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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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183 Responses

  1. LyGypsy
    LyGypsy January 24, 2013 at 10:53 am |

    Well, both these articles turned me off the vague inclination to have kids. If having kids will turn me into a dispicably santicmonious, self-righteous, clueless, know-it-all, no thanks. I’d rather remain me.

    And that Kovac woman can go fuck herself. What a repulsive asshole.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan January 24, 2013 at 11:17 am |

      If you’re worried about that, never read the blog STFUParents. There’s the occasional shout-out to awesome moms, which is heartwarming, but boy do some parents overshare the “joys” of having children! I’ve never seen more puke in my life.

      1. STFUParents
        STFUParents January 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm |

        That’s why I post Mom’s Gold Star posts — to give props to the (many) cool parents! It’s unfortunate that some very vocal people give parenting and motherhood a bad name.

        1. EG
          EG January 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm |

          Well, you know, mac, nothing is really an achievement or worthy of respect unless you’re the first person ever to do it. That’s why I never congratulate anybody on their graduations or publications or anything. Fuck, millions of people do that.

          Bagelsan, you know exactly jackshit about how difficult pregnancy or childbirth was for any individual. People have every right to be proud.

      2. BabyRaptor
        BabyRaptor January 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

        STFUParents will probably keep me childless my entire life. I’m terrified of turning into a Mombie.

        1. M Dubz
          M Dubz January 25, 2013 at 6:39 am |

          Something tells me that those women were assholes before they had kids, though.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm |

          The mombies are like a new, special breed of asshole now that they’ve done something that no one else on the planet could do*. It’s like leveling up your assholitude, and now some poor child is involved to boot. :p

          *Wait…

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm |

          The mombies are like a new, special breed of asshole now that they’ve done something that no one else on the planet could do*.

          Bagelsan, I’m trying really hard to understand being a colossal dipshit, but you know, I guess I have to be you to figure out how that REALLY feels.

        4. EG
          EG January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm |

          (posted in the wrong thread at first)

          Well, you know, mac, nothing is really an achievement or worthy of respect unless you’re the first person ever to do it. That’s why I never congratulate anybody on their graduations or publications or anything. Fuck, millions of people do that.

          Bagelsan, you know exactly jackshit about how difficult pregnancy or childbirth was for any individual. People have every right to be proud.

        5. igglanova
          igglanova January 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm |

          Who said anything about how difficult a pregnancy is? Something can be difficult without being an accomplishment or giving one legitimate claim to pride. Reproduction is one of those things that is so commonplace that it happens by accident, every day, millions of times, from the simplest organisms to the most complex. It is undoubtedly difficult for those organisms, but then, so are many things that we don’t honour as accomplishments. Should I be proud of surviving my horrid case of the flu, just because it made life difficult?

      3. LyGypsy
        LyGypsy January 25, 2013 at 9:50 am |

        *shakes fist* curse you for teling me about STFUparents. Now I can’t. stop. reading it!!

        (thanks!!)

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

          You’ll also never be able to unsee it. You’re welcome! :D

        2. OutrageandSprinkles
          OutrageandSprinkles January 25, 2013 at 7:43 pm |

          STAY AWAY FROM THE HALLOWEEN POSTS.

    2. watermelonpunch
      watermelonpunch January 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm |

      These sorts of “moms for the sake of momhood” moral horror stories can be really disheartening.
      But I think the author of the blog post is right to point out that it’s not momhood that’s at issue, but the quality & choice of friendships that’s in question.

      Several years ago I was quite upset by the last straw in a friendship with someone who turned a bit like the moms who now know all by way of being moms.
      The loss of that friendship still makes me sad.
      And yet the implications of her belief about something, I still find disturbing.

      BUT, I’m glad to report that I’ve now had a cousin and a friend, both now with a child each, 9yrs & 5yrs respectively… quite enough time to bring on any possible delusions of omnipotence by way of parenthood… And neither have shown any such signs.
      My own mother never showed such signs. And both my friend, and my mother, have always, and always continued, to have strong friendships single &/or childless friends.

      So not everyone’s all hopped up on the idea that being a mom exalts one into some higher moral plain in society.
      I don’t think I would’ve been like that had I had children.

      I’ve often suspected that the “feminist” woman who becomes judgmental mom is probably really reacting defensively out of fear that she’s being judged – whether real or imagined.

      The real test of the “new attitude about parenthood by becoming a mom”… is to discern whether there’s been any change in said mom’s treatment or view of her own mom, with more respect, reverence, and admiration. Often there’s no change, or perhaps a change for the worse. Moms who judge other moms or their own mom… based on their status as a mom…
      Is that what they call “performative contradiction”?

  2. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil January 24, 2013 at 11:03 am |

    It’s not “motherhood” that makes you self-involved enough to think your friends’ reproductive decisions are somehow related to your own. Self-involvement does that.

    I thought one of the NYT commenters hit the nail on the head: it’s not motherhood that made Loccke question her friends’ choices, it’s the fact that she’s struggling to get pregnant.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 11:40 am |

      Meh, I struggled to get pregnant and went through infertilty and IVF. It only further galvanized my por-choice opinions further, as opposed to making me sanctimoniously anti-choice like the author of this article. There’s nothing like having umpteen embryos poop out on you to make you realize that it isn’t a baby in there, not yet, and that an embryo does not a baby make. Ditto with seeing those microscopic embryo pictures prior to an embryo transfer. If I can’t see it with my naked eye, and it looks nothing even vaguely resembling a human, it just isn’t a baby.

      1. Dariana
        Dariana January 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

        I also went through IVF and it kind of made me feel like an animal used for breeding purposes–I was a chicken and all my eggs were collected. When I saw the heartbeat though at 6 weeks, and the body looking like a little gingerbread man at 8 weeks–you start thinking more baby than blastocyst.

        I’m still pro-choice, but if any of my friends tried to have a straight-out conversation about abortion, I’d say this: ‘I fully believe in your right to abort, but given my struggle I just can’t have an honest conversation about this’. I truly couldn’t. It’s a shame because I’d want to support my friend, but it would hurt just way too much.

        I think that’s one of the problems that cause sanctimonious ‘infertile mothers’: they don’t come out and say how much it hurts because infertility is still ‘taboo’ to discuss and the difficulties associated with it aren’t commonly known. I know I feel a lot of survivor’s guilt for getting pregnant, but I also still feel a victim of infertility. It’s all quite complex and, if unaddressed, can easily change you and your personality.

        1. watermelonpunch
          watermelonpunch January 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm |

          @ Dariana The point you make is an important demonstration of the kind of awareness of self and of others, and the courage to show weakness & the safety to endure it, that it takes to have healthy & intimate friendships that endure.
          And it makes me think of the old saying about there being 3 sides to every story. ;o)

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm |

          I hear you, Dariana, I really do.

          I was a very angry person for a while during the IVF years. It sucks, and there is so much social taboo surrounding infertility that should never be discussed or acknowledged, ever.

          You know, I actually experienced something similar to what Loccke discussed in her article with a friend who was freaking out about an accidental pregnancy. She didn’t terminate, but she did expect me to be a long term shoulder to cry on about how hard and horrible it was for her to be pregnant. I admit I wasn’t terribly sympathetic at the time, but mostly because she was completely and utterly unsympathetic to my miscarriage and infertility experiences and advised me that I was overreacting and being ridiculous.

          And that’s ultimately the issue at hand. Individual experiences are just that, individual, and universalizing them to friends and strangers alike is a losing proposition. Being a good friend oneself means not judging your friends simply because they don’t hold the same beliefs you do or make the same choices you would. It’s always a two way street, and when that gets forgotten friendship may very well not survive.

      2. Dariana
        Dariana January 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

        I’m hoping that if I’m fortunate enough to carry this pregnancy to term (I’m but a mere 10 weeks!), I might be more welcoming to that sort of discussion–because before all of this I totally would have. But I know I would resent my friend and that’s not fair to either of us. The best thing for me to do would be to take a step back and cool off. It’d be her individual experience, with my individual bias alllllll over it. :-)

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

          Here’s hoping it sticks, Dariana!

          Btw, it’s been a while, but I found a lot of great support and resources at IVFConnections.com. If you haven’t checked it out already, I would definitely recommend it.

  3. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin January 24, 2013 at 11:12 am |

    My woman friends range from about 27 to 35. Only one of them intends to have kids soon, and she won’t begin a family until she’s through with grad school. She wants to be a psychologist and intends to work part-time hours while raising her child. Later, when the child is older, she will take on full-time hours.

    Her husband works for the Navy and pulls home a good bit of money. If his salary was not present, they would not be able to have even one child.

    As mentioned in this article, children are expensive. In DC, having children usually necessitates the expense of purchasing a car and moving into the suburbs. As a country, we’re still not out of the woods from an economic standpoint. I have to say I don’t see anyone around me bragging about how much money they make.

    I fully admit that I could not financially support a child now and might not for a very long time. Or ever, really. I guess I don’t understand this need for shaming and guilt-trips without really examining the complexities first. But I guess that’s what sanctimony is.

    1. A4
      A4 January 25, 2013 at 8:19 am |

      I guess I don’t understand this need for shaming and guilt-trips without really examining the complexities first. But I guess that’s what sanctimony is.

      Think of it like if someone was telling people to let go of their anger because it’s not a healthy way to live, or explaining to people with a history of trauma and abuse that they need to learn to stop looking out for themselves and be more trusting of unfamiliar people. I think you can identify with these types of sanctimonious sentiments right?

      1. Revolver
        Revolver January 25, 2013 at 6:20 pm |

        BOOM roasted!

        1. A4
          A4 January 26, 2013 at 9:35 am |

          I love your Gravatar.

      2. OutrageandSprinkles
        OutrageandSprinkles January 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm |

        Amazing.

    2. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date January 25, 2013 at 8:40 am |

      In DC, the middle-class expectation used to be that having children usually necessitates the expense of purchasing a car and moving into the suburbs.

      Fixed that for you.

  4. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte January 24, 2013 at 11:12 am |

    So she was pressured into having kids and wants to pay that misery forward. Blergh. These article made me wish I could have fewer than my already planned zero children, just to piss them off.

