents are noncooperative and whine that someone has singled out their precious kid.

            About two weeks ago, my mom was physically ill, heart jumping and so on. Why was she so ill? Why, because in a class she’s teaching this year, a boy of 15 thought it a great game to pretend to choke a classmate during a class. He almost ended up choking the girl AND taking out the eye of another girl before my mom got to them. Not that there was this much that she could do. For quite a few reasons, the director is unwilling to do something that could lead to any student being thrown out of school. I don’t know what problems the boy had in preschool and what problems he’s having now. I don’t really care. Perhaps if he had been thrown out of a few schools, he wouldn’t have played such dangerous games. After all, no one ever said that education past a certain age should be mandatory.

            Throw them out of enough schools, and parents will start to cooperate. If that isn’t enough, then other people’s lives and eyes take precedence, sorry.

          • AllieFoyle

            Look, I get your concern, but professionally, I know there is a pattern of kids having behavioral problems and either getting appropriate interventions and supportive services or being kicked out and going through numerous settings, never successfully having those issues addressed, having disrupted attachments, which then manifest in much greater problems later in school, when it is much harder to address them successfully. I also know a number of really nice kids who went through rough stages and turned out ok, generally because they were lucky enough to have parents with the resources and wherewithal to advocate for their kids and make sure they got what they needed during those difficult periods. The really horrid biter from preschool is a lovely, accomplished child now, etc. Parents need to look out for their own children, of course, but nothing is accomplished by labeling a child a monster and demanding his or her removal for a behavior that could likely be managed with the proper resources and attention, and might even just be a short-term matter of temperament or development.

            Sadly, parents are not always able to respond constructively when their child is thrown out of a program — it often just compounds the problem. This is a pattern people who work with troubled youth see over and over again, and it’s very upsetting because it is just so unnecessary.

          • Amazed

            But no one is suggesting that throwing a kid out of a program should be the first step. The problem is when it isn’t an option at all, as in Bofa’s case, clearly. Sure, work with the kid, get him or her professional help – but here, you can’t do it without the parents’ agreement. I don’t know about the USA. Here, you can’t get the kid examined if parents say no and that’s it. And generally, they don’t say yes. And the problem goes on and on, and the kid gets no help, and the other kids are in danger, and finally it’s always someone who says, “Throwing them out isn’t an option.” Yes, it is. When all the others have been exhausted. Other kids’ state should be the staff’s first concern. And in my book, the parents not using the options between, “Look, your kid is unusually… err, assertive” and “Find another accommodation for your kid please” have all but exhausted them.

            Then, there is the problem with the kids who have no behavioral problems but have never heard the word NO at home. I know quite a few of those. Their moms (I am talking about moms here because they’re my friends, not their husbands) just said it was normal and the kids would grow out of it. They did. The problem is, those around them got the brunt of it during the process. Interesting thing is, one of them had a little brother while going through the process. And then, mom immediately changed her policy of non-disturbing the process and not doing anything to correct it.

            We don’t even know if the kid in Bofa’s case has any problem, other than being more aggressive by temper. There is more aggression in some of us, just like there is more inclination to do maths problems. (I am, sadly, not affected by the latter.)

          • AllieFoyle

            I’m not really sure what we’re arguing about. The classroom teachers need to manage the situation better, and the administrators need to make sure they have the resources and training to be able to do that.

            I’m not in favor of labeling people and treating them as hopeless when they have problems, especially very young kids.

            As a parent, I would talk to teachers and administrators about my concerns, and even take my child out of the program if I felt it wasn’t a good environment for him or her — and I have done both of those things. I just feel that the problem lies with the program if there is a consistent problem that isn’t being proactively addressed in a way that ensures the other kids aren’t adversely affected. In my experience, good programs do this.

          • Amazed

            Of course you’re right about just everything. I just read your first post which started with explaining what we all know – that often, there is a real problem with extreme agression – as the tripe we’ve all heard so often. That we should be patient and understanding and somehow, that comes out as “well, your kid just needs to wait. Here, this other kid have a problem.” Good to know that wasn’t what you meant.

          • AllieFoyle

            It wasn’t what I typed, so, no, not what I meant either. I haven’t really seen anyone saying the things you’re suggesting though, so I don’t really understand what you’re getting at.

          • Amazed

            No one is saying it but that’s the vibe I’ve always gotten in RL. I guess I am biased.

          • guest

            I think that A) this is one of those cases where if you don’t have a kid, you don’t really know what you’re talking about from the parents’ end. Sorry. but B) Anonamom said that her child’s behavior improved *when she moved him to another school.* So I don’t see why you have a bug up your ass about how she’s refusing to admit her son was a problem for other kids. She DID work on the problem, and in the end she DID move him to another school, i.e., away from the other kids. What more do you want, exactly?

