Category Archives: birth control

Friends Sans Kids (Childfree vs. Childless)


I’m writing from a place of pretty intense emotion, so forgive me in advance when when some things don’t make sense. I have two major points to make: The subtlety of semantics, and the relationship between people with kids and people without.

First let me hit on the word choices: People who choose not to have kids refer to themselves as childfree, however other people (usually those with kids or those who want kids) refer to those people as childless. It’s pretty interesting, when you really stop to think about it, how we choose certain words and phrases and how much power is actually behind them. Someone who uses childfree feels that their life is complete without kids, and in fact, kids might be a burden in their life. But then the person who tells them that they’re childless, is projecting their own beliefs that life is somehow incomplete without kids involved. Until #1 came along, I was childless. My best friend, however, was childfree. And she remains that way to this day.

When we were 29 (no, I am not telling you how many years ago that was), she had to fight her doctor into tying her tubes. The doctor (a woman) gave her all kinds of push-back about how she might change her mind, she’s still young, et cetera. T knew what she wanted, and her then-husband did too (their split had nothing to do with kids, for the record), and she even faced the doctor down with the fact that a tubal ligation is reversible, although she hadn’t actually looked into it because she had no intention of reversing it. The doctor kept throwing out the term childless. T actually had to change doctors and was finally able to get the procedure when she was 30. Why do so many people have a hard time accepting that some women truly do not want kids?

So, that’s that. Childfree and childless, while on the surface mean the same thing, are actually very different. Be careful how you use them.

 

Now… during all my childbearing years, T and I were always thick as thieves. I always had time for her, and she always – ALWAYS – had time for me. When I hear women with children bitching that their ‘childless’ friends have ditched them, how they never invite them to do anything, I always wonder if it’s really the other way around. You’ve all seen the pictures that go around facebook, about how ‘My idea of fun is no longer leaving the bar at 2am, dancing all night, etc, now it’s pillow forts in the living room, snuggling at 9pm with a cartoon’ or some other holier-than-thou thing. You know what? Yeah, it’s true, there were a few years where I really wasn’t able to do much of anything other unless it involved my kids, but there comes a point when all you want to do is have a night for you, and the people that you have always depended on to remind you exactly who you are.

So when T would invite me out to catch a new band, I would leave the kids with my husband and go out. I might not have been able to stay until closing time with her, but I was able to get some face time with her. When she would organize girls night out, I was there – and for those, I sometimes made it a point to stay out late. Let hubster do the heavy lifting. Now, I know there are single mothers out there, but you know what, there are babysitters. Not all of them are expensive. If you have cousins, nieces, nephews, etc, particularly if you babysat them back in the day, put them to work. Make it a point to get to know the younger people in your neighborhood. Be a little nosy and figure out who doesn’t go out a lot, because those are the kids who are going to be available when you need them. Expose your children to them so they’re not strangers.  Befriend them early, let them know your situation, they’ll be willing to sit for less than the “going rate” if they’re not total douchebags. I’ve done it for free on occasion. If your baby sitting money cuts into your night out money, big whoop. Meet at a friend’s first and pre-game, if you’re worried about being able to afford drinking money. If your friends are truly your friends, they’ll understand that you don’t want to bar-hop, that you just want to go to one bar because that’s all you can afford.

On the flip side, a third friend, R, never accepted any invitation to do anything that began after 7 pm. Not even to go to a movie. A movie? You can’t leave your child at home for two, maybe three hours max to come and sit on your ass with us in a theater?  Every time she wanted to get together, it was always with kids in mind. She’s say, hey let’s take the kids to this place on Saturday, maybe T can bring her nieces. Yes, T adores her twin nieces, but why should she have to procure some kids to be allowed to hang out? Oh, and T always felt like this was a dig at her worthiness. You are only allowed to join us if you have kids with you, you can’t come by yourself. Sort of the opposite of an adult-only party.

The thing is, maybe your childfree friends aren’t ditching you, maybe they’re just tired of always being turned down. What’s that line about insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome? (Which isn’t the actual definition, but whatever) T stopped inviting R to anything, eventually, and then R always got pissed off that “her childless friends never ask her to do anything anymore.”

My fellow parents: Your friends without kids can only take being turned down so many times before they just stop bothering. But pay attention: They attend every single birthday party you throw for your kids. They might spoil your kids as if they were their own. They celebrate every milestone with you. They’re there when you want a night out. Your childfree friend’s idea of fun isn’t sitting around with an Elmo party hat on watching a bunch of short humans pin the tail on everything but the donkey, but she does it because YOU asked her to be there. She does it because it’s what YOU want. But you’re the one who passes the subtle message that your life is more important than hers when you can’t be bothered to take part in anything she’s interested in. Compromising and doing things like meeting for dinner or lunch are one thing, because that’s something both parties have a mutual interest in. But when you are only inviting her to things that involve your kids (and then getting upset at the times she declines) and then declining all of her invites that involve just being yourself, an adult who is still her own person and not just a mother, the relationship becomes one-sided.