  5. Christine
    Christine January 24, 2013 at 11:15 am |

    You do such an amazing job of taking down these women who seem to think that their choices are the right choices for every woman. Not to mention that they actually look down on woman who haven’t made the same choices. Great piece, thanks for articulating exactly what I’ve been going through when other women talk about how “silly” it is to think a career and a strong marriage foundation is more significant than having kids right away.

  6. Becca Stareyes
    Becca Stareyes January 24, 2013 at 11:27 am |

    Wow, I guess my mother isn’t All Moms. My mother knows I don’t want kids. Despite the fact my mother does want grandkids, she is okay with whatever makes me happy. Plus, she’s seen how I act around children and it’s quite apparent that, while I don’t mind kids, I’m not as cooing and such over a new baby as she and my sister are.

    She also encouraged my sister to wait to have children until she and her husband were settled and secure and felt ready. (Or at least more settled and secure.) Because she wanted her children to be happy, and babies are stressful, demanding little humans even for people who do want to care for them and have the resources to do so (and who work at jobs involving toddlers all day, so have some preparation).

    (Mom’s also the one who introduced the concept of pro-choice to me, and talked to us about what life was like pre-Roe versus Wade. She never had an abortion that I know about, but did miscarry and had at least one other pregnancy with some complications.)

    1. TomSims
      TomSims January 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

      Sounds like you have one great Mom.

  7. robotile
    robotile January 24, 2013 at 11:30 am |

    Yeah, nothing made me more pro-choice than having been pregnant. Duh. Horrible, awful experience and no one should have to go through it unless they want to.

    Also, that second essay is so incredibly condescending. I also find it kind of horrible and insulting to women who have children as well. AS if all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of the last 10X years counts for nothing compared to having a kid. Seriously?? It’s not like having a kid wiped out my brain like a corrupted hard drive. My thoughts, opinions, and priorities are pretty much the same except I have to go to bed earlier and am less disgusted by drool.

  8. robotile
    robotile January 24, 2013 at 11:39 am |

    it’s also pretty ironic that Kovacs is both comparing her friend to a toddler and simultaneously saying she’s ready to have kids. And yet it is more important than all that high-falutin’ career nonsense somehow. So it’s both so easy that someone with the maturity of a toddler can jump right in, but so important that somehow no other life experience can equal it in value?? Ridiculous.
    Although the idea of toddler parents is pretty funny–I’m guessing you’d get to a baby Lord of the Flies jungle scenario pretty quickly.

  9. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 11:51 am |

    And shame on Loccke for claiming a monopoly on “feminist motherhood.” I’m not a mother, but every feminist mother I’ve spoken with about abortion has been clear: Getting pregnant solidified her support of abortion rights and made her more pro-choice. Many of the most dedicated abortion-rights activists I’ve worked with are mothers — including many current and former leaders of major pro-choice organizations. It’s not “motherhood” that makes you self-involved enough to think your friends’ reproductive decisions are somehow related to your own. Self-involvement does that.

    You get it, Jill, you really get it!

    Being infertile, and then pregnant, finally, and eventually a mother has only made me more pro-choice, not less. I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed by plenty of other people as well.

    Loccke’s shaming and silencing of her friend and other women in similar circumstances is so utterly disgusting and offensive. Because she is perpetuating the myth of mommyhood as only happiness and wonderfullness, which only serves to continue making motherhood a confining and stifling one in our society.

    I seriously considered terminating my last pregnancy for several reasons. It was unplanned and not terribly welcome at the time. But I had absolutely nobody, other than the spouse and my OB, with whom I could really discuss it, because it is such a socially unacceptable thing to even consider. Shame on Loccke right back for being such a horrible and unsupportive person and non-friend.

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah January 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

      I agree. Shame on Loccke. My first was unplanned and, at that point in my life, I didn’t really seriously consider abortion. Now that I’ve had kids…yeah, I totally would consider it. I’m way more pro-choice now than I ever was before. Pregnancy is hard and can be life-threatening. Birth is hard and can be life-threatening. Children are…draining…although they are sometimes adorable. A person only has so much money, emotional energy, and physical energy and even just one kid take so much of it. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this poor friend should go through a pregnancy she doesn’t want just because her friend can’t get pregnant.

      1. Miriam
        Miriam January 25, 2013 at 1:40 am |

        I am right there with both of you. Locke may not understand how a mother can choose abortion, and I don’t understand how any woman who has been pregnant could think of a first-trimester embryo or fetus as equivalent to a baby much less believe any woman should endure pregnancy who doesn’t want the baby at the end. Even easy pregnancies aren’t easy. And god that initial newborn period is killer!

  10. Katniss
    Katniss January 24, 2013 at 11:53 am |

    One aspect of human behavior I’ll never get, even after having it explained to me in ways that made sense multiple times, is feeling upset and somehow insulted that not everyone lives live the same way you (the general you) do. Whether it’s parents who are upset at people who don’t want to be parents, parents who are upset about how other parents parents…the list goes on and on, but I just don’t understand the obsession with other people’s lives, let alone the judgement.

    I can’t imagine CARING very deeply about whether or not a friend of mine wanted kids, unless it was an issue to that was concerning them.

    1. auditorydamage
      auditorydamage January 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

      I sometimes wonder if the upset stems from resentment of the happiness of those who choose to live with different sets of personal constraints and obligations, heavily influenced by religious or otherwise missionary dogma regarding various behaviours and relationships. Put another way, people who are unhappy with restrictions placed upon their lives, by themselves or convinced to do so by others, may be jealous of people who seem to live quite happily without those constraints. Women who’ve been told their whole lives that their role is to be mothers and housewives may be angry at women who choose not to reproduce and live alone, even as they wish for a break from the burdens imposed upon them; men who’ve been told their whole lives that being gay is the worst thing a man can be, and struggle with their own latent feelings for other men, may try to suppress those feelings by engaging in active homophobia and anti-gay activism.

      There’s a strong element of proselytization in those articles, as if the writers have a basic need to promote their entire lifestyle as the One True Way to live. I would be curious to learn why they felt it was necessary to present their lives and opinions as superior. The responses would likely be more informative than the original opinions.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm |

        Honestly, I think it’s more a bad case of buttinsky-itis. The sort of people who spout the sort of bad logic set forth in these sorts of articles, long before they got hitched and started reproducing, are the same ones who think they know the one only right and best way to do everything and anything, ever.

        Ime, Loccke and her ilk are the same kids on the playground back in elementary school who were butthurt bossypantses who got absolutely incredulous that others didn’t play tag or jump rope or whatever they way they did. And then on into the HS years were sure they knew the bestest ever way to study and get the best grades, or what science fair project to present, or how to write the best essay on whatever topic in english class and so on. Ditto for where to go to college, what major to declare, what car to drive, what suburb to live in, which salon in town is the best, down to what type of dog makes the best, friendly, low maintenance pet, blabedeyblablabla…

    2. robotile
      robotile January 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

      I don’t know, it’s pretty obvious that the behavior of others determines people’s norms, and those norms affect you in turn — often by creating more benefits for people who adhere to them or by shaming those who don’t. So it’s pretty human (if shitty) to try to get others to do what they do with their life. it’s dumb given how big our society is, and how ineffective that approach is, but it’s human.

    3. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah January 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm |

      I don’t get it either. Who CARES if someone doesn’t want kids?? It really has absolutely nothing to do with me…unless its my partner and, for him, its too late. They are already here. And you can’t escape them…BRUWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  11. Kierra
    Kierra January 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |

    you’re always looking at your iPhone. I’m not sure if you’re really listening…

    Be attentive to your own life.

    First, recognize when you’re tired—and then rest. The next step will be to recognize when there is a person on the subway who’d like to sit down and even though she is neither old nor disabled, you should offer your seat to her. Look at her face, Doris, she’s had a harder day than you. You can give up your seat. After all, you’re not that tired today. Because yesterday you rested.

    And little by little you’ll be attentive to other things around you. You’ll look at the sky and think, “It really does look like it’s going to rain today. I’ll bring an umbrella, even though Mr. Weather Dude says there’s no chance.”

    If her friend really spends all her time on her iPhone (to the point of not being able to have a conversation), has problems getting enough rest, is too self-centered to notice someone on the subway who would like to sit down, and isn’t smart enough to know when it looks like rain, then maybe her friend’s estimation that she isn’t ready for kids might be right. Or maybe her friend really needs to get someone else to confide in who doesn’t think she’s a brainless twit.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |

      First, recognize when you’re tired—and then rest.

      Does this woman have a toddler?

      …has this woman even SEEN a toddler?

      Recognising when you’re tired has zip to do with being able to rest, for like 99% of the mothers-of-young-kids I know. I mean, sure, mine’s 12, if I have a flash headache I can nap for a half-hour without worrying she’s going to stick her fingers in wall sockets or see if my laptop can swim, but babies? Toddlers? ….the terrible threes?

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

        How much you want to bet Loccke is one of those dreadful UMC NYT columnists who do not get that everyone else doesn’t have a bajillion dollars and a team of nannies to smooth the way of motherhood like she does?

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

          Lola,

          Sucker bet! I refuse :P

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

          Come on, I had to at least throw it out there!

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

        And as if he was hoping to illustrate your point, Mac, I just spent the last 10 minutes cleaning the shards of a former drinking glass out of the garbage disposal after my almost 3yo thought it would be funny to chuck it into the sink at full force.

        Sorry for the derail, it’s the non-existent nanny’s day off!

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

          Fall 2011, one of my professors came to class practically in tears, because her 3yo picked up and threw her external hard drive at a wall and lost her a year’s worth of work…

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

          Oh, those toddler/little kid years, so much laffs to be had!!!

        3. Valoniel
          Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm |

          Lola, when my daughter was five, she ‘decorated’ my bettas’ fishbowls with table salt.

          Laffs, indeed.

          (They totally survived, btw, though I’ll be damned if I can figure out how)

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm |

          Yeah, the almost 3yo also dumped the entire container of fishfood into the aquarium a few days ago. The goldfish have so far survived and become quite portly in the process.