          • AllieFoyle

            I don’t see where she said that at all. My view as a person with children of my own and a professional, systemic point of reference is that one should look out for one’s own kid and take care that issues are properly addressed, but that if your own kid doesn’t have behavioral issues you should maybe be thankful and a little bit empathetic because you don’t know what that other parent or child are struggling with, and kids with difficult behaviors come from all sorts of homes and parents — it could easily be any of us.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Again, you act as if this were knee-jerk initial response. This is a case of repeated behavior. It took a couple of incidents that I personally witnessed, in addition to other actions I heard about before I even expressed my concern.

            After that, the unacceptable behavior continued. How long are we supposed to let kids get hurt to appease the “oh you can’t understand” crowd?

            In your professional opinion, of course. How many kids should get bit? Hit? Departed? Otherwise hurt?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Where does she say that we should tolerate kids being hurt? Nowhere, not as a mother and not as a professional either.

            What she does argue is that kicking the can down the road with problem behaviors gets us nowhere. It’s normal to get angry when your kid gets hurt. But make that anger productive. Hold the school accountable and make them step up their game. Children should not be labeled monsters, even if their behavior is currently monstrous.

          • AllieFoyle

            Where did I say that you should let kids get hurt?

            Any parent would be upset if his or her child were being hurt. The constructive thing to do is talk with the staff and make sure they address the issue so that kids don’t get hurt. If they can’t or won’t do that, then find a new preschool. Challenging behaviors are not exactly rare in the preschool setting, and skilled teachers and staff should know how to deal with them effectively. There’s no reason a kid should be hitting kids over and over or pulling down everyone’s pants. One time…hey , it happens. Twice…maybe. If it keeps happening, someone is either not paying adequate attention or failing to intervene effectively.

            I took my own kid out of a preschool because the staff members stood around talking and only intervened after there was an incident. There were challenging kids at the new school too, but the teachers were proactive in modeling and giving positive reinforcement for good behavior, and anticipated difficulties and intervened before there was a problem. Now, in grade school, there are still kids who bite, hit, and throw tantrums, but they aren’t going anywhere. That’s a harder problem.

            Anyway, if it makes you feel better to call a small child a monster, go for it. I just don’t think shaming and blaming kids and parents for behavior problems does anything helpful — for your kid or theirs.

          • Amazed

            Sounds reasonable. Of course, that’s if you can find another preschool. Here, we have a great problem with the shortage of daycare and preschools. We have mothers who quitted work because they couldn’t get their kids into a precious daycare. Finding a new preschool in the cities here just isn’t an option in the vast majority of cases, unless you’re willing to go private, which for most women means paying more than what they make. This, of course, makes no sense, so they just leave work. Yes, there were cases of women leaving work to take care of their kids full time because the staff at daycare was inadequate. And even private daycares and preschools are not enough in numbers, so you might find yourself out of luck even if you’re willing to pay.

            So, what do you suggest for people who cannot find another daycare if demanding that the kid with behavioral problems leaves is no option for you under any circumstances? Telling yourself that your kid will turn out fine, eventually, while the kid with behavioral problems will find it harder isn’t a great comfort when your family is suffering privations because it’s hard to survive on a single salary and your options of finding employment in your own field after the kid starts school are diminishing rapidly.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “You don’t seem to be this helpful either. You just insist that doing anything else is inconsiderate and that leaving the kid with the incompetent staff is the kind solution.”

            No, if you read what she wrote she advocates putting pressure on the preschools to step up their games. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. AllieFoyle is right. The vast majority of time, preschool aggression behaviors can be prevented by a proactive staff.

          • Amazed

            She’s right about that. But she’s only right to a point. When it’s been months and a year, as in Bofa’s case, of putting pressure and seeing no results, it’s clear that 1) the staff doesn’t care to change; or 2) the staff is so incompetent that they can’t deal with a kid of how old? Freaking 3? 4? In either case, that’s the worst place for a kid with behavioral problems to be. Even if they can’t “fix” the problem, they should be well capable of preventing the violence. If they aren’t or just won’t, this isn’t a place a kid like this will get help. Bofa isn’t talking about a single incident, he’s talking about multiple complaints and pressure over time. It didn’t work. How much more time should be given to the staff to mend their ways? A year is a long time to insist that they do it. And if meanwhile, finding another daycare isn’t an option for either the parents of the aggressive kids and the kids who suffer agression? If we take Allie’s approach, that does mean leaving kids to be hurt while we insist that the staff changes and it doesn’t happen.

