General Public

I should know better. I should know better than to interact with anyone outside this community and the people in my life about having children. Even the latter are suspect from time to time. Yet, I did it anyways. A friend of mine posted a picture that was very appropriate regarding the opinion of people towards gay couples, and how society gets pissy about them getting married. It says “You people can’t get married. Why, because without the applicable social pressure, tax incentives, or the animalistic impulse to reproduce, you’re only together out of love and commitment to each other. Can’t you see how that makes the rest of us look?” A friend of HIS made a comment about how she didn’t care if her kids were gay or straight, so long as they produced in the grandchild-making-and-rearing. I, of course, saw pink and said something about “what if they can’t physically have kids?” I bet you can guess where THAT led. For the record, I apologized to my friend as soon as I posted because I really shouldn’t be allowed on the internet when I haven’t had enough sleep, ESPECIALLY where child-making is concerned.


What do you mean physically can’t? There are tons of options. There’s adoption, fertility, etc. Anyone can have kids. As for “making,” adoption makes a child into a grandchild. And as for the cost of fertility treatments, a surrogate, or adoption, if they can’t afford it I will help (though they’ll also be under pressure to make a good living, so they ought to be able to afford it). I’m sorry you didn’t like the pressure to have kids, Jennifer, but being pressured is not the same thing as being forced. You didn’t have to bow to the pressure. Sleep-deprivation is expected with parenthood (my 3.5-year-old only started sleeping through the night a month or two ago, and still wakes us up at least once 2-3 times per week, and my 1-year-old usually wakes us up several times in the night, and one or both of them is typically up for the day at least an hour before we’d otherwise want to get up, though we mitigate that by putting them to bed late).

I started on my soapbox about how it’s not always possible. Treatments aren’t for everyone. They are insanely expensive and they don’t always work and even having to do them is heartbreaking for most. Adoption isn’t always an option. It’s a very personal decision and the only people who should have any say in the matter are those who are trying to have children in the first place. Not everyone is approved for adoption, and even if you are, the wait list can be months to years. You know how this conversation goes – I’m sure y’all have had some version of it over the years. But this little gem is what made me so angry that my stomach is roiling:

And we’re not talking about the general public, we’re talking about MY KIDS. MY KIDS are not the general public. They are mine and I can raise them how I like, and I choose to obligate them to produce grandchildren, because I had them, and they owe me. Obviously if there were an issue (physical, mental, or financial) that made it so they wouldn’t make good parents, I wouldn’t pressure them to have kids, but it’s not all that likely that will be the case. Certainly their sexual orientation is irrelevant to the discussion, because any issue they might have because of being homosexual, they might also have as a heterosexual (infertility, etc.), and if all it does is add cost, I’m happy to help so I can have grandkids. (Yes, I’m assuming I’ll have the money to help at the time.) The point here was that sexual orientation wasn’t going to be an excuse to get out of the pressure to marry and have kids, at least for my kids.

Really? For seriously really? Her children OWE her grandchildren because she had them and that’s the price they have to pay? What if they don’t WANT kids? I have friends who simply don’t want children, period. I’m sure there is still pressure from society, because society is fucking rude like that. It starts at the wedding reception, if not as soon as a couple gets engaged. But make sure you only have 2 kids. If you have one, people ask when you’re going to have more. Have three and they start saying “three? Wow. Don’t you know what causes that?” We are so hooked on the 2.5 kids (how does one have .5 of a child anyways?) that more or less is just wrong. “If all it does is add cost…” oh yes, cost. Cost for the treatments, cost for possible complications, cost for delivery, cost for treatment for depression caused by infertility in the first damn place, cost for all the home studies, cost for the adoption process, cost for the surrogate and all her appointments. Oh yes, all it does is add cost. Cost of your marriage, cost of your self-esteem because you’re “broken”, cost of your feeling of self-worth because you’re obviously not a real woman/man if you can’t just have sex and reproduce, cost of hating your body so much that you start self-harming. Oh yes, all it does is add cost.

The ignorance of people just astounds me some days. It shouldn’t, I know, but it does. I often hope that the people who comment on news articles are just trolling, because I don’t want to believe that society is that ignorant. Sticking my head in the sand, yes, because self-preservation is necessary. I KNOW better than to read the comments on any article regarding reproduction (hey, I finally found the word I was looking for!) and more often than not, I simply don’t read the article because I know I will be compelled to read at least some of the comments. If a conversation with this woman made my stomach roil, imagine what happens when I’m confronted with hundreds of ignorant people! And rude – let’s not forget rude. I think it should be a rule – if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you have never experienced it or known anyone who has, keep your mouth shut and your hands off the keyboard. Read and move on. Caveat: If you don’t know, but are willing to listen and learn, ask nicely. If you are asking nicely instead of judging rudely, you are more likely to actually learn something and be treated nicely in return.

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  1. All my children OWE me for having them is to BE. Period. They do not have to love me, they do not have to take care of me in my old age, make me a grandmother, or visit every Sunday.

    I owe THEM for having them. I owe them the best I have to give – of my time, my energy, my creativity, my love, devotion, forgiveness, affection. I owe them taking care of myself as best I can, and living a moral life. And if I do my job RIGHT – they will love me, take care of me, visit often and hopefully want to pay it forward by adding to our family in whatever way they see fit – spouses, children, pets, friends. The only thing they will be pressured to do is live in a way that makes them happy and does not harm others.

    I really kind of hope her kids grow up, tell her to screw off, and dump her in a nursing home and forget to visit. Owe her grandchildren. God.

  2. Wow. I would have hurt someone. If all it took to have kids was financial aid we’d have an f’ing pack of em by now.

  3. I don’t know what I can say that Cathy didn’t- because frankly, what a narrow minded point of view. All my children owe me? Is to pursue their happiness- in work, in love, in life. (Pressure to make a good living? I really pity her children.)

    It baffles me that in this day and age, people can still make so many assumptions about having children- just statistically it’s impossible not to know someone who struggled with fertility, had to fight to adopt a child… I don’t know how you can know someone and not see the strain that it puts on each person involved… but I guess I’m just wired differently.

    Hugs to you. Obviously you’re much more aware- you know what sleep deprivation does to you, and she clearly has no idea what a bitch it makes her seem.

  4. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. And, again, there’s no need to apologize for getting upset. It’s entirely understandable. You’ve earned your scars.

    And, for the record, I wouldn’t consider her a “friend,” exactly. She’s someone I knew tangentially in college and we recently reconnected via FB. But her comments have rubbed me the wrong way, too. Not just on this. I posted an image with statistics about gun control, and she commented that correlation was not causation. I agreed to the general principle (it’s true, it’s something too few understand, and it causes problems), and pointed out that further data is limited, but that the statistics, taken together (along with other data I’d seen elsewhere) seemed to indicate that, in this case, there was causation. And she would not stop repeating herself, making the same point over and over.

    She’s headstrong and abrasive (probably more so than she realizes). Applying hard and abrasive to a very tender spot is never going to work out well. You don’t owe me an apology. If anything, I owe you one.

  5. Holy crap. Hopefully I will have raised my kids to have good character, and that is done by modeling good character, including respecting the autonomy of other adults. I would be a bit sad if I never had grandchildren, but that is an issue that I would have to work through without burdening my children with it, should that come about through their choice or their circumstances. I’m hoping that I can have enough children that at least one of them will be willing or able to reproduce.


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