          Oh boy, I’m guessing we could swap stories all. night. long. I’ve got a house full of kids here these days, there is always hijinks underway…

  12. bleh
    bleh January 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

    Just love being told how mature parents (mothers) are and how I would grow up if I reproduced. If you have to tell me, and one can’t see it in your actual behavior (I don’t), not buying it.

    1. Mike
      Mike January 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

      This = everything I wanted to say about that article but better.

  13. Valoniel
    Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

    You know, women who wrote these articles (and presumably didn’t get anyone’s consent before smearing their most personal life choices across the public stage), you need to get hold of the fact that you are not, in fact, All Moms, and the rest of us would really, really like it if you would stop tarring us with your sanctimonious brush. You don’t speak for me, and you don’t speak for any woman that I know.

    I’ve actually had the experience of both sides of the first scenario. I had extreme difficulty getting pregnant, and had to support my best friend through deciding to terminate an unwanted pregnancy while I ached to have what she was giving up. I also found myself in the position of having to entertain the idea that I might be unexpectedly pregnant at a time in my life when I absolutely did not wish to have another child, and by a man who abjectly Does Not Want kids, ever, while a woman I love like a sister was struggling to get pregnant. Based on those experiences, I’d like to point out to Loccke that for all her hand-wringing and selfish judgment, if she thinks that her friend didn’t agonise over deciding to terminate while someone close to her is struggling, then Loccke must think her friend is as big a douchebag as she is.

    Locke’s assertion that Feminist Mothers privately judge everyone for exercising their right to choose is just utter bullshit. Most of us don’t think it’s taboo, it just hasn’t changed. While I’m down with the phenomenon of ‘pregnancy brain’ and the short-term memory taking a long vacation, gestation doesn’t take away a woman’s intelligence or ability to reason or analyse. If having one or more children hasn’t given (general) you the insight to be more deeply supportive of choice, that’s your failure to reason, and it has nothing to do with anyone else, including the kid you’re blaming it on. Just ew.

    As to Sacrifice As Maternal Nirvana: Huge numbers of women, like the one Loccke describes, have abortions once they already have children, because having more would place undue burdens on the children they already have, with shorter money, less time and attention, and more responsibilities to siblings. If giving up another child in order preserve the well-being of the ones already born isn’t sacrifice, then I don’t know what is.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

      Valoniel, FTW, once again.

      The utter failure to have any sort of compassion, or to dig deep into the well of empathy that most humans have, on the part of Ms. Loccke is really pretty astonishing. Hopefully, one goes through life learning on a daily basis that it isn’t always about them, and that not everyone else is just like you, or thinks just like you, and that this is perfectly ok. Loccke has obviously not figured this out, and that she feels free to be so judgmental and instead condemn her friend so harshly speaks more to Loccke’s personal failings than anything else.

      And for the last freaking time, offensive people spouting off in the NYT, stop pretending to speak for everyone else even vaguely situated in a similar manner to you! You are not all Mommies, you are only you, and do not speak for me or anyone else for that matter. Get over yourself already!

      1. Valoniel
        Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

        Yeah, I get the feeling that Ms. Loccke doesn’t have a child, she has a Mini-Me. Because seriously, those of us who have children tend to recognise that people are different, and need to be interacted with individually, based on who they are and what their circumstances are.

        I know this, because I have a child, and she’s not me. No, really, she’s an individual, with her own thoughts and feelings and abilities and everything. Again, motherhood, in all circumstances that I’ve ever seen (save one), has made the women involved more empathetic, more likely to assess things, people, and situations individually, and less generally judgmental. But I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I tend to know awesome women.

        1. Past my expiration date
          Past my expiration date January 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

          Again, motherhood, in all circumstances that I’ve ever seen (save one), has made the women involved more empathetic, more likely to assess things, people, and situations individually, and less generally judgmental. But I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I tend to know awesome women.

          I think that this must be so. Because in my experience, including women I don’t consider so awesome as well as women I do, motherhood has typically made the women involved be, in general, the same people that they were before they were mothers.

        2. bleh
          bleh January 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

          Motherhood makes women less judgmental of children. Not less judgmental in general.

        3. Valoniel
          Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |

          [...]motherhood has typically made the women involved be, in general, the same people that they were before they were mothers.

          So, the women you know don’t change at all in relation to major differences in their lives, and the influence of experiences with and by the people in them? Hm. Well, that sounds like a boring and actually pretty difficult kind of stasis to maintain, but again, I can only speak from my own experience of myself and the women I’ve known.

        4. Valoniel
          Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm |

          Motherhood makes women less judgmental of children. Not less judgmental in general.

          Hahaha…no. No mother I know is less judgmental of the behaviour of children now, than she was before she had kids. More patient with it, sure, because they do tend to have a better understanding of why kids get the ways they get sometimes, but they’re not less likely to see inapropriate things in children as inappropriate.

          Like I said, I tend to know awesome women, who have their crap in a pile for the most part, and tend to do things like planning their families and deciding if they wish to be parents before becoming parents, so I’ll admit that I have something of a perception bias, there. The biggest issue, I think, is in the incredible pressure women feel, to slide right on into the status quo and not actually think about whether or not they want to be mothers before they find themselves married off and starting families that may or may not be what they actually want out of life. A lot of those women feel trapped, and the social taboo on admitting that parenting is hard makes it, to their eyes, so that the only possible way of dealing with their misery is to go shoving everyone else into situations that they don’t want, too. So we can all be one big angry family, TOGETHER! Obviously, I don’t think this is a good thing.

          All mothers are not judgmental assholes, and believe it or not, lots of them become nicer human beings through parenting.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

          Motherhood makes women less judgmental of children. Not less judgmental in general.

          What’s with the sweeping generalizations? It’s not as though women don’t get plenty of stereotyping and sweeping generalizations pushed onto them by our society. How interesting that some still think it’s totes ok to do so when it comes to women who are mothers? Because it’s still sexism to stereotype mothers and push them into cartoonish characterizations of what they are or are not. Loccke herself was guilty of sexism, but using sexism against her and others like her to criticize their opinions does not magically make that route non-sexist.

          Some of us here, who are women, and who are mothers, have explained that pregnancy/childbirth/parenting have further galvanized our pro-choice opinions. We aren’t claiming to universalize this experience to everyone else. That’s kind of the point, that Loccke doesn’t speak for all the women who are mothers everywhere, despite her claims to the contrary.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm |

          motherhood has typically made the women involved be, in general, the same people that they were before they were mothers

          If you can engage, for years, in intensive, emotionally charged contact with a single person – any single person, seriously – and remain generally unchanged by it or them or the experience, I’d be fascinated to learn how. o.o

        7. bleh
          bleh January 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm |

          That’s the joke. If you want to make the sweeping generalization that all mothers respond to motherhood with less judgement, then I respond with an equally sweeping, if more funny, statement. Come on people, saying mothers are less judgmental of children is hardly calling them names or even saying they are *more* judgmental. It merely responds to the ridiculous notion that less sleep and more responsibility makes you a less judgmental person with humor rather than derision.

        8. Past my expiration date
          Past my expiration date January 25, 2013 at 6:32 am |

          So, the women you know don’t change at all in relation to major differences in their lives, and the influence of experiences with and by the people in them?

          If you can engage, for years, in intensive, emotionally charged contact with a single person – any single person, seriously – and remain generally unchanged by it or them or the experience, I’d be fascinated to learn how. o.o

          No, no, of course they change. I mean, people do change with time and experiences, whether or not they become mothers. But they also stay the same. Becoming a mother does not turn a person into a different person.

    2. Valoniel
      Valoniel January 25, 2013 at 12:05 am |

      bleh: Very succinctly, I will point out to you that stating that I am speaking of the women I know and from my own experience is not, by definition, a ‘sweeping generalization’.

      Honestly, if you’re going to concern-troll me, you should probably get better at it. And look up the definition of humour, perhaps.

  14. EDN
    EDN January 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

    Oh, goodness, you read between all the lines. “Shedding the parts of you that you don’t really need”? Jesus.

    I’m not a regular commenter but I stopped in to read this piece and you nailed it. These two writers are either a) deluded or b) trying to make people miserable by saying that EVERYONE MUST BE A MOMMY.

    Parenting is life-changing all right, but it’s not all good change. Why wish it on people who don’t really want it?

    1. Valoniel
      Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

      Oh, goodness, you read between all the lines. “Shedding the parts of you that you don’t really need”? Jesus.

      Yeah, that bit killed me, like there are bits of you that just fall the fuck off when you have kids. As if being a parent can’t add to or just plain old have nothing to do with certain aspects of your personality and thought processes.

      Seriously, IMO, if a person is that damn caught up in motherhood, that just tells me she doesn’t know who she is apart from MOM (oh, sorry, MOM and probably WIFE, because these types do tend to exalt both), and that just entreats me to pity.

  15. stephanie
    stephanie January 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    As a mom I find these women’s attitudes disturbing. My motherly advice to the women being written about would be to run far and fast from these so called ‘friends’. I mean really! I can’t have children I want so you should have children you don’t want? OR the second one, If my friends don’t make the same choices I do they are immature children (because obviously the choices that are right for me are right for everyone)?
    Run far and fast from this kind of doucherockertry!

  16. Valoniel
    Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm |

    First of all, Doris, I should have said this a long time ago, but please stop comparing your dog to my children.

    Yeah, seriously…people without children need to stop fucking doing this. Making sure you don’t run out of kibble and getting up at 6 am to walk a dog in the winter just isn’t the same as working 24/7 to raise a while functional, productive and reasonably happy human being that will go out into the world and have a life based on what you’ve taught them.

    Seriously, I’ve had dogs, cats, birds, fish, gerbils and mice, and Under absolutely no damn circumstances is a pet the same as a child, no matter how much you love your little Woogums.

    1. bleh
      bleh January 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

      If people with children would open the conversation to anything other than caretaking (THEIR caretaking), pet owners probably would not resort to these rhetorical options.

      1. Valoniel
        Valoniel January 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm |

        If people with children would open the conversation to anything other than caretaking (THEIR caretaking), pet owners probably would not resort to these rhetorical options.

        Whatever their reasoning, the argument is still invalid, and only serves to make the one presenting it look ridiculous.