            AllieFoyle is right that insisting a proactive approach is a must. But when it doesn’t work, I think it’s clearly a bad idea all around to leave a kid with problems with people who can only work with kids who don’t have those, so moving your kid is the right solution for you and your kid. I don’t see how it’s the right way for the troubled kid, so I don’t see why she should delve into the “you aren’t helpful” territory.

          • AllieFoyle

            If we take Allie’s approach, that does mean leaving kids to be hurt while we insist that the staff changes and it doesn’t happen.

            Again, what approach are you talking about? Expecting early ed staff to effectively manage behavior problems? Communicating when problems arise? Finding a school with competent, well-trained staff?

            And what approach are you advocating, besides demonizing kids with behavior problems and their parents, who face the same problems that other families do, but with the extra challenge of guilt, worry, and the social stress of knowing that other children don’t like yours and other parents blame you for his behavior?

          • Irène Delse

            IIRC, Bofa did just what you describe: communicating with the staff about the child causing problems.
            One can both rant about a frustrating situation, and work with the system.

          • AllieFoyle

            Which I have already said is the right thing to do.

            And I sympathize with anyone whose child has been hurt or bullied — it is not an acceptable situation and should be dealt with quickly and effectively. My only disagreement is with the idea that a small child should be labeled a monster, or that the responsibility for the situation resides solely with him and his parents. I imagine Bofa was just understandably upset about his kid and venting, but it’s usually a very difficult situation for the child with the problem and his parents too, and I’ve see how blame and stigma just compound the difficulty. I’ve also seen kids’ behavior improve tremendously with early intervention, competent and consistent caregiving environments, and/or time…depending on the situation.

          • Amazed

            Sigh. Keep claiming how other people aren’t helpful which implies that somehow, you are helpful. Meanwhile, I’ll keep demonizing kids with behavior problems. Meaning – I’ll keep claiming that when all other means have been exhausted, the one who needs to leave is the agressive kid. Not because he or she is a demon but because he or she is a threat. Oh, and I wouldn’t trust a staff who’s unable to manage a preschool kid anyway but that’s beside the point.

            You know what? I don’t believe for a moment that those sentiments about the parents of such kids will hold if you’re placed in a situation when there is no other daycare, you need to work to feed your kids and your kid is an object of agression. Sympathy is a wonderful thing but it’s mainly a privilege of those whose bread doesn’t depend on not having it. Or even those who do have it but place their own longterm wellbeing first.

            P.P. The approach I am advocating is making the staff aware that you aren’t happy with the way the issue is being (non)handled. Repeating it if needed. Going to higher authority and repeating it again. And if nothing changes in a positive way, do what you think is best for your own kid. Change schools if you can (I wouldn’t trust such a staff fully anyway). Or if, for reasons on your own, it isn’t an option for you, insist that the kid with troubles be removed. Demonized, in other words.

          • AllieFoyle

            Oh, and I wouldn’t trust a staff who’s unable to manage a preschool kid anyway but that’s besides the point.

            No, that’s exactly the point. No decent preschool program will allow the children in its care to be repeatedly victimized by another child. If that is what is happening, then there is a problem, and it isn’t just with the child doing the behaviors.

            I think there are probably times when a child might have problems that can’t be adequately addressed in a particular setting. But again, the school should be having that discussion proactively, not waiting for the situation to get so bad that other parents are complaining.

            Here children with developmental issues are entitled to receive extra services very early on, even if they attend a private preschool or daycare program. It’s such a waste to just say a kid is too much trouble to deal with when early interventions can be really effective and prevent much worse problems later. While you may feel that it is not your problem, lack of school success (which manifests as early as the preschool years in many cases) is a predictor of many poor outcomes which we all pay for eventually. There is this idea that if you just kick the kid out his parents will get it together and step up their bad parenting, fix their kid, and leave the other kids in peace and safety. This is very rarely the case.

            Wrt your hypothetical very extreme survival, no-options other than a single unsatisfactory daycare scenario, I would advise that parent to do what I, and many other parents the world over have done when faced with a less than perfect environment in which to raise our children: think about the situation and your values and resources and then do what you think is best. I’ve taken my own children out of daycares/preschools; I’ve moved specifically for better childcare and public school options; I’ve stayed home with my children, worked part-time, and taken lower paying family-friendly, flexible work because of childcare concerns. We all do what we have to do.

          • AllieFoyle

            Access to childcare is a systemic issue. Everyone is faced with constraints on resources, availability, and quality. We can all advocate for more resources to be devoted to early education, but on a personal level, like most things to do with parenting, you have to figure out what the best thing is for you and your kid in your particular situation. Which is what it sounds like Bofa did.

            You just insist that doing anything else is inconsiderate and that leaving the kid with the incompetent staff is the kind solution.