So like I said, yes, there were a couple years when I did fall a bit off the grid. #1 and #2 were born way too close together and I got a bit overwhelmed. I turned down pretty much everything T asked me to do, mostly because every moment the girls weren’t in my sight, I promptly fell asleep. We did a lot of lunches with babies in tow, we did a lot of hanging around her apartment for an hour at a time (many of which I’m guilty of being half-asleep though), but we tried. It wasn’t until #2 was nearly three years old that I realized T’s invites were coming less and less. I did get angry at first, but then I thought about it, and I realized there would be no point to her asking. It’s like when you have a Tupperware party or something along those lines. You know who to invite and who not to waste your breath on.

Once the girls were old enough to be less of a drain on my mental health, I was able to re-establish a lot of the fun times that T and I had enjoyed over the years. As I said, I’d suck it up and get dressed up for the club, even if I had to call it a night less than two hours in. But that was more about being a responsible adult than anything else. I knew I’d have to be up at 7am, so I knew I had to get to bed by midnight. It didn’t matter that I had to be up at 7 because of the kids. I’d made similar decisions years back when I had to get up for work early.

Why would I begrudge her idea of fun. She gets to do whatever the hell she wants because she can. And if she wants me to be a part of it, then I’m going to do what I can to be there. I know she absolutely hates the whole gift-opening part of kids’ birthday parties, all the kids screaming about what they got and how cool it is, or some other kid yelling about how much he wants it too (at least she’s stopped conveniently getting a phone call right when it starts, for which she has to go outside) but she’s there with the giant garbage bag grabbing the wrapping paper, because she knows how much I hate cleaning that shit up.  She manages a band, whose music she knows I don’t particularly like, but I still go to their showcases and important events because I know how much it means to her.

I’m probably rambling, but I just saw a rant on facebook from a parent friend pissed at her single, childfree friend over this. This parent friend is also one of those moms who’s entire facebook page is all her kids. Honestly, it’s so much about the kids that one of them could probably take the account over as their own when they get older and no one would notice. This woman clearly has no idea how much she’s lost herself in her kids. When you become a mother, motherhood should enhance your womanhood, not replace it. You’re still an individual, with you own interests, your own desires. Your idea of fun isn’t really a Dora marathon; it’s simply seeing your child happy. But your child isn’t going to be happy if you’re not happy, and I don’t see how you can be happy if you don’t have some semblance of a life of your own.

Maybe that makes me sound like a sanctimommy, but at least this sanctimommy has friends that aren’t my kids. And my facebook page has pictures of me.


Compare & Contrast



Punishment by Disability


Have you ever had an abortion? Well then, when you do have children, rest assured, they will have some kind of disability, and that will be your punishment, and you will take it like the slutty whore you are.

As is often the case when I read things like this, I’m rendered nearly speechless. There used to be a time when very little could take my words away, but lately, there is so much… So, so much… Just so… much… *head-desk, head-desk, head-desk*

So this jackass, Bob Marshall (R-Va), feels that disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first  pregnancy. That’s right. Punishment, damnit. Note that this doesn’t explain the millions of women who have had abortions that go on to have children with no disabilities. Maybe that means God feels some abortions are okay? And on the flip side, what about children with disabilities born to parents who have lived the humblest and most pious of lives?

“When you abort the first born  of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”

Seriously? Seriously?!

He wants to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood (shock), because he, like so many ill-informed others, seem to think that PP’s sole purpose in life is to provide abortions. PP reps just snatch women off the street and talk them into having an abortion – even if they’re not pregnant. All part of the PP agenda, don’t you know?

Here’s something that will just make you giggle.  Rev. Joe Ellison, vice president of the Council on  Biblical Principles, said that when he was in college, he paid for girlfriends to  get abortions. He said he still feels guilty about that today. He’s also “declaring war” on Planned Parenthood.

You know, despite the fact that if either the Reverend or any of his paramours (how much tail did he get, anyway, if he’s using the plural?) had stepped inside a Planned Parenthood, they probabably could have avoided the need to pay for anything. Literally, anything. They give condoms out like Halloween candy, and you can get oral contraceptives on the cheap.

However, reason is lost on these people regardless, so that’s pretty much alll the effort I’m putting forth.


Just a little reminder…


Now that the RNC is over… Let’s take a moment to focus on, what I feel, are some of the most important issues. After all, everything else they talked about was a load of crap.

It seems that everyone, including Romney and Ryan, can agree that Todd Akin (R-MO) is a total idiot. I’m happy to know that they have at least one shred of human decency and common sense within them that they – wait, what’s that? They actually feel similarly?