        …Does that mean that you don’t know a single mother who has nothing other to talk about than her children? Because if so, I think the problem is the sample, not the condition of motherhood.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

        …..dude, I pretty much exclusively hang out with parents/would-be parents at this point, and…whaaa? This is not my experience. Has never been my experience. o_O

        Also, thank you for saying that all parents can only talk about their children. It seems to jell with how you’re only capable of talking about how shitty parents are. I guess we all have our sole conversational topic crosses to bear?

        1. bleh
          bleh January 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

          Again, I was responding to the poster who got all up in pet-owner grills with the exact same structure. He or she said “people without children need to,” and I responded IF “people with children” would do x. I don’t own pets and I know perfectly well adjusted parents, who do not always talk about caregiving. The poster I was responding to was not speaking in a well adjusted way, and I was reflecting that back to them. I never said parents were shitty. Context matters when you use the reply function.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

          Again, I was responding to the poster who got all up in pet-owner grills with the exact same structure.

          Except if you’re a childfree person /pet owner who doesn’t do that, then…you’re a person who doesn’t do that. Kind of like how if I say “people need to stop assuming on the internet”, it doesn’t address people who don’t assume on the internet. See how that works?

          Also, this:

          open the conversation to anything other than caretaking (THEIR caretaking)

          sounds pretty much a “if-would…then” statement, which implies consistency across the board. I mean, to take an example, “if you’d start being anything other than a generalising asshat, I’d stop being pissed off at you.” —> see how this sentences totally implies that you’re an asshat? All the time? Whereas Valoniel’s statement implied no such consistency either in quantity or action? Right!

          Context matters when you use the reply function.

          So does content. :D

        3. bleh
          bleh January 24, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

          So the original poster gets a free pass for this: “people without children need to stop fucking doing this” with no qualifiers whatsoever, as well as the assertion of pet ownership “just isn’t the same as working 24/7 to raise” – i.e. all about the poster’s caretaking. And you want to attack me for “if” statements that respond directly to the vitriol with the suggestion that pet owners might be a smidgeon defensive. OK. But please know that your approach is a tinsy bit unbalanced.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm |

          So the original poster gets a free pass for this: “people without children need to stop fucking doing this”

          Do you also get offended when people say something like “people should stop judging others for not having kids” or “people should stop slut-shaming girls who get raped” and come barging in to yell about how EVERYBODY doesn’t do that and how dare they?

          Seriously, if it’s not about you, it’s not about you. I know that’s a difficult concept to grab. But try.

          the assertion of pet ownership “just isn’t the same as working 24/7 to raise” – i.e. all about the poster’s caretaking

          Are you seriously going to argue that caring for a pet is exactly as much work as caring for a child?

          I mean…seriously?

          That’s the hill you want to die on?

          ’cause I’ve owned, at one single time, two dogs, their two puppies, two cows, a bull and two calves, and all of them put together didn’t take half as much work as, say, my cousin’s three-year-old. To say nothing of her infant, who needs MORE. If one of your pets takes as much work as a child (I know you have none, which just makes your assertion even more hilarious) you’re doing things so amazingly wrong that I’m a little worried for you.

          Also, re: the defensiveness of pet owners: why would you feel defensive if someone told you you didn’t know what it was like to be a parent? I mean, is that not a literal truth? (Or am I mixing you up with a childfree person? I thought you were childfree. If you aren’t , sorry I assumed.)

          Look, I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, or a bioparent, or black, or a squirrel, but I don’t go around getting offended when people tell me I don’t know what it’s like, or saying “I have male friends/a wife/black friends/a penchant for tree-climbing and mixed nuts and HDU assume I don’t know everything about this experience I’ve never had and how difficult it is.”

          Also, one comment on one post = can’t open to any conversation that isn’t about their caretaking? What do parents have to do to reach your “well-adjusted” status, lock their kids in the basement and hide the family pictures before you show up?

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

          So the original poster gets a free pass for this: “people without children need to stop fucking doing this” with no qualifiers whatsoever.

          What the?

          You have apparently completely lost the entire point of Jill’s takedown of Loccke’s article as well other the further takedown by myself and other commenters here of the same article. Nobody is giving Loccke a free pass on anything, where on earth you ever got that idea is absolutely mystifying.

          as well as the assertion of pet ownership “just isn’t the same as working 24/7 to raise” – i.e. all about the poster’s caretaking

          I agree with Mac, this part of your argument is utterly silly. Pet ownership is nothing like taking care of babies or even older kids. Somebody pointing out that dogs, cats, gerbils, goldfish, etc are not like kids is not about having a superiority complex. Really, if you want to learn the difference, I can loan you my geriatric pug for a few days and then my 3yo for a few days so you can learn the difference first hand.

          Light years of difference, I absolutely assure you.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

          Lola, I think bleh was referring to Valoniel as the original poster.

          I can loan you my geriatric pug for a few days and then my 3yo for a few days so you can learn the difference first hand.

          As someone who’s cared for a geriatric dog, holy shit that was so much less work than a 3yo. Or even a 9yo, who is generally well past the point of needing nose- and butt-wipings and can butter her own toast in the mornings.

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

          Lola, I think bleh was referring to Valoniel as the original poster.

          I realized I may have misunderstood who the OP to whom was Bleh was referring. Still, the ott HDU! overreaction was just silly. Thanks for clarifying though.

          Aside from needing to be let out once or twice a day and fed once a day all the aforementioned geriatric pug does is sleep all day. If my kids were so easy to be around, wow, what a game changer that would be.

          (Although I confess I had to let the pug go into retirement at my parents house last year. Because the kids wouldn’t ever leave her alone to sleep all day like she wanted to, and kept trying to eat her kibble and spill her water bowl everywhere, and wanted her to run when we went for walks instead of slowly amble along like she wanted to. Now she spends the day napping with my retired dad and gets way better kibble than we ever bought her.)

      3. Vir Modestus
        Vir Modestus January 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

        Of course, children and dogs are not the same. No dog owner I know has ever thought that a dog was the same as a child. A dog isn’t a human, does not think like a person, can’t communicate in anywhere near the same way, degree, or kind.

        None of which negates the fact that there are parallels that can be drawn in the need for caretaking, nor does it mean there aren’t lessons one can learn, one from the other. It isn’t an insult: it’s an attempt at empathy.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen January 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm |

          I get what you are saying, but I’d tend to say that it doesn’t *have to be* an insult, it *can be* an attempt at empathy. Because it can be that. But it can also just be an insult.

    2. Kara
      Kara January 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

      I don’t have any kids, but I do have a beloved 18 year old cat.

      And the only person I have ever pulled a kids = pets comparison with was with the person who was outraged that I am spending money (money that I should obviously donate to research for children’s diseases instead) to manage my cat’s chronic illness and make her twilight years happy and comfortable.

      “It’s just a cat! Put it down and go pick out a new one!”

      Rage.

      I told her that my cat is every bit as disposable and easily replaceable as her kid.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |

        Yeah, I can see using it in that scenario, sure! In fact, I applaud that! Your friendperson is an ASSHOLE. Pets are not disposable! That’s horrible and I’m so sorry you heard that.

        And tbh I hear you on the pets thing. I definitely adored my dogs more than I liked my best friends growing up. I mean…I don’t like kids/humans (in general) as much as I like dogs (in general). I don’t even think there’s anything wrong in saying you love your pets as much as parents you know love their kids. The only time the kids=pets gets insulting is when the pet owner doesn’t seem to know the difference in caretaking responsibility and the difference in relational dynamics between the two.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen January 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

          Yes, this.

      2. robotile
        robotile January 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

        My cat is just as loved as my kid (but thankfully way way way less work). I don’t think the two are so different. Yes, the cat doesn’t require the same investment of time, inspire as much heartache, and will never vote for president.
        But she conveys her love and is very very loved by us, and she is part of our family. If it was some “the cat or my kid” type of situation, the kid would win in a heartbeat obviously, but that’s a pretty stupid metric anyways.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L January 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

          I don’t think the two are so different.

          I agree in a number of ways. Just about every night when I get home from work and enter my apartment, my cat Ziggy stands up against me with his paws raised up as high as he can, asking to be picked up. And when I do that, and carry him around for as much as 15 or 20 minutes at a time, and he’s purring in my ear or rubbing noses, with his paws resting on my shoulder — and every time I start putting him down he hugs me tight and doesn’t let me — the love and happiness I feel don’t seem very different at all from how I used to feel when my son was young and I would carry him around in almost exactly the same way.

          Ziggy is a lot easier to feed, though. Also, he sleeps 16 hours a day (on me, when he can). And my son never did learn to use a litter box.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

          the love and happiness I feel don’t seem very different at all from how I used to feel when my son was young and I would carry him around in almost exactly the same way.

          Really? O.o I mean, I loved my dogs dearly, while I was growing up. To use robotile’s metric, I would have saved them ahead of literally everybody I knew except my parents. …and now my wife and her kid. But all the fuzz and love I felt – and feel even once they’re gone – for them just occupies a different place from how I feel about Stepkid. I mean, sure, there’s comparisons to be made in the happiness, etc, but it’s like comparing best friends and spouses to me. They’re both huge, towering, intensely intimate relationships, and the base rules for being a good best friend and a good spouse are actually pretty similar, but it’s just so…I dunno. Differently flavoured? that it feels outright weird to even compare them.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L January 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm |

          In general, I obviously don’t compare them. All I’m really saying is that doing that one particular thing feels very much like carrying around a toddler of approximately the same size, physically and otherwise. (Hey, I don’t get to carry around human babies anymore; I might as well enjoy what I have!)

        4. gratuitous_violet
          gratuitous_violet January 25, 2013 at 3:22 am |

          I’m not sure if this is going to thread right, but Donna, I am squeeing with delight that someone else named a cat Ziggy. One of my cats growing up was a strutting male with bright orangey fur, so of course he had to be Ziggy Stardust.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L January 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

          Ziggy is an orange tabby himself. Ziggy is a wonderful name, but I can’t take credit for it in his case: he already had that name when I adopted him when he was about six months old. The only change I made was to explain to people that Ziggy is short for Siegmund.

        6. Donna L
          Donna L January 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

          Perhaps needless to say, that’s him looking at you in my avatar.