            I said nothing of the sort. You have to make the best decision for your own child — and if the school cannot or will not adequately address behavioral problems (which are extremely common in daycare/preschool settings), then find a better program. Nowhere do I suggest leaving your child in an unsafe situation.

          • indigosky

            When my kid is constantly getting hit, kicked and bit by the same kid, when my kid has done everything she could to hide from the other kid – including going into her bathroom and being followed (the bully was a boy), so much that she is in hysterics when we have to drop her off at daycare, my sympathy is nil.

            If a child cannot behave properly, they need to be away from other children until they can learn to behave. My kid should not be a guinea pig to see if they can get that kid to behave. My kid should not have been showing signs of PTSD at the age of three because of another kid running rampant.

            I handed the entire staff their asses when I told them I’d rather leave my daughter with wolves instead of their incompetence. She was there three weeks, and it took her six MONTHS to not freak out about going to another daycare, even though she loved her carers and made a lot of friends. But she still would cry as we arrived, because she was getting flashbacks. AT THREE.

          • Gatita

            That’s on the staff. Bullying happens in all programs. Staff should know how to deal with it. The boy should’ve been shadowed and not allowed to follow other children into the bathroom. It sounds like they didn’t do the bare minimum to manage his behavior.

          • AllieFoyle

            I agree. The adults in that situation should have made sure that your child was safe, and of course she should be your first priority. It sounds like you did the right thing by finding another daycare. A good childcare program will not allow one child to repeatedly torment others.

            I’ve taken my child out of a school for the same reasons. I didn’t like seeing my child hurt either, but probably because of my experience with the other side of things, I’ve always been profoundly grateful that my kids haven’t been the ones with the major behavior problems. My kids get along well with teachers and other kids and will do fine in the long run (knock on wood). The kids with the serious behavior problems….not so much.

            Anyway, I hope your daughter is doing better now and happier at her new school.

          • anonamom

            Having been the mom of the aggressive kid, I can assure you that if fixing the problem were a function of the parent of the aggressor’s concern and attention, there would be no behavioral problems. In many, many cases the problem also involves the daycare/preschool’s poor environment and ability to handle the issue. In my own child’s case, the aggression completely disappeared when we switched schools. Demonizing the kid or parent may feel righteous but does little to solve the problem. Thank god for IDEA insulating kids a little bit from the pitchforks …

          • Amazed

            Sure, the very mentioning of sending the kid away when nothing else worked is demonizing the kid. Mkay. Saying that it’s scary to have someone almost taking someone’s eye out is righteous. Fine. Thanks for being so clear.
            And yes, demonizing the kid does much to solve the problem. The problem of the kids who suffered the agression of kids like yours. Remember them? They do exist.
            While I do sympathize with people who are struggling with agressive behavior in their kids, the expectation that everyone should be sympathetic to their problem to the extent of letting their own kids be victimized is where they lose me.

          • anonamom

            I get it, you can’t see past the behavior (although apparently this kid never even hurt your kid) and you actions are limited to standing up on behalf of the victims when you are already out the door. Very brave of you. I just hope that when your own kid has a problem that requires additional help and resources from the school you gain a little perspective. And be forwarned that once you get into public school it is no longer about guaranteeing that your child gets the best deal at every turn. You are in a different system that supports many competing interests, including protecting children from being kicked out of school without a whole lot of due process. If you don’t like that perhaps you should enroll in a private school and get what you pay for. And again, believe me, nothing I think or feel about this problem vis a vis the other kids has any bearing ok actually solving the problem. At the end of the day you seem much more interested in shaming parents and getting kids with any differences away from yours than you do about actually helping.

          • Amazed

            Very kind of you. Few are those who openly admit that they wish for other people’s kids to suffer the challenges their own kids are suffering, although I have no doubt that there are many who wish for it.

            I don’t have any kids yet. I have experience with my family taking sole care of a close relative with a mental disorder. Diagnosed. With zero help from the system here. Since I was a child. It ain’t pretty. It was and is an enormous weight on my family. I wish people were more understanding but at the same time, I do get it that protecting themselves and their family from the person we’re responsible for is their first priority and it should be this way. At the end of the day, you seem much more interested in talking about your own struggles instead of admitting that your kid (not through his own fault) created legitimate trouble for other kids. But sure, keep harping on how I want to demonize kids and kick them away at the first peep. No matter that I explicitly wrote it should be done when nothing else works. Keep it going.

          • moto_librarian

            There are ways to develop plans that minimize risk to the other students without kicking this child out of school. The director hasn’t done a damned thing to alleviate this problem in a meaningful way. She needs to be accountable for that.

          • AllieFoyle

            Agreed.