 

 

And Clint Eastwood. Really? Despite the fact that he’s Pro-Choice, doesn’t believe that global warming is anything more than us fucking up the atmosphere, and he supports marriage equality. Yet, there he is,  speaking on behalf of these idiots.


Pro-Birth



Women’s Health



Republicans Report Real Rape Resists Reproduction


Wait, you didn’t know that? That’s amazing. I would think that everyone on the planet would know that by now – oh, wait, the reason you don’t know is because you have a brain.

I know I should no longer be shocked, but I’m astonished, absolutely blown the hell away by the amount of people – men, mostly (I hate to make it a man-woman thing, but let’s look at the facts, let’s look at the individuals who are making these statements) – who have no idea how the female reproductive system works.

I swore I mentioned some time ago about Stephen Freind (though I can’t find it now so maybe I talked about it somewhere else), state Rep. from Pennsylvania, who said in 1988 that the odds of a woman becoming pregnant from rape are “one in millions and millions and millions,” because the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that tends to kill sperm. The man couldn’t even name said secretion, and the pathetic use of the same root word as both the verb and the noun in that statement just reeks of ‘I’m pulling this all out of my ass as we speak.’ Luckily, doctors in Philadelphia spoke up and said this is completely baseless. Freind later attempted to retract this statement and cover it up with a fake misunderstanding, that it is actually the lack of a secretion that prevents ovulation from taking place in many rape victims. Basically that the stress of the rape prevents you from ovulating, and therefore you don’t get pregnant. While this may be coming from a place of truth (we’ve all had that messed up cycle during times of stress), it’s so inherently twisted. I’m amazed he even has enough knowledge of the effect of stress on onvulation to make it this far. Yes, if a woman is a day or so before her normal ovulation and she is raped, sure, it may end up delaying that egg from dropping. However, what if she started ovulating that day? Or she ovulated yesterday? The egg isn’t going to suddenly drop out of existence from stress. Nice try Freind, nice try.

Later, in the mid-90s, state Rep. Henry Aldridge, out of North Carolina, supported his opinion that “the facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices  don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a  rarity, if ever.” What medical authorities was this man speaking to? Yes, when women are raped, the juices do not flow. None of the self-lubrication associated with good-time sex is likely to occur. But that doesn’t mean the entire system is shut down. He then took it a step further, saying, “To get pregnant, it takes a little cooperation. And there ain’t much  cooperation in a rape.” This can go two ways. He’s not only saying that you can’t get pregnant from rape, but that if you do get pregnant, then it wasn’t rape.

And now, in 2012, we have Rep. Todd Akin. “First of all, from what I understand from doctors that’s really rare – if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” What I want to know, Akin, first of all, is what makes a rape illegitimate? I need to know, so that I have a basis by which to qualify the legitimate ones. He firmly believes that the punishment should be on the attacker and not the child. Okay, fair enough, but when you imply that if there’s a pregnancy then there was no rape, then you’re saying there was no attacker. There is no spoon! In an adorable attempt to cover his own ignorance, he said that he “misspoke” and that it was an “off-the-cuff” remark. WHAT? One, to say that as a politician, running for office, in a televised interview, you would even make an off-the-cuff comment about rape is just disgusting. Absolutely abhorrent. Two, to say you misspoke means you meant to say something else, and no where in your statement about misspeaking did you make any clarification about what you meant to say.

One study actually shows that just the opposite of all this blathering is true: That a single act of rape may be more than twice as likely to make a woman pregnant as a single act of consensual sex. One possibility is that when ovulating women unconsciously give off signals that attract men – and rapists – which is something that dates back to the stone ages. It was an evolutionary need to bang when you were most fertile, and even though today this is no longer necessary, the vibes still exist, although it’s unclear whether men consciously notice these. In those stone ages, the alpha males (power and control, what rape is all about) sought out those fertile women. Regardless of the reason, none of it means the victim is in some way to blame.

The facts of rape and pregnancy are simple. Five percent of all (reported) rapes result in pregnancy. If you were in a room with 20 rape victims, one of them became pregnant. If she was one of the few amazingly brave women who saw that as some kind of silver lining (my cousin-in-law’s biological mother is one), and she chose to have a baby, and either raise it or give it up for adoption, that’s great. I have nothing but admiration for that. But if she’s like the thousands of others who want no part in that, then her rights should not be taken away. To the anti-choicers who say why should an innocent child have to suffer for something someone else did, I say turn that around: Why should a rapist become a parent?

In all of this, I’m left just wondering… where do these people come from? I know women’s bodies are mythical, and that we’re capable of some pretty awesome things, but self-created contraception? If we were that powerful, we wouldn’t be fighting so hard for the doctor-prescribed contraception that you guys are trying so desperately to take away!


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