        7. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm |

          Donna – I melted with delight reading your description of Ziggy.

          Mac – horses for courses, no pun intended. For me, loving children simply isn’t a possibility, but I don’t side-eye the idea of someone loving [insert species A] just as much as [insert species B] and it creeps me out a bit when someone questions that I could love my cats just as much as they love their kids.

      3. Valoniel
        Valoniel January 25, 2013 at 12:11 am |

        I call fair use on that one. I love it when people don’t get the pet bond, too. Twelve years down the road, and I still take a moment every year to remember my cat on the anniversary of his death.

    3. zuzu
      zuzu January 24, 2013 at 8:03 pm | *

      Making sure you don’t run out of kibble and getting up at 6 am to walk a dog in the winter just isn’t the same as working 24/7 to raise a while functional, productive and reasonably happy human being

      Parents don’t sleep?

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl January 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm |

        Parents don’t sleep?

        When kids are babies/little kids? Um, yeah, parents often don’t get a whole lot of sleep. Babies don’t sleep through the night much at first, and even once they start sleeping through they tend to wake up at the crack of dawn.

        Says the parent who’s 1yo is still not sleeping through the night and whose (almost) 3yo wakes up at 5 am. I get the baby middle of the night wake ups and the spouse fields the crack of dawn toddler wake ups.

        Is someone going to crack wise about the 30% less fun had by parents yet? Because I’m too sleep deprived to have much of a sense of humor about it these days.

        1. shfree
          shfree January 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

          I don’t think I got a solid night’s sleep for at least four years.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L January 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm |

          30% less fun

          No, no, everyone keeps forgetting: it’s 30% as much fun, so it’s 70% less fun. That’s a big difference!

          I remember one day when my son was quite tiny, weeping his heart out about something, and I asked myself how many years it would be before he passed the first 24-hour period in his life in which he didn’t shed a single tear. It was quite a few, as things turned out. (I won’t embarrass him by mentioning just how many.)

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |

          Eh, Donna, if your boy was secure enough to cry when he wanted to, he probably grew up feeling less like a plugged-up garden hose than most men I know. Which is a good, good, good thing.

        4. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah January 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

          That’s a great measurement…24 hours of no tears…it seems so very, very far away. 24 hours of no tantrums would be great, too (and I’m including my own)! When will that happen? I feel like 70% less fun is pretty apt lately!

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 12:23 am |

          Okay, kids cut down on your sleep, but if you were awake 24/7 you would literally die. Hyperbole’s fun and all, but maaaybe some parents would be taken more seriously if they engaged in less of it.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 12:26 am |

          Okay, kids cut down on your sleep, but if you were awake 24/7 you would literally die.

          Uh, being “on call” is a thing. No, really, it’s a thing. I swear. You don’t become an unparent and have the kid magically miniaturise and leap back into your uterus like some bizarre offspring of a chestburster and a kangaroo whenever you need a nap.

        7. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 11:54 am |

          So working parents who are actually “on call” for their jobs must work 48/7 then. And negative sleep. :p

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

          So working parents who are actually “on call” for their jobs must work 48/7 then. And negative sleep. :p

          …she says, in the perfect combination of blinkered nonchalance and snide cluelessness.

          And love that working parents are the ones ACTUALLY on call. Because, you know, parents are just like… leisure lovers, right? And kids always sleep 12 hours a night and never get sick and we never ever have to put any part of our lives on hold to deal with their stuff, ever. Well fucking done. A full 5/5.

        9. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          Yes Mac, talking about on call-jobs is SECRETLY ABOUT YOU.

        10. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

          Hyperbole’s fun and all, but maaaybe some parents would be taken more seriously if they engaged in less of it.

          OK?

          So working parents who are actually “on call” for their jobs must work 48/7 then. And negative sleep. :p

          Apparently your definition of hyperbole and why one should not engage in it does not, in fact, extend to yourself?

          And nobody, other than you, made this a SAHP v. WOHP discussion. Probably with the intention to steer this discussion completely off track by picking fights that weren’t being had in the first place.

        11. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl January 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

          No, no, everyone keeps forgetting: it’s 30% as much fun, so it’s 70% less fun. That’s a big difference!

          Mea culpa, Donna! Can I blame it on sleep deprivation?

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm |

          And nobody, other than you, made this a SAHP v. WOHP discussion. Probably with the intention to steer this discussion completely off track by picking fights that weren’t being had in the first place.

          No shit.

        13. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

          Parents who are stuff like doctors and nurses are often “on call” for their job … not sure how that becomes a fight between SAHP and WOHP. Is saying “on call” a judgment statement somehow? :p

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

          Saying “actually on call” is, you fucking disingenuous twit, in that it implies the other group isn’t actually on call.

          Seriously, do I have to educate you in Decency AND English? I thought you Murkans had some notion of the latter. But never fear, brown (step)mothers are here!

        15. zuzu
          zuzu January 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm | *

          When kids are babies/little kids? Um, yeah, parents often don’t get a whole lot of sleep. Babies don’t sleep through the night much at first, and even once they start sleeping through they tend to wake up at the crack of dawn.

          Wow! The things you learn here.

    4. Miriam
      Miriam January 25, 2013 at 1:55 am |

      I think there’s a lot of comparison between the early years of kids and pets, personally. One of my friends got a cat around the same time I had my child. Other than her having a lot more sleep in the early months than I did, the similarities were eerie. Now sure my child will eventually leave her cat behind in terms of competencies (really, my child already is now that my child is talking), but that’s why I think a lot of baby crazy people would be better off having pets.

      1. CanadaGoose
        CanadaGoose January 25, 2013 at 2:35 am |

        I’m quite sure my dog/cat will never take my car without permission. I will never get a call at 3 a.m. telling me my dog is drunk and I have to go pick him up. And I’ll not have to pay college tuition because dogs don’t get into the expensive schools.
        I am a mother. I’ve also had two abortions. I’d like to have grandkids but my daughter decided not to have children and that’s that.
        Yes, having children changes you. So does travel. So does caring for a dying parent. So does learning a foreign language. We change every day.
        Both these women are toxic and to be avoided. And Doris? Call me. I don’t even know you and I’ll treat you better than this “friend.”

        1. Miriam
          Miriam January 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

          I’m not sure if your response was intended as a response to me or to the earlier post. The nesting suggests it’s a response to me, but the content is less clear. I specified that the child/pet comparison is only valid for the early years. A toddler is not going to take your car without permission either and you don’t pay tuition for a baby (well… daycare in some areas may be comparable!)

          When I read articles about or have had friends talk about their clock ticking, it’s always being baby crazy. They look at the strollers and the Ergo and baby clothes and want baby things. But most of your time as a parent is spent with a child, not a baby, so if what you really want is a baby, I think you’re better off getting a pet of some form.

      2. (BFing)Sarah
        (BFing)Sarah January 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

        I don’t think so at all. When I got a kitten, she used to leap on the counters and push everything off onto the floor. She used to poop in the corner and jump into the shower with me. When I had a baby, he used to vomit everywhere and required constant visits to the doctor to ensure that he was growing despite spitting up tons of milk like once an hour. My kitten used to claw the furniture. My baby made me leak through my shirts. The kitten could be shut into the bathroom when she was driving me nuts. The baby…could be nursed, which still required me. The kitten gave me hives. So far, I have not developed an allergy to my children. So, in some ways they are crappier, in other ways they are easier. I feel like the only similarity is that they both are difficult to deal with sometimes. I don’t think they require comparable levels of care in the slightest. Also, I could always give my kitten away to another home without too much difficulty if I decided I could no longer deal with kitten (I know lots of people who have done this and had very good reasons for it). I know only a few people who have done this with kids and it was traumatic beyond anything I can ever imagine and it also was due to very severe circumstances. I also knows tons of people that love children but don’t like pets. I just don’t think pets are a good substitute because I honestly think the negatives of pets are different than the negatives of children.

    5. Alexandra
      Alexandra January 25, 2013 at 2:54 am |

      I was agreeing with your comment right up to here: no matter how much you love your little Woogums. It seems a cheap shot, somehow. Pet owners without children are not trying to insult you, they’re trying to relate to you – because the closest approximation they have in their lives to your children are the dependent animals (bred over thousands of years for neotenized, childlike traits) which they love, shelter, and care for. So why insult them in return?

      I’m not a big fan of “pet parent” lingo or other ways of talking about our pets that refers to them as substitute children rather than as companion animals, for a variety of reasons, but caring for a pet can be an excellent primer in what it means to be totally responsible for another living being. I think it is all to the good if people learn, before they have little children, that patience and kindness is a better way to teach than anger and shouting; that it is better to teach a good behavior than constantly correct bad behavior; that the needs of one’s dependents do not disappear just because one wants to go out for drinks or take a three day weekend; that “disposable income” disappears when your dependent needs medical care; etc etc etc.

      OF COURSE people without children do not understand what it is to have children; and in general I avoid drawing comparisons between pet ownership and being a parent to children when in conversation with parents, because I know this is a sore spot for many. But frankly I don’t know what better prep I could have for parenting than my dog – babysitting is nice, of course, but at the end of the day it’s not my baby, not my child.

      The comparison only goes so far, of course. I like to joke, sometimes, that my dog is like a perpetual toddler, except of course you can’t stick a toddler in a crate for 8 hours a day when you go to work.

      1. robotile
        robotile January 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

        Why do people always say that non-parents have NO IDEA what it is like to be a parent? I mean, we were all children at some point and many of us had decent parents. And we have empathy, and imagination, and that means we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes (i.e. parents shoes) and get a fair sense of what it’s like. Sure, not exactly what it’s like, but close enough that this whole “you have no idea what it’s like” bullshit should just be put to rest.

        1. EG
          EG January 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

          And we have empathy, and imagination

          In my experience, far too few people, parents or not, have empathy and imagination.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

          Why do people always say that non-parents have NO IDEA what it is like to be a parent?

          I’ve seen black people. I know what it’s like to be black! And the other day I went into the hull of a ship and it was JUST LIKE THE MIDDLE PASSAGE, Y’ALL.