    • Cartman36

      Is it non-profit? If so, you can complain to the board of directors

    • Irène Delse

      It’s no fun for anyone in the school when there’s a kid like that. And as you say he’s been doing hurtful things for a time, now, that means that either a) there’s a very serious problem with him and/or with his family, or b) the school can’t do anything to correct his behaviour (or isn’t bothered to). In any case, your son is better off in another place.

    • Who?

      Useless anecdote follows.

      Horrible situation. My friend was the mother of a kid like that, and she was in total denial about his atrocious behaviour. He freaked me out here by tormenting-and I use that word advisedly-my dog, to the point where I had to lock the dog in the bathroom to protect him as the child would not leave him alone. I let the dog out just as they were leaving, child recommenced torment, dog nipped him, kid cried and carried on. I’m pretty good with little kids and could not engage him at all.

      The kid bit, hit and generally terrorised other little ones in his class/group and the preschool had loads of meetings with my friend and her husband who refused to have him moved or assessed, not wanting him singled out. This all came to a head when he was maybe 3. My friend and her husband were overwhelmed with a lot of things, he was one part of the picture. I would have been in an absolute rage if my child had been in that group. Trouble is care is hard to find so moving isn’t easy for anyone.

      Fast forward to now, he’s just on adhd medication this year, and is a much happier and nicer boy. He told his mum recently that he loves his medicine because it stops his brain being so busy and making him do things he knows are naughty. She’s wracked with guilt that he’s on the drugs, not even really happy he’s feeling better somehow.

      I agree it is desperately unfair. I don’t think it’s good as a rule to move kids around due to other kids’ behaviour-as we all know, arseholes abound, it’s good to get used to them-but this kind of extreme is not acceptable.

      • Lisa Cybergirl

        As an adult diagnosed with ADHD at 50, I felt a hell of a lot better when I got on the right meds, too!

        • Irène Delse

          Mental health drugs often don’t get their due. But there’s a lot of persons today who would be confined in institutions, if not for their medications.

          • T.

            Or dead. A lot of people would be dead without their medication. I am not sure I wouldn’t have killed myself, for one.
            Kudos for mental health drugs!

          • Irène Delse

            Oh yes, that, too.

          • demodocus

            reason why I’m irritated at my cousin, with her “have you tried talking to your minister or going the holistic route? So much medication is bad for your baby.” Look, kid, I know your kids are older than mine, but I changed *your* diaper, Zoloft is helping, therapy wasn’t, and I’ve had way too many science classes to think much of anything labeled “holistic”

          • Kelly

            I seriously wished I started on Zoloft years ago. It would have helped me out so much. There are so many teachers who confided in me that they took it and I was still resistant. I really thought I could fix myself. I am finally feeling better after my second bout with PPD and it took my children to get me the help that I needed twice now.

          • Chi

            Cipramil is helping immensely with my anxiety.

            I haven’t had a panic attack in over 10 days, which is a bit of an achievement since when they first started I was having them practically every day, if not every second day.

            I get so fed up with woonatics telling me, ‘oh you just need to exercise more’.

            Yes, I try to go to Zumba twice a week. But if it’s been a rough day with the kid, motivation is a finite resource and then I’m faced with leaving the house and driving (another source of anxiety because the drivers are really bad here). I could try to be doing more home exercise but again, motivation.

            Hopefully the meds calm the worst of it down and I get a bit more of a ‘motivation reservoir’ built up.

          • Lisa Cybergirl

            Or dead. For all their annoying side effects, antidepressants have saved lives.

        • Chant de la Mer

          Yes, same here! It took several months of tinkering to find the right one, but once we did it was amazing the difference it made!

      • fiftyfifty1

        This reminds me of the son of a friend of mine: verbally rude, physically aggressive, touching girls’ butts, depantsing kids, even touched a woman’s breasts. Kids avoided him and he was constantly getting sent to the principal. But his mom didn’t want to medicate him, for all the usual reasons plus because he was ahead of grade level so she figured it couldn’t be ADHD even though he had tested positive. She finally gave in when as a 10 year old he expressed that he wanted to kill himself “because I must be a bad person because I always do bad things”. She got him on ADHD meds and it was night and day. Even the groping stopped immediately. Turns out that he wasn’t a mini-pervert after all, but just had no filter. He would see something and before he knew it he would be touching it. He would think of something and before he knew it he would be saying it or doing it. Kid is in junior high and thriving now. But too bad he didn’t get help sooner. Would have saved him a lot of misery, plus everyone around him.

    • Amazed

      You shouldn’t be happy. I am not as good as many of the people here. Your job is to parent your own child. It might tale a village to raise a child but it should freaking start with the child’s own parents. From what I’ve seen/overheard in my mom’s years at school (not even preschool), most parents of such kids don’t really cooperate. They say staff is not doing their jobs, other parents are overreacting and their kid is just playful. Being as aggressive as they come. (No, it’s NOT normal for me to hear what they’re saying when my mom is talking to them on the phone.)
      Helping the aggressive kid is a worthy goal. A secondary one, though. Protecting the kids who did nothing but happen to be in the poor agressive kid’s vicinity should take priority.

    • J.B.

      I’m surprised the child hasn’t been kicked out. It happens. As the parent of a neuroatypical child, I would ask everyone responding to this not to blame the parents as you have no idea what they have been told or how they responded.

      • Gatita

        My kid is having aggression problems at school and we’re in the process of figuring out meds, going to a psychologist, enrolling him in a facilitated social skills group, etc. None of this is known to the other parents at school (though the school administration is informed and part of the interventions). If you were on the outside you’d probably think we were shit parents who don’t care. We care. We’re trying. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But I also don’t expect any of the other parents to let my kid off the hook for his behavior. It’s just an all-around shitty situation. Truthfully we’re lucky because most of the parents have been amazingly understanding about it all. Still sucks.

        • anonamom

          May I ask how old your child is and if he has a diagnosis? I suspect adhd in my short tempered 4 year old but it is too soon to medicate and I don’t think his dad would agree anyway.

          • Gatita

            He’s 9 and he’s had multiple, competing diagnoses since the age of three, which is frustrating as hell. But one of them is ADHD, which makes sense since hubby and I both have it as well.

          • J.B.

            Is he in therapy (psych or OT) and have you seen a developmental pediatrician? Good developmental peds will want nondrug approaches first and can give you referrals to the best therapy for your situation.

    • Mishimoo

      I would be furious too! Of course no one knows what is going on at home, but given he’s mostly targeting girls, I would be seriously concerned about what he’s being exposed to (especially given the current push over here to stop domestic violence before it starts). Okay, so maybe there’s a billion reasons for him to act this way, but that doesn’t excuse the effect it’s having on the other students in his class and something needs to change so that all of the kids in the class are happy and safe. (Including violent kiddo)

    • moto_librarian

      The daycare is not handling this situation appropriately. At all. There was a boy in my older son’s class who was having serious anger problems. Like picking up a chair and throwing it a teacher anger problems (he was 4 at the time). He was in therapy, and after that incident, the staff developed a plan to keep him and everyone else safe. When he would get into one of his rages, they would take him outside (weather permitting) or into another room away from the other kids. When he couldn’t calm down, he was sent home. The other parents were also kept abreast of the situation. With time, he improved to the point where he acts like any other kid.

      A kid with serious behavior problems can often be dealt with and kept in daycare, but the director owes it to the other children and her staff to get a handle on this situation. I would be fucking livid if I knew this was a routine thing, and you have every right to be upset too.

  • Anna

    “Nearsightedness just happens, is no one’s fault and implies nothing about the overall health or quality of a woman’s body. Similarly, childbirth complications just happen, are no one’s fault and imply nothing about the overall health or quality of a woman’s body.”
    I just needed to hear this. Will repeat it like a mantra. And this:
    “It’s nobody’s business how you choose to give birth to your child and they don’t deserve to comment upon or even to know those private details.”

    • Sarah S

      A friend tried to get me to admit that my hemorrhage was due to the other interventions I had during birth. But honestly, each of those interventions was necessary, starting with the pitocin because I was 41 weeks and my water had broken but I wasn’t dilated and barely contracting.

      The doctors didn’t have any explanation for what caused my hemorrhage, other than maybe a big baby but because of what my friend said it took me a while to come to terms with that.

      • Amy M

        Sorry about your friend there. There’s no way to know for sure what triggered your hemorrhage. It’s true there are situations that make pph more likely, including big baby and long labor, but my understanding is that it could happen to anyone. I also had a pph—long labor with twins, and pitocin augmentation. It was kind of the perfect storm, but it’s also not clear if it was the combination of those factors that caused it, or what. If it was just carrying twins, for example, I might have had the pph anyway, even if I had a Csection w/no labor and no pitocin augmentation.

        You can’t beat yourself up for having a medical emergency. No one chooses to have a pph, its just a risk you take if you decide to get pregnant. The only surefire way to avoid pph is to not give birth. 🙂

    • guest

      According to my optometrist, my nearsightedness didn’t just happen, but was caused my my profession (involving lots of reading for extended periods). I wonder why it doesn’t get classified as a workplace injury in that case. At the very least, I feel our optical benefits should be better.

      But of course, it is also just genetic in other people.

      • Lisa Cybergirl

        But it could ALSO be genetic for you too. He doesn’t have a meter that says “80% from reading, 20% born like that”.