        3. EG
          EG January 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

          But I suspect parents say that because before they were parents, they were non-parents who had not spent too much time as primary caretakers, and their idea of what parenting was, even with empathy and imagination, did not approach the reality.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

          Other things I had around me: male people, and I’m not trans. Straight people, and I’m not straight. White people, and I’m not fucking white.

          Seriously. Seeing others is not lived experience. If you’ve fostered, or basically raised a sibling in the absence of meaningful parental figures, etc, I can see a basis, but while a pet makes good training for some parental qualities (responsibility, punctuality, caring, making time for time together, protecting from threats) it’s hardly the same thing as an actual child.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm |

          Yes, Mac. Having a black friend and thinking you’re practically black is exactly like having been immersed in a culture of child-raising, knowing parents, and having been a child and therefore having a small clue about parenting. Your comparison is spot-on, and not at all demeaning to people trying to have a discussion by implying they’re racist. Because everyone know the substitute-a-word game is a toootally legit way of making a point.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

          Your comparison is spot-on, and not at all demeaning to people trying to have a discussion by implying they’re racist.

          o_O I’m not implying they’re racist. I said fuck-all about racism. Analogies, they are things.

          having been immersed in a culture of child-raising, knowing parents, and having been a child and therefore having a small clue about parenting

          If you quote all that to say that people udnerstand parenting, or have some idea how to parent, etc, I would totally agree with you. They, however, have no idea what it is like to BE a parent. That requires a child.

          I mean, I grew up immersed in an extremely male-dominant culture, with male parent/parent figures, knowing men. I understand masculinity to a large extent, I can grasp the spirit of it to a limited extent. That doesn’t mean I understand what being a man is like.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm |

          But I suspect parents say that because before they were parents, they were non-parents who had not spent too much time as primary caretakers, and their idea of what parenting was, even with empathy and imagination, did not approach the reality.

          THIS. THIS THIS THIS.

          The vast majority of parents (bio, step, adoptive, foster, you name it) will agree.

        8. Miriam
          Miriam January 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

          It really is because we were non-parents before we were parents and we now know we had no clue. Knowing parents, being a child, general empathy… these things just aren’t enough to understand what it’s like to be something on a day-to-day basis. I apologize for only being able to think of a macabre analogy, but I think it’s on par with saying that we can understand what it’s like to survive the death of a parent because we’ve had a pet die, or we comforted our best friend when hir parent died, and we have parents and empathy. Certain things are emotional and experiential.

          However, just as grief and love have general trends but are always in the end exquisitely personal experiences, so, too, is parenting. My being a parent is not the same as Kovac’s experience or Loccke’s or my other friend’s nor their’s the same as mine.

      2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm |

        Not to mention that the pet is never going to be independent and move out, and can never speak for themselves and their needs. The level of work is nothing like that with a human child but it is a lifelong commitment and includes caring for the pet through old age and death.

    6. A4
      A4 January 25, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

      I have a quaker parrot, and as pet bonds go, parrots are pretty high up there. This is a bird my parents got me when i was ten, and he could like to be forty or fifty, so it’s a lifelong commitment. Parrots will bond with one person very strongly, so he’s pretty darn attached to me and the way I think about it, nobody else in the world will ever take care of him and love him like I do.

      That being said, I have two sisters with children, one with a 2 year old and the other with a 7 month old.

      They are in no way shape or form comparable at all except sometimes my sister with the 7 month old and I will be like “Isn’t it funny how we both have beings dependent on us for survival and yet there is absolutely nothing at all similar about our relative experiences of said situation”.

      When my bird screams, I get to put a sheet over his cage and then he stops.

      When baby Nathaniel decides to not really sleep anymore, my sister doesn’t get to sleep for 3 days.

      1. robotile
        robotile January 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

        Okay, there doesn’t seem to be a way to respond specifically to all these comments in the rigt place in the thread.

        For the record, I am a parent, and that’s why I called bullshit on the idea that you can have NO idea what it’s like to be a parent before you are one. When you love people, you put yourselves in their shoes as much as possible, and that means you can make analogies and bridges between their experiences and yours.Which is what children wind up doing eventually, as they grow.

        Sure your idea is not a perfect facsimile of the reality, but it’s pretty damn close if you’re living with and loving people who are parents.

        And come on: sure, a non-parent may not perfectly understand what it’s like to be a parent , but neither do I understand what it’s like to parent a 7-year-old. But when my friend with a 7 year old talks about her goals and worries, she doesn’t tell me that I have no idea what it’s like.

    7. SweetJess
      SweetJess January 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm |

      Reading this slew of comments was interesting – it sounds like I’m in the exact opposite position as a lot of you. I’m in the midst of raising a puppy, and sometimes it seems like all I ever hear from other people is how much my personal experience is like having a baby. Which means that every time she wakes me up in the middle of the night crying and whining, or puts something in her mouth that she shouldn’t, or starts misbehaving because she’s too tired and won’t nap, or gets me so frustrated I’m in tears, I get a liiiiiiiittle bit worried about my desire for children :P and puppyhood only lasts for about a year! I think it must at least be closer to reality than those egg babies they used to give kids so they could learn about parenting :P Of course, I’m also a super neurotic pet owner, so I’m sure that’s a factor.

  17. EG
    EG January 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm |

    Joining the chorus of people pointing out to these self-centered assholes that nobody elected them King of the Moms. My mother has no problem with women having abortions. At all.

    Also, I think I know what Doris’s problem is. She has a shitty friend. Drop her, Doris, and find someone new! If Doris wasn’t already so self-sacrificing, she wouldn’t be putting up with this shit.

    1. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date January 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

      My mother has no problem with women having abortions. At all.

      Neither does my mother. Neither does my mother’s grandchildren’s mother.

  18. Diane
    Diane January 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm |

    I am the mother of 3 adult children. I remember before abortion was legal.
    I support the right of any woman to have an abortion. I do not judge what and why another women would do what she needs to do.
    I also have had a child who died. I did go through a period of anger at the injustice of me, who wanted the child vs women who had abortion.
    But never would I question the fact that abortions NEEDS to be legal and safe.

    Who are we to question what others do? We are in the end, responsible for ourselves.

  19. KB
    KB January 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

    Excellent analysis, Jill.

    I always find it funny that folks use the “You’re being selfish!” bit as a valid argument for having children. As if they think I care one whit. If I wanted to sacrifice and care for people as a living, I’d be a nurse, hospice worker, NPO volunteer, or be a part of some other equally valuable work which seeks to somehow, even minutely, better the world in which we live. Not sacrificing it all caring for my personal vanity project/child.

    As others have pointed out, these women are damningly condescending from their high horses. These women don’t treat their friends in question as equals. And I’m glad to see that many of the NYTimes comments have pointed out just as much.

    I like how Kovac points out that:

    Or worse—what if she finally feels ready at age 46 and it’s too late? What if it’s already too late?

    I like how she acts as though the worst thing in the world is “being too late” to have kids of one’s own. I mean, if the woman truly want her own children, I’m sure a surrogate could be employed. Hell, adoption? Gay/lesbian couples show that there are options even if biology is stacked against a couple. Point is that there are always choices even after a lady has supposedly missed the train on the biological clock. I think it’s a lot harder to up and decide to not be a mother anymore than to wait on being one.

    I’m still on the fence about kids myself, but am super excited for the friends who are planning and do want children. I can’t wait to spoil them rotten. :D

    1. Cactus Wren
      Cactus Wren January 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm |

      I like how she acts as though the worst thing in the world is “being too late” to have kids of one’s own.

      I never had kids, am now past childbearing age, and am satisfied with my decision. But even if I were dissatisfied — I’d far rather not have a child and wish I had, than have a child and wish I had not.

      1. OutrageandSprinkles
        OutrageandSprinkles January 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |

        YES, agree agree agree.

  20. dc
    dc January 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |

    its really f-ing hard to b a parent.
    but it should be a choice.
    [unless it actually wasn't]
    I’m not one.
    by choice.thank g*d……..
    there, sorted.
    so:
    MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
    damn……

  21. dc
    dc January 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  22. Pseudonym
    Pseudonym January 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

    I want to have this blog post’s children.

  23. Athenia
    Athenia January 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm |

    It really upsets me that this lady can’t sympathize with a mother looking at the prospect of being unable to care for a baby both financially and emotionally. And feels she can’t tell her husband about it. Like, WTF.

    It sounds like this lady only has one kid and apparently there’s a divide between Moms Who Have One Kid and Moms Who Have Several.

    By this lady’s logic, she’ll change her stance towards abortion AGAIN after she has another kid. *rolls eyes*

    1. Kierra
      Kierra January 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |

      It sounds like this lady only has one kid and apparently there’s a divide between Moms Who Have One Kid and Moms Who Have Several.

      Loccke has three kids, though it’s not clear from the article how many she had when these abortions took place. So she’s either complaining about infertility while already having lots of kids or she’s nursed these feelings about her friends’ past abortions through 1-2 pregnancies of her own. I’m not sure which scenario is more upsetting.

  24. karak
    karak January 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

    I’m not sure I’m going to say this right, but:

    Most people I know who had kids young–that is, below the age of about 26–assume that having kids is what happens. Similar to aging, it is simply the next life-step. You don’t have to put your affairs in order to age, you just age. You don’t need to “be ready” for a baby, you just have one. That’s life.

    Most people who have children older– 30+– view children as a choice they consciously engaged in. My friend’s mother (who had her kids in her mid-30s) told me, “I wanted children. I knew they would be a very expensive hobby.” (I love this description of child-rearing, btw).

    When you start to look at kids as a choice instead of an inevitability, you consider the downsides a lot more. I’m kind of looking forward to getting old because I think I will look bitching with grey hair, and I want to see what I look like, and I want to be a wise old granny, but if aging was a choice, suddenly I’d be a lot more worried about fragile bones and arthritis, and I might delay aging till I’m really ready to tackle those issues.

    So, this is where the “selfish” part comes in. When I talk about having kids, since it’s a choice, I weigh pro/cons. If the person listening to me doesn’t really think it’s a choice, it’s an inevitability, then I come off like a completely delusional, selfish person. (I’m not ready to be old yet, I just really can’t handle people calling me ma’am).

    So, in essence, most people that call women selfish for exercising a choice not to have children are people who, at some level, being it is both a woman’s destiny and responsibility to bear children, and are therefore incredibly suspect in my mind.

  25. anna
    anna January 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    In a way, telling yourself that you’re not ready to become a parent is like saying, “I’m not ready to broaden my horizons.” Or, “I’m not ready to be humbled on a daily basis.” Or, “I’m not ready to feel my heart swell up with admiration and pride.”

    Or, “I’m not ready to do a shitload of extra housework and childcare, most likely with little help from my husband. I’m not ready to have my every parenting choice scrutinized and to be expected to put the needs of The Precious Baybee above my own forever. I’m not ready or able to spend a ton of money and most likely severely curtail my career. I’m not ready to change endless poopy diapers and clean up puke and snot. I may never be ready. I may – gasp!shock! – choose a life I actually prefer instead.”

    Seriously, if you think having a baby is worth the sacrifice, then fine. But don’t pretend there’s no sacrifice, especially for mothers in our sexist society with suffocating expectations and little government help, and Dad considered a hero if he plays catch occasionally.

  26. Stephanie
    Stephanie January 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

    What a lack of empathy from those writers. I have three kids. I can’t imagine being upset with a friend for choosing an abortion. Expecting others to make life decisions as I would choose seems ridiculous.

    Motherhood isn’t the only thing in my life, even though it takes up most of it. If I had never become a mother, I’m certain my life would still be full, just in other ways. Becoming a mother means changing your life, but it shouldn’t be all absorbing.

  27. Bloix
    Bloix January 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

    As the parent of two adults, I recall that I felt, when my children were small, that my choices were the best choices and other people should do what I did. I think having small, dependent children creates an emotional condition in parents that makes us feel powerful and good (because our children are so completely dependent on us) and also makes us extremely defensive about our choice to have children (because being a parent is so incredibly demanding and disruptive). We seem to think that the rest of the world needs to revolve around us, because obviously there’s nothing more important in the world than our children and our relationship with them.

    In my experience, once the kids are packed off to college or wherever, those feelings change and parents return to be being more or less normal human beings.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L January 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

      I so wish that people would stop universalizing their own experiences under the cover of a mythical “we,” and would start using “I” exclusively in such contexts. Because I don’t find what you’re saying to be any more true in general than what those two awful pieces discussed in Jill’s post were saying.

      I was the parent of a small child once, and don’t recall feeling the emotions you describe (beyond the insecurity that I know many first-time parents feel, especially when the baby is very young), or claiming to anyone that they should make the same choices my ex and I did because ours were better.

      1. chava
        chava January 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm |

        Yeah, no. I’ve heard variants on the “it’s so much better when they’re totally helpless and need you so MUCH, isn’t it?” from various women (pretty much always women). It really squicks me out, and is not something I can much empathize with, honestly.

        So while some parents might feel how you describe…not all of us do.

        1. cherrybomb
          cherrybomb January 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

          “it’s so much better when they’re totally helpless and need you so MUCH, isn’t it?”

          I never understood that one, either. I have often said “I love it when they’re tiny and all they do is sleep ad nurse… And they haven’t learned to say ‘no’ and ‘I hate you!’ yet,” which usually gets a chuckle from people who know me and horrified looks from those who don’t. :P

    2. Andie
      Andie January 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

      I think having small, dependent children creates an emotional condition in parents that makes us feel powerful and good

      Yeah, this is definitely not universal. Becoming a parent didn’t make me feel powerful and good. Many days it brings home just how powerless and oftentimes absolutely fucking clueless I am and how I’m just kind of making this shit up as I go, and hoping for the best and that my kids don’t hate me too much when they become adults.

      So, seconding Donna L’s request to please not universalize. Really glad parenting makes you feel all powerful, but that’s not everyone’s experience.

  28. AK
    AK January 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

    Wow, I needed an article like this today! My partner and I have been discussing having children lately–like not now, in a few years at the earliest and maybe even later. I also recently made a rather large commitment to a volunteer first responder organization, which I could technically do while having kids (although not while pregnant), but it would be very difficult. One of our good friends has been criticizing us (well, me, but my partner is totally supportive and in fact told me that he doesn’t want to have kids until I’ve had a chance to do this for at least a few years) for being selfish and irresponsible for putting off having kids because of that. I can do it after my kids are grown, she says, and I just don’t understand the joys of being a mother! Who cares that I’d have to indefinitely postpone something I’ve always wanted to do. She even had the gall to suggest that the abortion I had 10+ years ago–which she knows about as we have volunteered together for pro-choice causes in the past, and I shared my story as part of that–has scared me off of motherhood.

    I was absolutely floored by her judgmental attitude and presumption on this topic, especially because she usually is so liberal and compassionate. I think it has more to do with her own regrets than with my life (she pretty much said as much one night when she’d had a bit too much to drink and I lost my temper with her moralizing about my life), so I try to be compassionate…but it’s nice to read an article like this to reassure me that I’m not unreasonable to be offended. ;)

    1. Britt
      Britt January 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

      Ick, I don’t think I could tolerate a friend like that. Although I guess it is sad that once she’s drunk she admits it’s really all about her own doubts and issues.

      I suspect that Janine Kovac admits similar doubts and issues when she’s drunk.

      1. AK
        AK January 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

        I was seriously getting ready to drop her as a friend until that admission. It wasn’t a manipulative one either, she legitimately broke down. Now I’m willing to tolerate it a bit longer, at least to give us a chance to work through it as she’s been a great friend to me otherwise. And she wasn’t writing about me in the NYT. I think if a supposed friend published an article like that about me, there’d be no fixing that relationship.

        It’s been my experience that most people who feel the need to heap judgment on the personal decisions of others (those that don’t harm anyone, anyway–obviously condemning someone for beating his wife or staging an intervention for an addict are a bit different) are quite unhappy. Loccke also seems to admit as much by linking her own struggles with infertility to her friend’s decision to have an abortion. Those are natural feelings, but I think her essay would be much more compelling if she’d explored that more rather than judging her friends.

  29. (BFing)Sarah
    (BFing)Sarah January 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm |

    I seriously can’t believe that Loccke is treating her “friend” like this! Worst friend ever. I think I (wrongfully) thought that once I was married and already had kids the need for abortion would somehow disappear. I have no idea why I thought that, maybe it was being raised Catholic? But, yeah, when my daughter was under a year I had a pregnancy scare and, as I was peeing on the stick, I was thinking: it doesn’t matter–if I am pregnant, it goes no farther than the nearest clinic. I absolutely, positively was not having a baby at that point. No fucking way. I loved my daughter so much and I already felt like she was getting the short shift b/c of her demanding older brother. I simply could not emotionally handle a newborn in nine months and still continue to do a good job with the baby I had (and the toddler I had). And it was already being a parent and having been through pregnancy and childbirth two times that solidified that for me. I know what it takes and I just didn’t have it at that point. I was pretty happy when the test was negative.

    Its also kind of hard to feel bad for Loccke having difficulty conceiving when she already has three kids….this really confuses me, by the way, when did the infertility occur? I also fail to see how her friend “bearing the cross” for the next 18 + years will make that infertility any better for her. I mean, if she sees her friend have a child she doesn’t really want maybe that will make her feel better because….why? It doesn’t make sense.

  30. chava
    chava January 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

    I read the NYT column earlier this week….ugh. While I was catapulted to rageasauraus levels of pro-choiceitude during pregnancy, I have met my fair share of women who LOVED to tell me how it would all be different once I had a child, and how the mythical experience of uterus-occupation would Change!My!Mind!

    When I tell them it didn’t, aside from making me MORE pro-choice, the baby-killer horrible mommy stares start coming fast and furious.

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah January 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm |

      Yes! Totally! Being pregnant and having a baby was not the magical mind changing experience that everyone expected it to be. What really shocked me is that people thought that because I fought so hard to stay pregnant during a painful, complications-plagued pregnancy, I would not understand people wanting to end a pregnancy anymore. Um, no. The opposite, actually. I would never force someone else to go though such a hellish experience. That makes zero sense.

      1. AK
        AK January 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

        One of my best friends had an unexpected pregnancy that she decided to keep, and that was very difficult for her financially and physically (no insurance when she got pregnant, major complications that had her hospitalized for about 2 months total during the pregnancy and when the baby was born, had the baby in NICU for two weeks). She went from leaning pro-life to becoming strongly pro-choice because, in her words, “it would have been torture if I didn’t want that baby.” She made it clear she wasn’t using hyperbole with the word “torture,” too.

        Frankly, I think that even if every mother in the world became anti-choice, it still shouldn’t matter. We like to at least pretend that we make laws on a rational basis, not an emotional one, and I don’t see how having a child could change your mind on anything but an emotional basis. In fact, case studies have consistently proven that making abortion illegal doesn’t decrease the incidence of it and actually causes substantial harm that legal abortion can’t even approach if you bought into all the anti-choice propaganda! So why should having a child and loving it give a person any authority to restrict others’ choices?

        1. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah January 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm |

          I agree that even if every mother was anti-choice, we should still have abortion, because mothers’ opinions aren’t the only ones that count. But, I disagree that changing your opinion based on becoming a parent is just based on “emotion” and not “rationality.” I think it can be emotion that makes you want to have a baby when you were not planning it, especially if its your first. But, once you have been there, you have some more of the facts. You know what it takes out of you. You know the costs. Its not just emotion that makes me say that I know that we don’t have what it takes, financially, to raise another child right now. It is a fact. When I thought I was pregnant again less than a year after I had my second it was a fact that we did not have the space to put another child. It was more rationality than emotion that led me down the “I cannot do this right now” path. My emotions say, “I love babies,” but I KNEW from my experience that I could not take care of two young babies and a toddler at once without all of us having to sacrifice. My lived experiences and my knowledge of how much a baby costs are not just emotions.

  31. Rachel Barnes
    Rachel Barnes January 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm |

    I’m 30 and because I have a mental illness and autoimmune condition, my husband and I have decided not to have children. These articles are things I have heard since I got married and things my husband has heard as well. We ran screaming from the people who dared to judge us and tell us what they thought would be good for us. I can’t stand when someone thinks they know what is good for your life which is why I am so pro-choice as is my husband! I think both of these women writing these things could do with a dose of empathy and a little less selfishness.