        • guest

          The optometrists and other eye specialists are the experts, not me. I just know what I was told: My nearsightedness at the age when it first occurred was do to my profession.

  • sdsures

    Has anyone ever experienced a sense of competition – either their own desire to compete or another person’s – from the females in their own family? For instance, I often have the (irrational) fear that just because my older sister has had children, my mom now has her grandkids, and I’m just not needed anymore to continue the family line.

    (I know it’s nuts. But it still feels this way.)

    • Angie Young-Le

      I have experienced this but not necessarily concerning reproduction/parenting. The worst was my sister who, with every man I have ever been with, tried to make them choose her over me. Most recently, I had an argument with her and she messaged my husband and asked him “I am going camping this weekend, you should come even though it will make her mad. We should still be friends. ” My husband told her it was inappropriate and that they are not friends. I am almost 10 years older than her though, so perhaps if we were closer in age children would be another subject for competition.

      • MI Dawn

        Yeah, I’m 5 years older than my sister, 7 years older than the next girl grandchild on either side…I really think the large age difference has an effect.

      • PeggySue

        She sounds like a whole load of no fun.

    • MI Dawn

      To be honest, I’m the oldest girl of all the grandchildren, so I never felt that. I was always the first to do things. But my sister did feel the competition. Unfortunately, it lead her to do some things impulsively which didn’t work out well.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      Sometimes. The girl cousins on my dad’s side of the family are all blonde, blue eyed bombshells minus one brunette that all got married like right out of high school. They also spend hours on their hair and make up and then there’s my sister and I over here that look more like my mom’s Heinz 57 side of the family content to be beach bums. We got compared to them A LOT and it drove me up the wall. I really do not want to spend hours on hair and make up in the morning. Getting out of bed and dressed is good enough. It’s just not a priority of mine. I’m also right smack in the middle of all the cousins in age so I wasn’t really anything special out of the sixteen grandchildren of that side.

      They also had tons of dates in high school and so I was considered weird when I had like, two, and had no real interest. I got married at twenty five too which was a lot later than the others. I was also the last of the female cousins to get married, even after my sister.

      I do love (most) of my cousins and they’re not airheads or bimbos at all so don’t think I’m saying that. They’re all quite smart and one of them is totally rugged country girl that shoots and cleans her own elk. I’m just…different. They’re all very extroverted and I’m a bit of an introvert so that might be part of it. They also all lived quite close together within like the same metropolitan area growing up and my family lived several states away so it was kind of like we were out of sight and out of mind. And then I just had to realize that feminity isn’t a competition. They’re just more traditionally feminine in some ways than I am. Doesn’t make them better than me. Just like my geeky hobbies don’t make me better than them. I’m jealous that most of them could fall into a bog and make it look glamorous. They’re jealous that I rip computers apart and put them back together for shits and giggles. And now we share those things with each other.

      As for my mom’s side… I’m the second oldest by two weeks so I’ve kind of always been second best. That’s the side with the insane grandmother who likes to pit the aunts, uncles, and cousins against each other. My sister and I already figured we’re the unfavorites once we reached adulthood based off of her hating our dad so we feel we have no need to clamor for attention. We won’t win anyways. The only way to “win” for us is not to play.

      The rest of the cousins, male and female, kind of always end up in competition since we’re a rather artistic and musically gifted family. Always trying to beat out another cousin as the best artist, who’s the best dancer, who’s the most talented musician, blah blah blah. Our family reunions on that side usually have a talent show. More like a dog and pony show vying for approval. Gag. If my sister shows up she tends to pull a Miss Congeniality demonstrating her martial arts. I show off my unfeminine and nerdy hobbies like painting DnD figurines. My grandma hasn’t quite liked how “masculine” I’ve turned out. We rebel in our own little way. It’s more fun that way to piss off grandma without actually antagonizing her. She’s wanted me to sing at the family reunion talent shows. I haven’t done it in over ten years.

      Edit: I guess the best way I got over my inferiority complex with the cousins on my dad’s side was to try to share hobbies and interests instead of competing in them. When you’re in a cooperative effort with one teaching the other, it’s a bit harder to make it competitive.

      • sdsures

        I got distracted at “shoots and cleans her own elk”.

        Meat is tasty, tasty murder.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          If I had a “favorite” cousin it would be her! She’s a riot! She has a hilarious picture on her Facebook hidden with all the happy smiley pictures of her in the hospital after giving birth, this one of her holding her first son in her arms with her hair intentionally messed up, her gown all askew, and this thousand yard stare as she holds her son I think labeled “Birth.”

          • sdsures

            LOL Sounds like someone I’d like to meet. (Besides you.)

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I’m so boring irl though lol. She’s a lot more vibrant than I am. Irl I’m like “Hi. I’m Delphi. I have legs.”

          • sdsures

            LOL

    • Erin

      My Mother admitted during a rather bitter argument that she doesn’t want me to have another child not because she’s concerned about my mental health but because she couldn’t cope with me, let alone another one. Me surviving what I went through and then having another one is too much for her ego.

      We don’t get on very well.

      • demodocus

        oy. *hugs*

      • BeatriceC

        I’m sorry to hear there’s another member of the shitty mother’s club (the club where our mothers were really, actually shitty, not “shitmoms”, which I’m quite proud to be). Hugs.

      • PeggySue

        Oh, damn. I’m sorry. Count me in that club too, though–it was my mother who competed with me–for my father’s attention–which she didn’t really altogether WANT, but… sure as hell did not want me to have.

      • sdsures

        🙁

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      In my own family, no. Among friends or acquaintances and occasionally my awesome in-laws, definitely. Example: SIL recently got married. SIL is a lovely person who married a wonderful guy. SIL and wonderful guy live a thousand miles from us but next to parents-in-law. They’re the next “prospect” for grandkids, if you will, and I find myself thinking “oh, once they start having kids, parents-in-law won’t give a crap about us–it’s not the same having kids from a daughter-in-law as from a daughter.” Totally irrational, and not at all like my in-laws, but there you go.
      Or, with friends/acquaintances, “They’re pregnant again, so they’ll have more kids than us, so we should work on the next one.” (Not really a good reason for another kid, IMNSHO.) Or “she has all-natural home water births, I’m such a failure for having my kid via a CS.”
      The best thing I’ve found to help is deliberately steer my mental train onto other tracks (“Nope, not gonna think about that right now, gonna work on XYZ project instead”) and then eat chocolate. ETA: also, to actively work on me–being the best version of “me” that there is. Feel inferior to Suzy? Well, set those feelings aside, and make her a baby quilt to celebrate her all-natural-homebirthed-new-baby rather than fuming about how the luck of the draw means that her babies live that way, while mine wouldn’t have. That sort of thing.

      • sdsures

        Thanks for taking the time to respond! I know I need to chill about these things but part of it is a biological drive.

    • RMY

      Totally. I feel I lost the competition, because my brother was able to reproduce before me.

      • sdsures

        *hug*

    • guest

      My oldest sister’s children are quite a bit older than my kids. She is definitely competing for best parent award now that she has horrible teenagers and the cute toddlers and babies are stealing all the attention. I hear all the time about how I am doing everything wrong with my children and how she never did this or that. I want to throw it in her face that her kids are awful, but I remind myself most teenagers are awful and that is not necessarily a reflection on her parenting. It is difficult to spend too much time with her without causing family drama.

      • sdsures

        *hugs* My older sister’s husband just walked out on her, and they are filing for legal separation after 16 seemingly untroubled years – obviously no marriage is perfect, but AFAIK, things were going OK. They have twins who are 6, and her husband was recently dxed with early-onset Parkinson’s. 🙁 When our mom told me, I asked immediately if the Parkinson’s could be responsible for BIL’s sudden and drastic change in behaviour. I just had NO CLUE this sort of thing was coming. Such behaviour was totally out of character for him, and I’ve known him for 18 years. It just doesn’t jive with him. They’ve demonized him, and I can’t bring myself to do the same because I’m not there. I haven’t witnessed this myself. I also can’t bring myself to do the same because I know what Parkinson’s does to a person’s brain. I do not think it’s fair to him to demonize him because he’s SICK. I can’t do it. Period.

        But is that right? Do I even have validity in thinking this way? My mom has, on and off throughout the years before my sister and I ever married, been very anti-male because of bad things that happened during her own marriages. Her second marriage ended in divorce because he cheated on her many times.

        In a way, I’m glad I’m on the other side of the pond and not mixed up in it. I know I would be involuntarily drawn into it by my mom. She’s always had difficulty maintaining proper boundaries, but she’s gotten a little better in the 8 years I’ve been married.

        It’s a mess.

        Sorry for going so far off-topic.

    • Chant de la Mer

      I don’t have siblings exactly, just cousins that are like siblings that grew up in another house. But I get that way all the time with the one other of us to reproduce. I have all boys and she has all girls and it just drives me nuts because I wanted a daughter plus our traditional culture goes through the matriarchal line so she gets special attention because she has the only girls to carry the clan line on. I freely admit I get a little jealous so I tend to start critiquing her parenting in my head. But I love my little nieces and I love my cousin/sister so I try really hard to drag myself away from the nasty thoughts by remembering that raising kids is hard no matter what. It’s so reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one that gets a little crazy about this family stuff!