  32. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers January 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm |

    In my opinion, having children is the worst decision ever unless it’s the only possible decision you can make. Kind of like how it’s a terrible idea to run off with someone you just met on the Internet unless you can’t live with yourself if you don’t. Or it’s an awful idea to quit your high paying job and enter a low-paying, low-respect caretaking career, unless that’s the thing you most want to do with your life.

    You should not have kids unless you feel like your life would be incomplete if you did not have kids. If you are asking the question “Am I ready for kids?”, the answer is no. No one is ever ready for kids; you have them because you feel like your life is empty if you don’t, not because you’re *ready*.

    And women who have abortions when they are already mothers are fucking saints. It’s very, very easy, emotionally, to fall into the trap of “my baby, my baby” and feel like you *have* to have that particular baby; protecting your existing children by being willing to abort the one you haven’t had yet takes courage. I know that if I got pregnant I would have to do it, and I don’t know if I have it in me to do it, but it would be the right thing to do for the sake of all the kids I already have.

    I think I speak for All Feminist Mothers On The Internet when I say: these assholes are the Worst Friends Ever, they’re crappy judgemental people, and I strongly suspect they’re not really very good mothers, either.

  33. Annie
    Annie January 25, 2013 at 9:13 am |

    Unless you are giving a home to already existing and otherwise unwanted children, the choice to have children seems to me the ultimate in selfishness. I cannot fathom how choosing to reproduce yourself for the sake of your own personal goals ended up being considered unselfish. And even if someone is adopting, unless they are taking on a hard to adopt older kid, if they think that they might be doing it for unselfish reasons they should ask themselves how many kids in other countries they might help by devoting their time and resources to overseas development instead.

    I tell my friends who have more than one or two kids that they are lucky to have people like me around to offset their resource use so that they don’t have to feel guilty. (smiley emoticon needed here).

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl January 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm |

      Unless you are giving a home to already existing and otherwise unwanted children, the choice to have children seems to me the ultimate in selfishness.

      You really need to do some hard research on the adoption industry (both domestic and foreign) and how it often engages in shady and illegal tactics that harm people and cultures in some horrible ways. Seriously, what a short sighted and uninformed comment to make.

    2. EG
      EG January 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

      How very nice that you feel so good judging other women’s childbearing choices. There’s really not enough of that. And goodness knows there are no groups who might have an interest in preserving their biology because there’ve been attempts to wipe that biology out.

      I also like the idea that having biological children is “reproducing yourself.” It’s funny, I’m pretty sure that I’m not a carbon copy of my mother.

    3. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah January 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

      Its a jerk move to tell a woman via the NYT that she should feel guilty for having or for wanting to have an abortion. Its also a jerk move to tell a woman that she should feel guilty for not having an abortion because having a child is selfish and she should really just be caring for “unwanted” children. (Seriously, “unwanted” is the word you wanted to use there?)

      Telling other women when and whether to reproduce is a jerk move. Period.

  34. Arctic Ape
    Arctic Ape January 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

    “Oh, Doris, Doris”

    Holy shit. This is straight out from the lyrics of an old Finnish pop song. If I remember correctly, the male singer bemoans that Doris wouldn’t settle down with him, being a free-spirited “woman of many parts” and all that.

    Must be the same woman.

  35. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

    You know what I find fucking hilarious? The people on this thread who simultaneously can’t possibly imagine ever wanting a child and totally know exactly what parenting is like and HDU say different. Like…just wow. Slow applause.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen January 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

      Yeah, I’m just going o_O all over the place, and I’m not even a parent myself. Empathy and imagination can maybe give people a clue, but I can’t see that they would be anywhere near the same as actually being there as a parent, doing things as a parent. I’m all for empathy and imagination, but some perspective to go along with them might also be nice….

      Oh Feministe. Never stop bringing the slow trainwrecks.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm |

        Yeah, no shit. I mean, here’s the thing; I’m not black, but I can, say, extrapolate from certain aspects of internalised colonialism that Indians have faced to look at internalised racism in African-American women. And I would, in fact, make statements like “Well, based on my experience, I think I have a decent idea what you’re going through.”

        But that’s so, so fucking different from “I totally know what it’s like to be a Black woman in America, because I have black friends and India was colonised, so there!” that it’s practically not inhabiting the same planet.

    2. Esti
      Esti January 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm |

      Not a single person on this thread has said they know exactly what parenting is like despite not being a parent. A few people have made the pretty reasonable point that even if they *can’t* know EXACTLY what it is like, most people were raised by parents and interact with parents and have had other caretaking experiences that give them *some* idea of what parenting is like.

      I know this is a sensitive topic for people on both sides and that parents deal with a lot of assholes, but seriously, the hyperbole in this discussion has primarily come from you.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 5:15 pm |

        most people were raised by parents and interact with parents and have had other caretaking experiences that give them *some* idea of what parenting is like.

        Well, here’s someone who agrees with you:

        If you quote all that to say that people udnerstand parenting, or have some idea how to parent, etc, I would totally agree with you. They, however, have no idea what it is like to BE a parent. That requires a child.

        Oh, and!

        Seriously. Seeing others is not lived experience. If you’ve fostered, or basically raised a sibling in the absence of meaningful parental figures, etc, I can see a basis

        Guess what? Those are me! Yes, me! ^__^

        But please, tell me more! Tell me all about how I’m the real bad here! Clearly I’m a stupid breeder who needs to be taught.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

        this is a sensitive topic for people on both sides

        Also, fuck right off wtih “both sides are equally bad” rhetoric in this. Someone says they understand exactly how I am while having no parenting experience is no more offensive than my pointing out that lived experience is the only thing that gets you, I dunno, lived experience? I think not.

      3. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan January 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm |

        Clearly I’m a stupid breeder who needs to be taught.

        Yeah, Esti called it on the hyperbole.

    3. EG
      EG January 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm |

      Yep, the people who have no interest whatsoever in parenting and have never done it but know exactly how it should be done and what it requires are always winners.

  36. olympia
    olympia January 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |

    A woman once told me that her views against abortion softened only after she herself had a baby; while her pregnancy and birth presented no out of the ordinary (and she had a healthy baby whom she was absolutely thrilled by), she said she still “could see how you wouldn’t want to go through all this under different circumstances.” It’s interesting to me how becoming a mother opened up her perspective, while for some other women the experience seems to do the opposite. I wonder why that is?

  37. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help January 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

    I suppose they really despise those of us who don’t like children or babies and never wanted to breed at all. Thanks, I’ll take my “unbroadened horizons” that have, I dunno, let me see countries around the world and make friends across oceans. If I’d been stuck raising children on my income, none of that would have happened.

  38. Helen
    Helen January 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

    Also, if children are so great and there’s no need to be ready, why is your husband still trying to “talk you into” having more? Just have them! Quit over-thinking it you selfish broad! Or is being told how and when to reproduce way less fun when you’re on the receiving end of it?

    Zzzzzingggggg!!

  39. Guls
    Guls January 29, 2013 at 8:51 am |

    What struck me in both Loccke’s and Kovac’s accounts were the relationships of the three abortees to their partners. Loccke’s first friend ‘would never tell her husband’ about the abortion, whilst Kovac’s husband ‘had to talk her into having kids’. Leads me to wonder what kinda shape those marriages are in. As a guy, and one without kids as it happens, I totally respect that the decision to have kids or not is, finally, women’s: I also find it heartening that Loccke’s second friend felt able to discuss her choice to abort and that he supported her by attending the appointment (and I’m making the assumption that her account – the friend’s – was an honest one and that she wasn’t in fact, pressured by her husband to abort). I wouldn’t claim any right to influence my girlfriend’s reproductive choices – and in our case kids are an unlikelyhood, given her age and the fact she had hers many years ago already – but I would LIKE to be able to be involved and to have the choice to offer my support, should we find ourselves in that situation.

    And isn’t there something kinda backstabbing and cowardly about Loccke’s and Kovac’s decisions to go ahead and discuss these matters in the media rather than talk honestly to their friends? What does that say about THOSE relationships?

  40. SamLL
    SamLL February 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

    Ms. Kovac just published a full sincere apology for her earlier post.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl February 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm |

      Wow, I give Kovac a lot of credit for posting this apology. It sounds like she really gets where she went so wrong with her initial “Doris” article. I can definitely identify with some of the things she discussed in her apology article about motherhood, I hope she fully realizes now just how toxic her us v. them mentality actually is.

  41. Victoria
    Victoria February 3, 2013 at 5:30 am |

    Dear Doris,
    You think you’re so smart with your degrees and all that, but you know who is smarter than you? Snooki and the entire cast of 16 and Pregnant. Because they are MOMS. Because the act of getting pregnant and carrying the child to term is a source of infant wisdom. All of those women who have trivial PhDs and careers, they are idiots in comparison to these MOMS who gain infinite wisdom in labor. That’s why it hurts so much. Enlightenment is painful.
    Sincerely,
    Your friend who is tired of you being a stupid non-mom and thinks you need to have a kid already.

    Can we say essentialism? (I’m not a mom, and I was able to spell that). I hate the self-congratulatory “Parenting brings wisdom, I’m smarter than you” attitude some mothers have. Yes, you gain insight from parenting, insight about parenting. But even that comes from experience, and isn’t inborn. If it was, there would be no need for parenting books or lactation consultants. I don’t tell you how to parent, because I know that you have insight on that which I do not, how about, in exchange for that, you not dismiss my degrees or career. Thanks.

    1. Victoria
      Victoria February 3, 2013 at 5:31 am |

      *Infinite wisdom, not infant (autocorrect fail that seems oddly fitting here).

      1. watermelonpunch
        watermelonpunch February 5, 2013 at 11:49 am |

        ha ha! I actually thought that was a deliberate joke/pun.

        1. Victoria
          Victoria February 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

          I wish I was that clever. I mean, I can be, but not all the time, apparently.

  42. Link love « Grumpy rumblings of the half-tenured

    [...] think delgar linked to this feministe rant:  The second half is especially strong.  Does it really take some white male conservative jackhat [...]

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